We need a term for art equivalent to “chickenhawk”

As Roy Edroso says, there’s a long tradition of right-wingers who complain the arts world skews liberal because of bias (“conservatives in the arts tend to be treated as outsiders at best and pariahs at worst”). Their solution is to demand that “conservative artists” get out there and create some great art. Just as chickenhawks think someone else should be heroic and fight the wars,  the artsy equivalent never offer to create anything themselves (except blog posts), they call for someone else to do it.

Cover artist unidentified in the book; all rights to image remain with current holder

As noted at the link, the claims there’s no conservative art doesn’t hold up. Christian pop culture is a conservative multimillion-dollar industry (I highly recommend Rapture Ready for a look at this parallel universe). On TV, we’ve had the anti-Muslim, pro-torture exploits of Jack Bauer on 24, and countless Law and Order and CSI episodes present cops and prosecutors as the heroes we’d like them to be. Or the Law and Order I blogged about a while back that turned into a Very Special Episode about how bad affirmative action is.  In SF, there are conservative writers including the late Poul Anderson, Shadow of the Torturer author Gene Wolfe (I’ve been told he’s a devout Catholic), John Ringo and John C. Wright. In the mainstream, Michael Crichton’s given us the racist screed Rising Sun and the anti-climate change State of Fear. Whatever their merits (and Torturer certainly has merit) real conservative artists are doing fine.

So what’s got the pundits’ underwear in a twist? As Edroso says, it’s resentment conservative art doesn’t have the status they think it should. The books aren’t NYT bestsellers (which one pundit blames on liberal bias), Christian fiction is still a sideshow to the mainstream media, conservative specfic writers don’t win “enough” awards (remember the Sad Puppies flap?). Conservatives would like to be cool and they’re not; that may be one reason I’ve seen so many articles struggling to prove the greatest movies/novels/music are all right-wing (see! They’re cool by association and they didn’t have to create anything!).

That liberal art (defined very broadly) does as well or better than the stuff they like sticks in their craw. There those liberals go affronting traditional values by showing casual sex, gay relationships, women with careers, women as capable as men. Wright had a hissy fit about one Avengers team having no white males; conservative SF author Brad Torgersen bewails SF books tackling questions of oppression and sexism. As long as non-conservative art attracts viewers and readers, some conservatives are going to complain that the game is rigged.

For bonus squawking, we have chickenhawk Jonah Goldberg (of the evil veggie burger idiocy) complaining he’d rather be writing comics or SF than being a pundit, but “I need time and/or f-you money” (he also makes the All Great Art Is Conservative claim, which the commenters at the link gut with gusto). No, all he needs is to sit down and write. I wrote a half-dozen (unpublished) novels during the three decades I had a day job. Several of my writing group have written novels despite full time day jobs. Heck, Goldberg’s written three nonfiction books (starting with Liberal Fascism) and has a fourth coming out next month. It ain’t the lack of f-you money, Mr. Goldberg, it’s you.

I don’t think “chicken-artist” really sings as a term for this kind of bullshit, but it’s the best I’ve got.


1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Writing

One response to “We need a term for art equivalent to “chickenhawk”

  1. Pingback: Safe spaces again | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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