After Harris’ conviction, the Guaridan art critic Jonathan Jones declared:
“Perhaps it all goes to show that the middlebrow is inherently corrupt.”
I ponder that comment, and call in the big guns for backup: Carl Wilson, the author of the instant classic Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste.
Jones is convinced that Rolf Harris’s paintings and those of his ilk are not only the artistic equivalent of asbestos, but that their lumpen admirers deserve to die of such chemical poisoning anyhow. For instance, Jones loathes ubiquitous café-wall-décor-generator Jack Vettriano, too, condemning him for being “popular with ‘ordinary people’” and “the artist we deserve.” With his tone of millenarian misanthropy, the gnostic Guardian critic sounds more like another Jones—the Jim of People’s Temple infamy.
It’s all simple and obvious to me, if not to Jonathan Jones (who fairly personifies the phenomenon): our personal taste and aesthetic judgments—our sheep vs. goats categorization of “kitsch” and “camp”—are status signifiers of social class and tribe. (See the exquisite satire at Stuff White People Like.)
If Jones were correct, then Lourdes—the roads to which are lined with tacky gift shops—would be piled with bodies, not crutches. The music of Lawrence Welk or Pat Boone may prompt thoughts of suicide, but rape? Murder?
And this week, the VERY FIRST COMMENT mentions “the JOOOOOZ!!”
Remarkable even by Taki’s standards, although I think he’s actually punking the usual commenters. I’ll need another coffee before I can tell.