Ruminations on war, culture war
journal contributionposted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ron GoodrichRon Goodrich
To descry that this generation of artists has been in the midst of a war, a cultural war, sounds so obvious. After all, what generation in deeply reactionary times could not claim the same? However, who is struggling with whom and over what can often prove far more open than the popular polarities which pitch government, business, bureaucracy on one side and artists, performers, intellectuals on the other. But what is it to say we on the one side are at war with the other? Is the war, culturally as much as militarily, limited or unconditional, intermittent or continuous, external or internal, declared or undeclared, defensive or aggressive? Is it a warfare aiming to annihilate or to annex, to conquer or to cleanse, to dominate or to displace, to eliminate or to expel, to impregnate or to enslave. In brief, warfare is waged in diverse ways with diverse goals as the brutally concise words of Thoukydides reveal when brooding upon stasis--the strife from 427 B.C. convulsing city after city in the great war between Athens and Sparta--as the cause of many calamities--as happens and will always happen while human nature is what it is, though there may be different degrees of savagery, and, as different circumstances arise, the general rules will admit of some variety [Bk 3.82; 1972: 242).