Monday, July 2, 2018

A Minor Musing About The Absence Of Art In Trump's White House

Over the weekend my long-suffering wife accompanied me to the inaugural St. Louis Pen Show. I  met some friendly, helpful vendors, ate some great barbecue, and was taken care of by a kind, soft-spoken waitress at the restaurant in the St. Louis Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel. I spent too much money and saw a gorgeous scrimshaw pen made by Ryan Krusac. Thankfully, South Dakota's Attorney General Marty Jackley did not station South Dakota Highway Patrol officers at the border to pull us over to ensure we had paid the proper amount of sales tax.

In addition to spending money, I fell further behind on blogging. During a brief hiatus from shopping, I stumbled upon this editorial, "A Cultural Vacuum in Trump's White House." Cory has already made many of the points I wanted to comment on here and here.

Something about the Eggers' editorial and the Krusac pens reminded me of two other reads. The first is this Ross Douthat column in which Douthat opines that a certain "kind of cycle of incomprehension and aggression tends to destroy republics if it isn’t broken, if leaders can’t compromise ideological principles to maintain civic peace, if partisans can’t imagine how the world looks in communities vastly different from their own." He goes on to assert that the nation needs a president "who acts to reassure threatened-feeling out-groups in a way that Obama failed to do and Trump is incapable of even attempting."

The second work is Raymond Chandler's "The Simple Art of Murder," an essay in which Chandler describes a world that is "not. . . very fragrant" before proclaiming that "[i]n everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption."

The fact that Trump is not capable of attempting to reassure those who feel threatened or that his partisans can't or won't imagine how the world looks to those living in a world that differs from their own may well be that they never seek the cultural redemption that art provides. 

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