Socialist fantasy

I did catch some of the closing ceremony. Just as China seems to have forged a new kind of communism, it seems to have forged a new kind of communist artistic style. Before, the only style allowed in Marxist regimes was socialist realism. Now we seem to have socialist fantasy.

Socialist realism had to consist of character types, with evil capitalists and a ridiculous and sinister middle class (still a Hollywood staple!), opposed by muscular workers and large groups of the noble proletariat. Based on what I saw at both the Olympic ceremonies, which would have to have been party-approved, this new style still rejects individualism, which would still be bourgeois and counter-revolutionary, and is highly collective.

We still see nothing but groups and individuals, all alike, taking their place in the groups. But this socialist fantasy–as we see in those lit up figures flying around–is fanciful and future-oriented. It is built around mass unity, rather than class conflict. It emphasizes wealth to the point of conspicuous consumption, though it is national wealth rather than anything that belongs to individuals.

This kind of communism, I suspect, will prove far more formidable–and appealing–than the old.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • William

    The Chinese were trying to keep religious expressions out of the games but I noticed a couple of atheletes including, sprinter Bolt, cross themself, and the British got in 2 stanzas of “God save the queen” during the Closing. The second stanza sung sounds like a prayer to evangelize the world but, unfortunantly, in the context of the Olympics it was just about the brotherhood of sports.

    Not in this land alone,
    But be God’s mercies known,
    From shore to shore!
    Lord make the nations see,
    That men should brothers be,
    And form one family,
    The wide world over.

  • William

    The Chinese were trying to keep religious expressions out of the games but I noticed a couple of atheletes including, sprinter Bolt, cross themself, and the British got in 2 stanzas of “God save the queen” during the Closing. The second stanza sung sounds like a prayer to evangelize the world but, unfortunantly, in the context of the Olympics it was just about the brotherhood of sports.

    Not in this land alone,
    But be God’s mercies known,
    From shore to shore!
    Lord make the nations see,
    That men should brothers be,
    And form one family,
    The wide world over.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    You know, I don’t know that “socialist fantasy” is a new genre at all. Didn’t we all learn about “five year plans,” after all? :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    You know, I don’t know that “socialist fantasy” is a new genre at all. Didn’t we all learn about “five year plans,” after all? :^)

  • http://dizzysound.net/blog Christopher R Gillespie

    Yes, especially compare the Beijing portion to the London portion. The Londoners were about individual expression, complete with solo guitar and individual cast, differently dressed.

    All the talk of a “new” China made me laugh. Socialist Capitalism with the same goal. The difference is there is a place for some more lenient artistic representation of the same ideals.

  • http://dizzysound.net/blog Christopher R Gillespie

    Yes, especially compare the Beijing portion to the London portion. The Londoners were about individual expression, complete with solo guitar and individual cast, differently dressed.

    All the talk of a “new” China made me laugh. Socialist Capitalism with the same goal. The difference is there is a place for some more lenient artistic representation of the same ideals.

  • Anon

    Is it still Marxist/Maoism, is it fascism, or is it something new involving elements of both?

  • Anon

    Is it still Marxist/Maoism, is it fascism, or is it something new involving elements of both?

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Anon – I don’t think this is communism at all – and it is not full-scale socialism either. But it is a totalitarian system of sorts, with Maoist tendencies. The groupthink thing is extremely strong.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Anon – I don’t think this is communism at all – and it is not full-scale socialism either. But it is a totalitarian system of sorts, with Maoist tendencies. The groupthink thing is extremely strong.


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