Quote of the Day: Politics and Aesthetics Edition

We may be able to learn something about expressive political from aesthetic theory. Its function, like that of the abstract political symbols discussed here, is to serve as a vehicle for expression, both for the artist and for the audience, rather than as an instrument for changing the world. Here again remoteness from immediate experience turns out to be a necessary feature. Many artists have recognized that the expressive power of their works is dependent upon their creating a world set apart from the one in which the audience lives and breathes, so that the spectators may find it easier to engage themselves with the artistic symbols. The proscenium arch in the theatre, the stylized language or form of poetry, the frame and distortions of a painting are some devices for creating a special symbolic universe. … Psychological distance from symbols that evoke perceptions and emotions heightens their potency rather than reducing it. Few principles are more centrally involved in the working of government.

Murray Edelman, The Symbolic Uses of Politics, p. 11.

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