by RAIMUND WONG

‘Tics in the Work

 

I watched a TV show the other night. In it, a set of spunky young men and women used CGI to do battle on a global scale. The good guys were very clearly working in the name of the nation of that show’s origin – the US – and of course, democracy.

When I saw that one of the villains was a sort of prime-time stereotype of a generic politically-motivated hacker (or whistle-blower), and noticing the odd stressed reference to Snowden and others, I was alarmed by this impression of the ideologically charged nature of modern entertainment.

It felt, I reckon, like being taken aside, in the middle of story time, and told personally, by multinational cartoon-peddlers, that the work people have done to challenge the state, and broadcast pernicious plans to spy on the world’s populous is not only dangerous, but evil, and totally uncool. Ok? Ok.

 

I’ve long believed that political bias or messages in art, or entertainment, cheapen the work. That it’s too simple, narrow and limited, to target a mere ideological sector of humanity. That such grabbing at sleeves, calling out of ‘isms’ and jumping onto banners is a pathetic short-selling, against what I consider to be objective and absolute integrity and scope.

But if pieces of fodder like the above are going to be used as weapons in the way it seems they are, is it safe for us to hold a position like the one I’ve just described?

Today, I read a book about writing verse, by Vladimir Mayakovsky. He was probably the most important poet of the Soviet regime, the ‘poet laureate of the revolution’. He says:

8. To fulfil the social command as well as possible you must be in the vanguard of your class, and carry on the struggle, along with your class, on all fronts. You must smash to smithereens the myth of an apolitical art.