Wednesday, January 18, 2006

From Mere Comments
The pathetic fallacy, economics and art
A traditionalist RC site that’s also leftover Cold War neoconnish tries to use this fallacy (using ad hominem to try to discredit a work or idea, like saying ‘the sun rises in the eastern sky’ can’t be true if Hitler said it). Specifically, it’s trying to discredit distributism because one of its founders, artist Eric Gill (part of the Catholic cutting edge in the early C20, the best of the modern but in the service of the old religion), was also sex-mad, into blasphemous art, incest and pædophilia. As Cardinal Hume was right about keeping Gill’s art in his cathedral (because there was nothing wrong with the content), the point of these cultured folks at Touchstone, so it is with this — the theory stands or falls regardless of Gill’s pastimes and problems.

Reminds me of this W.H. von Dreele verse I read in National Review years ago. Don’t know if there’s any truth in it:
Christina Rossetti
Festooned in confetti
Posed for nude posters
With loud
Pater nosters.
That religious, even ultimately holy people didn’t always live up to the faith is no surprise. (Evelyn Waugh went to prostitutes.) They say you can go to hell by imitating the faults of the saints. However, Gill was pretty shameless. The funny thing is his blasphemous sex pictures do work as art — but of course they’re wrong.

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