Response 3: Decadence

Respond to this post as a comment :

Read the article by Charles Bernheimer “Unknowing Decadence” and write a paragraph (4 sentences or more) about what you think decadence is today as an art form based on HIS definition! (Not a popular conception.)

Keep in mind this is an ‘Expert Text.’


Due by 8 pm Wednesday night. 

25 responses to “Response 3: Decadence

  1. I think in the text, the word decadence is used to describe the people and literature as symbols of regression. In the text decadence is described in a multitude of ways and can be emulated today as sarcasm or dark humor. In today’s text this type of decadence is present in some works of literature that talk about hating oneself or being disgusted with themselves provided as an example of decadence from the painting of Dorian gray by Wilde. The way decadence is defined here can also be interpreted as going below the morally and and socially accepted behaviors. A couple times Charles refers to “the Other” and I believe it is associated with the assuming of another identity or alter ego. Decadence must also mean the act of creating an image of oneself that is not true and is very much like fantasy/fiction in literature.

  2. Decadence is something that is a lot more complex than people take it to be. It is not as simple as the bad and good in indulgence and wanting pleasure. Decadence is a term used to describe a state that is right in front of us, yet is almost beyond our understanding. It can also be the emphasis on the artificial and a sense of vanity that people seemed to favor rather than an emphasis on nature that came about during the Romantic era. Decadence steers away from the truth and instead goes into the unnatural and almost unexplainable. It also something that we cannot turn away from and is necessary to have.

  3. Base on Charles Bernheimer’s definitions, decadence today as an art form includes everything we do.People’s pursuit of anything and everything to fill the absence of God is representative of the drive to explore the unknown be it perverse, immoral, or insufferable. In this day and age, students enter college for the purpose of improving themselves in stark contrast to the previous decades when college was seen as a luxury few considered.Conservative people may see pursuing one’s passions, like the arts, sciences, technology, entrepreneurship, and such, as running away from the traditional plan of work, marriage and children.

  4. Many films today portray relationships in a way that lacks traditional morality. In modern films, sexual relations between non-married people are shown heavily that goes against traditional morals and religious faith. Old and traditional moral censorship does not exist in most modern media. Modern media do not let themselves be subject to the dictates of traditional morality, which can lead to people who are forced to follow traditional rules to feel envy of their freedom. This example is reflected in Bernheimer’s definition as he stated that “doubleness that puts fundamental moral and social values in question” Modern media defies traditional morals while some may feel that violates traditional. This creates doubleness Bernheimer stated in his text.

  5. Decadence to me is the abyss of the unknown. It is where your doubts, the what if’ and the maybe lies. It agitates your thought process and fights the ideas of tradition and norms. Decadence is the perfect word to associate with romanticism and the romantic era which focuses more on individuality and subjectivity, which matches the sort of unknown and subjective perspective associated with decadence.

  6. In “Unknowning Decadence” by Charles Bernheimer, he gives us the definition of decadence as the “stimulant that bends thought out of shape, deforming traditional conceptual molds.” We can think of that in modern times when we watch movies. Many of the movies we watch today are in many ways out of traditional molds, such a suicide, nudity, homosexuality, and so on. This also bring back the idea of Decadence which brings out individuality, by following these social norms, people may feel its a lack of expression and lack of freedom.

  7. The author references decadence as a decline and or a regression. Decadence puts our moral and societal values into being questioned about what we consider good. Decadence in a way changes and regresses what we consider moral and right. Decadence portrays a different side of this moral regression with a very hedonistic and fetishized approach. Today’s versions of decadence would be morally regressive yet a fetishization of wealth.

  8. Saying “decadence” we recall a whole range of semantic associations – fall, degeneration, bizarreness – but they are not limited to a closed circle. Each of them carries a different semantic field, because it implies the existence of an ideal that has been abandoned. This duality causes that the word “decadence” becomes not very transparent, polarizes, and is difficult to grasp. As we know, the phenomenon of decadence existed long before the appearance of Baudelaire, although it was not always called that. Charles Bernheimer described decadence as a “injure meaning and bring about confusion by evading truth and obscuring reality with aveil of illusion”. I think nowadays decadence art is largely based on forgery. Dummies of postage stamps, old maps, volumes, photographs of various types of exhibits or even whole house facades appearing in the works arouse anxiety and carry the cognitive skepticism command. We are not able to distinguish objects made by artists from their originals, we are not even sure if they exist. Artists reach for various materials, most often easily accessible, and based on them bring to life their own ideas about a given object, confronting them with historical knowledge. Moreover, we can notice things describing pain – suffering and painting – a painting practice camouflaging this suffering. The artists realizations often show a striving to unite beauty with evil, cruelty or ugliness – values extremely important for the 19th century decadents. They hide the painful ambivalence of life and death, and partly putting themselves as an artist outside this order. However, it seems that significant changes related to the development of civilization are taking place on the basis of the artistic message. They are flickering and are still being implemented, but we can already see that they have an impact on individual solutions.

  9. In “Unknowing Decadence”, Charles Bernhiemer starts off his text with a scenario involving him telling a recount of himself to a group of people at a party, and at the end of his story his friend exclaims “how decedent”. I believe this scenario encompasses all of the ideas that Bernhiemer wanted to discuss. He claimed that although something could be enthralling and enticing on the surface, or be able to excite whoever it comes in contact with, it does so in an unknowingly perverse, self righteous, and superficial manner, and in this way we, as an informed society, regress. He refers to a critic reviewing the novel “salammbo” (a book surrounding a brutal war) in which the critic calls out the novel for “revealing nothing new” and “failure of historical understanding”. I think decadence can be found today in our movies, TV, music and art. As an example, contemporary movies that claim to provide us an accurate retelling of historical events, that instead just glorify violence and unknowingly re-imagine the story in order to sell us a in our face message about the world around us. T.V Music and other forms of art saturate our culture by bombarding us with false ideas of what these “art” forms are representing, but are ultimately trying to sell us on empty shells with misguided messages, which in turn actually regress society into a more ignorant one.

  10. From his perspective , decadence is regressive, counterproductive, even childish. Along the path, his friend implies, and he will become an impoverished, obese, alcoholic pervert with one foot in watery grave. The notion of decadence is inhabited by a doubtless that puts fundamental moral and social values in question. There is an implicit appeal to a norm that sustains society’s assumptions about what is natural, good, right life-sustaining, progressive, and so forth. But there is also the suggestion that this appeal constricts human potential, denies opportunities for pleasure, and discredits the attraction of the perverse and destructive.
    I define the so-called decadence is being a loser who has the following negative characteristic: low- self esteem, self entitled, low confident, less motivation, laziness, bias, anti society, never minded, pettiness, and afraid of getting changes. This kind of people is increasing and getting extremely common in today American society.

  11. Charles Bernheimer describes decadence with no exact definition but as an idea that cannot simply be defined with just one clear meaning. He goes on to describing it as a word with double-meaning as it is “inhabited by a doubleness that puts fundamental moral and social values in question”. Bernheimer claims it makes one question their indulgence and whether or not they are following the norms of their society and whether or not they should even stop to think about it or even care. He uses sexual gratification as an example of this, when introducing the word decadent. He describes his erotic experience to a friend and his friend then proceeds to say that it sounded “wonderfully decadent”. The idea of seeking out sexual pleasure and self-indulgence is considered natural but also something that is not always socially acceptable as it can be seen as over-indulgent and vulgar. This perfectly shows the contrast within the word as it shows the opposition within the word. It is decadent because Bernheimer is describing what can be seen as something that other people may want but are not willing to do for fear of being judged for stepping out of the norm, yet he is doing just that. He describes decadence as seeking pleasure and being self-indulgent despite what others may believe or think is moral and what is not. Going off of this notion of what the word symbolizes, many series and literature now can be considered decadent as they are written and created for the sole purpose of defying the norms of society and make those that watch and experience this art question it and the reality that they are living by.

  12. Charles Bernheimer’s definition of decadence as an art form is the determination of an idea based on one’s interpretation of it. Subjectivity trumps objectivity. People account events in their own words rather than words coming from a stoic, distant point of view which observes the event as it is. Art is in modern times not factual and its real meaning is hidden under a plethora of people’s interpretations.

  13. In my opinion, decadence is currently used to allude to an apparent decay in standards, ethics, pride, freedom, religious faith, respect, or aptitude at overseeing among the individuals. We can see an example of decadence as a form of dance. In early times, people used to follow their traditions and religious aspects which also showed a great way to express your feelings and emotions but now days it’s totally different where one is only dancing to enjoy the moment and people doesn’t really know what it was made for. Another example that would best describes the word decadence is when a children has to lie to their parents in order to go out and do something that they really want. Mostly it shows that they don’t really have the freedom to do something that they want to but in fact they have to listen to their parents or make excuse for it. For many people, their cultural tradition is their pride so they want their next generation to follow it.

  14. The article “Unknowing decadence”, Bernheimer describes decadence as a “stimulant that bends thought out of shape, deforming traditional conceptual molds”. In his article, he consistently refers to decadence as counterproductive, a regression, and a decline. Taking his perspective into consideration in the present day today. Decadence is essentially a negative decline of our morals changing the way we are in every kind of way.

  15. Decadence as an art form today is something depicted as satisfying to all aspects of one’s body. It’s an extremely powerful emotion, according to Bernheimer that compels the mind. It is much more than excessive pleasure and self-indulgence. It is an interchangeable emotion that one can possess and Bernheimer illustrates this point through several examples of writers depicting decadence in their writing.

  16. Bernheimer in his article “Unknowing decadence”, talks about decadence as if it is a word to which the gravity of its meaning depends on the perspective of each individual. Each individual based on their morality gets to dictate where someone crosses the line to be decadent. Also, he talks about the how people decide what is decadent based on society’s norms. People may want to be decadent themselves but they do not act on it because of societal norms and they jump to judge others as decadent when they do something outside those norms.

  17. Decadance is not as simple as something of excessive quality that goes beyond what is perceived as morally good or normal in opinion of the majority. However, decadence is our experience with something we do not fully comprehend, and our attempts to describe the feeling we get from having an experience with it and the experience itself. Decadence because of ones attempts to describe something that is not fully comprehended often is not a mirror image to what it might be in real life, and in the physical world. But rather an excessive material form that focuses on essential characteristics that shape ones experience with the subject matter. Not a full image, put a blown out picture of certain qualities that dictate an experience with a subject that is not fully comprehended but significant enough to one.

  18. Decadence is an indulgence, predominantly sexual or pertaining to the body in Charles Bernheimer’s, “Unknown Decadence”. I agree that it’s an indulgence or a sort of freedom a person has where he/she only follows their sense of pleasure. He also says that the word decadence changes as the person changes and their situations; decadence ultimately is the pursuit of luxury sensations. However, going by the author’s train of thought decadence can be anything up for interpretation as it does not conform to a static form but depends on the thoughts of a person.

  19. Decadence, as described by Charles Bernheimer, “holds judgment in suspension. It fights against betraying the materiality of signs and objects and tries to adhere to surfaces and sensations” (Bernheimer, 62). Meaning that decadence wants to remain loyal to ideas of symbolism and escape the corruption and unrestrained materialism. The idea of decadence also wants to appeal to those sensations, with concepts of sexual nature and the erotic. Going back to the beginning of the essay, he sees the term decadent in one of two ways, one as sexual transgression and the other as moral censorship. I believe that Bernheimer does not see the term decadence as a decline but a decline in traditional views in favor of more aesthetic and sexual notions.

  20. As an art form, decadence is about having no standard code of ethics. Leading a voluptuous life, enjoying the sensual pleasure are the appearance of decadent works. Just as Charles Bernheimer thought “Decadence is being betrayed by attaining knowledge of itself”, authors give us an image of what life of decadence looks like to make implicit appeals for social norms that deviate from decadence. In works of art, decadence is magnified and particularized details are emphasized.

  21. Bernheimer describes decadence as questioning societal norms and morals. Also questioning whether one should care whether to think about these norms and morals. Decadence is indulging in a behavior not caring about what society has to think of your actions. In our time this is much easier to do especially through the internet. Our generation seems to be very rebellious whether in our music, movies, and other art forms and with the internet if much easier to find people with the same interests. In our time it could even be an anonymous instagram pages that post things that people might deem indecent and other individuals relate to it. Whether in music, movies, or social media content a lot of it is created trying to be different and to go against what society considers normal.

  22. Decadence is presented by Bernheimer as a word that is more or less type-casted to its previously used definitions. However, decadence can be used in ways other than simply describing indulgence and pleasures. As an art form, decadence embodies the scales of reason in which we consider the pros and cons particularly of indulging in something we deem a pleasure. What embodies this thought the most to me was decadent structuredness which had to set a positive against negative behaviors, weighing on the person to reason whether decadence is something to consume yourself in.

  23. The way Charles Berheimer describes the word decadence as a way to challenge moral censorship and social values. Barheimer believes that by looking at the meaning through different perspectives it may seem that one’s actions can either be seen as superior or inferior. Based on this what I think decadence is today is being able to do what you please without considering what society views as “good”. Decadence can be found in many in movies, music and books since they are meant to grab the audience’s attention which I believe means having to include certain ideas that may go against society’s morals. The themes that may be put in some movies are meant to question the audience and society and therefore criticizing us.

  24. In Charles Bernheimers text, “Unknowing Decadence”, he illustrates decadence as “a poetic metaphor that speakers mistakenly employ as if it described documentable actualities in the real world”(51). As an art form today, it is the illusion of truth that one perceives due to their own self indulgence. The self perception of truth clouds ones mind of the true inherit nature of a given environment. In our current environment, we are constrained by the beauty and facade of the system that we have been structured into, which limits us from truth. It aids us on false journeys of outwardness and degrading loops throughout life in attaining material that is deemed luxurious due to societal structures, but usually leaves one with a feeling of emptiness and a confusion of self. Looking within can help unmask fallacies and bring light to the clearer picture of reality.

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