Monday, December 23, 2013

so fucking obvious. so fucking bored. see the previous fucking post.
We order the world according to our preferences. The forms that Bourdieu’s impersonal (not intimate) empiricism takes, in language, in graphing, in statistics, constitute themselves as forms of desire. The preference for synchronic analysis of diachronic form itself manifests a set of values. Synchronic form is multiplex and simultaneous. Narrative form is an arc, with a beginning and an end. As value systems they are moral opposites. Synchronic form is timeless, eternal. Narrative assumes instability and death. Objects are inert, our categories give them life, including moral life. The central categories of modernity in the period where Modernism was dominant were synchrony/atemporality, objectivity, the ideal, and truth. The politics, left right and center, were idealist and authoritarian. Bureaucracy, bureaucratism, the empiricism of structures before people, is an authoritarian ideology. For Bourdieu to call out “the imperialism of the universal” is beyond hypocrisy. And for him to call on intellectuals to lead is to undermine all his claims to humility. Bourdieu is a concerned schoolmaster and bureaucrat. Like all Modernists in idealizing himself and his concern, he blinds himself. But in many ways this is the response these days of academics qua academics, to literature. 
and again. file under self-promotion.
A few years ago, at a gallery opening I got into a conversation with an astrophysicist from Caltech; we were mutual friends of the curator. He felt slightly dragged along. He was game but said he didn’t understand art. The conversation drifted, and he mentioned a book he was reading, a biography of Sandy Koufax, the great pitcher for the Dodgers, in Brooklyn and LA. He said what he liked most was the way the author wrote not only as an observer, a professional sportswriter, and fan, but as a woman, an outsider in the world of male athletics, and as a Jew writing about Koufax, another Jew and outsider in the gentile world of professional sports. He said her description of those relations was really interesting. I asked him if he could have described any of it as she had. He said no. I told him he understood art.

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