In 3FROG, we’re currently reading Ayn Rand’s anthology on aesthetics, The Romantic Manifesto. In our last discussion, I was particularly struck by this passage from “The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age,” published in 1962:
If you wonder what is the ultimate destination toward which modern philosophy and modern art are leading you, you may observe its advance symptoms all around us. Observe that literature is returning to the art form of the pre-industrial ages, to the chronicle–that fictionalized biographies of “real” people, of politicians, baseball-players or Chicago gangsters, are given preference over works of imaginative fiction, in the theater, in the movies, in television–and that a favored literary form is the documentary. Observe that in painting, sculpture and music the current vogue, fashion and inspirational model is the primitive art of the jungle.
Would Ayn Rand have been surprised by the rise of “reality television,” starting with The Real World in 1992 and Survivor in 2000? No way! As the quote shows, she predicted that 30 years before.