Just Thinking…Artfully

Cassandra always has some pretty thought provoking quotes on her blog, and I came across this item:The Cassandra Page: Goodnight Moon, Clement Hurd, The Commissar Vanishes, MSM Lie # 52.

I immediately thought of the way the references to Hatshepsut were defaced from the stone columns of her reign, and of the recent Condoleeza photoshop escapade.

Art is a powerful communicator, and it is used in so many ways we almost don’t notice, at times. That is part of its power. We erase or add messages… and it takes astute observers to track down the clouded meaning. In the case of a childrens author, I’d hypothesize that it was as simple as the changed values of our society concerning tobacco. It was once ubiquitous- even people who didn’t smoke, smoked. They didn’t have the habit, but picked a cigarette up here and there for social reasons ( my mom was one of those). Now, the medical information gives us a far dimmer view, and I think, a better perspective on what a nasty habit smoking is ( clear giveaway where I stand;).

But doctoring the message, the history, is sometimes something much darker. It is manipulation of reality, and of the state of mind for large groups of people. Ever thought of that? It isn’t only the madness of tyrants, it is a methodical madness that man sometimes perpetrates. And it’s on the rise, I think.

I love art. I love everything about it: its power, its beauty, its malleability, its rebuke and criticism, its celebration. But art, in all its forms is a powerful vehicle for whoever is driving its force. History has shown the sad misuse for lies and oppression.

Perhaps we ought to take a look at how often it is used to deseminate unrest and swapped in and out with factual reality …because art is, after all, what we decide to make it. It is only an expression of ‘what is’ if we choose to make it so, and easily used for creating something virtual and unreal if we choose that. But the genius of the artist is to create something that can move between fantasy and reality to create a message that bypasses the barriers of the logical mind. Genius for good or for evil? The artist may choose his message, we may choose the interpretation and impact- if we are thinking and aware.

Francis Schaeffer had the fascinating model of looking at art for clues for the message of that generation as it assimilated the philosophical thought of the age… and became the everday commerce of communication in the coming generation.

That makes an artist a very important messenger, one with a mission and one with a responsibility. Perhaps we ought to rethink how often we manipulate the message without notice or ‘truth in advertising’.

It gets just a little too close to the machinations of such as Stalin… and of that Brave New World.