All Art Is Political

by Terri

"At this point, assume all art is political unless proven otherwise" ~ me

Image is text that reads "Assume all art is political until proven otherwise. Then question that proof."

Image is text that reads "Assume all art is political until proven otherwise. Then question that proof."

I'm angry a lot these days. I'm angry at the government, I'm angry at everyone who doesn't understand just how dire the situation is. But a special sort of anger is reserved for people who are angry at artists for daring to be "political."

You know those people. The ones who can't stand Meryl Streep's acceptance speech at this year's Golden Globe awards.* The folks who think "Born In the USA" and "This Land is Your Land" are patriotic anthems, rather than the protest songs that they are. Your uncle who watches Fox News and thinks that Beyonce's costuming choices for her Super Bowl Halftime performance last year were anti-police and beyond the pale.

The underlying message that those people are trying to convey is this: "you are a robot. You many speak the words that we place in your mouth and no more. You may sing the songs that we like and no more. You may paint pretty pictures that we like and no more. How dare you express opinions that I** disagree with." 

I'm sure that some people think that our art is "too political." Neither Ariela nor I keep quiet about how we feel about institutional racism, systemic misogyny, antisemitism, ableism, or any other form of bias that keeps people from achieving their all. We have greeting cards and art prints that refuse to place boundaries on love.*** Our ketubot all have an option to come with a text that places no limits on the gender of the people getting married.

We will not be your performing monkeys. We are humans, as are movie stars, famous musicians, performance artists and anyone who is on stage and entertaining you. We are entitled to our opinions and we are entitled to broadcast them in any way we choose.

You've been warned. My patience is up.





*There were problematic elements to that speech to be sure. But they were the inherent ableism, rather than the political message.

**Notice how the people complaining about "political art" are usually on the right. Your average liberal might boycott or protest movie stars, musicians, etc that they don't agree with,**** but they don't tell them that they shouldn't speak their views.

***Granted, they depict zombies in them. But hey, we refuse to have exclusively heteronormative zombies on greeting cards.

****There is an underlying assumption working here that "political" means "thing I don't agree with." I honestly don't have the time and energy to unpack that in this post. Maybe next time.