- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2000

Soup and Coke

"There is scarcely a person in America whose life has not been affected whether or not they know it by the way Andy Warhol transformed our understanding of our culture. Certainly there is no serious artist working today who has not been influenced by Warhol's conversion of the banal world of consumer culture into the sacred realm of art… .

"Warhol used consumer items more than just as mirrors of his time. What seems to have attracted him to Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell's soup cans … was a sense of comfort, belonging and equality. Warhol admitted that one reason he was attracted to the imagery of Campbell's soup was that he had eaten Campbell's soup nearly every day as a boy. Soup, of course, is a nearly global icon of home, but Campbell's is a distinctly American icon… .

"Warhol loved mass consumer imagery because of its equiliberating powers. 'Coke is Coke,' he once said, 'and no matter how rich you are, you can't get a better one than the one the homeless woman on the corner is drinking.' "

James Romaine in "Transubstantiating the Culture" in the spring issue of Re:Generation Quarterly

Nearly nude ethic

"This isn't how the sexual revolution was supposed to end up. After all, it had its roots in the romantic movement which was supposed to be a rebellion against the repressed attitudes of the bourgeoisie. Historian Peter Gay has called them the 'pleasure wars,' the long-running disputes that had the bohemian sensualists flouting middle-class conventions… .

"In the 1960s and '70s, nudity was deemed revolutionary and rock stars really seemed radical when they sang anthems to sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll… .

"Now we have a new set of standards to distinguish permissible pleasures from impermissible ones… .

"To get a first hand glimpse of the new codes, go down to your local park in the summertime. You'll see women jogging or running in sports bras and skintight spandex pants. Imagine if the Puritans could get a load of this! Women running around in their underwear in public. They'd pull out the tracts on Sodom and Gomorrah… . But look at the bra joggers more closely. It's not wanton hedonism you see on their faces… . Any erotic effect of their near nudity is counteracted by their expressions of grim determination. They are working out… . You never see them smile. On the contrary, some of them seem to be suffering. These near-naked young women are self-discipline personified no pain, no gain and the reason they are practically naked, they will tell you, is that this sort of clothing is most practical, most useful for strenuous exercise. What we see at the park is near nudity, but somehow it's nudity in the service of achievement."

David Brooks, from his new book, "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There"

Mutual admiration

"What does it mean that Best Actor winner Kevin Spacey is a big financial supporter of the Democratic Party, to the point of giving the Democratic Congressional Campaign 100 tickets (to use for fund-raising) for the celebrity-packed Washington premiere of 'American Beauty'?

" 'Men like [House Minority Leader] Dick Gephardt are the vaccines we receive to fight the virus being spread by politicians who use their power and influence to try to define what art is,' Mr. Spacey told the Washington Post… .

"Why the mutual admiration society between Democratic politicians and Hollywood? Clearly the movie industry wants not just to entertain the masses but to influence society… . Americans need to realize that the political war is really one battle in the large cultural war."

Gene Edward Veith, writing on "Salvation by Transgression," in the April 15 issue of World

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