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(June 1962)


theory that all is absurd. More so, since twice the fool is the man who seriously terms all the world foolish. All of the delicacy and clarity of meaning of Voltaire's Candide are forsaken for a dubious gain in impact. Since only those already struck by both the message and the extreme form of presenting it see and read the new avant-garde plays, the movement must be only expressive, not successfully propagandistic, and certainly not educative, for the destructiveness of the genre is all too obvious.

Then again last night Jill and I dined with Hart Perry, Laura Bergquist, a secretary of Beatty Perry and a Polish painter, here for a few months and a ward of Beatty Perry, Wochek Tangor, a giant pole of a man, blond and Baltic, slow of speech and careful, with good sense, who dabs tiny amounts of ideas neatly onto very large canvases. After dinner at the Perry's, whose apartment in McDougall Alley is full of monster abstractions by Grace Gargan and the like, one more ludicrous and oppressive than another, we moved to Wochek's studio where he lifted into view perhaps fifty of his neatly framed canvases, none less than 4 feet square, and all marked by an abstemious careful painting on of some shades of a single color, or at most two, on a minor portion of the large white spaces. There were simple nozzles, squirts, circles, stripes, polka dots, and dashes. What could one say about them? Nothing. They were not obnoxious. One cannot resent them as object -- as one can socialist realism, the deserving enemy of any communist artist with intelligence and taste -- because they are mental and moral blanks, or as close to blankness as one can be without quitting altogether. Laura, pleasant, assertive fool that she is, grew enthused and would have them photographed for possible use in Look Magazine. The best I might say for them is that they would, if lined up along a dark factory passageway or bureaucratic corridor of offices, lighten the heavy tread of the peasantry. The commercial success of abstract art comes, I guess, from the same large group of people who a generation and more ago bought up thousands of paintings and reproductions of shepherds playing fifes while bloomered heavy-wigged ladies danced by the stream.

The reality of most philosophers and hoi polloi is a psychopathology of perception.

June 26, 1962

Another dunce of a Supreme Court decision. They forbid NY State to have schools administer a non-denominational prayer to 'Almighty God' each day, even though dissenters are allowed to refrain. The NY rule is supposed to tend to establish a religion. If the Court blocked everything that tended to disestablish free enterprise, or the powers of the States, etc., etc., wouldn't there be a frightful melée. And all the liberals who scoff at the idea of "creeping socialism" are the most extreme sensors and censors of "creeping religiousness".

The Supreme Court simultaneously released a decision directing that three homosexual magazines be freed for circulation through the mails. Couple this with the decision of prayer and witness the symptoms of a society's self-destruction! No matter whether you are an atheistic homosexual! You must attest to the fact and the spectacle. No country can compose itself into a whole and leading force where the laws encourage homosexuality and forbid prayer. At best, these laws must run in reverse to some degree. Possibly the society is too set in fact against the laws to make the laws more than symptomatic. But if every move in a game is bad, the game is lost. And who is to blithely assert that a Supreme Court decision is without any meaning or effect?

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