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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

politics and aesthetics « Previous | |Next »
June 27, 2003

In his post on aesthetics and politics James Russell pretty much follows the Two Blowhards in finding primarily political people (PPP) boring.

Michael over at Two Blowhards says:

"Temperamentally, though, I don't have a clue where the PPPs are coming from. I can't imagine a worse life or, generally, a worse set of people. Politics to me is, at best, an unfortunate necessity. We don't seem to be able to do without politics -- alas to that. But PPPs can't seem to stop scheming; they can't stop dreaming up ways to suck up to power, or imagining things they'd like to see government do."

And James says "I don't understand people like that either."

Passion Michael & James Passion. Just like artists and lovers. Tis not sucking up to power. It is being seduced by power just like people are seduced by sex.
Being commanders and legislators is a huge turn on.

James goes onto say:

"...frankly I'm puzzled by people for whom politics is a consuming interest (especially those actively involved in it at whatever level). What else do they do with their time? What other interests they have? What sports do they play? What music do they listen to? Do they read any books outisde of their political interests? I can't really conceive of a person whose interests are so narrow they don't go beyond politics."

Here politics is counterposed to politics. I could contest this separation by writing about the way aesthetics has a political dimension. But that is old hat. It is far more interesting to look at it the other way round. The way politics is informed by aesthetics.

Politics is aesthetics. Its all about appearance and stage managed performance. Ever watched the House of Representatives through the eyes of aesthetics? Its Grand Oratory for the cameras and journalists. They are performing in front of a mirror. Watch how they dress, organize their body, use their hands. Its aesthetics. Pure aesthetics. They see themselves as orators on a stage. They have studied it.

An enormous amount of effort goes into that. Noticed how Howard looks Presidential these days on television. It stands out because it is still being put together.

They----their image minders---have learned the tricks from Hitler, of course. Though they will never admit that it was Hitler who first put politics and aesthetics together. It goes by the name of advertising today. And big money is spent on it.

Just check out Triumph of the Will by having a look at some of these images. Politics and aesthetics are fused. Nothing in Australia comes close to that by either Liberal, Labor Democrats or Nationals. But they milk it unconsciously.

And goodness me, what was the Hillary and Bill Show of a few years back? Was it not politics as aesthetics dressed up as entertainment?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:26 PM | | Comments (1)


Good point Gary. Politics is a grand-scale game to a lot of these people, and one which secures many of the benefits that James (and many of us) would presumably not mid indulging in himself.

Agree about Triumph of the Will, very, very scary film.

I'm very interested in politics, but not party politics. If you aren't in it for party politics you have to make sure you lead a balanced life too, or you will end up on the scrapheap of life, where many activists end up.