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Throughout history, the arts have served as a cathartic conduit for healing, for uniting across our differences, and for the illumination of deeper truths—thus it is no surprise that those who wish to degrade the human spirit so they can better control us have gradually supplanted beauty with debauchery, craft with gimmickry, truth-telling with vacuous entertainment.

CJ Hopkins drew the comparison between theater and spiritual rituals in our Dissident Dialogues interview:

“Our spiritual rituals used to do that also, before they were stripped of their power and reduced to empty simulations of themselves. It isn’t about watching a performance and rationally interpreting what it ‘means.’ It is about having the wiring in your head physically altered by the drugs, the psychosis, or the performance so that you perceive reality differently. Theater still has the power to do that.” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/dissident-dialogues-cj-hopkins)

Robin Monotti and I also discussed the power of the arts to pierce the cognitive defenses of the menticided during the World Council for Health General Assembly #82:

https://worldcouncilforhealth.org/multimedia/general-assembly-meeting-82/

The cataclysmic impact of the video featuring Tess Lawrie’s reading of my poem is further evidence of why art is such a threat to hegemony:

• “Mistakes Were NOT Made: One Poem to Wake the World” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/mistakes-were-not-made-one-poem-to)

Clifton, I think we could achieve a similar atomic detonation if you are open to the possibility of collaborating. I am not sure if you saw my previous attempts to reach out to you about this, so forgive me for repeating myself, but I feel like we have the opportunity to create an artifact of historic importance. It would be an honor to join forces with you if you are open to that. Ask CJ to make the introductions or reply to my mailing list signup if you’d like to discuss the possibilities.

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This is brilliant, Clifton. The kind of thoughtful, personal defense of our arts that we need.

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Wonderful essay. Reminds me of two things.

Two years ago I was in Gdańsk. As an apostate, I was surprised at the magnificence of their churches and cathedrals. When I stepped inside, I lingered in silence.

I may not believe their dogmas, but I do believe in the bigger picture. Inside those buildings, one simply... gets it.

Second thing is later this year Bill Watterson is releasing a new book. If one doesn’t recall, Bill did Calvin and Hobbes.

I think those strips have a very good chance, not unlike the journey Aurelius’ Meditations took.

Once again, thanks for this piece.

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Yeah. Art is some primal, connective tissue. Where we can find the love and balance of the other, outside the thought bubble machine churning away inside our head.

And there’s room for everyone - The highly skilled or the amateur tinkerer. The highly skilled can move countless, the amateur tinkerer moves one’s self and maybe some others who, like me, love the world of folk art in whatever guise it takes - photos, music, paintings, poems. But it matters not. Making and appreciating it is what counts - from the five year old scrawl on the fridge to the Sistine Chapel, it all matters in some way. Even your essays Clifton ;)

Once again man, thanks. Be careful eh, you’re giving conservatives a good name ;)!!!

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May 5·edited May 5

So beautifully expressed. There is a depth of feeling and understanding and divine, eternal TRUTHS in previous ages, I think, that have been lost in our 20th c. passing “culture” that worships the “here and now” and the easily digestible that hooks so many instantly. Water down everything to please the masses. One glaring example, if you’ll forgive the religious reference - the simplified “New Mass” in the Catholic Church, compared to the majesty and reverence of the Traditional Latin Mass. Check out the series of movies, “Mass of the Ages.” Our very own titular church head has been mystifyingly working to suppress this old rite in parishes.

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I am happy that you were able to be a part of such a time and place.

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founding

I love this so much friend.

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Yes I think the culture warriors you speak of are often most off base when it comes to the arts. I agree with them politically but when it comes to art they interject politics too much. I agree many artists have crazy politics but that doesn't mean they can't also produce good art.

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Yes, it all starts with beauty (even if not initially apparent). Thank you!

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Because toying with emotions and meaning becomes hideous for those so down to earth they barely make ends meet, if at all.

Because the material bare minimum being sistematically denied is the precursor of an illiterate, ignorant, subserviant and subdued class for which the arts its an out of context commodity.

Because when not in service of the burgeoise and out of reach, out of sight of the working class, arts can be revolutionary. But it takes a revolution for them to be revolutionary. But it's too much work. It takes to much guts. And the slightest break thru will be visibility filtered by the consumer industry panopticon, thru wich the bulk of the cultural gaze has been choked.

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So true what you are saying. How much of the world is lost in Machine Learning and economic models. They don’t allow for humanity. Just an overly rational society.

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"The world is only as free as it allows its artists to be." Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being (2023)

Thank you for speaking out, Clifton!

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Beautiful. thank you for re-sharing it. what are we doing to fill the soul anymore? do we even have the capacity for it? I stopped going to the theater, museum, arts, etc. after Covid - it was all a morass of moral finger-wagging and boring 1-D race-essentialism. It's urgent that we get back to the constructive and creative parts of our human experience.

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founding

I believe the trend of broadcasting live shows into movie and home theaters is the next level of outreach for live performance.

Instead of patrons around the world only being subjected to third rate musical theatre at local playhouses with traveling shows and local talent, I envision whole broadway workshops being opened up with live streaming so students can witness firsthand how the cheese is made.

Instead of a show in New York or DC being limited to a local audience, streaming live will morph that show potentially, into a world wide event, with affordable ticketing and for the really great work, MILLIONS of viewers.

Visionaries should be thinking out loud about how to invite patrons into the rehearsal space, the artists studio, and the dancers realm to gin up excitement for any new work, and then be prepared with top quality streaming and videography to share what has been crafted in an opening night, where the whole of humanity is invited to participate.

This sort of financial shakeup and democratization of the performing arts is exactly the type of thinking needed as future collaborators, crafting new work, will gestate independent productions as companies are decoupled from taxpayer money and their sicko gatekeepers at the national endowment for the arts.

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