Manufacturing Innocence

After the crash in 1929, the US saw a united effort to recreate innocence. Disney was at the forefront. His work from the '20s was edgy. See Mickey get more cute into the '30s. There are many other examples. The movie industry self-censored.

Three on a Match

It's odd, but I find myself now in sympathy with the project of engineering macrocosmic innocence.

It is not a desire for kitsch. Innocence--think of Bambi (1923), by the Austrian Felix Salten, written at the same moment when Robert Musil was finishing The Man Without Qualities. Disney ended up with the rights and created the cornerstone of American innocence, but with a Parsifal undertone. In Parsifal, as in Babar, the mother has to get killed-off early on.

Innocence is merely a backgrounding strategy. The evil and decadence that we came to love does not go away, but it becomes buried in metaphor, allegory, etc.

What moves me at the moment is the staleness of our present cynicism. It's likely not much different from Huysmann, Wilde and Dowson converting to Catholicism. Sometimes there's nowhere to go but toward innocence.

In my work, this translates into a complete lack of interest in shocking dissonance. It's impossible to shock that way. What shocks is juxtaposition of dissonance with as yet (in my circles) still socially unacceptable consonance.

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