Dale's Soapbox Rants

Aesthetic Relativism, a Parabolic Manifesto

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The following brief parable is meant for fellow artists everywhere...

Many people will remember the episode of the original Star Trek titled Who Mourns for Adonais? (If nothing else men remember it as the episode that featured Leslie Parish.) Let's suppose that tomorrow it should come to pass that a powerful basso profundo voice is heard with crystal clarity all over the world. Each person hears the following as if spoken directly to him or her in his or her own language:

"Good day and good night, folks! This is your God speaking. Sorry for the absence, I've been working on a new version of the rhinoceros and simply lost track of time.

"Well. I see you've been up to some interesting things in my absence. I'm not thrilled about all the violence, but I have to admit that some of the art that's been produced shows considerable promise.

"Here are the finalists:

"Third place in visual arts goes to Michelangelo for his Pieta (although it was a tough call between that and his David). Second place goes to Hermann Orshornzer for his portrait of his wife, unfortunately lost when his house burned down in 1542. First place goes to Ling Hao Lu for the vase currently in the Vatican art collection – not on display; look in the last box on the left in storage room B-304.

"Incidentally: afterward, if you care to visit the web site www.divineart.god, you will find a database containing every single work of art created by a human being together with my critiques and rankings.

"In music. Third place goes to..."

But you get the idea. Now, whether or not you believe that God would make such a pronouncement, perhaps you will suspend disbelief long enough to temporarily fantasize this as having happened. Imagine what your reactions would be not only immediately after such a thing happened but in the longer term...