Saturday, May 24, 2003

A quick rundown before I go back to my sickbed.
There has been some praise for William Safire opining that power corrupts. "The concentration of power — political, corporate, media, cultural — should be anathema to conservatives." Of course he's referring only to domestic policy, not foreign policy. I'd love to hear him argue how such a contradiction is moral and necessary. He obviously believes it is, but I want to hear him defend it in public. As the thinking man's George Will he should be up to the task.

One of these days the assholes are going to pick on someone who can fight back.

On the arts front:
So the pendulum swings back. How stupidly predictable. I don't read much contemporary fiction, specifically avoiding the hipster kind. Thomas Pynchon ruined it for me when I read Gravity's Rainbow, and now the genre's past its prime. People tell me Delillo's good, but anything made after 1973 with Lee Harvey Oswald as a subject gets an automatic pass. It keeps things simple.

There comes a time, always, when someone argues for throwing out the baby with the bathwater. James Wood, "has called Mr. Pynchon's characters 'not human' and 'serfs to allegory.' " In and of itself, what's wrong with a character in a novel being a serf?

I hope the book is good. Perhaps Wood's simplistic argument comes from a need to arm himself against the acolytes of hipsterism, I don't know. Frank Stella is a perfect example of an artist who makes intellectual arguments that contradict the works they're meant to defend. It's only a problem when critics who hate his ideas choose to hate the work as a result. And of course Stella's old fans defend the ideas instead of the work, which makes it worse. Wood seems to understand the need for a work to exist on its own terms. Apparently he's broken a few of his rules already, so who knows.

There is an article in the Times on The Matrix and philosophy. I haven't read it. All I can say is that illustrating someone else's ideas only gets you... illustration; so why should I be interested?
Maybe the movie is good, but that's not the question at the moment. The question is "why?" and my response was to that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.