Archive for September, 2013

Eloquence

September 26, 2013

There was a time when what something meant had all the world to do with why it was or was not used, included. Part of the aesthetic involved with any creative endeavor included meaning. Today it could be likened to layering. One layer was meaning, another maybe harmony or rhyme, another maybe the actual physical quality, like the sound or color. A creative endeavor included the visual and auditory arts. Oration likewise was included in this, classically stemming from its roots in rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Today the aesthetic is about what is immediate. With oration, it is go for the jugular; that is, determine which side of the polarity those you hope to persuade are on, and how far they are/can be polarized. There is now no place for subtle arguments, narratives or reasoning to modify conviction and belief. Nope, just materialize positions, reify ideology. This week Ted Cruz’s political theater staged a magnificent production of that contemporary aesthetic. Why green eggs and ham? Because I’ve always liked it. Why Hitler, Chamberlain and appeasement? Because it is about taking a stand. Never mind it is also about Monday morning armchair quarterbacking given that at THAT time, in THAT place, no one could have foreseen the future any more than in 2001 anyone would have guessed the US would still be at war in Afghanistan 12 years later. No matter, what is relevant is that meaning as one layer of an aesthetic presentation, be it oratory or video, is of no consequence (all brings to mind George W. Bush’s infamous “So what?” reply to a question about meaningful facts). The end, the outcome is all that matters within the current aesthetic (how much box office was made on the opening week end, whether you have “won” the red states or blue states, whether your stint at American idol resulted in recording and appearance contracts, etc.). Eloquence in the arts has been displaced by effectiveness in the polling.

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