WHAT IS AMERICAN VULGARIA?
AMERICAN VULGARIA is an independent art and culture magazine based in Missoula, MT. We exist to defend artistic freedom against ideological corruption; to promote gratitude for — not censorship of — the arts. Our approach to art and culture mirrors our commitment to free speech and expression: all ideas are open to entertainment, and we believe that an entertained idea does not equal an accepted one.
We are artists for art’s sake.
“Vulgar” stems from the Latin vulgus, which means “common person” and not simply “saying naughty things” or “wearing provocative clothes.” Our universal baseline is vulgar: rot and reproduction, digestion and excretion, bodily urges and subconscious impulses — these are our common denominators, regardless of class lines or moral differences. The best art doesn’t evade our vulgar baseness. Art confronts our animal nature, transmogrifying it into beautiful monuments and enlightening experiences; and under conditions of excess beauty and enlightenment, art humbly reminds us of our inner murk and darkness.
Though often “vulgar” in speech, attitude, and fashion, the artist is, and has always been, an entirely uncommon person, a socially unacceptable weirdo looking in from the outside. As such, the artist benefits society not by moral leadership but by assault:
The poet, the artist, the sleuth — whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial; rarely “well-adjusted,” he cannot go along with currents and trends. A strange bond often exists between antisocial types in their power to see environments as they really are. This need to interface, to confront environments with a certain antisocial power is manifest in the famous story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage
In the new millennium, the role of the artist has been swept and vulgarized by the consensus-forming pressures of social media. Careerists in disguise, many of today’s so-called artists have foregone their duty to create individually expressive works of art, as they power-trip over each other to instead build their cults of influence. Chasing each other’s tail, they are slowly spiraling in a clogged toilet-swirl of trendy news stories, hot takes, and last-night’s-episode recaps, each seeking the acceptance and approval of their contemporaries, as measured by the “likes,” “follows,” and “retweets” of the fickle vulgar masses. Their failure to answer to a greater calling outside their inward-staring social circles — to pay tribute to the prehistorically deep traditions of poetry, painting, and myth-making — has resulted in a hip-addicted art-world gone stagnant, sterile, and anemic, completely devoid of substance, style, or soul.
Attention, not expression, is what today’s artists are pursuing.
In defense of art, AMERICAN VULGARIA rejects all dogmatic ass-sniffing and trendy obligations imposed on the otherwise amoral, antisocial artist. We enjoy our freedom to pursue taboo subjects, express unpopular ideas, and entertain challenging aesthetics through stories and essays, poems and paintings, and so on.
Our goal isn’t to offend the easily offended but to promote the arts.
AMERICAN VULGARIA operates on the belief that we are all inherently vile creatures with infinitely virtuous potential; that art cultivates virtue not by moral lecture but by subjecting our inner murk and darkness to self-reflection. Those who advocate for the censorship or cancellation of artists do so not to protect the masses from obscene content or immoral influence but to protect themselves from confronting their own vile nature and from realizing their own potential — to continue the delusion that their emperor’s new clothes are absolutely on point today.
WHO FUNDS AMERICAN VULGARIA?
AMERICAN VULGARIA is independent and ad-free, and we’re able to maintain this status through community funding. To support us, please consider subscribing to AMERICAN VULGARIA at $5 per month through the following link: SUBSCRIBE.
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