Swimming in It: Art and (Im)Morality

Jen Silverman at MacDowell:

I think we’re laboring under a moment in which many believe that the sole function of art is to provide moral guidance.

I understand how we got here. Our politicians and leaders have for the most part abdicated responsibility on this front – not in what they say (there’s always moralizing) but in what they’re caught doing later. An entire parade of celebrities has been similarly revealed to be mouthy, handsy monsters of hypocrisy. The arts, though underfunded, have a history of being a fallback battleground for American morality. And also, always, America is obsessed with the idea of virtue. Ours is a country founded on many myths, but one of them inarguably is purity: pristine forests, clear water, virginal women, God everywhere.

More here.