“Look at the groups removing “politically objectionable” statues. Look at university-student mobs which shout down or assault public speakers. Look at student bodies which demand “safe spaces” and ban discussion as “hate speech”. This is Identarianism [identity politics] in its purest form, where it expresses the mentality and emotional tenor of even those who consider themselves moderates. Most activists do not fully understand the origins, tenets and implications of their ideology. No matter. Consider the Cultural Revolution, when commissars harnessed the anger of young idealists to instigate an orgy of righteous cultural destruction. Identarianism is not simply another way of viewing society, which can co-exist with other outlooks; it is an entity which has evolved to suppress opposition and destroy cultural expression.”
Published in The Jackdaw, 2017, reprinted in Alexander Adams Culture War: Art, Identity Politics and Cultural Entryism (Imprint Academic, 2019)
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“I define cultural entryism as individuals entering a creative field with the intention of using art as a social tool. The newcomers (and their supporters, sometimes long-time professionals) are convinced of their correctness and they see the world as divided between good people and bad people. They are driven by moral indignation and they see dedicated fans and casual readers who ask for their cultural area to be left alone as supporting a status quo which perpetuates bigotry and marginalization. The entryists say “Everything is political”, which means nothing is private and every area becomes a political battlefield. Craft, canon, characters and continuity are all sacrificed for political objectives.
“I’ve seen this happening in the fine-art field (I am an artist and art critic), where art collectives have used the venues, funding and status of art to promote social activism. When I saw this situation in US superhero comics, I recognised the similarities….”
“Why has identity become so central to judging art today? Why are some groups reluctant to defend free speech within culture? Has state support made artists poorer not richer? How does the movement for social justice influence cultural production? Why is post-modernism dominant in the art world? Why are consumers of comic books so bitterly divided?
“In Culture War: Art, Identity Politics and Cultural Entryism Alexander Adams examines a series of pressing issues in today’s culture: censorship, Islamism, Feminism, identity politics, historical reparations and public arts policy. Through a series of linked essays, Culture War exposes connections between seemingly unrelated events and trends in high and popular cultures. From fine art to superhero comics, from political cartoons to museum policy, certain persistent ideas underpin the most contentious issues today. Adams draws on history, philosophy, politics and cultural criticism to explain the reasoning of creators, consumers and critics and to expose some uncomfortable truths.”
This book is available from bookstores, all online book retailers and the site of the publisher, Imprint Academic: http://books.imprint.co.uk/book/?gcoi=71157100083870