Early on in this national crisis Adam Kirsch made a statement at Slate that I keep going back to. I recognized it at first, but it has continued to be a monument or reference point in these not entirely uncharted waters. He wrote:
“One of the definitions of a time of political crisis is that the public usurps the private; it becomes impossible to control what we think about, what dominates our minds and emotions.”
However in retrospect the article feels brilliant and prescient in ways I couldn’t understand at the time. (I left a comment that in retrospect—though I stand by it—feels narrow and limited: “The message art speaks to power is unchanged: You have the power to kill me, but not to define me.” Yet the fear and incredulity of some of the comments is palpable: “There is so much willful ignorance throughout this article I am embarrassed for the author” and so forth.)
Election of the so-called “conservative” movement’s current figurehead was catalyst for Kirsch’s article, published nearly a month later on December 6, 2016. He wrote: “If we are to oppose Trump and the policies and crimes that are likely to emerge from his administration, we will have to do so as citizens, not as artists.” This remains as true today as it was then, now that those predicted crimes have begun to manifest.
The full article is linked here.