External contribution

Misery of the cultural world

While the cultural sector seemed to wake up yesterday from a lethargy of almost two years, one could have thought that the time had come for a revolt. But it was a masked and wise crowd, as it has been since the beginning, that listened to the speakers who followed one another on the stage (whose amplification equipment had not been banned as for the firemen who wanted to speak on December 19 at the Cinquantenaire…). The words of the « cultural operators », who were not seen at the demonstrations in Brussels on Sundays, sounded hollow in the face of the drama of the present situation, and of the catastrophes to come. No reference to this indispensable unit with caregivers yesterday applauded, today forced to vaccinate themselves; with the firemen, the hotel and catering industry, the children summoned to wear masks from 6 years old, the madness of the vaccination of 5–11 years old started… Yesterday, it was the petty-bourgeois thought in all its splendor that expressed itself, which does not mix with the « extreme right » people… And who will get out of its straitjacket when it will no longer think of itself as « elite » and will understand that it is all together that we will be able to get out of it. Support for Culture, the real one, the impertinent and seditious one. 

The expert Marius Gilbert reacted on the RTBF following the last measures taken by the Codeco and which mainly target the cultural activities in Belgium. With tremolos in his voice and tears of circumstance flooding his foul mask, he said he regretted these measures for the following main reason: for nearly 2 years, cultural operators have shown maximum docility to implement the new social regulations even the most coercive as the Cst, this disguised vaccine obligation.

Weren’t the cultural « operators » in perfect agreement with the scientism and ethics that were supposed to justify them? And this is how Codeco treats these good citizens? On the contrary, it was necessary to reward cultural operators and not to hit them hard by imposing the closure of cultural places. It would have been fairer, for example, to target other sectors of activity. It should be noted, by the way, that Mr. Gilbert seems to share the same misguided sense of justice as the left-wing parties and the trade unions, for example, whatever their political color, blue, red, green, yellow: did they not just recently wave their flags in the streets of Brussels because it would be fairer, according to them, to inject the entire population, including children, and not just a few categories of workers such as nurses? Grotesque and laughable if all this were not fraught with consequences for the simple survival of workers. But let’s get back to the tears of Mr. Gilbert and the cultural operators.

Spokesman for the cultural operators, Mr. Gilbert is then worried about what he calls the probable consequences of this so-called « error » of governance which would show a certain incompetence of the governors: on the one hand, it could ruin the magnificent work done by Codeco and be dearly paid by a loss of the trust granted until now to the experts/politicians by the cultural operators; on the other hand, the strong probability that the cultural world becomes a little more turbulent, or even enters into boiling, that it begins for example to demonstrate like the nursing staff and other professions.… and to top it all off, that it will end up joining the extreme right-wing demonstrations! (sic!).

The current reactions of cultural professionals and their promises of spectacular actions actually leave me cold

For my part, I draw the following conclusions:

1. Mr. Gilbert seems to be the spokesman of the cultural world, but he is afraid of losing his own credibility as an expert and advisor to princes. His crocodile tears are not tears of empathy for the abused populations but tears of spite and fear of losing the little power he has been exercising for almost two years with his political, economic, cultural, national and transnational associates. In other words, Mr. Gilbert is trying to save his own crocodile skin first.

2. But Mr. Gilbert also pleads for the preservation of Codeco’s living conditions, an objective that has never been contested by cultural operators either. In his logic of adviser of the princes, Mr. Gilbert has always thought, with the support of the cultural operators, that the cultural activities had to depend on the almighty will of the Codeco and on the maintenance of all that this Codeco presupposes: the private interests of pharmaceutical firms and others, the perfection of the techniques of social domination implemented by the political power, in short, the maintenance of the capitalism in all its innumerable splendors

Mr. Gilbert implicitly says that with other measures, the cultural world and the film industry would not have flinched and would have obeyed the princes and the experts all the better. Take other measures and we, the operators of the cultural world, guarantee that we will be the best executors in the world. Have we not behaved in an exemplary manner for months, have we not shown the greatest self-sacrifice? Didn’t we obey the injunctions of the power in place even if the artists could still in the past claim a free activity and that a Beethoven or a Balzac or a Brassens for example would have laughed at us?

4. What Mr. Gilbert refers to as the « extreme right » are the huge groups of people who participate in the Sunday protests: all those who are much more aware of the meaning of the maneuvers of the princes, the experts… and the cultural operators. It is obvious that by calling them extreme right-wing, both Mr. Gilbert and those he advocates seek to discredit them. The mass is thus said in this new oath of allegiance of the cultural operators: « the extreme right, it will obviously never be us, princes, experts and cultural operators ». « Can you believe it? These obscurantist masses imagine that princes, experts and cultural operators are making plans to manipulate them! ». This is why the current reactions of the professionals (subsidized or not) of the culture and their promises of spectacular actions leave me frozen. 

I may be wrong but given the type of tremolos used by Mr. Gilbert, I see these reactions as a simple twist in a game of strategy to consolidate the power in place. From the beginning, cultural operators have accepted to play the game of power. If some of them are currently standing up against their Codeco partners, their opposition does not mean that they are questioning the game, the partners present, the rules and the objective of the game: to make the power of some and/or others triumph temporarily (because if they are allies, they are also in competition with each other, as a capitalist society is obliged to do), even if it means eliminating a few less gifted players.

It is in a general way that I have just mentioned the spiritual misery of the cultural world today. But there is nothing to prevent this or that artist from actually getting out of the game. Will he join the so-called far-right mass? Who knows…by definition, an artist should indeed have an imagination.

Laure (Editor’s hat, AP)

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