“The great threat to art and academy, we are told, comes from miscreant artists and tenured radicals; but subsidized reactionaries tell us so, and these ideologues of conservative foundations have done the real damage, as public faith in art and academy is eroded through such fantasms of the artist and the academic. This is hardly a state secret: thus far the right has dictated the culture wars and dominated the public imaging of art and academy, as the layman is led to associate the first with pornography, the second with indoctrination, and both with a waste of taxpayer money. Such are the deserts of the rightist campaign: while the left talked about the politicaI importance of culture, the right practiced it. Its philosophers have succeeded where readers of Marx have not - they have transformed the world, and it will take a great struggle to transform it otherwise.
It may be petty to worry about art and academic worlds when cooperative state and social contract alike are trashed. Yet important battles are waged here too: the attacks on affirmative action and multicultural initiatives, on public funding and political correctness (a classic instance of a leftist critique turned into a rightist weapon). The revolution of the rich also shows its true colors in these worlds, for our current rulers have revealed a new disregard not only for social compensation but for cultural support (at least the old rich had the good grace to be arriviste). Finally, however, there is this fundamental stake in art and academy: the preservation, in an administered, affirmative culture, of spaces for criticaI debate and alternative vision.”
Hal Foster, the return of the real, 1996