Milan Kundera & Totalitarian Kitsch


Food for thought from the great author Milan Kundera from his novel THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING:

The fact that until recently the word ‘shit’ appeared in print as s— has nothing to do with moral considerations. You can’t claim that shit is immoral, after all! The objection to shit is a metaphysical one. The daily defecation session is daily proof of the unacceptability of Creation. Either/or: either shit is acceptable (in which case don’t lock yourself in the bathroom) or we are created in a unacceptable manner.

It follows, then, that the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called kitsch

Kitsch is the aesthetic ideal of all politicians and all political parties and movements…

Whenever a single political movement corners power, we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitschWhen I say “totalitarian,” what I mean is that everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life…

In the realm of totalitarian kitsch, all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions. It follows, then, that the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who asks questions. A question is like a knife that slices through the stage backdrop and gives us a look at what lies hidden behind it.

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Milan Kundera & Totalitarian Kitsch

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