From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war" --Walter Benjamin
"Legislators and leaders of men, such as Lycurgus, Solon, Mahomet, Napoleon, and so on, were all without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making a new law they transgressed the ancient one, handed down from their ancestors and held sacred by the people, and they did not stop short at bloodshed either, if that bloodshed often of innocent persons fighting bravely in defence of ancient law were of use to their cause." -- Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment
In Notes on Democracy, American satirist H. L. Mencken places political leaders into two categories: the demagogue, whom "preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots" and the demaslave, "who listens to what these idiots have to say and then pretends that he believes it himself." Mencken depicts politicians as "men who have sold their honor for their jobs." The book contains the notable quotes from Mencken that "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." and that "Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
Politics (from Greek Politiká: Politika, definition "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (this is usually a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities.
A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting or forcing one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.
It is very often said that politics is about power. A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. History of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.
The English politics has its roots in the name of Aristotle's classic work, Politiká, which introduced the Greek term politiká (Πολιτικά, 'affairs of the cities'). In the mid-15th century, Aristotle's composition would be rendered in Early Modern English as Polettiques [sic], which would become Politics in Modern English.
The singular politic first attested in English in 1430, coming from Middle French politique—itself taking from politicus, a Latinization of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos) from πολίτης (polites, 'citizen') and πόλις.
Influential literature in political science
- The Art of War – by Sun Tsu (c. 544–496 BC)
- History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 400 BC)
- The Republic – by Plato (427–347 BC)
- Laws – by Plato (427–347 BC)
- The Politics – Aristotle (384–322 BC)
- Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle (384–322 BC)
- Arthashastra – Chanakya (c. 350–283 BC)
- Meditations – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161–180 CE
- The Prince – by Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527)
- The Book of Five Rings – Miyamoto Musashi (c. 1584––1645)
- The Wealth of Nations – by Adam Smith (1723–1790)
- On War – by Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831)
- Leviathan – Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)
- The Communist Manifesto – by Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Politics and culture
Political art includes anything from anarcho-punk to culture jamming, from political literature to social realism, from political cinema to protest art. The term artivist come to mind. Think the Notre-Dame Affair and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
Political satire is a significant part of satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where political speech and dissent are forbidden by a regime, as a method of advancing political arguments where such arguments are expressly forbidden.
Political satire is usually distinguished from political protest or political dissent, as it does not necessarily carry an agenda nor seek to influence the political process. While occasionally it may, it more commonly aims simply to provide entertainment. By its very nature, it rarely offers a constructive view in itself; when it is used as part of protest or dissent, it tends to simply establish the error of matters rather than provide solutions.
Prominent pieces of political fiction have included the totalitarian dystopias of the early 20th century such as Jack London's The Iron Heel and Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here. Equally influential, if not more so, however, have been earlier pieces of political fiction such as Gulliver's Travels (1726), Candide (1759) and Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Political fiction frequently employs the literary modes of satire, often in the genres of Utopian and dystopian fiction or social science fiction.
Music and politics
There is a long history of the connection between music and politics, particularly political expression in music. This expression can use anti-establishment or protest themes, including anti-war songs, although pro-establishment ideas are also used, for example in national anthems, patriotic songs, and political campaigns. Many of these types of songs could be described as topical songs.
Unlike many other types of music, political music is not usually ambiguous, and is used to portray a specific political message. While the political message in political music is apparent, it is usually in the political context of the time it was made--which makes understanding the historical events and time that inspired the music essential to fully understanding the message in the music.
Since political music is meant to be heard by the people, it is often meant to be popular.
In the history of theatre, there is long tradition of performances addressing issues of current events and central to society itself, encouraging consciousness and social change. The political satire performed by the comic poets at the theatres, had considerable influence on public opinion in the Athenian democracy. Those earlier Western dramas, arising out of the polis, or democratic city-state of Greek society, were performed in amphitheatres, central arenas used for theatrical performances, religious ceremonies and political gatherings; these dramas had a ritualistic and social significance that enhanced the relevance of the political issues being examined. And one must marvel at the open-minded examination of controversial and critical topics that took place right in the political heart of Athenian society, allowing a courageous self-examination of the first democracy trying to develop and refine itself further
Shakespeare is an author of political theatre according to some academic scholars, who observe that his history plays examine the machinations of personal drives and passions determining political activity and that many of the tragedies such as King Lear and Macbeth dramatize political leadership and complexity subterfuges of human beings driven by the lust for power; for example, they observe that class struggle in the Roman Republic is central to Coriolanus.
Political Cinema in the narrow sense of the term is a cinema which portrays current or historical events or social conditions in a partisan way in order to inform or to agitate the spectator. Political cinema exists in different forms such as documentaries, feature films, or even animated and experimental films.