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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
(1969)

Sobral, Geraldo
Notes and discussion: vanguards of the underdeveloped world,   pp. 445-447 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 445

VANGUARDS OF THE UNDERDEVELOPED WORLD -I
by Geraldo Sobral
Parricidism: The Demolition of Literary Social Climbing
"The parricidal attitude is the ony possible attitude for the new and
authentic
generations who would demolish myths, dogmas, and taboos: an insurrection
on
all levels," writes the young Ecuadorian poet Alejandro Moreano, in
justifying
the new aggressiveness of young intellectuals against the Establishment.
An
aggressiveness, the poet explains, on the part of "a more conscious
younger generation,
which does not hide behind its extreme youthfulness to justify its anarchy
and its
protest, in order to win thereby, as a necessary corrollary, applause for
its
parricidal irresponsibility."
Like the transitional vanguard of the U.S. "Mimeograph Revolution"
(see THE TIMES,
London, Aug. 6, 1964), although in a different socioeconomic context, the
parricide
movement is aimed at those intellectuals who prostitute themselves to gain
social
position: an embassy, a ministry, a consulate, or lesser official posts.
Their criticism
is even more devastating, in its unwillingness to trust poets and writers
themselves to
quit competing for official honors. Indeed, it is based on condemnation of
the
social, political, and economic structures of Ecuador, just the reverse of
the
Platonic appeal made by Kirby Congdon to his non-competitive poets.
The Golden Age
The view that "rare indeed is the land in which a poet can be named
Minister of
Foreign Affairs" (the words with which Dora Isella Russell saluted Ecuador
on the
occasion of Carrera Andrade's appointment to a high diplomatic post) is beginning
to  445
be exposed by the youth constituting the parricide movement, whose central
nucleus is
the so-called Tzantzicos group.
Condemning the degradation of literature and art, converted into luxurious
diversions
for the elites, the supreme model of which was perhaps Gonzalo Zaldumbide,
in
elegant retirement at PimAn, writing his TRAGIC ECLOGUE for the entertainment
of the
aristocracy, they lay bare the social climbing of Ecuadorian intellectuals.
"The
majority of our writers, incapable of giving literature a revolutionary sense
because
of their bourgeois identification, indicated a passive acceptance of class:
they were
literary social climbers." They reduced art to the degrading business
of making
a success in life: the realm of courtesy, of good manners, of mutual back-patting.
The ruling elites meanwhile smiled and placidly accepted their writers: they
were
harmless and, since what they wanted was to gain social position, they were
allowed
to have their fond dreams: the embassy, the ministry, the consulate, and
posts in
public administration. There was complete confidence in them, and the State's
sustaining role as Maecenas was beneficial.
This long period of Ecuadorian cultural history, which extends to our own
times,
is called the "Golden Age" by the parricides. The behavior of the
upper classes in
the Golden Age becomes clear: the writer is always someone with whom to
exchange ideas, a means of raising the low cultural level of such classes.
The Tzantizicos
It became necessary to repudiate the degradation of the writer's and artist's
craft.
The young rebels then arose and began a violent attack on the statusquo,
ushering
in a new mentality. Disowning the prime-minister poets, the consul-painters,
or
ambassador-prose writers who proliferate under any regime (dictatorial, military,
or


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