by Robert Gore
Are most people too stupid, ignorant, and benighted to comprehend truth in the sciences, appreciate beauty in the arts, and embrace wisdom in politics? That question captures the bedrock assumption guiding a sliver of the populace, a self-anointed elite who cover their disdain for everyone else with altruistic professions of humanitarian concern. They’re curiously contradictory posture: we despise common tastes, choices, and beliefs, but we stand four square for the common “folk” (one of President Obama’s favorite words). After over a century of such sententiousness, the “common folk” are beyond irritated. Before the charade blows up completely, however, this claim to intellectual, aesthetic, and moral superiority, its widespread acceptance and its devastating effects, must be dissected, analyzed, and understood.
Walk into any museum of modern art and you’ll soon come upon a work that, if you’re honest with yourself, you have no idea how or why it’s called art. Maybe its a few squiggly lines, or a geometric representation indistinguishable from the floor tiles in a restroom you once visited, or three blank, white canvases (these examples came from a simple Google search: modern art, images), but no matter what “masterpiece” first evokes it, the feeling grows that a fraud is being perpetrated. Visual art is chosen here because it’s the most obvious, but listening to the music from today’s supposed heirs to Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, or reading the precious gems that win contemporary literary prizes and awards will also produce that sinking sensation of intellectual and aesthetic victimization. You have, in fact, been had, and it’s vitally important to unravel this con game and what it accomplishes.