Spring Fundraiser 2016, Day One
“But Baron,” I hear you say, “how can it have been three months since your last fundraiser? That’s simply not possible!”
Yes, I know. I feel the same way. But time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Last time it was all ice and snow; now the irises and the rhododendrons are blooming. Mind you, it’s been cold and rainy here for a while. But still, it’s definitely spring.
We’ve acquired some new readers in the wake of the jihad attacks in Brussels in March, so for the benefit of those who weren’t here for previous fundraisers: Gates of Vienna eschews advertising, and instead funds itself through quarterly fundraisers. Four times a year we dun our readers in a process that is now commonly known as crowdfunding.
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The theme of this week’s fundraiser is “May Day” combined with “May Day!” (more on that distinction in a minute). Even though it’s no longer May 1st, the week began on May Day, and I started writing this post while it was still May Day. That’s close enough for government work.
Especially Soviet government work. The header images for the week will be drawn from Soviet iconography surrounding May Day, which was one of the most important celebrations in the Socialist calendar. Possibly because the traditional holiday had almost no Christian connotations, but remained resolutely pagan, and was thus easier to appropriate for the cause of advancing World Revolution. And May Day is a prominent holiday for socialists in general, a chance for proletarians all over the world to march down the street carrying red banners in solidarity with all their brothers in the struggle against capitalist oppression.
Throw the exclamation point on the end, however, and you have a cry for help. It’s traditionally called out by airplane pilots over the radio when their craft is in distress. So it makes an appropriate theme for the week’s bleg — even though Dymphna and I are not strictly speaking in distress. Thanks to the generosity of our readers, we have made it through OK up until now.
The distress call “May Day!” is said to derive from a French imperative, “m’aidez”; that is, “Help me”. But that’s never made sense to me, because we were taught in school that French people cry out for help by shouting “Au secours!” So who says “m’aidez”? Is it maybe a Québécois idiom?
In any case, “May Day!” is our fundraising cry for the week. Illustrated by selected socialist art.
The style of art used in Soviet propaganda was known as Socialist Realism. When it reached full flower in the 1930s and 1940s it was lavish in its elaboration and stylized forms. As an artist looking at it from a technical perspective, I find it fascinating. If you put aside the ideology that went with it — hard to do, I know — the work of the best Socialist Realist artists is quite accomplished.
The style is not to be confused with Social Realism, its contemporary cousin in the West. There were some similarities between the two styles — both were fond of sturdy figures in agricultural or factory settings, often bare-chested well-muscled men operating farm equipment or machinery. It was the 1930s, and such was the zeitgeist back then, for fascists, socialists, and corporate capitalists alike.
John Steuart Curry, who painted the mural “Tragic Prelude” that was featured here several weeks ago, was a Social Realist of the sub-genre known as “Regionalism”.
But Soviet art was a Baroque extension of all that. There was only one school in the USSR, and that was the Party’s school. If an artist wanted to advance in that school, he executed his work with full Socialist Realist rigor.
As is often remarked these days, the nations of the West — Europe, Canada, the United States, and Australia — are drifting inexorably into a Soviet-style totalitarianism. Soft totalitarianism, mind you — no gulag necessary just yet — but still Soviet-like in its insistence ideological conformity.
So what artistic style would we associate with the democratic totalitarianism that dominates the post-modern West? What ideology are we obliged to conform to in our visual representations if we, the artists, want to get ahead?
Why, Multiculturalism, of course. What else could it be?
Walk into a post office, or a bank, or a supermarket, or a pharmacy, and all the images you see will display a uniformity of iconography. Images are chosen carefully to include a certain selection of exquisitely represented races and ethnicities. And they’re gender-balanced, too.
Now that Islam has been deemed a “race”, the hijabs are creeping in.
Every product that is marketed must have a multicultural hook, if one can possibly be found.
And everyone must shout with multicultural joy for the wonderfulness of all this diversity and inclusivity!
We have no choice: the future is multicultural.
Such has been decided for us, for our own good, by people who know better than we do. Left to our own devices, we would be racist throwbacks, little Nazis and bigots wearing Ku Klux Klan robes, goose-stepping around the mean streets of our white supremacist dystopia.
But with the help of our cultural betters, we can recover from our atavisms. Through education and diversity training, we can learn to truly celebrate the wonderful inclusive rainbow quilt of cultures!
Then we can buy the world a Coke and live in perfect harmony.
I submit that the iconography of Multiculturalism — which is now ubiquitous throughout the West — bears no more resemblance to reality than Soviet iconography did. And possibly even less. People do not look like those images of rainbow harmony. They don’t gather together in perfectly mixed, smiling groups — they clump together with their own kind, when left to their own devices.
And they don’t always like each other, either. That’s just the way it goes.
But Stalin was out to build the perfect Soviet Man, and our ever-so-beneficent leaders are determined to build the perfect Multicultural Man — I mean Person. Or Creature. Or maybe Thing.
Even if they have to break every single rainbow vegan egg for that perfect diversity omelet.
By the way — the Soviet Union had its own version of Multiculturalism, but it was of a somewhat different style:
Notice the dominance of the Leader in this multicultural tableau. Maybe that’s the role Barack Hussein Obama was being set up for, only it didn’t quite work out.
As the Dear Leader shuffles off to the first tee of his retirement, who will step forward to take his place as the Global Czar of Multiculturalism?
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