Friday, August 29, 2008

More on Bad Acting

Franz Boas

Jay Sosa at Savage Minds "It’s always fun display anthropologists looking ridiculous and going native."

I pointed out in comments that this was both a misunderstanding and offensive. Odd that I had to point this out to an anthropologist. Boas looks as out of place as a college professor at a rave: no more, no less. His foolishness is the byproduct of his sincerity.

Brian Leiter says he's in the habit of calling Hillary Clinton "fake". He's right, she's a bad actor; but where in his philosophy is there any place for such a mode of judgement?

Poetry isn't like getting drunk—isn't the "sincere" expression of drunkenness—it's the description of that sensation to others. If art were about sincerity being in love would get you laid. Lon Chaney answering a question about the response of moviegoers to his tortured characters: "I don't feel my characters' emotions, it's my job to make you feel them."

The documentation of passion is not passion. The passion for documentation is the passion of the schoolman, and schoolmen are lousy actors. From being lousy actors it's a short step to discounting he importance of theater and mediation in communicative action. This is the tension between artists and critics that rationalism refuses to see as productive. Leiter discounts theater but then refers to it without thinking.

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