The artist in society

Fear Of A Black Planet Ep39 – The artist in society

In this episode I talk about consumerism and its effect on the artistic life. I am chiefly concerned with the role of the artist in the humanist tradition. This is based on the ideal of an artist as the conserver of a set of values that have little bearing on mercantile concerns, and only overlap with business and the economy in an incidental way.

However, as I say in this podcast, the commodification of culture itself has led to a state of affairs where it is very hard to be an artist outside the marketplace, and the temptation is always to sell your artistic abilities to the business world, and become a ‘creative professional’. This is all very well, and don’t begrudge anyone who chooses to live like that, but how do we maintain humanist values, the ideal of human flourishing for its own sake? I would argue that that ideal is far more responsible for the emergence of civilisation that some economic theory. The free market itself is a product of civilisation, not the other way round.

I also talk this wee about Donald Trump’s intervention in Syria, and how both Neocons and Lefties are guilty of imposing past models of conflicts onto the current situation in Syria, which is actually hugely more complex than that. The moral value of an intervention can only be determined by taking the individual case on its own merits, not by reference to previous interventions like Iraq or Vietnam.

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