Twilight At Noon

Posted: 22 October 2016 in Cultural, Understanding Others
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desadeSo The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse struggles with resignations and credibility, while Penguin Books announces it is publishing “The 120 Days of Sodom” by the Maquis deSade.  The first – seeks to uncover sexual crimes against children.  The second – a fictional account of what sexual crimes an aristocrat, a politician, a bishop, and a banker comit against eight boys and eight girls aged between 12 and 15.  One seeks justice for the many who have suffered.  The other, many gratifications including murder.  There is no direct link of course.  But while the Inquiry seeks to uncover crimes of the powerful, deSade seeks to describe the crimes of the powerful.

The era of banning books died with the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960.  The internet ensures it can’t come back.  But what does it say of our intellectual climate?  Has it no courage to say “our house has many rooms – but the main spaces will be for joy, kindness, creative positive exhilaration, the excitement of the rollercoaster, or gig”? Is there no space to add Jesus as a resident guest.

I went to see The Infinite Mix installation art exhibition on Friday. It was stimulating, accessible (The Strand, London) and free.  Much to like, much to dislike. Some things are acid in their critique, some things sad, some weird, some just pervy. The presentation by the beat poet John Giorno’s Thanx 4 Nothing for me was positive.  But you have to peer though the deeply deeply laid on dark irony.

On the train back I came across the words of William Constable, the 18thC English painter (as if you didn’t know): “I never saw an ugly thing in my life. Neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of the world.” Despite the shorter life expectancies and brutalities of the 18thC, he saw joy and beauty. Despite our material splendours, art like this largely sees pain and stress.

John’s first letter as a prism for viewing our world? 1 John 2 v17 reassures us that “the world is passing away, along with its desires”. In view of The End Time, it is indeed. But also, we can see before our very eyes that it is decaying. Despite the good efforts of many, our culture is atrophying.

John Giorno had something good to say, despite the tumult of his life.  But it had to be dressed in dark dark shades.  I spoke to one of the exhibitioners about it.  She called it just bleak.  Well – look at what John Giorno says about it – it is not meant that way.  But when you wear shades at noon, don’t be surprised if you seem to be living in The Darkness.



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