Peoria's Labor Temple News charged LeTourneau with publicity-seeking "religious spectacularism
," sniping that "Christ probably never intended that His teachings should help to advertise road graders." If LeTourneau wanted to show a "Christian spirit," he could start by "meeting his workmen on a collective bargaining basis." NOW counter-charged that certain "religious leaders," presumably like those at the Labor Temple, "delivered up the Lord Jesus Christ to Pilate to be crucified and then persuaded the people to demand his death." (65) This took a clear shot at unions as thugs whipped into a frenzy by their "leaders," not the representative democracies the News depicted.
But rather than viewing spectacularism
as borrowing from visual art, I have argued that both representation and performance should be seen as belonging to a common visual culture which sought to blur the boundaries between life and art, real and fictive space.
Indeed, the same quality of near-decadent spectacularism
teetering toward kitsch is evident in some of Marinetti's imagined banquets, where "Alaskan salmon in the rays of the sun with Mars sauce" might be followed by an Elasticake filled with disturbingly bright-red zabaglione.
Building on recent research by Booth, Meisel, and McConachie, Dudden demonstrates the development of spectacularism
as a shift from an aural to a visual culture, placing this in the context of gender.
Even if we are not 'writing backwards' to justify Victorian or Georgian practice relative to the 'innovations' of Romanticism, spectacularism
, or modernism, studying popular performance rarely garners extravagant rewards in terms of scholarly kudos.
This diagnostic enabling of the reception process is the opposite of the concealment of reception as a physical and intellectual activity--its replacement being the participating, playing, childlike post-subject or the stupid spectacularism
of "astonishment." Ideally, an exhibition would not be silent about the blatant antagonism of positions as opposed as July's and Pisano's.
For to me they suggest a much-needed corrective to the contemporary morass of erratic anti-aestheticism, all stirred up as it is with an equally confused spectacularism
(found especially in the currently prevalent art of the multimedia, within and against which Horsfield's own installations work).
For the sake of argument, I have selected five theatrical topics prominent in the study of Victorian theatre among the scholars who been able to let go of "qualitative" literary biases: technical innovations, spectacularism
, repertory, long runs, and the star system.