“Nazism and Soviet Communism…show us how far things can go in politics, as Masscult does in art. And let us not be too smug in this American temperate zone, unravaged by war and ideology.”
There you have encapsulated where Macdonald goes wrong. The art/ politics analogy simply doesn't work. Yes, art and artists can sell out politically. But art and politics do not, deep down, have very much in common at all. I had friends in college who were much taken with Macdonald - and he can be a very entertaining, even insightful writer. But he was nowhere near as good a thinker as he and his admirers seem to to think.