The simpleton looks at Bradford


July 13, 2006 by AK

What leavened the Nazi mind? An irrepressible, all-embracing, ultra-Romantic yearning; a painful, morbid sensitivity to beauty and ugliness — both in the beholder’s eyes; an obsessive myth pushing out reason with its terrible beauty. Add resentment, fear, envy and plain hatred at will.

To an art virgin, Nazi aesthetics is uncannily attractive. The pop aesthetics of contemporary America or Europe is, on the contrary, ugly. The aesthetic aspect of non-European immigration to the West, as seen by that virgin from Russia, is likewise repulsive: an Eastern bazaar replaces the Gothic cathedral. Russia surrendered to ugliness long ago: the beautiful white churches of old Rus’ are few, while cinder blocks and bazaars are many. The naive aesthete turns to the West, and sees a museum at best and a buzzing Oriental swarm at worst. What has the West to offer to the aesthetically sensitive Russian? That’s a huge question because the Russian taste is key to the Russian mind.


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