Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gender, Theology, and The Arts // Reeling from a violence that Art didn't see coming

Sam Tanenhaus, writing today in The New York Times, has published a disturbing but also urgently important article which explores the triangulation of art, violence, and gender. It takes its point of departure from the feminist insight that although violence has long been a point of exploration and fascination for artists, that there is a very different and narrower type of violence which women are thought capable of completing (and, indeed, are allowed to enact) versus an almost infinite range given to that of men.

Since redemption is always a corollary concern whenever disfiguring (violence) occurs within a narrative (lives) Tananhaus' piece has ramifications not just for the initial triangulation of fields noted in the first sentence above but also for theology, ministry, and the life of the church as well.

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

When Ezra Pound declared in 1934 that “artists are the antennae of the race,” and Marshall McLuhan 30 years later called them people “of integral awareness,” both were using modern terms to update the ancient belief that works of the imagination might actually require a talent not only for invention but for attunement — for picking up signals already in the air. This is why the most forceful narratives and dramas seem less made up than distilled. They clarify events and experiences taken directly from the actual world.

Thus, the Jazz Age is better known through the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who captured its energies in real time, than through any number of retrospective studies. And the alienated teenager, that fixture of modern American life, didn’t fully exist until J. D. Salinger, with his faultless ear and attentive eye, coaxed him into being.

But every now and then, it seems, a gap is exposed. Events occur; art offers no guidance. The powers of imagination and attunement falter. Artists suffer a collective loss of awareness. “The culture” emits signals, but they are picked up only fitfully or are missed altogether.

Consider the case of Amy Bishop, the neuroscientist arrested for shooting six colleagues, killing three, at a department meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Rampages of this sort have become familiar. But with rare exceptions they have been the preserve of men...

No comments:

Post a Comment