Sanctimonious people everywhere denounce damn lies and the lying liars who tell them. Speaking the truth, they imply, would cure our political and personal ills. Its absence is the cause of our woes. But is telling the truth really good for you?
Spin the bottle in any college dorm and you’ll kiss a relativist. But have you ever set lips on an absolutist?
What is art for? “L’art pour l’art” wrote Théophile Gautier as a slogan in 1835. And today’s bohemians continue to repeat the creed “Art for art’s sake.” It’s a catchy slogan, still what most people unreflectively tell themselves when confronted with the question: “What is the purpose of art?”