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War, the World’s Only Hygiene by F.T. Marinetti (1915)

War, the World’s Only Hygiene
by F.T. Marinetti (1915)

We Futurists, who for over two years, scorned by the Lame and Paralyzed, have glorified the love of danger and violence, praised patriotism and war, the hygene of the world, are happy to finally experience this great Futurist hour of Italy, while the foul tribe of pacifists huddles dying in the deep cellars of the ridiculous palace at The Hague.

We have recently had the pleasure of fighting in the streets with the most fervent adversaries of the war, and shouting in their faces our firm beliefs:

1. All liberties should be given to the individual and the collectivity, save that of being cowardly.

2. Let it be proclaimed that the word Italy should prevail over the word Freedom.

3. Let the tiresome memory of Roman greatness be cancelled by an Italian greatness a hundred times greater.

For us today, Italy has the shape and power of a fine Dreadnought battleship with its squadron of torpedo-boat islands. Proud to feel that the marital fervor throughout the Nation is equal to ours, we urge the Italian government, Futurist at last, to magnify all the national ambitions, disdaining the stupid accusations of piracy, and proclaim the birth of Panitalianism.

Futurist poets, painters, sculptors, and musicians of Italy! As long as the war lasts let us set aside our verse, our brushes, scapels, and orchestras! The red holidays of genius have begun! There is nothing for us to admire today but the dreadful symphonies of the shrapnels and the mad sculptures that our inspired artillery molds among the masses of the enemy.

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Comment by Ed Lacy on January 5, 2015 at 8:03pm

The irony of Marinetti's life is that, while loudly proclaiming the virtues of fascism and the primacy of the state over the human rights of people, Marinetti remained an arch-wierdo/anti-conformist in the conduct of his own life and art. His futurist aesthetic was completely betrayed by the heroic/nationalist realist artistic dictates of the fascist and NAZI states. In his head I think he envisioned the state as an ethnically pure beehive. Larry, I'm not sure it is even possible to show how screwed up this guy was! Nonetheless, his cookbook, La Cucina Futurista is a hilarious read.

Comment by Larry on March 8, 2010 at 9:39pm
Good observations on art, Gregory and Tome. I certainly think that art does have a social function.

Back to Marinetti, I think that statements like, "Let it be proclaimed that the word Italy should prevail over the word Freedom" show's how screwed up this guy was.
Comment by Gregory A. Wilson on March 7, 2010 at 1:50pm
The serpent eating it's own tail, as it were. When we can create nothing that serves a higher purpose than ourselves, we ultimately cheat ourselves and the future. When we create to inspire and communicate, though, we influence and even serve our fellow beings and the future. That's not to say we create nothing individually, or subsume our identity to the collective, but rather we can create from our own perspective and interests something of value to the future, for the future.
I may not always believe in other people, but I believe in the possibility of people (even myself) being better, and I believe in the possibilities of the future. So I strive, whatever I do, to make it better, the best possible, for the future. To, in a sense, honor the inspiration I have been given.
Comment by Tome Wilson on March 7, 2010 at 9:36am
Futurism (and it's cousin Cubism) did its best to harbor abstract art into the world. It was heavy handed by saying that all other forms of art were inferior, but it never solved their inherent flaw.

When artistic expression is done solely for the self, where does that leave the future? Men desire inspiration and learning to fuel their minds and souls. If art is an expression of the self for the self, it leaves no room for improvement of the genre.

Or, to put it bluntly, if you have a village full of artists that do nothing but masturbate, that village will never have children.
Comment by Larry on March 6, 2010 at 4:21pm
Unfortunately, I think you're right, Gregory.
Comment by Gregory A. Wilson on March 6, 2010 at 3:59pm
I do agree this is quite a disturbing line of thought. I sometimes, often, actually worry that we really haven't come very far from thinking like this.
Comment by Larry on March 6, 2010 at 3:55pm
We know that Marinetti was a fascist. He was a rather disturbing individual, imho.

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