Maybe It’s Time We Start Asking the Question: Why Do Conservative People Suck at Art?

So why is it that people of the more artistic persuasion are less likely to fall for this con? Well, it’s the liberal culture of Hollywood that….no, stop right there. Most musicians don’t live in L.A. and most have very little to do with Hollywood whatsoever. These are the people blacklisting the inauguration. Also, and here’s a more important point, only like .01 percent of artists actually make a living from their art. Yet, they almost universally revile conservative politics. Remember that tiny band Nirvana from 20 odd years ago? I’ve never really been a huge fan myself, but in watching that utterly horrible Montage of Heck documentary last year (God, do NOT watch that heroin snuff film bullshit), something fairly profound did in fact occur to me. That “rage of a generation” angst that Kurt Cobain got so famous peddling? Where’d it stem from exactly? Well, as it turns out, it stemmed from growing up in the coastal elite logging town of Aberdeen, Washington and being an artsy kid. In small town America, being different doesn’t go over super well in a lot of cases. You’re probs going to get your ass kicked on the regs. Seeing as our country is far more politically divided between the cities and small towns than anything else at this point, it might be time to start having these conversations

Shortly after the Trumpocalypse, I had a fun discussion on FB (like my writer page for psi intel). One of my fans from rural America was pointing out to me that people in small towns are actually way nicer than us big city “elites” make them out to be. It was with this that I had to interject…ummm, really? The thing is, when I was younger, I dressed a tad weirder than I do now. It was the 90’s in Ohio and I wore what were rather over the top thrift store collage outfits at the time. I had the old school Mike Patton from Faith No More long-but-shaved-on-the-sides do. While still living in a smaller town, I at one point had a hardcore Christian manager who waged an unsuccessful campaign to try and get me fired when he realized I had long hair under the hat I was required to wear at work. Not to mention the time I was pulled over for no reason, illegally searched for drugs, and thrown in jail while driving through nowheresville. Why? As far as I can tell, because my friend had a Bad Religion sticker on his car.

Fact is, half the time I went outside a city and into a smaller town, I got fucked with. Random dudes would come up and try to pick fights with me, for no other reason than I didn’t look like what “normal” was supposed to look like in their world.  You know what’s uber creepy about all this? I’m a white guy. Not only am I a white guy, I’m quite a bit more muscular than average. Despite all that, I was still the target for random harassment. I got pretty good a diffusing fights, especially in situations where dudes quite a bit smaller than me wanted to go at it. There are some incidents in my past where I still go, what on earth was going on with that tiny dude randomly trying to pick a fight with me and my 3 friends who dwarfed him? Maybe he had a gun? That’s sort of why I always diffused these things with my mouth rather than my fists.

By why the hell did I have to diffuse things in the first place? I looked like the same goddamn bands they were watching on TV (god I’m old). It got to the point where I knew this was going to happen in advance. I’ll never forget moving to Seattle and dating a girl who had a friend way out in the sticks. We’re were partying at her place well outside the city one night and they decided they wanted to go out to a bar. I had to point out to them that if we did, I was going to get fucked with. They didn’t even believe the words coming out of my mouth and thought I was being crazy paranoid. Sure enough, we’re at the bar for barely 5 minutes before the bartender himself starts berating me, openly trying to hit on my girlfriend right in front of me, and calling me “college boy”. Sometimes everything just comes together and as we were leaving he attempted to get in one final jab. “What are you going to do with that fancy degree college boy?” “Her” I said, motioning to my scorching hot young lady friend. “I’m going to do her.” I kept that promise, but the utter strangeness of the entire endeavor stuck with me. Even though I can blend in and look like about as normal a normal looking white dude as humanly possible these days (pending I’m not showing my tattoos), you think I’m itching to go out for a drink in Trump country anytime soon? Riiiiiight. Again, I’m not even a minority. Imagine how they feel. People in small towns are in fact super nice, but typically only to other totally normal looking Christian white people. At least that’s been my experience.

As mentioned, we’re currently more politically divided between the cities and small towns than ever before, which also means we’re more politically divided between the artsy types and the norms. If you’re of the more artistic persuasion, you almost have to move to whatever big city you can, not just because that’s the only place you’ll find other artists or any semblance of an art scene, but also because it’s probably the only place you won’t get regularly fucked with. This meme pretty much sums it up (although I’m not much of a punk guy myself):

punk rock

But that’s only one aspect of it. I’m sure another factor is that artists (especially musicians) are typically poor and often don’t have fun things like health insurance. I personally love watching alt wrong dorks get worked up about the “Hollywood elite” while failing to recognize, you know those stars who you’re convinced are in the Illuminati actually work for non-creative types who are far richer than them right? Of course you don’t, you’d couldn’t even come up with something as basic as Pepe on your own. You had to steal it from a now terrified lefty dude. In general, for every dollar most artists make on their art, some boring suit makes 4. Now we’re in a situation where for every dime we make, some tech bro makes a dollar. Go look at a list of the richest people in the world? How many artists of any variety are on that list? Even those super successful “elite artists” are technically getting fucked over by shitty businessmen when you look at the fine print most of the time. Same deal with athletes. It’s easy to forget that say LeBron James technically works for a guy who’s way richer than him, who made a fortune off the subprime mortgage crisis and threw pro-Trump parties in secret. Which would be another point, since most athletes in the NFL and NBA are minorities, those people hate the new regime for the most part too. So basically, nearly everyone that large numbers of people give a fuck about because they make our lives less boring hate the new administration.

But those are social and socio-economic factors. There’s obviously a psychological explanation for why creative types tend to loathe regressive politics as well. If I were to guess, I’d say this most likely has to do with the creative part of the mind giving artists a greater sense of empathy toward others. It’s why I encourage everyone to explore this part of themselves, whether they excel at it or not. Same reason everyone should exercise. There’s an enormous tie between spirituality and art and great artists are typically more of the divergent thinking variety. They’re trying to come up with new things, with new means of expression. Conservativism in a nutshell is the exact opposite. It’s trying to keep things the same and even more bizarrely, trying to recapture some sort of imagined fictional glory of the past. Make America Great Again? Like fucking when exactly? When rich people paid way more in taxes? Chaos and Order I suppose. I’m not going to pretend religion doesn’t have a lot to do with this. Why is it that people of the more artistic or creative persuasions just don’t buy into shit like religious fundamentalism as easily as well? Why are there like 4 well respected Christian bands total in the entire history of rock music? Why indeed.

If I were a clever psychology student, this is certainly something I’d be working on if I wanted to get published. It’s one thing to notice something obvious about our collective psychology. It’s another thing to officially “prove” it with research, as I learned. Regardless of whether or not this “proof” comes about in the near future, the obviousness of an entire creative class collectively rejecting the dominant politics of their era is going to be a tad unprecedented in the coming years. Get your popcorn ready.

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Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

CEO at DMI
Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken