The February, 2010 issue of The Brooklyn Rail features an article by philosopher and VCS faculty member Robert Hullot-Kentor. Titled “What Barbarism Is?,” it delves deeply into the inescapable (but often evaded) implications cast our way by Theodor W. Adorno’s comments on barbarism and culture. By turns, the piece mulls over the ties between primitivism, nationalism, modernism, and simple ordinariness in America, passing along the way through a consideration of how economy and equality relate (or perhaps refuse to relate) in modern society. The piece ends at a discussion of Richard Serra’s sculptures as parallel images of mastery and defeat, the wonder and fear that together seem to best serve a state of helplessness.
There’s a lot more to the article than this brief and very light synopsis have been able to capture, and I encourage everyone here to follow the link above and read it.