The fact of progress is not denied, but increasingly large numbers of people experience the results of progress with an anguished sense of loss and isolation. Once again, progress is decadence and decadence is progress. The true opposite of decadence — as far as the biological connotations of the word are concerned — is perhaps regeneration. But where are the barbarians who will regenerate our exhausted world?
If a work of art dismantles the ruling ideology, it will be intrinsically offensive to those who continue to believe that ideology.
Thirlwell offers up this glimmer or self-unawareness in an essay pining away for the good old days when avant-garde artists were ruthlessly exposing the lies, hypocrisy and emptiness of bourgeois society like it was going out of style, pun intended. He’s so wistful for shock value, he’s even making moon eyes at Pussy Riot (at least he didn’t get tattooed). But in a Shyamalany twist, we the audience realize, even if he doesn’t, that the reason he can’t see any social mores ripe for artistic undermining is because the former boorzhwazee-shockers have become the establishment!