Lesbian Dance Theory

Lesbian dance theater. Medieval basketweaving. Menstrual poetry.

There’s a very simple reason why the conservatives seem to all use similarly cadenced insults about student loans, and it’s not one I’ve seen discussed very much in the last weeks absolute tantrum over a minimal amount of loan easement, so let me put it in large letters:

ART SCARES FASCISTS.

All of these nonsense degrees they make up are about one thing: the arts. They’re insulting dance and theater and poetry, presumably because they’ve never seen any. But also film and music, two forms of art in which they definitely partake. Their argument isn’t about the relative value of said degrees — if they’d like to argue that artists should be paid better, that would be swell, but they won’t; it’s not even the reasonable argument that many creative artists frequently have about college versus apprenticeship paths to art, and whether either is sustainable (spoiler: no, not really.)

What Bozo the Congresswoman and others are talking around is a fear as old, or older, than the bards: art, by its nature, questions the status quo. Art includes diverse perspectives, it encourages the deconstruction of social norms, it frequently scares the bejeezus out of people and they declare us all witches (false) or decadents (mostly true.) People were so panicked by Monet they banned impressionism from exhibits: art is terrifying to anyone who relies on a narrow perspective of definitions for life, and fascism, friends, is the very essence of such a lifestyle.

Which is not to say there haven’t been plenty of people willing to take money to make art for authoritarian leaders; Leni Riefenstahl had a nice old life for a while. Art that glorifies the state is a feature of art being both a commodity that is bought and sold (and frequently undervalued,) and a political statement. There are artists who have wholeheartedly tossed their pearls before fascist swine because they were a swine themselves, and there are others who simply needed to eat some slop that day. But this is not most art or even a large chunk of it; if more of artists knew how to game the political and commercial system with cynicism, far fewer of us would be of the “starving” variety.

But do not tell me, and especially do not tell your kids, they’re throwing away their lives in art. Do not tell me that an arts degree is useless, toothless, easy to achieve and meaningless to society. Fascists aren’t afraid of dentists. They are afraid of art. They are afraid of the things our minds might be set free to think about when we encounter a new thought, unsanctioned by their tiny little minds. Scorn this nonsense for what it is: anti-thought, anti-perspective, and anti-art. And pity their monstrous, snickering, ignorant little minds. Imagine, if they saw one lesbian perform a tango, what they might dare to think.

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