Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I find it harder and harder to put up with political 'types'. I get so fucking bored. DeLong's heroism "Seminar" drove me nuts.
This entire conversation is absurd. That seems to be the case whenever technocrats discuss culture. Acts are heroic; people are flawed. The Greek heroes were flawed on a grand scale; that's what makes them interesting. Art can not be made to follow the law of non-contradiction. Yglesias' response is Lit. 101. It's amazing that he should have to make such an argument in a conversation among adults. How many American heroes are villians in the eyes of others? Was Lincoln a hero to Frederick Douglass? How many of the works of art that DeLong recently praised so highly on his trip to Italy succeed in atoning for the crimes of the Catholic church? What's the relation of Titian's art to Philip II? Are there no fans of the Venetian master in Maastricht? Are we going to discuss the destructive forces of American culture and all it has wrought? God save us all from the middle aged american teenager in the voting booth. Most of what is truly great in our culture is seen as a flower growing in a rotting swamp: The blues comes from slavery, its white cohabitant from grinding poverty. Our optimistic art is silly: optimism pairs with no-nothingism and greed, can-do practicality with ignorance of anything outside the range of technical skill. Art is the craft of seduction. Plato spent a lifetime trying to seduce people into believing it wasn't worth the risks. If it can't be eliminated we should at least respect its power. And if one respects something, doesn't that allow the possibility of something more?
I hate progressives. The point, you idiots, is to be able to manage the potential for corruption, not to cure it. Jack Balkin's comments on Derrida get it about right, though I'd argue as always that the history of British literature and theater are more useful than modern derivatives such as deconstruction. Leave it to post-war Europeans to develop a philosophy of semiotic ambiguity, but leave it to academics in this country to find a way to remove imagination from its defense. If it were possible to create a branch of human genius predicated as being in opposition even to the idea of imagination, its home would be in this country and its defining authority named Posner.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.