Where the artist is still trusted, he will not be looked to for assurance (Flannery O’Connor)

Unless we are willing to accept our artists as they are, the answer to the question, “Who speaks for America today?” will have to be: the advertising agencies. They are entirely capable of showing us our unparalleled prosperity and our almost classless society, and no one has ever accused them of not being affirmative. Where the artist is still trusted, he will not be looked to for assurance. Those who believe that art proceeds from a healthy, and not from a diseased, faculty of the mind will take what he shows them as a revelation, not of what we ought to be but of what we are at a given time and under given circumstances; that is, as a limited revelation but revelation nevertheless.

From Flannery O’Connor’s essay “The Fiction Writer and His Country,” collected in Mystery and Manners.

 

3 thoughts on “Where the artist is still trusted, he will not be looked to for assurance (Flannery O’Connor)”

  1. Wise words. If we take the other commercial artists of today at face value, we are a society of brute sensate dependence, addicted to speed, violent lusts and superficial love. Hard bodied and hard natured, ready to evolve into our beetle form. Mom is kept in a vault, where she’ll be safe from wanton depravity and we’ll be safe from her love.

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