Friday, September 22, 2006

Law/Justice/Wisdom
Judgment, discernment, discrimination. sophistication The ability to perceive and to communicate nuance, to describe what has not been named -categorized- previously. It is not creation but observation and description.

This is the root of what Kant might call genius. Genius is wisdom. It is non-cumulative. As a capacity/ability it can be learned but not taught. The record of past acts of wisdom is only that.
Technocrats are experts: craftsmen within the limits of their own knowledge. An honest technocrat is self-deprecating (Politics requires a vulgar definition of the world.) Fascism is politics without irony.
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Interesting reading the Times. Television critics are sharper more quick witted than most of the book or film critics. They don't take their jobs as seriously. The old line was that the best newspaper writing was in the Sports pages. Sports are trivial. Olberman started at ESPN. Jon Stewart was a stand up comic. Frank Rich is a theater critic. Observation begins with an ironic awareness of the self. Stand-up is ethnography, not sociology. David Graeber on the beginnings of sociology as the study of modern man by himself as disembodied, denatured.  Self-ethnography makes people nervous. Nervousness/comedy. Edmund Leach is a model of ironic awareness compared to this generation of academic dimwits. Marshall and Bernie Sahlins.
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Idiot Henry Farrell on determinism in Marx. If Ayn Rand rewrote Anna Karenina replicating the novel in her own words it would have the same meaning as Tolstoy. The 20th century was the first century where ideas preceded craft. The culmination of moderism in ideology. In language it's always a mistake to follow. "In the manner of..." Science is predicated on it. Marx was a writer.
Beethoven the first composer to fail by overreaching, but there's less arrogance in Wagner's bombast than in Wen Ho Lee's shy clockmaker smile. The face of a bombmaker.
Intellectual over-determination and moral under-determination (moral passivity.)
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Zhang Yimou's Hero. Remember A Touch of Zen. An epic that felt independent of Hollywood. Wirework has a theatrical beauty that Hollywood would never have developed on its own. It's too mannered, too recognizably fake. But it's popular epic cinema: an American invention transformed. Eisenstein.

You can call culture a market of ideas, except that the market as such is only one example of the capacity for invention.
Remember the Irish-Bulgarian bartender on whether or not Manhattanites will take over the neighborhood. "I hope not. I like the diversity." Interestingly with the changes in the country over the last generation the standard issue Americans aren't as offensive as the ones who take themselves seriously.

Again[?]
Sincerity reverses ends and means.
Saying "I love you" will not get you laid. Saying it well, might. A gesture is only distinctive if it is seen that way by others. The sincerity of the American singer-songwriter or indie filmmaker is based on a misunderstanding, and the "insincerity" of Hollywood is a misnomer. Moral seriousness and high purpose are best left for others to discover.
Kelly was more serious than Astaire, Ozu more serious that Mizoguchi.

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