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The good old days


Post from Judith Schaechter


Hi Gerard–

I just read your post–and I’m wondering, respectfully of course!, if perhaps you’ve contorted yourself into a pretzel knot over this one. I wasn’t at the talk at Vox you mention, but it’s my impression that a fetishizing of the old has something to do with nostalgia (sentimental feelings about the good ol’ days–probably a psychological necessity because in many, many ways, the good ol’ days sucked and if we actually had to face up to that we’d all commit suicide).

[It also has to do with] a sense of preservationist imperative (i.e. things are going so fast–let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water in our mad rush towards a brighter future. Preemptive nostalgia?)

Anyway, my point is that fetishizing the “old”, smarmy as it can be, serves an important function.

With regards to the relationship of the “allure of the old” to “authenticity”–I’d say, emphatically, it’s not much of a relationship.

[Art’s] all about FANTASY, baby [see image, “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hiernoymus Bosch]. Fantasies of the past and of the future. We already have a signifier of authenticity (is that another word for “reality check”?)–it’s called sanity–why burden ourselves with more of that?

It’s my most unhumble opinion that in the arts, fantasy trumps reality (imagination trumps intellect, artifice trumps authenticity, “art is a lie that tells the truth”, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, etc etc.) every single damn time.

Judith Schaechter is a Philadelphia artist and writer known nationally for her work in stained glass.