Category: aesthetics

Dickensian

Dickens gentrified Grub Street.

He wrote to the popular taste — which at the time was in thrall of sentimentality — and thus diminished his literary art.

Dickens did create iconic characters: Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger, Uriah Heep, Wilkins Micawber, etc.

The idea of the writer (the novelist) as an artist, initiated by Flaubert and formalised by Henry James, only gained traction in the second half of the nineteenth century. By the time Joyce and Woolf arrived on the scene, the now self-conscious, serious work of literary art had become inaccessible to the popular taste against which the British modernists waged an aesthetic war.

Anything goes

Frontality is passé.

Sadly, gun ownership in America has gone from being a hobby to an addiction. Promiscuous gun laws only promote the addiction.

The 2nd amendment was especially important in areas of the new nation where slaves outnumbered free persons.

Neither Brexit nor Trump nor Sanders will/would fix the economy. But false hopes die hard.

It’s not news that journalism thrives on conflict. It’s not the business of journalism to create consensus. However, it should be the business of journalism to offer reality-based reportage.

Fashion leftward

The rise of Mr Sanders is less surprising than the ascent of Mr Corbyn from the unvisited limbo of political oblivion.

A beige or straw colored suit doesn’t work for Mr Corbyn. It makes him look even blander than he actually is. However, as a post-Hegelian materialist, he doesn’t understand that, in politics, appearances matter. Mr Corbyn would be helped by a reading of Kant’s third Critique as well as a new Burberry wardrobe.

Both Sanders and Corbyn should take their sartorial cue from the French left, which has always been stylish.

Revolution and art

As Immanuel Kant noted in 1763, the French have a feeling for the beautiful. But that’s not the whole story.

Aristocrats and intellectuals were not “purged” during the French Revolution (many sided with the Revolution). The post Napoleonic Restoration brought such groups back into positions of influence. But Napoleon himself was keenly interested in the arts and the major Academies were reorganized under his munificent care. Modern art (“autonomous art” as per T. W. Adorno) emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century via a rejection of “academy art.”

What occurred in post-revolutionary Russia and China, the emergence of various politicized aesthetics, was aggressive hyper-Philistinism combined with an ugly streak of raging Puritanism.

Und Sie wissen nicht, mit wem Sie reden

There will always be angry men shouting on the touchline of life.

The infelicitous confluence of the confessional disposition (or self-surveillance ala Foucault) and the rising prominence of visual media (tv and film) marked the advent of the confessional writer and his/her distortion of the writing workshop dictum “write what you know.” This writer type shares nothing in common with Montaigne but everything in common with Rousseau.

The aesthetic value placed on the vérité humaine by realism and naturalism meant the novel should be “true to life.” It did not mean the novel should be an exposé of the writer’s personal life or feelings. The contemporary concern with authenticity dates from the 1960s; in the worst cases, “authenticity” is manifested in narcissistic auto-narratives.

When I go

I can’t believe the Texas governor will accept federal disaster funds. Doesn’t he know its a precursor to martial law?!?!

Re the FIFA election: It’s great that post-colonial elites are so firmly united in support of corruption.

Re Sepp Blatter’s resignation: For extradition reasons, Mr Blatter could not afford to attend the Women’s WC in Canada. They don’t serve gourmet spätzle in US medium security prisons.

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I did an essay at university that was a structuralist comparison of Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally,” Pegg recalls. “I got a first for it. I read it the other day and I didn’t understand it – it’s completely indecipherable to me. It’s like stereo instructions. But, basically, I tried to say that When Harry Met Sally is like a piece of prose, and Annie Hall is a poem because it uses cinematic devices figuratively, like poems, and it rhymes scenes, whereas When Harry Met Sally is a continuous narrative. It wasn’t saying either one is better. Though Annie Hall is better.

Simon Pegg shows that actors can also be intellectuals. He clearly knows the difference between sjuzet and fabula.

Boxing and biblical art

The Museum of Biblical Art in NYC is closing. I saw an excellent exhibit of Dürer woodcuts there a few years ago. I had trepidation about entering the museum; the “biblical” in its name put me off. Perhaps it was also because the museum is housed in a building owned by the American Bible Society. I was pleasantly surprised that no proselytizing took place. However, when one sees a painting depicting the sacrifice of Isaac, or a myriad of bloody crucifixion scenes, the madness of monotheism becomes overwhelming oppressive, no matter how well the religious themes are aesthetically rendered.

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Boxing was on life-support long before Floyd Moneyweather mastered a style of fighting that can only make the likes of José Mourinho take interest. The attraction of the video game bloodsport (MMA) has captured the spirit of barbarism among millennials. But even it is riddled with PEDs and criminal violence among its iconic figures. Soon, all bloodsport will be consigned, like fox hunting, to the dustbin of cultural history.