Kipperman explores the notion that poetry is politically useless, using as an example Shelley's Mask of Anarchy. He uses T. Adorno's attack on "committed art" to argue that a genuinely "political" work must be judged historically, by the standards of its era; the explicitly "political" statement may have less political "import" than, for example, Shelley's implicit faith in the power and moral goodness of the masses. Such an appeal to universal Promethean virtue, shared by proletarian and stormtrooper, may indeed strike us, at the very close of the twentieth century, as so naive as to warp the very real commitment of Shelley’s art. Shelley’s poem, as a sophisticated ballad, may scandalize in its appeal to an unlikely pacifist remedy, which exposes the work’s origin in a paralyzed and distant intellectual’s hope to lead a nationalist moral apocalypse. As a ballad and a subversive “masque,” however, it is a scandal to literary form and decorum in its analysis of oppression and its attribution of Promethean virtue to the hungry, the homeless, and the despised. Shelley’s allowing the poor to define freedom as bread even anticipates Adorno’s Marxist dictum that all culture begins “in the radical separation of mental and physical work” (“Cultural Criticism” 26). Its utopianism is not a sign of political irrelevance.