A mouse roars at The Washington Post

An article on the web last weekend opened with the following paragraph:

What would happen to the arts if this country turned to authoritarian leadership? If fundamental freedoms were challenged, if a strong leader gathered up the full weight of the regulatory state and started using it to systematically punish his enemies and reward his friends, if the country was precipitated into ever more severe constitutional crises, if the only political labels that mattered were whether you were with the Leader or the Resistance — where would the arts stand?

Hmmm...an authoritarian leader who would:

  • Challenge fundamental freedoms,
  • Gather up the full weight of the regulatory state,
  • Systematically punish enemies and reward friends,
  • Precipitate severe constitutional crises.

We might well conclude the writer was talking about Hillary Clinton, because:

  • Her authoritarian, dogmatic, arrogant personality is a matter of record.
  • She would indeed challenge fundamental freedoms as president, including the right to bear arms and the right to criticize the powers that be.
  • Democrats have been using the full weight of the regulatory state to carry out various and sundry "reforms" literally for decades.
  • Systematically punishing enemies is what loislernering at the IRS was about.
  • The book Clinton Cash presents ample evidence that Bill and Hillary are very good at spreading the wealth, crony-capitalist style.
  • Challenging the 2nd Amendment would indeed precipitate a constitutional crisis, as would Clinton's appointment of radical feminists to the Supreme Court.

So, the article was about Hillary Clinton, right?

Surely, you must be kidding.

The article was by Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer Prize winner, no less.  Gazing into his crystal ball, Kennicott tells readers how he thinks the arts would be affected by a Trump presidency, painting a dystopian future – more like coloring inside lines drawn by the Clinton campaign.

Yes, too silly for words.  What got me wondering, however, is whom this caricature of Trump is supposed to persuade.  The left already spouts much worse about The Donald.  Independents and fence-sitters are unlikely to bat an eye should Trump announce that he plans to do away with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  The right would applaud such an announcement, so Kennicott's dire warnings would draw a yawn from them.  Maybe Kennicott was hoping his diatribe would resonate with fellow Lilliputians Bill Kristol, George Will, and other NeverTrumpers blithely ignorant of (welcoming?) the inference of "Clinton" from "Trump or Clinton" and "not-Trump."

Then it hit me.  Attacks by the Clinton camp are only to be expected.  It's also easy to see that "conservatives" kicking up dust are doing it for purely selfish reasons: Trump would more than likely turn their world upside-down, so they are acting to protect their interests – turf, fiefdoms, influence, whatever – even though it means being stuck with "crooked Hillary."  However, when someone as far down into the weeds as an art critic jumps into the fray, you know the fear factor has hit home in a special way.  The left is in a panic that Trump 2.0 can turn things around, in which he is being helped by new and even more appalling "pay for play" revelations at the Clinton State Department.

Not content with reading tea leaves, Kennicott also tries his hand at innuendo.  Halfway into the article, we are shown a painting of Donald Trump from his Florida estate, the implication being that Trump would encourage a cult of personality as president.  This is exactly backward.  It is Hillary Clinton who would promote a cult of personality, taking it way beyond Obama.  She would see to it that the NEA gets a budget increase so that "court artists" can make sure our "first female president" is portrayed in an "appropriate" manner – a portrait of Clinton wearing an orange pantsuit would definitely be "inappropriate."

To end on a personal (but not irrelevant) note, I began making sculpture years ago, taking classes at night and weekends while holding down a full-time job.  I did not apply for NEA grants, scholarships, fellowships, and the like.  I saw no reason why American taxpayers should subsidize what began as an avocation.  I thought it was entirely up to me to prove I had something new to offer.

In this, I proceeded as many artists before me, with only a hunch and a hope that something good would come of the effort.  Information about my work is available here. Readers can download PDFs of my articles "The Structure of an Aesthetic Revolution," "Baudelaire's Critique of Sculpture," and "Toward an Epistemology of Art" free of charge.  No, the National Endowment for the Humanities didn't pay for this work, either.

An article on the web last weekend opened with the following paragraph:

What would happen to the arts if this country turned to authoritarian leadership? If fundamental freedoms were challenged, if a strong leader gathered up the full weight of the regulatory state and started using it to systematically punish his enemies and reward his friends, if the country was precipitated into ever more severe constitutional crises, if the only political labels that mattered were whether you were with the Leader or the Resistance — where would the arts stand?

Hmmm...an authoritarian leader who would:

  • Challenge fundamental freedoms,
  • Gather up the full weight of the regulatory state,
  • Systematically punish enemies and reward friends,
  • Precipitate severe constitutional crises.

We might well conclude the writer was talking about Hillary Clinton, because:

  • Her authoritarian, dogmatic, arrogant personality is a matter of record.
  • She would indeed challenge fundamental freedoms as president, including the right to bear arms and the right to criticize the powers that be.
  • Democrats have been using the full weight of the regulatory state to carry out various and sundry "reforms" literally for decades.
  • Systematically punishing enemies is what loislernering at the IRS was about.
  • The book Clinton Cash presents ample evidence that Bill and Hillary are very good at spreading the wealth, crony-capitalist style.
  • Challenging the 2nd Amendment would indeed precipitate a constitutional crisis, as would Clinton's appointment of radical feminists to the Supreme Court.

So, the article was about Hillary Clinton, right?

Surely, you must be kidding.

The article was by Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer Prize winner, no less.  Gazing into his crystal ball, Kennicott tells readers how he thinks the arts would be affected by a Trump presidency, painting a dystopian future – more like coloring inside lines drawn by the Clinton campaign.

Yes, too silly for words.  What got me wondering, however, is whom this caricature of Trump is supposed to persuade.  The left already spouts much worse about The Donald.  Independents and fence-sitters are unlikely to bat an eye should Trump announce that he plans to do away with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  The right would applaud such an announcement, so Kennicott's dire warnings would draw a yawn from them.  Maybe Kennicott was hoping his diatribe would resonate with fellow Lilliputians Bill Kristol, George Will, and other NeverTrumpers blithely ignorant of (welcoming?) the inference of "Clinton" from "Trump or Clinton" and "not-Trump."

Then it hit me.  Attacks by the Clinton camp are only to be expected.  It's also easy to see that "conservatives" kicking up dust are doing it for purely selfish reasons: Trump would more than likely turn their world upside-down, so they are acting to protect their interests – turf, fiefdoms, influence, whatever – even though it means being stuck with "crooked Hillary."  However, when someone as far down into the weeds as an art critic jumps into the fray, you know the fear factor has hit home in a special way.  The left is in a panic that Trump 2.0 can turn things around, in which he is being helped by new and even more appalling "pay for play" revelations at the Clinton State Department.

Not content with reading tea leaves, Kennicott also tries his hand at innuendo.  Halfway into the article, we are shown a painting of Donald Trump from his Florida estate, the implication being that Trump would encourage a cult of personality as president.  This is exactly backward.  It is Hillary Clinton who would promote a cult of personality, taking it way beyond Obama.  She would see to it that the NEA gets a budget increase so that "court artists" can make sure our "first female president" is portrayed in an "appropriate" manner – a portrait of Clinton wearing an orange pantsuit would definitely be "inappropriate."

To end on a personal (but not irrelevant) note, I began making sculpture years ago, taking classes at night and weekends while holding down a full-time job.  I did not apply for NEA grants, scholarships, fellowships, and the like.  I saw no reason why American taxpayers should subsidize what began as an avocation.  I thought it was entirely up to me to prove I had something new to offer.

In this, I proceeded as many artists before me, with only a hunch and a hope that something good would come of the effort.  Information about my work is available here. Readers can download PDFs of my articles "The Structure of an Aesthetic Revolution," "Baudelaire's Critique of Sculpture," and "Toward an Epistemology of Art" free of charge.  No, the National Endowment for the Humanities didn't pay for this work, either.