Thursday, March 27, 2003
Julia Keller on entertainment-induced guilt.
The fact is, most of us are not directly involved in the war on terrorism, or the war with which it has become conflated -- the war on Iraq. Most of us are not soldiers. Most of us are not legislators. Most of us are not homeland security experts.
Most of us are accountants and systems analysts and doctors and telemarketers and plumbers and teachers and mothers and fathers. Most of us are just regular people who keep up with the news when we can -- some of us don't always have the time, and some of us don't always have the stomach for it, either -- and who want to do the right thing, whatever we deem that to be in the private crucible of our own consciences, and who occasionally crave a good DVD or the casual visit to an art museum, and who wonder, in the midst of this dark time, if it's OK to want those things.
And we know, when we think about it, that the arts do a great deal more in times such as these than merely make us feel guilty. Works of art can remind us of things we might otherwise forget in the midst of chaos and tragedy: that certain principles endure, that people can create art out of the deepest despair; that love exists.