Tagged: Jonathan Bowden

Is Vincent Gallo the Jonathan Bowden of Cinema?

From an interview:

“I don’t relate to that ’70s thing, because I’m a modernist. Don’t people understand that I’m into the future? That I’m trying to break through and understand where we’re going to go from here and how we’re going to get there? I’m not interested in the lifestyles and the sensibilities of the ’70s, because to me, that was a broken-down period in American life. That’s when people went from a very traditional, classical, conservative idea of socialized behavior to a period of gluttony, self-indulgence, and destructive behavior. The ’70s were the end of the world for me. I hated the cars then. I hated technology then. I hated the mood of the American economy then. Those are the worst memories of my life. If there’s anything I romanticize, it’s those very modern things from the ’20s and ’30s. I like that early-minimalist, early-modern sensibility.”

This is very similar to the sentiment expressed by Bowden in his Credo speech: “I am a modernist in many ways because I believe we created a modern world that has been taken away from what it could have been.” In the early 20th century, modernism had a distinctly right-wing element. One could even consider Ezra Pound the first archeofuturist, insofar as his work both looked to the ancient past – Sparta, Confucian China – and to the future, with his insistence that we “Make It New.”

 I find it curious that a politician could never get away with saying what Gallo said in this interview, that the 20s and 30s were better than the 70s. There truly is more freedom of expression in the arts than in other areas of life – though it is mostly misused. Gallo can get away with saying this because he’s an artist, and it’s assumed that he’s referring to the aesthetics of the early 20th century, and not the politics or culture of the time. (How could any pre-trans-bathroom era possibly have anything good about it, except maybe some of the clothes and buildings?) But the aesthetics of a time and place are always bound to its culture, and culture is the root of politics.

One need only observe the aesthetics, culture, and politics of 21st century America to realize their unfortunate interconnection.