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Oil Heiress-Funded Climate Taliban Attack Gustav Klimt’s Tod und Leben
Also open thread.
Two days ago, a pair of protestors from the American oil heiress-funded cultural vandalism collective known as Letzte Generation threw oil over the glass sheet protecting Gustav Klimt’s Tod und Leben at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. One of them was immediately dragged off by museum staff, while the other glued himself to the frame and proceeded to lecture visitors about the evils of fossil fuels.
Letzte Generation lack the confidence of the Taliban, who proudly destroyed ancient Buddhist monuments, officially because they violated Islamic law, but in truth as an act of defiance and retaliation against the West. They have similar dual motivations, driven as they are by a deep abhorrence of Western culture, which merely finds one of many possible expressions in their climate activism, but the strength and the moral certainty just aren’t there. They attack well-protected artworks; they glue their hands with no little timidity only to the outermost edges. These are the austere moralists who want to smash the idols, but who aren’t so sure they’re vacant stone, and fear the power that is still in them.
We live in an age of social contagion, where the most widely propagated movements succeed not because they are clever, or wise, or prudent, but simply because they make easy demands on their members and they’re good at self-propagation. It’s easy to throw around oil and shout about the climate; it took Klimt seven years to finish painting Tod und Leben to his satisfaction. A central question, is how long the antinomianist allures of our postmodern post-Corona world will remain ascendant, and to what degree our climate Taliban are justified in their fear of the beauty, discipline and the strength that remain with us.