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Are Great Artists Right-Wing?

What began as a discussion of Martin Scorsese's role in a new Bob Dylan documentary evolved into a discussion of Dylan's politics and, eventually, the ideology of artistry. Sayeth Ann Althouse:

To be a great artist is inherently right wing. A great artist like Dylan or Picasso may have some superficial, naive, lefty things to say, but underneath, where it counts, there is a strong individual, taking responsibility for his place in the world and focusing on that.

[Quote from Ann's comment at 12:23pm]

UPDATE: Ann Althouse has a follow-up here prompted, in part, by misinterpretations of her initial remark. I thought it was clear that by "right wing" she meant individualistic, as opposed to communitarian or egalitarian. As she explains:

I'm not saying great artists consciously adopt the agenda of the political right. I'm saying there is something right wing about the sort of mentality you have to adopt in order to be a great artist! Think it through people. Don't just blow a gasket!
I also think she was making an interesting claim about the mentality that tends to produce great art — that truly great artists are, in some important ways, like the protagonist of an Ayn Rand novel. As for Kieran Healy's commentary, I am not sure the great artist who finds a wealthy patron who shares his or her vision is a "parasite." And while many great artists were subsidized by patrons, I cannot think of many whose careers were made by the NEA or "local arts council." There is a case to be made that great artists, in the end, are in it for themselves, not some broader community or the greater good. It seems to me that is an interesting, albeit contestable, claim — and that is what prompted the initial post.

SECOND UPDATE: If you are thinking about posting a comment, be sure to read this first.

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70 Comments
Is Country Music Right-Wing?

Well, if patriotism is considered "right-wing" then the answer would be yes. As Victoria Spurs Barrett observes, conventional pop music is not particularly patriotic anymore, but country music still embraces love of country.

Country Music is the soul of America. It doesn't judge her. It doesn't condemn her. Nor does it feel the need to.

I've never been much of a country music fan myself - other than Hank Williams (the original, not the MNF guy) - but I think Ms. Spurs Miss Barrett is making an interesting observation about politics and music.

UPDATE: I have edited the post at Miss Barrett's request. I would also add that I agree with her point that being patriotic should not be considered inherently "right wing" -- but it is nonetheless understandable that public expressions of patriotism are typucally viewed as such today.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Is Country Music Right-Wing?
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62 Comments