Father Dwight Longenecker
Lesson Twelve: Spies and Relativists
Once they believe themselves to be superior souls we get them to believe that they, and not the audience, should decide what is good art and what is not. The way to boost this pleasing trend is to make the artist into a celebrity. It works like this, grubs: take a mediocre artist. He believes that to be great he has to be "original," and by this he means he has to get people's attention.
So encourage him or her to produce something vulgar and shocking—a head made of frozen urine or a huge pile of animal fat carved into genitals or an unmade bed littered with used syringes and soiled sheets. Then once your client is notorious, er, I mean, "famous" he will be able to pontificate about "art" and "beauty," and because of his celebrity he can speak most any kind of nonsense and the crowds will swallow it. Work with our fellow tempters to weave in the art critics. Get them to collude with the mediocre artists so they can both become rich and famous. "You scratch my back. I'll scratch yours."
The same principles can be applied in the realm of music, literature, dance—you name it. Make the artists and critics into celebrities and marginalize and exclude any of the brutes who want to challenge the substantial structures of the art establishment we have put in place. Should some reactionary try to discuss "objective beauty" have him shouted down, ridiculed, and ostracized. Make him seem like an antique oddity, a crank, a buffoon, and a naive idealist.
Should a truly great and talented artist come along, draw him into our system. The art professors (who are usually failed artists themselves) will soon gobble him up for supper. Out of jealousy and a loyalty to our regime, they will destroy his vision, his talent, and any sort of career he might have had. With any luck he will end up teaching art to seventh graders in a middle school in Nebraska.
Relativism is the trick, dear worms. Through this you can destroy the brutes and bring them down. Where art might have opened up the hairless apes' eyes to the disgusting world of the enemy, the arts will, instead, introduce them to the awesome chaos and cacophony of our Father's realm below.
Politics and practicality, next session. Glimwort, be a good fellow and collect up those essays will you? And when you're done trot down to the bog and get me another mug of lava.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is Catholicism Pure and Simple. Visit his blog and sign up for Faith Works! his free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith here.