Cannibals And Delicates, Brutes and Brittles – Neocon Austerity Makers, And Those Among Democratic Politicians Who are Not Able To Promote And Protect People-friendly Economic Policies

A grotesque male nude dominates Dubuffet’s “Will to Power”, his gritty roughness, burly proportions, inlaid stone teeth, and glass fragments for eyes giving him a fierce and threating air. But the figure’s aggressive machismo is itself threatened by the very stance he assumes…
Jan Avgikos

Jean Dubuffet’s “Power”
Jean Dubuffet, “Will to Power”, 1946 (when face is not different from the body; when speech is not different from the crushing people with feet).

Dubuffet represents the protagonist of his painting as if with two thirds of his body he lives inside the earth (justified characterization of the psychology of extreme conservatives living, as if, in soil and caves). Only his shoulders and head are above the topsoil, and he looks at the world with a predatory alertness that has something of the sadness of conservative inertia. His eyes pierce the space with fear and preventive intimidation. What’s coming out of his mouth? – Growling: “Austerity! Privatizing/ Dismantling Social Security! Elimination of Medicare and Medicate! Death to food stamps! Long live new wars!”

But where are his arms? They can be behind his back, and then his posture is that of a policeman observing the world. But his hands can be functionally absent – this creature can use hands-arms of others – like general – hands of the soldiers, like billionaire – hands of taxpayers on whose money he makes his profits, like leader of torturers – hands of torturers. His legs are animalistic. His mustache and hair on his torso makes his flesh heavy as an anchor – he is an intra-soil organism – lower than the bottom of human world.

His face is a mechanical continuation of his flesh. And his opened mouth is like the bottom of his foot because his speech of neocon politician is crushing people with pauperization. His eyes are of the color of hate excited by predatory intentionality. There is a permanent hunger in his eyes, and a depression of being imprisoned in what he is.

Otto Dix, “Hairdresser”
Otto Dix, “Hairdresser” or “The God of Barbers”

The world of Dix’s “The God of Barbers” is the opposite of the world of brutes/louts’ with “will to power” who have only their own predatory interests to care about. Neo-conservatives, be they profit-makers or politicians do only one thing in the world – fighting for their profits and advantages. In this sense they are living tautology – their world is they themselves, they radiate into space like sun’s beams. There is no place for otherness in their world. But look how complicated and “pluralistic” the interior of the hairdresser’s world is. While neo-cons fight for themselves liberally minded politicians are, first of all, proud professionals – people who want to grow in their area of expertise. Those among democrats, who psychologically are not capable to fight for the interests of the wide masses of population and who are too “gentle” with their conservative opponents, can be metaphorized by the image of Dix’s barber with his delicate gestures/words. The fact that Dix shows his softly pale protagonist, polite with his surrounding and suspended over the floor on the stage of his interior in front of the mirror, helps us to understand more about those of the politicians-democrats for whom participation in the political process is a kind of office job, armchair experience of keeping clean from being soiled. Dix’ god of barbers is suspended over the floor because his work is to dance the everyday ritual of pleasing customers, like barber-democrats are ready to produce and vote for good progressive laws (which “aborted” anyway by conservative’s negative votes or filibuster). Hairdressers-democrats think about democratic politics as a post-political, post-historical affair, a kind of an administering the life of society – they underestimate the “dark energies” of their neo-conservative opponents and colleagues, with terrifying results for American people. There are not too many real – courageous democrats who are able for civil but tough political fight, and in many situations we, Americans, are locked between Dubuffet’s monster and Dix’s “god of barbers”, until we will not elect more courageous and tough democrats into government.

While the protagonist of Dubuffet’s painting imposes himself on the viewers, like the neocons do with their cutting slogans and freedom of hate speech – on American people, the character in Dix’s painting is inside his own closed world, like post-fight democrats are sitting in their offices and dancing between them, instead of permanently and articulately talking to the American people and tirelessly publicly arguing with their neocon opponents.

Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet with his childishly naughty smile, which is difficult to connect with his many works

Otto Dix, Self-portrait
Otto Dix, Self-portrait

Pay attention to Otto Dix’s eyes with their stubborn curiosity about the monstrosity of the human world. His gaze at the world is confrontational yet positively, even cheerfully so.