Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Eve of Eves

On the eve of the inauguration of not only a new president but what could be a new era of optimism, I am reading Plato’s Republic. I’m prepping for class in which we will be discussing Aristotle’s Poetics which is (arguably) a response to Plato’s challenge to defend the role of arts in his ideal state. I am in no way an expert on Greek philosophy, and honestly have only ever studied Aristotle as relevant to dramatic structure. That won’t stop me from publicly musing. You’ve been warned.

When Plato wrote, poetry was an essential component of education. Art didn’t need to be championed, as it was the norm in the social order. In fact, art was so not-fragile that it could easily stand Plato’s (reluctant?) criticism as potentially disruptive to the ideal state and a corruption of the populous.

If tomorrow really ushers in a new era, is it folly to think the arts may play a larger role in reshaping our national identity? Our almost-president talks about art more than any president has since Kennedy. He has a task-force and everything.

I don’t mean to suggest that with all the poop the new administration inherits tomorrow, the arts ought to be their top priority, but it sure would be nice if all this change brought about a renaissance of American art. The “greatest” political leaders of history not so coincidentally overlap with the “greatest” artists.

Fingers crossed, B.


Anonymous said...

Nice to see you blogging a little more consistently. keep it up!

Turg Talker said...

Thanks, whoever you are!