the power of art – four possibilities – Wayne C Booth

“I see only four possibilities.; They might attempt, like the Amish, to isolate themselves completely for the rest of American society, banning all art works except the scriptures. They might, secondly, attempt to impose a censorship program, allowing people (or trying to allow people) to see, read, or hear, only what the censors declare harmless or beneficial.  They might attempt to put their energies into harmless or “wholesome” arts like ballroom dancing, athletics, symphony orchestras that plays safe traditional music, hymnals, and fiction with clearly recognizable inspirational messages. Or they might try to develop a great art so powerful that it would counteract, by its very strength, the shoddy culture it opposes. [ In the end, we must accept that] bland art is no defense against powerful bad art.” (Emphasis added)

–       Wayne C. Booth from the University of Chicago when discussing if art and religion can go together in today’s world. (found in “Religion Versus Art: Can the Ancient Conflict be Resolved?” Wayne C. Booth, Arts and Inspiration: Mormon Perspectives, edited by Steven P. Sondrup. Brigham Young University Press: Provo, UT, 1980, pp 30 – 31.)

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