The aesthetics of ideology

sadmanbarty

New member
playing around with the idea that ideologies are really just manifestations of someone's aesthetic sensibilities.

caroline lucas is green and just so happens to have a quirky short hair cut and the soft spoken voice of a willow tree.

trump is an authoritarian and just happens to have a penchant for that same crass opulence you see in gaddafi and sadam's decor.

farage's politics is perfectly reflected in his clothing choices; beiges and stupid hats and all that.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
i'd thought about doing this thread before, but what spurred it on tonight was this:

https://twitter.com/AnneFrankTrust/status/1243104197505101825

a woman who works at the anne frank trust who's hair, makeup and clothing choices are all very much of the era. the most cynical extrapolation from this (the one this thread ideally would be working with) is that rather than holding a sincere belief raising awareness for the memory of anne frank is important, she actually liked 40's styling first, and it was that that drew her to anne frank.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
working within the paradigm of this thread, you could see cat stevens' turn to calling for salmon rushdie to be killed wasn't so much a product of a sincere theological position, but rather it emanated from an orientalist aesthetic framework that makes you think that frothing at the mouth, beardy fanatics are actually a bit cool.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
What if we collapsed someone's ideological orientation/framework into some kind of array of noise, and just aestheticize that? Authoritarian could be (depending on how much of color syntax we go for) reds, sharp shapes, etc., while egalitarian-pacifist could be some kind of overlapping rounded rainbow etc.

Not too sure about the above imagery, but I am interested in your theory-experimentation with ideology. Ideological difference can be, provisionally, reduced to a difference in noise-structurings, different patterns/syntaxes within QR codes, etc - enough of a difference to signify categorical difference, but not enough of a difference to signify essential difference. This way, we can perhaps better suspend all ideological difference in a common matrix, allowing more straightforward/efficient dialectics, whatever.

More to the point I think you are getting at - I can see where laughably incidental factors can more or less determine one's beliefs, such as how pleasant their environment/experience was during their introduction to such-and-such politics. Hell, I can tell you personally that some of the aesthetics of communism (proletkult, maybe) have impacted my opinions, inclinations, etc in a recognizably superficial yet nonetheless effective manner. Or, say, how much I like Zizek's personality (persona?).

Is any of this what you had in mind?
 

blissblogger

Active member
trump is an authoritarian and just happens to have a penchant for that same crass opulence you see in gaddafi and sadam's decor.
516T01DS9NL._SX412_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

by Peter York, author of Style Wars (a great book), who back in the 1970s pioneered style-spotting and taste-subculture taxonomy (Sloane Rangers etc etc)

it's typical of York (and the world he fathered i.e. 80s style magazines) that he appears to be more offended by the nouveau riche ghastliness of the despots's interior decor than by their policies
 

jorge

New member
Yeah but surely this manifests in both directions. The aesthetic is used by these people to appeal to potential recruits. Do the followers just like the look and get on board with the ideas as a second thought or do certain tastes and beliefs tend to go together because of the way they form a coherent package, both informing each other.

It's a nice idea that the aesthetics come first and i think that can be true in some subcultures where the content eg music is less important than the image, goths, psytrance etc
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Good idea for a thread. Makes me think of that photo from a few years ago, of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, all of them out jogging, and they're all dressed identically, similar haircuts even. Contrast that with Boris Johnson's bumbling posh-boy act (I mean the bumbling is an act, obviously the poshness isn't) and Corbyn's rumpled geography-teacher look.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
One which I think annoys Luke is the “serious person” aesthetic, which I’d say applies to me.

So I’ve decided that politically I’m going to be a ‘serious person’ which means I’m going to reject conspiracy theories or anything too radically left wing or too radically right wing. arguably I do this not because of some empirically founded intellectual searching but rather out of a fetish for the idea of the world being complex, nuanced, ‘making difficult choices’, etc. In other words ostensible ‘technocracy’ could be segues is actually just bollocks disguising an essentially aesthetic choice
 

craner

Beast of Burden
This is a really interesting area which was touched on before, but ruined by Luke calling me a White Supremacist.

An obvious and cartoonish example is the sartorial choices P J O'Rourke made to signal his transition from stoner hippy to Republican Party Reptile, as defined by the cover of Age and Guile: the button-downs shirts, silk ties, braces, cigars, etc.
 

luka

Moderator
This is a really interesting area which was touched on before, but ruined by Luke calling me a White Supremacist.

An obvious and cartoonish example is the sartorial choices P J O'Rourke made to signal his transition from stoner hippy to Republican Party Reptile, as defined by the cover of Age and Guile: the button-downs shirts, silk ties, braces, cigars, etc.
I wasn't! I promise! But yes we were talking about it on the thread in which i did not accuse you of being a White Supremacist a thing I wouldn't do because you are not a White Supremacist. It's something we've talked about loads and loads in different ways and guises.

It's something you learn very quickly if you have a job like working in a coffee shop. Lots of very brief interactions where you need to gather as much information from a few small clues over a short time period. The way someone dresses, talks, holds themself will always tell you what music they like, what their politics are etc etc

None of these things can ever be separated.
 

luka

Moderator
Luke made me laugh once by saying me and Craner do politics as if we were actually in charge. Made it a seem so silly
That was a good bit yeah! You two love picturing yourselves behind the desk! Polished brogues on! Making the hard decisions
 

sadmanbarty

New member
That was a good bit yeah! You two love picturing yourselves behind the desk! Polished brogues on! Making the hard decisions
Ties off, shirt sleeves rolled up Blair-style. Stressing trying to find enough money for a vocational schooling policy
 

luka

Moderator
The only thing I'd question is the notion of aesthetics coming first. I think the aesthetics and the ideology have the same determinant. A stance towards reality which precedes both aesthetics and ideology. Something fundamental.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
somthing i've said before (which vim liked funnily enough) is that the alt right is the punk rock to liberalisms prog rock. liberalism was touring stadiums, selling shit loads of albums; it was headlining the white house, brussels, downin street.

then the alt right comes along in essence defined by its destain for liberalism and its concept albums and all that.

this of course demonstrates the danger of projecting aesthetics onto politics. it's a good thing in music if everything's all smooth and nice and airy fairy to come in and go all brutalist and shrill. to shake things up.

but while "shaking things up" is an aesthetically healthy impulse, it's usually a disasterous political one.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
The other thing is imbuing the aesthetic with the ideological.

We tang is so fucking beautiful in large part thanks to the ideology it’s projecting.

Reynolds gets a proper hard on for the idea of Babylon; it informs his whole enjoyment of jungle.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
The ‘blues people’ reading of black music. Soul rows up in the civil rights movement. House music being dancing liberation.
 
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