Day 175 and Paternalism

Taste is totalitarian. Movements seeking aesthetic dominance hold sway with a paternalistic sneering. Anytime you’ve felt excluded because of dress code or manners you’ve experienced a form of aesthetic exclusion. It can be worse than country club snobbery though. Imagine the indignity of preppy credentialism from supporters of Brett Kavanaugh. How dare you question the character of the graduates of our finest institutions.

It isn’t so different from the pearl clutching of “good taste” of outlets like Anna Wintour’s Vogue. Oh my you are wearing cargo shirts? Heavens! That very tight tube top just isn’t done. You must conform to the standards of good taste.

Divergence from the mean is bad form, the preferred insult of Peter Pan’s nemesis Captain Hook. Sure he was a pirate but the man has good manners and grubby children thumbing their noses at authority is a classic adult frustration.

I suspect that “bad form” underlies much of the criticism of post modernism. I came across an article in The New Statesmen about the paranoia around “pomophobia” amongst post modern academics. The thesis is that the critics are basic bitches missing the point that postmodernism is all aesthetics. It was never about politics. I happen to agree.

It’s entirely possible to recognize it’s critical theory ,and it’s cousin post modernism, are entirely aesthetic movements not a political or social one. And taste, being totalitarian, can and does overwhelm opposition. So the screeching panic mongers at Tucker Carlson may have a point. Just not the one they think. That’s why scandal and hand wringing are so interwoven into criticism of critical theory.

Taste is meant to be inscrutable. We cannot question it. If anyone can question “bad form” or good taste then why do we need our social betters? It would be absolute anarchy! But then again I thought punk was dead. Maybe not!