Why The Past Matters

The Critical Drinker’s passionate defence of the art of yesterday, no matter how much it clashes with current ideas.

Sometimes, you sit down to write something, making a point about an issue that has been bugging you for some time – and then you discover that someone else has made exactly the same point, perhaps more eloquently than you could ever hope to. Much was the case when I tried to write about why we should respect the art of the past, warts and all, rather than seeking out things to be offended by in works that were made long before the current world of intersectionality was even though of – which is pretty much anything up until the last ten years. We now live in a world where films, TV shows, paintings, novels and everything else you might think of are either banished from sight or given the artistic equivalent of the scarlet letter, forever prefaced with a warning about their sinful, shameful content to ensure that viewers will always be reminded of their own complicity in this for enjoying these works, rather than wringing their hands in shame. Stripped of the context of both their age and their narratives, increasing large amounts of work become ‘problematic’, works that we can only now see when accompanied by an explanation from people who have declared themselves smarter than the rest of us in both contextualising and condemning the nature of the art, people who make a tidy living from falling people what is no longer acceptable, and so will find more and more things to object to. Because if you try hard enough, you can find something objectionable in almost anything.

So God bless The Critical Drinker, who is often a scoffing source of amusingly bitter reviews on YouTube, but who here hits the mark perfectly. This is everything that we wanted to say on this subject. Watch and despair for our cultural history.

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One comment

  1. This is rubbish: the classic “slippery slope” fallacy; an excuse to cling to past like old men cling to skinny jeans and tales of when they still “had it”. The past has always been contentious. History reflects who won the fight, and dead men don’t tell tales. Are there issues with popular culture? Of course. We are becoming more conservative. The heady sexual expression of the 1970s seems like a dream today, when Daryl Hannah’s 1984 dophin arse is retro-actively censored as a #MeToo moment. I suppose Andrea Dworkin’s dusty feminist bones are happy. That’s said: your misty-eyed romanticism is just as bad. History has always been a battleground. It’s a question of who controls the telling.

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