The Possibility of Criticism Under the Existing Conditions

Now and then I remember a debate about the possibilities for an independent critical avant-garde literature in our society because of the last words from one of the debaters: »If there is anyone out there (I know there is some) who wants to maintain a critical approach to his project, let’s hope this claim is not 100 pro cent true: if you let them (his opponent, my remark) publish you, the critical potential for your literature will be gone. For ever.

This has made me wonder weather I’m able to write critical literature that can maintain such a criticism under the existing conditions, or if, as Eric Hobsbawm puts it: »It is not surprising that in the 1950s, in the heartland of consumer democracy, the leading school of painters abdicated before image-makers so much more powerful than old-fashioned art. ‘Pop art’ (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg), spent its time reproducing, with as much accuracy and insensitivity as possible, the visual trappings of American commercialism: soup cans, flags, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe.«

If religious sects are to religion what the avant-garde is to the spectacle, the difference between them is that the latter implodes into the mainstream dullness of commercial art and entertainment, while sects are able to maintain a resistance in a political-religious dominated society.


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