Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Artistic Futility & Defeat

hope & futility
The mood with everyone I see - online & offline is Tired out, knackered and conflicted. The talking heads never stop! Make them stop!!

The Democrats spent a lot of effort in exercises in artistic futility, not defining an alternative, but appealing to the world for their rightness. The manifold artistic talents that endeavored to communicate the issues did the same. Eminem's release of his socially powerful video too late to make a difference, Michael Moore's excellent, but flawed work, even Mr Kerry's nuanced message were futile.

One is reminded of JFA Pyre's article in the Atlantic Monthly in 1907 on Lord Byron, the Romantic Poet,(subscription reqd)

"In our days of poetic puttering, when we can point to hundreds of clever technicians in verse, but not to one singer or maker who sways the time, we can ill afford to despise the memory of one who accomplished so much in his way and day. Though a great deal of Byron's subject matter is obsolete, though many of his ideas no longer interest us, so much, at least, is of perennial interest. Byron's liveness, Byron's directness, his intellectual dauntlessness, his ethical cogency, his wholesome contempt for social and artistic futility, his reckless valiancy of spirit, his very faults even, will be educative always, will always cry rebuke to the putterers and patchers of poetry."


Everyone wins, but in the long term, a redefinition is needed of the rules of the game. A 'Civil War among Democrats' would be a bad idea. Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part II, comes to mind as to one first step. Andrew Sullivan has a fair concern raised - the Cultural Stasis might be broken. The Culture Wars begun have, I fear. Jon Sobel has similar concerns about overseas perceptions of a further shift to monocultural identity in America as a result of this mandate - the country risks being painted into a corner, and dark comparisons drawn.

I've been having a great discussion on slashdot.org on this topic. Long, as usual. Some excerpts:

The popular vote should have been enough. Other countries count that as sufficient - he's not being partisan, just commenting on the feelings.
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Re:Now, let's all have a big Slashdot group hug (Score:3, Insightful)
by Golias (176380) on Wednesday November 03, @11:26AM (#10712490)
I disagree. We are better off as a federal union of states in which the government of that union is presided over by somebody elected by the states. If Bush had lost Ohio and Iowa, then it should have meant a Kerry presidency regardless of the popular vote.

Not that it matters this time around. The parent to your post is correct: By every measure, Bush won, so there is no case made by this particular election that there's something which needs fixing.
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This election is just amazing for me as a European. I cannot bring myself to believe that the US went for Bush – again.

Geez, looks like I won't be vacationing in California for another four years
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Granted, it might alienate some people, but while I would have liked Kerry to win, I am happy he conceded - just because I think it would have been wrong to have Kerry win the presidency with a minority in the popular vote - yes, Bush ruled with a minority, but two wrongs don't make a right.
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