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SarahC comments on Politics and Awful Art - Less Wrong

20 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 December 2007 03:46AM

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Comment author: [deleted] 26 November 2010 02:04:15PM 3 points [-]

My favorite example of something like this is about the Surrealists. They had rather depressing fallings-out and betrayals of friends, mostly because they had different approaches to the relationship between politics and art. Louis Aragon was wholly political; Andre Breton tried to strike a balance between politics and making the kind of art he liked, and he suffered for it. His former friends really screwed him.

Comment author: gwern 26 November 2010 05:40:34PM 7 points [-]

The 20th century was in general a very bad time to be an apolitical artist, with everyone adopting the principle 'if you're not my ally, you're my enemy'.

Even mild criticism of prevailing trends could kill your career; I read Robinson Jeffers The Double Axe, which had some very mild isolationist sentiments - but because this was during the fever-pitch of WWII, the publisher included a preface disavowing any responsibility and attacking the poems! Pretty amazing, especially considering that one of Jeffers's main criticisms was all the WWII propaganda, which we now know he was right about, and the reception almost proves his point by itself.

Comment author: gwern 19 March 2012 03:33:39AM 2 points [-]

'The poet’s work is subjected to severe editing. Entire poems—10 in all—are excised. When the volume is finally published, it bears an extraordinary editorial note averring, “in all fairness to that constantly interdependent relationship, and in all candor,” the publisher “feels compelled to go on record with its disagreement over some of the political views pronounced by the poet in this volume.” The editor’s note concludes with the smug self-assurance of one who knows his reiteration of the conventional wisdom renders him practically unassailable: “Time alone,” he intones, “is the court of last resort in the case of ideas on trial.”'

--"Robinson Jeffers: Peace Poet", The American Conservative