“The Most Useful Room in the House is the Toilet”

I’m hardly the first guy to point out that Liberals are, at heart, curdled Romantics. But it’s worth re-emphasizing, as it sheds some light on their peculiar psychology as they get crazier and crazier this election season.

Romanticism celebrated individualism and the beauty of nature. It rejected the present and looked to the past, especially the medieval and epic past, for inspiration. It was a rejection of Enlightenment universalism and the mechanization of life that was just over the horizon in the nascent Industrial Revolution.

Fast forward fifty years, and Romanticism is untenable. The machines won. The new artistic movements, then — aestheticism, Decadence, the whole dog’s breakfast called “Modernism”— had to reject the entire past in favor of abstraction. “Art for art’s sake,” was this movement’s motto.

Théophile Gautier didn’t actually say “art for art’s sake,” but it’s an accurate summary of his position. Beauty, Gautier said, is useless — if it has practical value, then it fulfills a need, which beauty by definition doesn’t do:

There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man’s needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the toilet.

See what I mean about “curdled Romantics?” The Liberal considers himself a fearless individualist, fighting the twin forces of Conformity and Capitalism on behalf of his fellow man. But…. his fellow man is disgusting. His fellow man is a money-grubbing philistine — les bourgeois, Gautier would say, which is literary French for “redneck.” Like as not, your average Liberal’s fellow man spent most of high school shoving him in a locker. Hence Liberals’ well-known tic of loving The People but hating people. What can you do?

There are only two options when the souls you’ve set out to save turn your stomach. You can embrace the gutter, which was the preferred method of the old-school Commies. They pretended there was nothing more to life than bread, shoes, and shit — give the prole three hots, a cot, and a toilet, and he’s got everything he will ever need. This is why pictures of female Bolsheviks can be used to terrify small children — stone-faced creatures with bowl haircuts, wearing shapeless sacks and clodhopper shoes, always ready with a pamphlet about birth control but rarely in contact with soap.

The other method, which was Gautier’s method, and the SJW’s, is to aestheticize your disgust. For Gautier, the only true art was useless. The SJWs fetishize useless people. They love trannies, for instance, because they’re so elaborately, determinedly bizarre. SJW’s love “victims” because “victims” have nothing else in the world to do but come up with ever-weirder iterations of their pathologies. Like Gautier’s true art, they’re completely useless — by design.

And, of course, there’s still the off-chance that one of them will be sufficiently revolting to epater les bourgeois, which was Gautier’s other goal in life. And as there are fewer and fewer bourgeois left to skewer — thanks to the success of Liberal policies — that becomes ever more important.

Ain’t art grand?

Loading Likes...

17 thoughts on ““The Most Useful Room in the House is the Toilet”

  1. Ripple

    “Bourgeois” literally means “redneck” in French? I don’t think so. It comes the word “bourg” which means “town” or “village” (same as “burg” in German) so it means literally “of the town” or “townspeople” or (haha) “village people”.

    The definition given is “of or characteristic of the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes.”

    Au contraire, the term “redneck” connotes rural and working class or poor.

      1. Severian

        But I wrote LITERARY, not “literally.” Le reading comprehension c’est muy importante, non?

        That’s French for “read the damn words which are right there on the *^%^&%^ page, Spergy.”

        LIBERALLY translated. 🙂

        1. Nate Winchester

          That doesn’t mean nothing! 😉

          lol Seriously though, I’ve read so much internet speak and typos I’ve gotten bad about “auto correcting” things in my head. Sometimes I have to stop and do a double take.

          1. Severian

            I know – just busting your balls. 🙂

            But seriously, even if I had written “literally,” how spergy do you have to be to assume that

            a) there’s a literal translation for “redneck” in French,
            b) I know it, and
            c) I’m using it LITERALLY?

            The Internet makes spergs of us all, and gives us wings where one we had shoulders smooth as ravens’ claws, as Vanilla Ice* once said.

            *n.b. to spergs: That’s a joke. It was actually Jim Morrison, with “death” and “angels” for “The Internet” and “spergs.” Which is a metaphor, not a theological claim.

  2. Ripple

    What a warm welcome for my first ever comment here. I think I’ll be keeping my two cents to myself from now on.

  3. Ripple

    I didn’t come here to be called “sperg” and it just might be possible to present your point of view or even correct me without resource to insult. But it wouldn’t be as much fun, would it? Sayonara.

    1. Severian

      I thought you were keeping your two cents to yourself from now on… and yet, here you are again! Rather spergy of you.

      PS it’s recourse to insult, not “resource.”

    1. Severian

      Reminds me of Chesterton (I think) on free verse: “Free verse? You might as well call sleeping in a ditch ‘free architecture.'”

      And above all, that’s why ignorance of history is liberalism’s flux capacitor — we’ve had these people nailed for going on 150 years now. Gautier, Rimbaud, Wilde, etc. were infinitely more eloquent than today’s SJWs, but bullshit is bullshit no matter how prettily expressed.

  4. Notsothoreau

    I was so hopeful that this meant you would have SIX readers. But you’ve managed to chase him off! Oh well, I guess it was meant to happen.

    1. Severian

      I’m such a meanie, aren’t I?

      I can’t speak for the other co-bloggers, but as Nate Winchester often says, the Internet gives almost everyone a case of Asperger’s. If my grammar, usage, etc. are so bad that you can’t figure out what I’m trying to say, by all means comment on it. Otherwise, piss off. And if you’re getting all grammar Nazi-huffy over something you merely think I wrote, piss off double time.

  5. Gary

    Beauty, Gautier said, is useless — if it has practical value, then it fulfills a need, which beauty by definition doesn’t do:

    There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. …

    This quote really struck a chord because I’ve heard the same thing in an entirely different context.

    I studied math and programming, and worked many years for companies specializing in mathematical analysis and software. For those not acquainted with this stuff, I can tell you there are strong aesthetic elements involved, things that make mathematicians admire the beauty or “elegance” of a proof, a problem solution or a mathematical model.

    Along the way I met more than my share of people with impressive mathematical ability and credentials, a number of whom held Gautier’s view with regard to their field, that the only truly beautiful math is math that has no practical application whatsoever. At first I was astonished to hear this kind of foolish talk, but it no longer surprises me because this attitude is not that uncommon. Interestingly, it is almost always accompanied by a liberal or leftist mindset.

    I’m hardly the first guy to point out that Liberals are, at heart, curdled Romantics.

    I like the descriptive name, but for the people described above I prefer Disgruntled Platonists. They define and work with idealized entities akin to Platonic Forms and come to prefer the tidy perfection of the mathematical world to the complicated, ambiguous and messy real world. In fact, they dislike the latter and tend to think of it as being somehow inferior or subordinate to their glistening, ideal but imaginary world — hence Disgruntled Platonists.

    Then I realized the term applies to almost all leftists, who in RFK’s words “…dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”* — and actually like Lennon’s wretched anthem, “Imagine.” Like the math folks, they envision a perfect shiny world of their own idealized Forms and are angry and disappointed that the ugly, grubby real world obstinately refuses to conform to their imagination.** They disdain this nasty reality for defying their wishes, and despise the stupid, ugly people who inhabit it.

    Actually, I think this reality-hatred arises in the reverse order from what I’ve presented, even for the math types. That is, something goes awry early on — abused, neglected or over-indulged by parents, bullied in the schoolyard and yes, humiliated by being stuffed into a locker by the quarterback. Whatever it is that’s gone wrong makes them hate people and the world, and therefore construct an alternate, gleaming reality in which they place all hope.

    So when Gautier coughs up a hairball like the following (or when postmodernists pompously intone that no “text” has any inherent meaning), it just makes me think what a sniveling, whining malcontent-crybaby:

    There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man’s needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the toilet.

    This is not a statement about aesthetics or art. This is the petulant tantrum of a toddler stamping his feet and screaming because the world refuses to conform to his demands. So he’ll toss the birthday cake into the garbage can so nobody can enjoy it — or at least try.

    All he wants is to distract and annoy the rest of us because misery loves company. Gauier tries to undercut and denigrate the appreciation many people feel for certain kinds of art, and does so in a childishly scatological way. Can you imagine the mind of someone who has allegedly reached adulthood but still hasn’t accepted the fact that the human body — along with that of thousands of animal species — must excrete waste matter as a necessary physiological process? And who moans that man therefore has a “poor, wretched nature”?? OMG, get over it, man.

    * Unfortunately, the “why not?” part is purely rhetorical, because the answer is obvious: the things they’re dreaming of are utterly impossible, so of course they “never were” — and never will be. That’s “why not.”

    ** Probably the most significant liberal Form is what Thomas Sowell described as Cosmic Justice (aka Social Justice), a process superior to “traditional conceptions of justice,” which Sowell says “boil down to applying the same rules and standards to everyone.” Cosmic Justice goes far beyond this and “requires specific [governmental] interventions to equalize either prospects or results.” And they seem to think this is possible, even though people are vastly different with regard to energy, intelligence, abilities, talent, discipline, industry, ambition, personality and so on.

  6. Pingback: Leftism is Conspicuous Consumption | Rotten Chestnuts

Leave a Reply

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