Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

5/4/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The construction of these narratives, sweet always to the interests and prejudices of the cultural elite, have gone less and less challenged by anyone in the news reporting profession; it used to be to uncover and expose lies, both big and small.

Real historians and biographers are going to have a field day - some have already started - digging below the layers of fiction about Obama and his presidency that only now are growing old for the mainstream media. Thus far, the 21st century has followed the example of the 20th, as portrayed by Eksteins, to point where some co-writers - also co-dependent?- have become exhausted by the kind of transparent charade demanded by the Obama administration.

In his magnificent narrative of why European nations embraced the prospect of World War I - Rites of Spring: the Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age - the Canadian scholar Modris Eksteins writes about the chief consequence of the breakdown in a shared consensus on morality.

In his magnificent narrative of why European nations embraced the prospect of World War I - Rites of Spring: the Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age - the Canadian scholar Modris Eksteins writes about the chief consequence of the breakdown in a shared consensus on morality.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/4/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Rites of Spring, culture, Obama, Jay Carney, Modris Eksteins, propaganda, morality, moral relativism, Jay Carney, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - In his magnificent narrative of why European nations embraced the prospect of World War I - Rites of Spring: the Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age - the Canadian scholar Modris Eksteins writes about the chief consequence of the breakdown in a shared consensus on morality:

"Our century [the 20th] is one in which life and art have been blended, in which existence has become aestheticized. History as one theme of this study will try to show, has surrendered much of its former authority to fiction."

The pertinence of this remark can hardly be challenged as we watch on a daily basis a White House that continues to construct one fictional narrative after another in order to avoid the facts of Bengazi, Obamacare, and the Russian takeover of the Ukraine. This last fiction must be particularly painful to Eksteins, a Latvian whose family immigrated to Canada after being battered by successive occupations of the Germans and the Russians.

Eksteins employs the controversial Parisian premiere on May 29, 1913 of the ballet, Les Sacre de Printemps (The Rite of Spring), composed by Igor Stravinsky, choreographed and danced by Vaslav Nijinsky, and produced by Sergei Diaghilev, as the "first act" of his dramatic reconstruction of the cultural personae leading to World War I. With its complete rejection of traditional musical and dance forms, The Rite of Spring created a performance-long furor in the audience that started with the first notes from the bassoon of Stravinsky's evocative score. 

As Eksteins notes, this was the first time in the history of art that the reaction of the audience was as much a part of the performance as the performers:

"Art has transcended reason, didacticism, and a moral purpose: art has become provocation and event."

In the resulting mishmash of observer and observed, subject and object, the purpose of art no longer serves to exalt, to illuminate, or to aspire - art becomes the occasion of precipitating a reaction, most visceral, and collapsing the invisible wall between the actors on stage and those in the theater seats. In doing this, the audience on that May night just over 100 years ago was participating precisely in what they saw on stage - a frenzied dance to the death of a maiden chosen to be sacrificed to the coming of spring. Except in this case, most of the audience shouted for the sacrifice of the ballet's composer, Stravinsky, and its lead dancer, Nijinsky.

Whether a pistol shot was actually fired at Stravinsky, as many accounts of that night claim, has never really been confirmed. Thus, part of the aestheticized existence postulated by Eksteins is the preference for uncontrolled passion over any kind of more measured response.

This kind of bacchanalia is easily seen in the recent media reaction to the racist comments of the Los Angeles Lakers' owner and the middle aged curmudgeon in bluejeans and a cowboy hat who wouldn't back down to government intimidation (the comments of the former were clearly racist and those of the latter, more ambiguous).  These two might as well have been put in the hands of the Jacobins and marched immediately to the guillotine.

The construction of these narratives, sweet always to the interests and prejudices of the cultural elite, have gone less and less challenged by anyone in the news reporting profession; it used to be to uncover and expose lies, both big and small.  No doubt in the last 20 years these same reporters, with notable exceptions, have been co-authors of the solipsistic narratives intended to silence any criticism of their enshrined cultural and political leadership.

Real historians and biographers are going to have a field day - some have already started - digging below the layers of fiction about Obama and his presidency that only now are growing old for the mainstream media. Thus far, the 21st century has followed the example of the 20th, as portrayed by Eksteins, to point where some co-writers - also co-dependent?- have become exhausted by the kind of transparent charade demanded by the Obama administration.

I, for one, cannot help but think about the glorification of the 2008 Obama campaign and his subsequent years in the White House when I read Eksteins' mention of the "compromise" between fiction and the fact that it is becoming both possible and necessary.

"In search of this compromise our historical account proceeds in the form of a drama, with acts and scenes, in the full and diverse sense of those words. In the beginning was the event. Only later came consequence."

Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading


Guest Commentary by Ken Blackwell: Houston's Mayor is Endangering Civil Rights

Image of Ken Blackwell

By Ken Blackwell

In Houston, Texas, we have seen a bizarre twist on traditional Civil Rights play out. The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, has been waging an uncivil war on people who oppose the far-reaching homosexual rights ordinance she powered through the City Council. That ... continue reading


Suspected Indiana serial killer foiled by text messages Watch

Image of Darren Deon Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly even more.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Darren Deon Vann told Indiana Police he "messed up" and expressed surprise that he was found so quickly, in the biggest understatement in recent memory. Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly ... continue reading


United States developing quick-strike team to deal with Ebola Watch

Image of The U.S. Ebola strike team will include five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In response to the crisis in Dallas, the United States is developing a 30-person "quick-strike team" in order to attend to the needs of Ebola patients within the U.S. The team will be under orders to deploy within 72 hours at any time over the next month. The ... continue reading


After 21 days, the family of Thomas Eric Duncan are Ebola free Watch

Image of Thomas Eric Duncan's family, including his fiancee and her son and nephews, are nearing the end of their 21 day quarantine. So far, none of the four have developed Ebola like symptoms.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan-the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the United States-is nearing the end of a 21 day quarantine, and she and her son and two nephews are grateful that this period is coming to an end. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If ... continue reading


Supreme Court backs Texas' war on voter fraud Watch

Image of The U.S. Supreme Court has backed a 2013 Texas law that requires voters to show ID before they submit a vote.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Supreme Court has given Texas the go ahead for a law that requires voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they are able to cast a ballot. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The October 18 decision came from a majority of ... continue reading


Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Synod on the Family: Duc in Altum

Image of Lorenzo Lotto's depiction of the Holy Family's rest on the flight into Egypt.

By Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Christians today in most parts of the world find themselves in a world much like the one inhabited by the first Christians - rampant sexual license, abortion, contraception, family break-down.  Those early Christians took a counter-cultural stance, echoing ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:14-21
14 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2014 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter