Tagged: The Theory of Everything

The way of the world

Re “American Sniper”: We’ve reached peak war film. It’s a tired genre. Time to retire it.

A film critic has conscientiously pointed out that a fictional narrative of the life of Stephen Hawking is not a carbon copy of reality: “It would be a big mistake to take The Theory of Everything as a user’s guide to living with motor neurone disease.” Really? I note this not simply because it is my current pet peeve, but only because this sort of nonsense is ubiquitous, universal. I’m only surprised I didn’t notice this tendency earlier in life.

Jodi Ernst is the Marine Le Pen of the Republican Party.

The most noticeable tall buildings in NYC now are the middle-fingers sprouting up in Brooklyn and Queens, which tower over everything around them. But at least downtown Brooklyn was spared the embarrassment of a Frank Gehry toadstool patch when the original Atlantic Yards project crumbled.

Hopefully, Mr Dehlin won’t face banishment to the planet Kolob for uttering twenty-first century views on women and same-sex marriage.

Cloudbusting

Imagine a fictional story straying from a memoir upon which it is based. Never happened before.

As George W. Bush once asked: “Is our film critics learning?”

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‘I don’t understand this poem’

‘I never listen to classical music’

‘I don’t like this picture’

are common enough statements but not ones that tell us anything about books, painting, or music. They are statements that tell us something about the speaker. That should be obvious, but in fact, such statements are offered as criticisms of art, as evidence against, not least because the ignorant, the lazy, or the plain confused are not likely to want to admit themselves as such. We hear a lot about the arrogance of the artist but nothing about the arrogance of the audience. The audience, who have not done the work, who have not taken any risks, whose life and livelihood are not bound up at every moment with what they are making, who have given no thought to the medium or the method, will glance up, flick through, chatter over the opening chords, then snap their fingers and walk away like some monstrous Roman tyrant. This is not arrogance; of course, they can absorb in a few moments, and without an effort, the sum of the artist and the art.

Jeanette Winterson, “Art Objects,” in Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery (New York, 1997), 13-14.