Sunday, February 21, 2016

Schopenhauer quoted by Zadie Smith
The true work of art leads us from that which exists only once and never again, i.e. the individual, to that which exists perpetually and time and time again in innumerable manifestations, the pure form or Idea; but the waxwork figure appears to present the individual itself, that is to say that which exists only once and never again, but without that which lends value to such a fleeting existence, without life. That is why the waxwork evokes a feeling of horror: it produces the effect of a rigid corpse.
I was too busy marveling at the puppets, at the mixture of artifice and realism they represent...

But across their eyes and around their hairline they sport a visible seam, indicating where the separate plates of their puppet faces fit together. Usually these seams are obscured in post-production; Kaufman and his codirector Duke Johnson decided to leave them in, feeling they “related to the themes that were in the story.”

The effect is uncanny, but not of the Polar Express kind. The seams feel Brechtian: reminding us that Michael is not real, but representation.
The "soap opera effect" The common complaint is that the motion blur software in new TVs makes things "too real".
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. If he only shows in his work that he has searched, and re-searched, for the way to put over lies, he would never accomplish anything.
Waxworks work as theater, not sculpture. That's the work-around.
Duane Hanson's theater of daily life.

Smith has become a sort of archetypal cosmopolitan liberal: bi or multiracial, not American but living here; she's a novelist for thoughtful financial analysts. Her date for the movie was Tamsin Shaw,  author of among other things, "The 'Last Man' Problem: Nietzsche and Weber on Political Attitudes to Suffering"
I shall argue that underlying Weber’s view of secularism is a deeply Nietzschean set of assumptions concerning our attitudes to suffering and, in particular, our need for suffering to have meaning. In Weber’s evocative conclusion to The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, he laments a process of secularization that dissolves a spiritually meaningful form of worldly asceticism into “pure utilitarianism” (PE, 125; GARS, I, 205). He claims that this cultural development culminates in the arrogance of those “last men” (letzte Menschen) who imagine themselves to be the apex of civilization, whilst being merely “specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart” (PE 125; GARS, I, 204). In his final published lecture on Science as a Vocation, he again recalls Nietzsche’s “devastating criticism of those ‘last men’” who ‘invented happiness’” (FMW 143; GAW 598).
The link refers to Leiter's discussion of the paper. The unlinked quote above is Picasso in 1923. [link added, jumping forward] Nietzsche and Weber, (never mind what people claim about N.) were interested in truth as truth. So is Tamsin Shaw. Artists are not interested in truth as such, but the communication of the perceptions which have become the truth of their experience of the world.

According to Maria Farrell, Kazuo Ishiguro had never heard of Dungeons and Dragons until someone asked him if he'd played it.  D&D is fakery-as-fakery for people who believe in truth. It's art for "very serious people". See Smith, from last year; the links lead here; see also this, and on and on. I'm sure at some point the links lead to Quiggin. I'd check but I'm lazy.

Illustration is art that reinforces previous assumptions. The Remains of the Day tells the story of the tragedy of wrong assumptions. But it's a tragedy only because Ishiguro manipulates you into identifying with the person making the mistakes. It's a lie as a lie that makes you feel real emotion.
The following extended love scene is of such a delicacy and beauty that it reduced the audience to nervous giggles, as if embarrassed to be intruding upon such intimacy between puppets. But before anybody takes off their clothes, Michael, besotted by Lisa’s voice, asks her to sing one of her beloved Cyndi Lauper songs, and Lisa, fearful she is being ridiculed, closes her eyes and cautiously begins. This song should rightly, thematically, be “True Colors” and so there is something unexpectedly amusing about Lisa opening her miraculous mouth and singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

We get the whole song, in all its lyrical banality3...
The intrusion of a footnote: a needle knocked out of it's groove and the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

She quotes Schopenhauer again
The gift of genius is nothing but...the discard entirely our own personality for a time, in order to remain pure knowing subject, the clear eye of the world.
The pure knowing subject, became the practitioner of Weber's value free science.  In the first it's hyperbole; in the second it's bullshit.  Disinterest is not objectivity. Henry James was not a scientist.

What is pure art according to the modern idea? It is the creation of an evocative magic, containing at once the object and the subject, the world external to the artist and the artist himself.

What is Philosophical Art according to the ideas of Chenavard and the German school? It is a plastic art which sets itself up in place of books, by which I mean as a rival to the printing press in the teaching of history, morals and philosophy.
Two degrees of separation between people I enjoy reading and those who make me want to puke.
more maybe, or not, later.

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