It’s fashion month, I’ve just done an interview with Vogue where I describe the dress of the ‘barbarians’ Matthew Arnold’s term for the tribal hunting + fishing aristocrats. When I was a punk, I decided I was an anarchist. Young vs Old. The run by the Devils who had created the Vietnam war.
Get rid of them! I created the anarchy sign . I read ‘Culture and Anarchy’ by Matthew Arnold, it made a great impression on me. He was the son of Dr Arnold, Master and Founder of Rugby public school. Matthew was an inspector of school education, a poet + a liberal philosopher amongst the group of 19th century liberals. He refused to join them in opening the franchise to working men on the basis that people who R uneducated R unfit to vote: first U have to educate people.
This is exactly the reason why Socrates took the poison. He didn’t believe in Greek democracy where a clever + self-serving orator could manipulate the mob > what about today’s propaganda machine: Fox news? & in general with regard 2 the press, it’s what they don’t say. What about David Attenborough? What about 1 degree? It seems to have gone off the radar. The establishment is still . They can’t wait 2 get back 2 normal.
Culture and anarchy don’t go together, they R opposed. MA famously divided society into barbarians, philistines + populace: Barbarians, the tribal aristocracy: Philistines, the middle-class who care only about money + business, a product of the industrial revolution: the uneducated Populace whom he dismissed as people who love 2 smash things + get pissed on Saturday night. Marx lumped society into ‘Capitalist which he conflated with Bourgeois’ + Proletariat. NB. The upper class had now joined the middle class entrepreneurs.
Oscar Wilde ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ Lady Bracknell questioning Ernest, the suitor of Gwendolen, her ward, ‘were you born into the commercial class or did you rise from the ranks of the aristocracy?’ (no, he was discovered in a handbag in a cloakroom at Victoria station!)
Anarchy means a system of government without leaders + it can perhaps work 4 a while in small communes, but even there it disintegrates into a fight 4 leadership + on a large scale it ends in communism. MA tells us that society needs to be held together by belief in a higher authority. God? No! a concept he calls, “God’s Will” = God as a symbol of our perfection. (Intellectuals say, we created God in our own image). MA talks constantly of “the best self”. We have all got one, but U need 2 cultivate it (by following yr deep interest). This gives culture. He believed in education Today, education is a shambles + nothing 2 do with culture that’s why reading is so important.
The Best Self is what led me 2 the Tao. Tao calls it your c’hi. Always follow your c’hi, it is yr true Self, yr Highest Authority. It is the cosmic life force, yr spirit. It is culture: we R all connected by the life force.
The Queen of Hearts is Arnold’s definition of culture. Now U know what ‘pursuit of our perfection’ means: yr c’hi is yr potential, follow it + become who U R.
If we apply MA’s definition to fashion Barbarians: glamorous, elegant + eccentric, Savile Row + couture for ladies Philistine: no taste, only money, logos + bling Populace: With regard 2 my latest collection 2 busy, I told my team, get on with it. Remember Vivienne Westwood ready-to-wear is always street theatre, commedia dell arte; plays with proportion, exaggerates + reduces. I forgot 2 mention “beautiful, tells a story”. They raided the archive. It’s a mad rabble! It’s been a big success.
That’s the last of the riot, next season No Sale carry clothes over to next seasons (cut down on production); a small beautiful collection, produced under the auspice of ‘what’s good for the planet is good for the economy’. Buy less, Choose well, make it Last.
This is why I formed Intellectuals Unite. I promised that every first Tuesday of the Month my diary will be dedicated to you (IOU Book Club).