I have now realised that I will be living my life under the aesthetic sign of Vogue Living. My life is now shaped and governed by style and taste and I will have to continually struggle to be in vogue. Even the pot plants on the balcony will need to signify taste---and the plants will need to have graceful or geometric shapes.
The aesthetic was about the body, rebellion and protest in the old philosophy texts. It once spoke out-----screamed----against the very social order with which it was complicit. It was that very complicity which spurred the aesthetic into protest; even if that protest was agonized and largely ineffectual under late modernism
Oh I see that a gay and colour building protests against the ugly commercial buildings around and the derelict house that the homeless kids use to squat. Ugliness is bad the aesthetic says.
There is no sign of protest in living in vogue. Not even a gesture of protest about a life of such suffering, fruitless toil, carnage and misery that many of those living it would be better of dead. What has happened?
Aah, beautiful living has traditionally been confined to a tiny minority who have the money to afford taste. The rest of us have endeavoured to live under the bloodless sign of utility, self-interest and an analytic, instrumental reason of Bentham that ditches the aesthetic. That unlovely utilitarianism that crunched the numbers and consequences of desire was never able to generate the styles and forms which could weave its crude power into the aesthetic and cultural fabric of everyday life. It remained the philosophy of business and government.
Heres a thought. Aesthetic taste becomes a weapon in the hands of political reaction: the aesthetic becomes the homeland of conservatism.Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at May 13, 2003 05:54 PM | TrackBack