The Spectacle Blog

To Transgress or Not to Transgress

By on 7.2.12 | 2:31PM

Art is transgressive, we're told, but not all transgressions are equal. For example, write a book of poems called Babyf---er, and you'll be rewarded with The Heimrad Bäcker Prize for Experimental Literature in German. Review more books by men than women, however, and you'll be pie-charted by Canadians. Or dare to put on plays (like Henry V, The Winter's Tale or Twelfth Night) with more male than female roles, and you'll be chastised. After all, seeing all these male actors discourages women from pursuing careers in the theater, and "you can't be what you can't see," Lynda Rooke tells us, to the disappointment of blind kids everywhere.

Art is destructive, too, but this sort of destruction is generally frowned upon.

And if it's political, just make sure it's the right kind of politics. Protesting the Olympics, which were invented almost 3,000 years ago to distract people from the current financial crises is OK. So is rudely (though somewhat ambiguously) demanding free health care, student loan forgiveness, a bike and a chicken coop. And using art to further the political agenda of certain politicians is fine, too, but other politicians who compromise the "neutrality" of art will be renounced worldwide.

What to make of this, though, no one knows.

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article