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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Embracing the Absurd

Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, 1917
Acceptance of absurd art and ideas is an essential facet of modern civilization. Jacques Barzun, in his book  From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to The Present (Page 757), says:

"A repertory of such doctrines and programs would be lengthy. Here are a few samples of the absurd in practice. Western nations spend billions on public schooling for all, urged along by the public cry for Excellence. At the same time the society pounces on any show of superiority as elitism. The same nations deplore violence and sexual promiscuity among the young, but pornography and violence in films and books, shops and clubs, on television and the Internet, and in the lyrics of pop music cannot be suppressed, in the interests of "the free market of ideas." Under that rubric, speech (at least in the United Mates) has enlarged its meaning to include action: one may burn the flag; with impunity; it is a statement of opinion. The legalism would seem to authorize assassination."

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