The correct art has become Humanist Realism

Dan Fincke shared Salty Current’s guest post on Facebook and there are some comments on his post that should have been made here (kidding, kidding) so Ima quote a few.

I’ve been tirelessly pointing this out over and over again. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have fought rightwing xenophobia and racism all your life and then to be maligned by your “own side” in another part of the world. Not to mention a lot of imposition of America-centric cultural/political mores on a completely different political landscape. That in itself is a form of American cultural imperialism a lot of these people decry.

I think that’s why the maligning is bothering me so much – because these were our people, and they’re being misrepresented in a horrible way.

Some people’s attitude towards the correct art has become Humanist Realism. It’s not even about not being racist/sexist etc, you shouldn’t diverge from the Politburo criteria of clean art at all.

Followed by

And it makes absolutely no allowance for other political, cultural, social or religious contexts differing from their own. Funnily enough, a lot of the same people are also the ones who oppose imposition of American or “western” norms on other societies, religions and cultures.

The ironies abound.


  1. Lady Mondegreen (aka Stacy) says

    Hey, I also made the point about cultural imperialism.

    Or maybe that was on your Facebook post…oops.

  2. says

    Humanist Realism

    Heh. I was just thinking this afternoon about possibly acceptable versions of the Taubira cover – like a picture of the racist statements and images and the text “They’re saying Taubira is a monkey, and that is bad.” Really, it could work for almost anything: “Islamists kill people for blasphemy, and that is bad,”…

  3. maudell says

    I’ve noticed this, but I couldn’t have put it so eloquently. I’m troubled by the cultural imperialism imposed by some American critics. It is pretty much impossible to argue with them, because all they hear is an excuse for racism. There are aspects of CH that can be problematic even in the French context (I think the comparison with Colbert is somewhat apt), but so much of the American/Canadian assumptions about the magazine are amazingly off the mark.

  4. Athywren, Social Justice Weretribble says

    So… rousing discussion? Wow. I’m used to being unable to read Greta’s blog through the day, because the filters think it’s a p-word that I won’t spell out for fear that it’ll block this page too, but never before have I seen so many pages on this blog blocked because of “content of type intolerance.”

    So, yeah, anyway, I guess there’s a fine line between calling out racism and attacking other cultures. I mean, satire’s kind of hard to pin down anyway; it’s almost always on the questionable side of any line, and intentionally so, so it can look pretty intolerant if you look at it straight on. That can be hard enough when it’s intracultural, but in this case there’s also the cultural differences, and it’s hard to tell if that thing that’s a deeply offensive slur in your culture is even worthy of note in theirs. For instance, when Weird Al covered Blurred Lines, he included the word “spastic” in his lyrics… in the UK, that’s really not cool, and it wrecked the song for me and some others over here, but apparently it’s innocuous in the US, and, while he apologised for it, he made it pretty clear that he was completely unaware that it was offensive, and it was merely a rhyme to him. But even if he had known the cultural context of that word over here, even if it had been a wilfully cruel attack against people with cerebral palsy, it wouldn’t have been reasonable to say, “well, he did say that word,” if he’d been assaulted or killed because of it.

  5. says

    Eh?? “Spastic” is not at all innocuous in the US – it dropped out of use decades ago. It’s about as innocuous as “retard” and “tardo” – which is to say, not at all.

  6. Athywren, Social Justice Weretribble says

    Oh… well… that’s weird. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me? I swear, I remember the Americans I know being totally confused that there would be any reaction to the word. Maybe thinking about something else?

  7. Athywren, Social Justice Weretribble says

    I am young… or young enough for that song to be older than me anyway, but that’s kind of a point in it’s own right. I wasn’t commenting on whether it was cool 34 years ago, but today. Money For Nothing by Dire Straits talks about “the little faggot with the earring and the makeup” but songs today that call people faggots are generally considered bad, especially if their only reason for doing so is a rhyme.

    Calvin Harris: Acceptable In The 80’s

  8. John Morales says


    Money For Nothing by Dire Straits talks about “the little faggot with the earring and the makeup” but songs today that call people faggots are generally considered bad, especially if their only reason for doing so is a rhyme.

    A rhyme is the only reason?

    A working-class character says to a peer: “See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup. Yeah buddy that’s his own hair. That little faggot got his own jet airplane. That little faggot he’s a millionaire”.

    (A lot like a satirical musical cartoon, no? Different medium, similar message)

  9. John Morales says

    PS Athywren,

    I wasn’t commenting on whether it was cool 34 years ago, but today.

    The song criticises the tolerant condescension towards the disabled, and it wasn’t cool at the time, rather the epithet that characterised it was “controversial”.

    (Though I admit I thought it was cool, at the time)

  10. Athywren, Social Justice Weretribble says

    No, rhyme wasn’t the only reason in that case but I wasn’t talking about that case by that point. I was talking about songs made in the current climate, where a slur is used for little reason other than rhyming. And writing a song criticising condescension toward the disabled is somewhat different to writing a song that uses them as a means to mock others because it rhymes.

  11. John Morales says


    Sorry Athywren, I just realised I misread you and you referred to the video to which you linked.

    To avoid doing that, I tell you now I agree with you that it’s a bad thing when epithets that may be harmful are used either deliberately or carelessly.

    What I meant to express is that it can be done beneficially (or at least neutrally), just as we ourselves have done.

    (I am embarrassed)

  12. Athywren, Social Justice Weretribble says

    In that case we agree; it can be done beneficially or neutrally, but the use I was originally referencing was careless at best.

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