A number of artists I like seem to only focus either on protest against the imperialism of governments, or the torment of chasing after love.

The latter is always worked with sensually – we the audience are drawn to think of those times ourselves through a number of images. Each image brings up a moment in our own life we regret not experiencing anymore. The images connect both artist and audience in what we had, and what we’ve lost.

The feeling of possessing/losing that pervades the images brought up also describes the relationship between the artist and the audience on a deeper level. The artist has to hold your attention, otherwise he’s not a good artist. A reaction has to be created in you, the audience, that you can’t so easily turn away from.

I’m not saying this is manipulation. It isn’t necessarily – even Platonic philosophy is presented as drama: Who wants to be bored? In our consumer culture, it does seem more like cheap manipulation at times, but most of us can just label the worst offenders “bad artists” and move on.

What I do want to say is that a life centered around getting and giving only in the context of having – a life centered around the erotic – can probably only see political things as an extension of that “logic.” I don’t know that political things are reducible to love and lust, though. It is possible to see political things in the light of “trying to do your best for everyone:” that’s not necessarily utility, but a good for the group that can’t be seen as analogous to any good for the individual, perhaps.

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