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The New Criterion

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Notes & Comments

November 1996

Nothing sacred

On Andres Serrano's jacket art for the reissue of Richmond Lattimore's translation of the New Testament

Is there any aspect of our cultural life that will remain unsullied by the filth of the so-called avant-garde? We say “so-called” because it has been clear for some time that what masquerades as the artistic avant-garde today is mostly an insidious form of moral insurrection that poaches on the prestige of art in order to carry out with impunity its raids on custom, decency, and standards of taste.

The large-scale results of this assault are too obvious and too numerous to require comment. We have all of us to some extent become inured to a culture where viciousness and depravity are simply taken for granted, like some hideous wallpaper that we have lived with for years. It still happens, however, that some particularly rebarbative incident or phenomenon will break in upon our moral anesthesia and, at least momentarily, shatter our insensitivity. Curiously, it is often something offhand and, in itself, quite ins ...

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 15 November 1996, on page 3

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
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