The Medium is the Message

I have a naive view of art.  I think it’s made up of two things, the medium and the message.  The medium is the artist’s materials plus his skill.  The message is whatever idea he’s trying to convey with his art.  Simplistic, yes, but it lets you talk about art without resorting to what the British charmingly call “art bollocks.”*

Great art, for instance, doesn’t have to be particularly original to be great.  This

is about as conventional as they come, in both medium (paint on a ceiling) and message (that God loves us).  It’s only the artist’s great skill that makes it great art.  On the other hand, this

has an even simpler medium, but more complex message (Seurat is trying to give us the “out of the corner of your eye” view, which points out just how fuzzy, temporary, and context-dependent our perceptions really are).  It’s great art because it highlights something fundamental about the human condition.  Do all our impressions work this way?

It works in reverse, too.  Just as great art doesn’t have to be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius to be great, so bad art fails not from lack of skill, but because the artist’s skill is used in the service of something false.  That’s why you can spot “socialist realism” a mile away, though tremendous effort and real talent went into its production.

Vasily Orlov, The Nature Hunt (1950)

That’s not bad art because of bad technique, or because the subjects are unattractive.  It’s not even overtly political.  And yet, everything about that painting is wrong.  It’s just false, and you can see it everywhere — the figures’ expressions, their postures, the field, the flowers, even the sunlight seems just slightly off.  It’s like something your grandma would paint after a few courses at the Y — the old bird’s got talent, but doesn’t have anything to say other than “kids were cuter back in my day.”

Which brings us to now, when the medium IS the message, as Marshall McLuhan famously said — the stuff on TV is true, because it’s on TV.  Seriously, try it for yourself.  Have you ever made a sustained effort to not watch TV?  I don’t mean “turn off the idiot box at home” (though that’s a great idea too); I mean don’t watch a glowing screen, period.  It’s nearly impossible.  TVs are everywhere, and they’re magnetic.  Even if you yourself have Catonian self-control, go to the bar and watch others interact.  There are always TVs on at the bar, and no matter what people are doing — drowning their sorrows in whiskey, arguing sports or politics, trying to get laid — you’ll see everyone’s eyes constantly flicking up to the TV in the corner.

Then watch the TV itself.  Being in a bar actually helps here, because you want the sound to be off.  TV is a passive medium — if ever the family really did sit around and watch shows together, those days are long past.  TV is just background noise now, and the people who do the programming most certainly know  it.  You’ll get the message much better if you’re not distracted by the content (McLuhan said the content is just like a piece of raw meat a burglar brings to distract a guard dog).  Is the presenter grim-faced and serious?  Whitey did something bad. Is he chipper and upbeat?  Get ready for a fluff piece about a Magic Negro.  Are there only graphics, words, on the screen of the most visually-dependent medium of all?  The Diversity did something bad.

Which suggests a wonderful line of counterattack.  Betcha didn’t see that coming!!!

Art imitates life, remember?  (For those who remember their Aristotle, this is mimesis (I had to look it up)).  Think of SJWs — by their nose rings ye shall know them.  Whether it’s mimesis or Marshall McLuhan who’s ultimately responsible, the whole SJW “look” is ugliness-for-the-sake-of-ugliness.  The nose-ringers themselves don’t think this, of course; the message they’re trying to convey is that they’re dangerous nonconformist rebels.  But see above — Orlov’s intended message was “communism rules;” the thought that picture actually invokes is along the lines of “I wonder who the Kommissar will shoot first if their flower baskets don’t meet the targets of the Five Year Plan.”

Now, take Herr Sturmbannführer** up there.  That’s a serious, dangerous-looking man, and not just because he’s got an Iron Cross and two lightning bolts on his collar.  He’d still be a panty-dropper even if he were dressed like your typical dude-bro goober.  You see where I’m going with this….

The medium is the message.  I don’t care what Trigglypuff has to say.  She may have all the facts, data, and logic in the world — I know, I know, but let’s stipulate — and I’m still not going to listen, because she looks like Trigglypuff.  Meanwhile, Herr Sturmbannführer impresses me despite myself.  I know what he’s about — one does not rise to high rank in the Waffen-SS without committing a few war crimes — but I can’t help it, I’m curious.  How does a man like this believe something like that?

We need to use this!  Our message is right; our look should be tight.  We can’t all look like panzer commanders, but we don’t have to — SJWs are such deliberately grotesque slobs, all we have to do is dress like we respect ourselves.  Watch our language and habits — don’t get drunk in public, don’t walk around munching on a greasy hamburger, don’t cuss, and for pete’s sake never wear flip flops, tank tops, or sportsball jerseys.

Meanwhile, the standard rebuttal to any and all Leftist hyperventilating on Twitter, Facebook, whatever should be nothing more than: Posting a picture of the hyperventilator.  Your Ace of Spades types, for instance, spend lots of hours online arguing with Matt Yglesias types.  This is Matt Yglesias:

’nuff said.  The medium is the message.

 

 

*The author of that piece, David Thompson, has an excellent blog.
** Yes, I looked it up.  This is, after all, the Internet — I don’t want to get 45 comments from people who can’t see the point because I accidentally called that guy a lieutenant colonel or something.
Loading Likes...

26 thoughts on “The Medium is the Message

  1. Skedastic Racket

    We joining the meme brigade now? Poggers.

    I’ve done this before IRL. It works pretty well with people who are agreeing with me, and with the silent ones.
    I think Heartiste has also made the point that mockery is the Left’s weak point.

    Reply
    1. Severian

      It sure is. Have YOU ever met a self-confident Leftist? One where you didn’t start thinking “man, I bet this guy’s got some serious issues” about five minutes in?

      Me neither. If they had a solid sense of self they wouldn’t need the hivemind, and so wouldn’t be Leftists.

      Reply
      1. nightfly

        I’ve read a quote CS Lewis was fond of, that the Devil is a proud spirit and cannot stand mockery; if you’re not necessarily up to prayer, you can at least jeer and scorn.

        It works here too, because the Left take themselves far more seriously than any cause or ideology they ever proclaimed. The ultimate victim group is Me, Myself, and I.

        Reply
  2. Frip

    Just a few no biggy points. no biggy

    Serverian on Impressionism: “It’s great art because it highlights something fundamental about the human condition. Do all our impressions work this way?”

    True enough. And that’s what they’ll spend 3 weeks telling you in art appreciation class. But also, I think non-traditional painting like Impressionism was just the natural course of painters getting bored with the old and wanting to do something new. Without any stuffy thought behind it. Just. “Let’s get weird”. What Hendrix did with the guitar. You guys hate Hendrix?

    There was some theory slapped on it afterward (or did the theory inspire it?) The theory is important. Everyone likes reading. But besides a 300 page book on how it was “a new way of looking at life!” I think it’s more…just dudes wanting to get trippy. I don’t know if they had that word back then. But that’s all modern art / architecture is. Let’s goof it up. Distort it. Blur it up. Give it that hazy dreamy feel like when we smoke that stuff. Then all the friends a chicks come over and say “Trippy man. cool. Do it again. Let’s all do it.” Then the academics come in with their writing ability and think “I could make money explaining this shit.” It all works together and it’s not as sinister as some think.

    There’s definitely a type of modern artist or artwork that is intended to be unlovable and hated by regular people. But the only time this pisses me off is when city council votes it into public display. Directly intended to anger and alienate the populace.

    Tar the people that approved this:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/tihanam/3724702796

    and this:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/arts/design/revamping-the-louvre-to-lose-that-lost-feeling.html

    Agree about the tank tops and flip flops. I don’t care if someone’s one of us. If I saw Jared Taylor at Home Depot flip flopping around in flip flops I’d never read a word of his again.

    Reply
  3. Frip

    Just a few no biggy points. no biggy

    Serverian on Impressionism: “It’s great art because it highlights something fundamental about the human condition. Do all our impressions work this way?”

    True enough. And that’s what they’ll spend 3 weeks telling you in art appreciation class. But also, I think non-traditional painting like Impressionism was just the natural course of painters getting bored with the old and wanting to do something new. Without any stuffy thought behind it. Just. “Let’s get weird”. What Hendrix did with the guitar. You guys hate Hendrix?

    There was some theory slapped on it afterward (or did the theory inspire it?) The theory is important. Everyone likes reading. But besides a 300 page book on how it was “a new way of looking at life!” I think it’s more…just dudes wanting to get trippy. I don’t know if they had that word back then. But that’s all modern art / architecture is. Let’s goof it up. Distort it. Blur it up. Give it that hazy dreamy feel like when we smoke that stuff. Then all the friends a chicks come over and say “Trippy man. cool. Do it again. Let’s all do it.” Then the academics come in with their writing ability and think “I could make money explaining this shit.” It all works together and it’s not as sinister as some think.

    There’s definitely a type of modern artist or artwork that is intended to be unlovable and hated by regular people. But the only time this pisses me off is when city council votes it into public display. Directly intended to anger and alienate the populace.

    Tar the people that approved this:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/tihanam/3724702796

    And the glass pyramid marring The Louvre.

    Agree about the tank tops and flip flops. I don’t care if someone’s one of us. If I saw Jared Taylor at Home Depot flip flopping around in flip flops I’d never read a word of his again.

    Reply
    1. Severian Post author

      Once again, the point isn’t “modern art sucks.” The point is that aesthetics is a major weapon in the culture war, and we’re not using it.

      ALL political art sucks. Look at the Orlov painting up there. You don’t have to know the first thing about art theory to know some flavor of collectivist painted that. Quite a bit of modern art is openly, explicitly political — not all of it, I’ll grant you, not all of it. I’ll accept for the sake of argument that Seurat et al may have been tripping balls when they came up with pointillism, but Picasso et al sure as hell weren’t. Picasso was a commie from way back; Marinetti and the Futurists were fascists. Their art was supposed to further The Revolution by tearing down the old standards.

      Further, the people we’re talking about — the SJWs — aren’t artists. They’re poseurs, like all the British dandies who aped Oscar Wilde’s style back at the turn of the century. Wilde was a legitimate artist; he dressed like an escapee from an Ottoman bondage dungeon for a reason. The rest of them were just bored, dilettante trust-funders cosplaying as radicals… just like modern SJWs. They look ridiculous because they ARE ridiculous; I’d even offer them a deal — “if you can explain to me just why you put all that shit in your face and dyed your hair blue, using less than three buzzwords, I’ll stop making fun of you.”

      That’s the point of all this. Our enemies are out there scoring own goals each and every day with this nonsense, but we’re too worried about coming off faggy to nail them with it. It’s simple, and it’s easy to avoid getting charged with “hate speech.” You ask some soyboi why he decided to stop a grenade with his face. He comes back with something about “homophobia” or “hate” or “cisgender” or something. You come back with “no no, you mistake me; I just ask because I figure, you know, you might want to have a date with something other than your right hand and a tube sock every now and again.” Or “Cisgender? What does that mean? I skipped class that day; I was out getting laid with a cheerleader” or something.

      They’re so desperate to be seen as radical; mock them as the pretentious losers they know they are.

      Reply
    1. MBlanc46

      Gotta take issue with you on this. The “Chicago elite” who allowed this was Hizzoner Da Mare, Richard J. Daley. Bridgeport. Hamburg Athletic Club. The White Sox. You don’t like it, fine, De gustibus non disputandum est. The Picasso, in material and in form, fits it’s specific site and the city perfectly. After fifty years, it’s become a reference point and a symbol. Other cities would kill to have a piece of sculpture by a major artist that is so identified with its location.

      Reply
  4. Rod1963

    Spot on.

    You nailed why they don’t put their mugs on their blogs and twitter rants. Readers would notice the tubby dude with a neck beard who looks like the fat gamer dude down the street who lives in their parents basement. IOW they radiate “loser” vibes.

    And yes Lefties are indeed a bunch of slobs, soy boys and freaks, especially their “thought leaders”. Frankly I can’t think of a one who isn’t either a dried out stick boy, Nancy boy, tubby or outright bloated ass slob.

    This even applies to the Silicon Valley boss class who evidently engage in Roman style orgies with the hired help(female execs).

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/brotopia-silicon-valley-secretive-orgiastic-inner-sanctum

    The point is men who engage in this sort of behavior are really bent, this is hardcore degeneracy both emotionally and spiritually. They are turning their fellow human into a beast for amusement. It’s evil.

    No one in the MSM or #Metoo movement wants to even talk about it. No one AFAIK.

    Reply
    1. Severian

      Yikes!! And the saddest part is… these guys have all the money in the world. That Sharyl Sandberg bint is probably the best-looking woman in tech, and even dressed to the hilt she’s maybe a 6… in low light… after a few shots. If I had Silicon Valley-level money, I sure as hell wouldn’t be boning anyone in Silicon Valley.

      Which is another arrow in the culture war quiver. Google up pictures of Zuckerberg’s wife. Dude, you’re. what. the fifth richest man in the world or something? And THAT’s the best you can do? Looooooooooo-ser!!!!!

      Reply
  5. Frip

    Sev: “I think we’re losing sight of the point here…”

    Sev: “Once again the point isn’t…”

    There’s a few points bouncing around among those here, with various shades of meaning and emphasis. No need to boss it.

    Your view is understood. It’s not a new one. I think it’s simplistic.

    You’re the this-is-this guy. I’m gonna take your shoes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlmanKoPLyo

    Reply
    1. Severian

      If it’s so simple, why do you keep missing it? 😉

      That’s the problem with Our Side of the Internet. When the other side gets lost in purity spirals, it’s about who’s the bigger victim. When we do it, it’s about who’s got the most nuanced view of things, the most footnotes, the bigger bibliography. The irony of it all is making my toes rust — this is yet another way we’re just like the Left of half a century ago, with their endless, erudite debates on the arcana of Dialectical Materialism.

      Simplistic is good. If you want it all poetical and shit, here’s Keats: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” All I want to do is beat the everloving fuck out of the Left — metaphorically, Internet police, metaphorically — and they’ve handed us a wonderful weapon, that for some reason we aren’t using. “You’re so ugly, you look like a modern art masterpiece” is a great insult — if it’s unfair to Marcel Duchamp or whomever, well, so be it.

      Reply
      1. MBlanc46

        They’d be so lucky as to look like a Duchamp, at leadt while he was still painting. They look like failed aboriginals.

        Reply
    2. Rod1963

      As Sev says, simple is good. The best messaging techniques are dirt simple. People judge others by how they look and act. If you dress like a fat child or SJW lunatic you get tuned out by 90% of the people in 10 seconds or less. They see a loser and creep. It makes selling you ideas 10x as hard unless you got killer presentation skills. Most alt-righties don’t.

      Greet them, while dressed in slacks(even Dockers), with a ironed shirt, tucked in or Ralph Lauren pull over and you get them to notice and listen to you. Hell even show up at the checkout line in the grocery store and female clears will treat you different than the slobs.

      As the old saying goes, “dress for success”.

      The Left can’t replicate this, they’re hive minded cretins who have no understanding of individuality anymore. They are the equivalent of NPCs and Pod People.

      Reply
  6. MBlanc46

    I never do any of the Noes. Except cuss. And I don’t do that in public. It’s a bad habit. I should break it. That said, I never did get the German uniforms. The basic feldgrau is fine. The service cap is on the poncey side. And all the doodads all over. Too much. Too much of the breeches and boots, too. Come on, you guys are not mounted. You’re chauffered around in staff cars. I’m inclined, in warfare at least, to go with the Montgomery look (dreadful as he was). Baggy trousers, ratty old sweater, floppy tankers beret. (It’s Grant vs Lee.) Or, if looking sharp is wanted—and it probably is—give me Harold Alexander or Hugh Dowding. I’m going to have a better chance of approximating them than Sturmbannfuhrer—or whatever—Young Blonde Nordic God.

    Reply
    1. Al from da Nort

      Mel;
      Men always compete for status and honor. Any effective military organizes that primal urge in useful (to them) directions so that competition is directed outwards and so that competition for status and honor is not repeated every time two men meet as strangers. The culture defines how status is achieved and marked. As you say, the Brits had different markers for their military. You can bet they were just a jealously guarded against fraud as our military does now or the Germans did then.

      The man in the picture, Max Hansen, commanded 1,000 of the baddest dudes on the planet at that time. One look at Max’s uniform and all 1,000 of them saw that he *deserved* to be in charge of them. And they they knew that there was a defined, difficult path to follow if they wanted to top Max in status and honor. And also for pussy.

      Our problem now is that our current Gynarchy has set up competition for status such that there is no honor for men because only female traits are culturally rewarded. And because no outward markers are allowed, new outrage is required every damn time.

      Reply
      1. Severian

        I wish I could do photoshop, because I’d use it to put Hansen in a polo shirt and jeans, and he’d still look like one baaadddd dude. About the only thing that would make him look like less than a 100% stone-cold killer is dressing like an SJW — ratty shorts, flipflops, two pounds of shrapnel in his face, blue hair.

        We don’t have to look like Max Hansen. We don’t have to dress like him, either, and we sure as hell don’t have to act like him (see that “he undoubtedly committed a war crime or two,” above). All I’m suggesting is that we dress, and act, such that it’s obvious we respect ourselves. I look at Hansen, I’m intrigued despite myself — that man was many things; “lacking in self-confidence” was not one of them.

        Dress like an SJW, on the other hand, and it’s impossible to take you seriously.* Just dressing like you’ve got your shit together, in this day and age, is enough to get people wondering who you are and what you’re about. Getting through to the Normals starts with aesthetics.

        *Which, as I’ve mentioned many times before, is one of the ways they get you. Google up pictures of that little Eric Clanton fucker. He’s obviously a smell, noodle-armed hippie pussy, so he doesn’t register as a threat…. until he brains you with a bike lock.

        Reply
      2. MBlanc46

        There are different sorts of bad dudes. Hugh Dowding was a bad dude. Badder than Goering, with his comic opera uniforms. He did look smart, too, even if he looked liked someone’s rather stuffy uncle.

        Reply
        1. Al from da Nort

          Mel;
          It’s about the culture at large and the military culture within shaping the innate drives of men towards its own ends. English uniforms = understated due to the ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ culture of the UK of the time.* German uniforms = overstated (at least from the English point of view, which it seems you share – don’t care, no harm no foul).

          Who’s right_? So long as men were willing to compete at risk of their lives for their respective military status markers by successfully taking on the enemy, they both are.**

          But you’re right about Goering. He’s an exception that proves the rule. He was a laughing stock among the Prussians on the General Staff (but discretely of course since he had indirect charge of the Gestapo). Aside from class snobbery, one big reason for their disdain was that he hadn’t actually *earned* most of the badges and medals he wore on his (according to them too) over-gaudy uniforms.*** Contempt for unearned status markers is a thing in the US military today. Google ‘stolen valor’ if you doubt me.

          So, obviously, whatever look we’re urging now would have to fit within the limits of our current, debased, culture as well: Near the manly end of the current spectrum, of course, specifically to take advantage of the innate drives of most men everywhere. I think that’s our host’s main point on that subject.
          ___________________________________________
          * Your diction was an important English class marker and hence a military status marker that didn’t need to be worn on your uniform. The Nazis were going for more of a ‘all social classes belong’ effect so they needed more badges & whatnot.
          **The English in WW II though the US uniforms and decorations of the day were over-the-top too, BTW. I can’t imagine what they’d say about our even gaudier ones now.
          *** Goering did earn a few serious decorations during WWI as a genuine flying ace and a successor in command to Richthofen. But cocaine was reported to have become his co-owner even before he met Hitler, supposedly accounting for the grandiosity.

          Reply
          1. Skedastic Racket

            If we could come up with a serious way for my headphones to not drag across my mousepad that would be great.
            What I was going to say is that we need a hierarchy. That would be a very attractive aspect in a movement for pretty much any dude with T in his veins.

          2. MBlanc46

            I get the but about culture. We’re Americans, at least I think that most of us are. Most American guys, even guys’ guys, aren’t going to want to strut around like Prussian peacocks. No dueling scars, please. Some SS leader from the 1930s and 1940s isn’t going to set off resonances with many of them. Nor, I’m sure, is Hugh Dowding. I think the point about looking masculine and presentable (by, say, early postwar standards) is important. I’m not sure if any one look is preferable to all others. I generally wear khaki trousers (usually cargoes) and khaki shirts. Others might prefer denim jeans and polo shirts. Clean and neat. Pressed if possible (unfortunately, Mme B does not consider ironing to be among the laundress’s duties). Anything anti-hipster. The white baseball cap*, if it is accepted as an identifier, would work with most choices.

            * Not my first choice, but if it’s a secret Right-wing marker, I’m in.

  7. Rod1963

    In terms of dress in public. MBlanc46 has a good starting point. Ralph Lauren shit, dress shirt, slacks or jeans, ironed, etc.

    And it does elicit a better response from women and men than dressing like a perpetual 5 year old(short pants, t-top, sandals). People don’t realize this particular look was only meant for work in the yard. Not shopping up town or going out on the town. It’s not relaxed fit, it says “hey I’m a slob and have no self-respect”.

    And the thing is, very few men even attempt to dress decently (at least here in So CA)that if you do, you become the exception, It’s even better if you’re half-way fit.

    Reply
  8. Kirk Forlatt

    I don’t expect the Third Reich look to ever return, even for the military, but for what my opinion is worth, I think the Nazis had THE best looking uniforms in military history. And I don’t mean the Sigmund Romberg operetta-style capes and whatnot favored by Goering (some American Civil War-era generals indulged in the same sort of peacockery). The basic style of the SS officer uniform is masculine and predatory. It conveys a “Don’t fuck with me” presence. I remember seeing “Starship Troopers” way back when it was released in theaters, and I was amazed to see that the director had modeled the uniforms on the Third Reich’s.

    General George S. Patton, Jr. was known for his custom-tailored (and some self-designed) uniforms, and his look conveyed the same sense of masculine menace as the Germans on the other team.

    Hemingway was another man who knew how to dress. Relaxed but rugged, Functional and well-fitting. Much of his attire had a militaryesque look to it. This is hard to pull off, because most men who try it end up looking like either the commander of the Arkansas Militia Irregulars or Lord Percy Goes A-Lion Hunting. A khaki shirt on a lean torso can do wonders.

    And boots not only look a helluva lot more manly than most any footwear…they’re durable and functional. You can run in ’em and fight in ’em. Except cowboy boots. Unless you’re a real Texan. Otherwise you’re a fag.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *