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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Ideology
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0244.  Thursday, 20  February 1997.

[1]     From:   Paul Hawkins <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 18 Feb 1997 22:28:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Ideology

[2]     From:   Lyle Smith <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 15:03:47 -0500
        Subj:   History and Transcendence

[3]     From:   Sean K. Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 21:11:12 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0235  Re: Ideology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <
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Date:           Tuesday, 18 Feb 1997 22:28:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Ideology

I think in very large degree aesthetic considerations *do* float free of
economic and political imperatives.

In order to stop and enjoy an aesthetic experience, one may have to be
well fed and fortunate enough to have sufficient leisure time for the
experience; that leisure time may, in the economic scheme of things, be
bought off the backs of people who are engaged in less pleasant
occupations, or people who are hungry, or people who are starving and
dying.  To enjoy an aesthetic experience in a particular society, one
may have to be allied with a particular social group or be a member of a
particular privileged class.  I wouldn't argue that an aesthetic
experience makes anyone better, nor am I claiming that someone in the
throes of such an experience is not also a social being with various
interests.

But if an aesthetic experience presupposes a freedom procured
economically and politically, "the value [of the experience] is not
identical with the freedom," in the words of Harold Bloom.  Further, the
aesthetic achievement of a Shakespeare is not reducible to the
propaganda of colonialism, nor is what I would call the aesthetic
criticism of a Dryden or a Johnson so reducible.  Nor, surely, is the
aesthetic as a category, in the manner proposed by Professor Hawkes.

Professor Hawkes deplores "the imposition of one culture on another" -
but no one is defending colonialism.  And that "`Transcendence' is
written on the banner of all self-respecting colonialist projects" is
not a claim that anyone currently is seeking to deny.

Paul Hawkins

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lyle Smith <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 15:03:47 -0500
Subject:        History and Transcendence

Terence Hawkes writes--

"History meanwhile suggests that 'Transcendence' is written on the
banner of all self- respecting colonialist projects. The imposition of
one culture on another is usually undertaken in the name of 'humanity'.
Can we have forgotten than already?"

Demurrer:  Prof. Hawkes seems to be taking Rudyard Kipling's theme of
"the white man's burden" and applying it equally to Cecil Rhodes, Lord
Clive, Pizzaro and Cortez.  Until the late nineteenth century, European
colonialists were pretty up-front about the profit motive being the
engine driving colonial enterprise.  And a good many of our own European
ancestors came to North America not of their own free choice but because
they were turfed out of their farms and crofts by enclosing landlords or
starved out of Ireland during the potato famine.  Not very
"transcendent," that.

And how is the word "transcendence" being used here anyway?

Lyle Smith
Biola University

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 21:11:12 -0800
Subject: 8.0235  Re: Ideology
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0235  Re: Ideology

Terry pontificates:

> The imposition of one culture on another is
> usually undertaken in the name of 'humanity'. Can we have forgotten than
> already?

In his Nobel prize acceptance speech, Nelson Mandela claimed to be
working against an "inhuman" system, and called apartheid a "crime
against humanity."  Since your memory seems to be even briefer than
everyone else's, here's the link to the full text:

http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/speeches/nobelnrm.html

Cheers,
Sean.
 

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