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The American Conservative, November 2012 | Go to article overview

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MODERNISM AND MULTICULTURALISM

Somewhere between Patrick J. Deneen's re-reading of Bloom and Daniel McCarthy's exaltation of modernist tendencies (October 2012) is some substantial food for thought, but also a few troubling contradictions.

If one were to dig into the remarkableness of Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," one would invariably run into his African mask collection. Picasso, on one level, took an art form that existed as a three-dimensional container of custom belonging to one culture and converted it into a two-dimensional form of modernist, cultural currency. If we have no recognition of multiculturalism, how can we really appreciate Picasso's unique contributions, let alone the masks from which he drew inspiration? The charting of the origins of appropriation in modern art is a necessary component for understanding the depth of artistic expression and the many levels of the perversion of theft (of which, the mature artist is mostly cognizant). If the notion of "many cultures" is an imperfect approach, why does it work so magnificently in works of art?

LARAY POLK

Dallas, Texas

REVOLUTIONARY RICH

Former Republican congressional aide Mike Lofgren's September article on the secession of Americas financial elites set new records for 1heAmericanConservative.com, attracting more than 175,000 readers and 11,000 Facebook "likes." The piece was named to "best reads" lists at both The Daily Beast and BBC News.

Concerning Mike Lofgren's observation that transnational elites have more in common with each other than with their countrymen, while attending UN sessions, in the 1970s, with NGO credentials, I concluded that the delegates had more in common with each other than wim their people.

It's now time, I believe, to apply this thought to our national politics, to wit: that our members of Congress and political party elites have more in common with each other than they have with the rest of us. (This, of course, would go a long way to explaining the RINO phenomenon.) But then, didn't Orwell instruct us in Animal Farm that the members of the ruling class have more in common with each other than wim the people mey rule? Contrast this with Madison's observation in Federalist No. 57 than when leaders are distant from the people, tyranny is inevitable. I am puzzled that the Tea Party doesn't call attention to the political wisdom of our founders, set forth in The Federalist Papers. Or is the Tea Party basically no different from those who challenge power merely to attain it?

Orwell, in 1984 made me point mat Big Brother held power solely for power's sake. Consider President Obama's political fundraising process. (Also relevant to 2012, the concept, in 1984, that the news was whatever Big Brother said it was. …

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