Book review: Culture Wars by David Hamilton

Alexander Jacob

Those who seek new ideas and new arguments can do no better than read this new book of essays on art. It is a major attack on the degenerate cultural elites who are destroying art and culture from within.

If any think that is exaggerated consider the contents of this book. Those who love traditional Britain and are today forced to look on helplessly as they witness the rapid, deliberate and ruthless destruction of the art and culture of their nation and feel pushed out, David Hamilton’s Culture Wars will serve as solace, moral support and encouragement.

This is not a systematic work but a loose, discursive collection of essays on art, architecture, drama, animals and the environment, and English churches with the history, legends and stories attached. The author told me that tradition means re-linking with our common ancestors and our common roots. The author records the various art objects, buildings and theatrical plays that are ruining the landscape and minds of the inhabitants of post-war Britain, and he does so in far greater detail than Conservative journalist Peter Hitchens (who conducted a critique of modern Britain in The Abolition of Britain [1999]). As Hamilton warns us:

we suffer from a “syndrome of social, cultural, political and environmental pressures that are dissociating people from their communal identity, severing them from traditional civilizing structures that their ancestors could take for granted” (p. 69).

Incidentally, Hamilton notes Hitchens’ failure to investigate the causes of the social evil that he is describing. Instead Hitchens declares rather naively, that

the overthrow of the past has not been planned — such things cannot be orchestrated though they can be skilfully guided — but has followed the coincidental disappearance of rival or alternative moral and cultural forces and structures. So many features of this country’s life crumbled at once, that the new culture had to take the place of patriotism, faith, morality and literature.

Hamilton, on the other hand, rightly begins the opening section of his book — on the degeneracy of the modern visual arts — with the revolution of the 1960s which forced art to become vulgar “mass culture”, stopped the sacred fount of artistic creativity and substituted sterile shock techniques in its place. The examples Hamilton provides of the increasing use of pornography in modern art are especially disturbing, since they reveal that these, often literally excremental productions are in fact vigorously promoted by “art”-collectors.

He also uses examples from ordinary art to show that art produces many affects, not only shock. Examples are a mural of Dickens characters in the Peter Kavanagh (a bar in Liverpool), and a mural that John Lennon had a hand in, titled “The Jacaranda,” also in a pub in Liverpool. In these cases, emotions are produced because we know something of the story behind the art—for example, the fascination and joy we feel at the thought of someone so famous as Lennon was involved in the mural.

I really like Hamilton’s new definition of what art is as opposed to Progressives’ unfathomable abstract definitions. He explains the difference between technique (which produces form) and artistic talent (which produces content or meaning, is inborn, and cannot be taught). Then, using a very enlightening explanation of how the two interact— the partnership of The Beatles and their producer George Martin— he shows how form brings out content and content leads to the appropriate form.

I applaud how he demonstrates that contemporary anti-artists are spreading a far greater evil than just destroying art and culture. For example, he cites the starving dog in an art gallery in Nicaragua and states that we are on the way back to human sacrifices as art. He also exposes how paedophilia is promoted by contemporary anti-artists and gives copious examples. As evidence of how the anti-artists not only encourage paedophilia but encourage the murder of children, he quotes artist Jake Chapman saying that the boys who murdered Liverpool toddler James Bulger performed “a good social service”.

Hamilton shows that contemporary architecture pushes people out of their communities by its ugliness instead of drawing them in as traditional architecture does. He shows how the estates people are being forced into have a very detrimental effect, causing the people to lose fellow-feeling and even rob, mug, burgle and terrorise their neighbours. He also compares the state-sponsored degeneracy of the working-classes with what the Canadian government did to the Canadian plains Indians. Who were moved by government into specially built estates. The Innu were effectively, forcibly transformed into Canadians, just as Britons are being forcibly transformed into ‘citizens of the world’. Like us, the Innu are having their past erased and are being offered nothing for the future – despair has set in, as it is setting in on Britain’s sink estates. One important difference is that the Innu have been dispossessed by a different ethnic group, whereas we are being dispossessed by our own elected representatives. In many young Innu, their deculturation manifests in drug and alcohol abuse and petty crime. More and more of Britain’s young people are similarly aimless, lacking in self-respect, without tradition or a sense of being part of something. Many of them have likewise started to prey on their own people. There have always been people at the bottom of the pile, but they used to develop within a cultural tradition to which they belonged, albeit peripherally. Most Young people do not misbehave out of endemic wickedness, but because they have been decultured.

Destructive assaults on town and city landscapes (which he calls Urbiscapes), such as the London “Shard”, designed by Renzo Piano, are extolled by art critics like Tim Abrahams (who edited the leading architecture and design magazine, Blueprint). Spiked Online refused to publish an alternative view from Hamilton but said he should cut the essay down and send as a letter! This anti-art is sanctioned and funded by the national Arts Council with public monies from the government and the National Lottery.Whereas pseudo-Traditionalists of the so-called “Right” distract their audience with tirades against social welfare and puff themselves up with vain appeals to nineteenth-century Germanic doctrines of “inequality”, Hamilton concentrates on the source of the decay that has been imposed on Britain from the top —the unrelenting subversion of the Christian faith that was the original source of the great art of Britain from the Middle Ages until the early twentieth century. As he reminds us, “Traditional culture grows from religion” (p. 81); the real source of art is the “numinous” since it “is the basis of the yearning for beauty, awe, grandeur in public buildings” (p.67). He accuses the clergy of closing the church to the public and gives examples.

I tried to get information on concerts of The Linnaeus Ensemble who were playing at two churches in Birmingham but neither church replied to me. I mentioned this to one of the musicians and she explained: “Churches are like that!” and his helpers wrote to several religious and secular venues to make a comparison. “We never received a reply from Great St. Mary, Cambridge, Norwich Cathedral, or Gloucester Cathedral. The Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral said he would look at my email when he had some spare time: I heard no more.” However,they received helpful replies from secular venues like The Three Choirs Festival and The Baltic art gallery in Gateshead.

When Salvador Dali became a Christian he found an artistic subject and the inherent spirtuality of the subject gave him a fuller, more elevated vision, and he painted the masterpieces of the twentieth century. He was a draftsman who developed his skills of realisation by studying Renaissance masters. Much criticism of Dali was because he supported General Franco rather than the fashionable armchair Marxism of the orthodox Surrealists and art critics. Leader of the movement Andre Breton banned Dali from The Surrealist movement in 1941 and tried to ban his Sistine Madonna from the International Surrealism Exhibition in New York in 1960.

Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus changes the traditional form of the Crucifixion but it is recognisable and we know what it represents. His Last Supper and The Christ of St.John of the Cross are the masterpieces of the twentieth century.

Saint Alkmunds church in Shrewsbury has a beautiful and moving stained glass in the east window. This is The Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Francis Egington.

Hamilton believes that the loss of the religious worldview is at the root of the present cultural morass —whether it be the substitution of pornography for art, ugly functionalism for architecture.

Hamilton follows an essay on the subversion of drama by Cultural Marxists with an analysis of several prominent Elizabethan tragedies from both Revenger and Overreacher genres. The most famous Revenge tragedy is Hamlet and the most famous Overreacher is Macbeth. Hamilton analyses the origins of these genres in Thomas Kidd’s Revenge drama The Spanish Tragedy(1592) and the Overreacher dramas of Christopher Marlowe like Tamburlaine(1590) who nearly conquered the known world until himself conquered by death, and Doctor Faustus(1604) who signed a pact with the devil in his own blood and forfeit his soul. These figures over stepped themselves in Hybris.

Hamilton shows the opposite tendencies of these two periods of drama. Twentieth-century drama is nihilistic and subversive and the underlying spirit moves from order to chaos; Elizabethan drama, was bloody and gory, but the underlying spirit of the dramas moved from barbarism to civilisation. These exciting plays have a positive sense of things coming together not being dislocated .

Indeed, instead of the proper artistic purpose of the spiritual elevation of man through works of art, there has entered today, through the various academic channels employed by pseudo-art-theorists, a new diabolical purpose —that of the essential corruption of man. Hamilton takes care to highlight to the reader the essence of artistic creation, the importance of tradition in artistic activity and the religious wellsprings of all art. He then gently exhorts his readers to adopt “traditional forms developed for the current time to express emotions and feelings like awe, reverence, the sacred, the holy, the transcendental —positive human feelings.” (p. 94).

This is practical thinking and he suggests the revival of the sixteenth-century office of Lord Lieutenant to be appointed by the Crown and endowed with the task of protecting the local communities of Britain from the ideological and commercial aims of financial and political elites (p. 46).

His piece on the environment is entitled “Another Vindication of Natural Society, similar to Edmund Burke’s essay “A Vindication of Natural Society” to show that this is practical, particular reasoning like Burke’s (and David Hume’s) not universal abstractions as in the contemporary style of thinking that derives from the French Revolution.

He argues against genetically modified crops and for natural ways of growing our food. He calls for greater legal protection from cruelty for domestic pets as they are part of our families.

The final essay is on English churches.  It shows the continuity they hold for indigenous people, running like spines from the roots of the community to the community today, holding people together. He shows what meaning churches hold for us, and that learning what the symbols and legends mean would bind us to our communities and give our lives greater meaning. Churches embody collective history and unite the community in a recognition of a common ancestry.

This is a somewhat “edited” version of my review of Hamilton’s book. The original that I wrote is to be found at http://westerndestiny.com/?p=1209 - Dr. Alexander Jacob’

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 06:34 PM in
Comments (12) | Tell a friend

Comments:

1

Posted by Al Ross on May 23, 2013, 07:43 PM | #

How Whites took America :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faNge-o0V-k

2

Posted by DanielS on May 24, 2013, 12:55 AM | #

l appreciate Dr. Jacob’s views and analysis - he gets sufficiently deep, unlike many commentators on the European plight. Because he is good, he provides an occasion to talk with an empathetic non-European about our essential problems. It is important to demonstrate that one might engage non-Europeans in discussion where it is worthwhile - he is neither a liberal nor one who elides understanding of our problems with the brute simplicity and solutions of some potential allies of non-European extraction (and White conservatives) who almost make you want to defend liberalism, their criticisms are so dumb. I’m glad an article of his is entered here.

Regarding Hamilton’s assessment there are some important issues to be addressed as it may concern an authentic concern for Europeans.

It may be that meaningful art stems from traditional, religious conviction, but Christianity has become exposed under the stress of sufficient foreign assault to be not the religion of Europeans, but an affectation.

Our religion, at present in simple, nascent form, but in essence always, is our race - it is, for those who will survive not by accident.

The sacred outlines the form, in a sense the aesthetic form and patterns of our essence in necessary ecological challenge to brute functionality.

There is a rule in art that you must know a rule before you can difference, embellish or even break it. Hence, it makes sense that tradition is an important background for art. The logic of modernity continually breaks rules, that is part of its paradoxic structure and its destructive onward assault.

Nevertheless, not all traditional art succeeds. We are not only talking about the embarrassment of thousands of years of tradition where European artists apparently did not bother to deviate from tradition to look at a baby for themselves and hence rendered them with disproportunate heads and oblong bodies. Traditional art can be a monotonous and gloomy drag, anything but uplifting.

I find Dali sterile and alienating, but I do like some modern art of course, not only the joy and color of a Bonnard or Gauguin (see it in person - amazing), but even some abstract art; though naturally much of it can be a dirt poor farce (a mere Jewish talking piece) and I especially agree with the dislike of modern architecture - it is very destructive to the psychology of the habitat.

Speaking of a proper role for the Crown and her designates, I respected Prince Charles where he took issue with hideous modern and functional architecture and apparently made the matter a cause. I know little about him or this campaign even, just that that seemed an appropriate concern for The Prince of Wales.

Agreed, the churches are fabulously beautiful and it is a good point that they connect us with our long cultural heritage. In fact, since Christianity has roots in pre-Christian religions, there is hope for continuity in the transformation of some churches, at least, into churches focused on the authentic interests of Europeans while connecting with those long cultural roots, pre-Christian even.

The Christian texts, both new and old testament, however, prescribe suicide to Europeans and cannot be advocated in the authentic interest of Europeans.

3

Posted by Al Ross on May 24, 2013, 01:13 AM | #

Modern art consists largely of limitless depravity of imagination combined with severely limited talent and rich Jews seem to adore it for reasons with which we are by now familiar.

4

Posted by Guessedworker on May 24, 2013, 07:50 AM | #

European Man has suffered four great shocks in his psychological (and, therefore, cultural) history.  The first was the Western Roman expansion and the advent of Christianity.  The second was industrialisation and urbanisation.  The third was the period of the 20th century wars.  The fourth is our age of globalism, neo-Marxism, and Third World mass immigration.

There is a great work waiting to be done, assessing the impact of these very large events upon our race (and not only our race).  The first moved religion from the realm of experience to that of belief, and conflicted Europeans against their own nature.  The second very likely killed something in us - the surest signs of which were the strange phenomenon of the fear of degeneration prevalent in the mid-19th century, culminating in “degenerate art”; and the fin de siècle period which followed, with its Decadants and Aesthetes, and its general air of pessimism, anti-moralism, and resignation.

The third and fourth need no explication from me.

This is the grand historical context for any discussion of our present cultural pathology.  Traditionalism holds no more than a (debatably accessible) paliative to this.  The only real event that can lead out of it is a re-expression of that which is authentic and permanent in us.  The emergence of our nature, not the appeal to that which has, as Graham Lister says, gone forever, is the key to all.

5

Posted by DanielS on May 24, 2013, 09:30 AM | #

I wonder if the critics/skeptics of abstract art understand something (I doubt it):

That the traditional works of the great masters were organized firstly by an underlying harmonious, balanced, musical, at any rate composed dark and light pattern: i.e. an abstract design would function underneath representation to make the better pieces work well aesthetically.

Hence, abstract art represents an effort to focus radically on capturing this underlying organization or aesthetic. Some of it is quite effective and some of it is a break from representational b.s.

However, I am not here to defend abstract art (which I think the critics* of modern art are talking about - though it is only one part of “modern” art, along with Van Gogh and Gauguin), but to note that it is not wholly adverse to the project of European radicalization; nor is traditional art always in perfect alignment.

* maybe they are more alluding to some of the extreme abstraction of da da and grotesque “art”..

But I guess there might even be a way to deploy that kind of abstract statement to White radicalization (of course it would necessitate a great deal more discretionary taste than some of the notoriously grotesque gay and Jewish stuff).

6

Posted by DanielS on May 24, 2013, 10:02 AM | #

..I think that GW is drawing a very good distinction here between traditional and radical European.


There is something else that I’d like to call attention to, take issue with, as I would:

Hamilton, on the other hand, rightly begins the opening section of his book — on the degeneracy of the modern visual arts — with the revolution of the 1960s which forced art to become vulgar “mass culture”, stopped the sacred fount of artistic creativity and substituted sterile shock techniques in its place.


It is wrong to say it begins there.

The promotion of that kind of mass culture, crass mercantilism and consumer culture was already under way prior to the sixties, and prior to the culture associated with the late sixties: I recently witnessed the example of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakfast_at_Tiffany’s_(film) - I guess it was supposed to be cute or something but really, the values promoted as normal and taken for granted in that movie are extremely vulgar. I could barely watch it. This was a culture well antecedent to that which is associated with “the sixties revolution.”...what has become a catch all to blame a decade, a generation, to blame White men.

Note also: abstract art was in its height in the 1950’s.

 

 

7

Posted by dawn M on May 26, 2013, 04:54 PM | #

“Regarding Hamilton’s assessment there are some important issues to be addressed as it may concern an authentic concern for Europeans.”
Daniel, have you read the book?

8

Posted by DanielS on May 26, 2013, 10:43 PM | #

Posted by dawn M on May 26, 2013, 04:54 PM | #

“Regarding Hamilton’s assessment there are some important issues to be addressed as it may concern an authentic concern for Europeans.”

Daniel, have you read the book?


No, and I might take occasion to correct the poor style of this sentence,


“Regarding Hamilton’s assessment there are some important issues to be addressed as it may concern an authentic concern for Europeans.”

to

Regarding Jacob’s assessment of Hamilton, there are some important issues to be addressed as authentic concern for Europeans.

viz. I was only concerned to address Jacob’s assessment of “the correct starting point”, the necessity of Christianity to Europeans (I pretty much know Jacob’s position on that), and a general theme of the traditional, representational (of religious inspiration) art as being “the” answer.

Yes, you are right: I should have been more clear not to bring Hamilton directly into it, as I was addressing Jacob, the content and angle of this critique.

9

Posted by Bill on May 28, 2013, 01:03 PM | #

Tonight in the Guardian.  28/5/2013

Israel warns Russia against arming Syrian government

Israel’s defence minister signals that its military is prepared to strike shipments of advanced Russian weapons to Syria

Russia has said it will supply one of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to the Syrian government, hours after the EU ended its arms embargo on the rebels, raising the prospect of a rapidly escalating proxy war in the region if peace talks in Geneva fail next month.

Israel quickly issued a thinly veiled warning that it would bomb the Russian S-300 missiles if they were sent to Syria, as such a move would bring the advanced guided missiles within range of civilian and military planes over Israel. Israel has conducted three sets of air strikes on Syria this year, aimed at preventing missiles being brought close to its border by the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/28/israel-warns-russia-against-arming-syrian-rebels

10

Posted by Frankie on May 29, 2013, 12:28 AM | #

Cut through to the average man.  Pass this around and post on comment streams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6dv9n9HpUQk

11

Posted by dawn M on May 29, 2013, 07:19 AM | #

http://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/papers/view/189767

This important as the people who produced this material are well respected academics and experts and their opinions are valued around the world.  Chatham House needs looking into. This is the image all academics around the world who deal in such issues will now have.

Matthew Goodwin -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Goodwin

12

Posted by Daniel Jackson on November 03, 2013, 08:53 PM | #

Hi! I am also a blogger and looking for some topics like this. It will help me to develop my skill in blog. I want to follow your next post and every post of you that have contains a lot of information for me. Wish you good luck.

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