Archive for the ‘Art & Aesthetics’ Category

A Modern Spiritual

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Or go here.

Sexism You Can Hum Along With

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012



By the great Frank Loesser, from The Most Happy Fella.

Or go here.

What Are They Reading at the New York Times?

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

We are experiencing global warming beyond the expectations of our scientists, as well as a global financial collapse that is being addressed with more of the policies that made it happen to begin with. As a drought wastes large parts of U.S. agriculture in the breadbasket of the country and the world, we may also anticipate a global food crisis. And not to be too gloomy, Israel, armed with nuclear weapons given to it by the U.S., talks bellicosity as usual.

Here’s what the New York Times lead off with on its book review page on Sunday, 12 August 2012:

Three Strong Women
By MARIE NDIAYE. Translated by JOHN FLETCHER.
Reviewed by FERNANDA EBERSTADT

In Marie NDiaye’s novel, women draw on reserves of love, common sense and even self-mockery to counteract the damage being done to them by narcissistic family members.

Sylvia Nasar: By the Book

The author of Grand Pursuit and A Beautiful Mind likes Victorian novelists for their deliciously wicked humor and the Russians for their political and philosophical musings.

Aftermath,
By RACHEL CUSK
Reviewed by EMMA GILBEY KELLER

Rachel Cusk’s latest memoir describes her divorce and what came next.

The Garden of Lost and Found
By DALE PECK
Reviewed by RON POWERS

In Dale Peck’s novel, a Midwesterner arrives in New York to claim his inheritance, a brownstone that may contain buried treasure.

Dare Me
By MEGAN ABBOTT
Reviewed by CHELSEA CAIN

Megan Abbott’s latest thriller finds power, desire and revenge in the insular world of high school cheerleading.

Reversal of Fortunes
By TYLER COWEN

Michael J. Casey blames a “vast global financial system” for our economic malaise. Daniel Gross sees a brighter future ahead.

The Mansion of Happiness
By JILL LEPORE
Reviewed by DANI SHAPIRO

Jill Lepore traces American ideas about life and death, from before the cradle to beyond the grave.

The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City
By ALAN EHRENHALT
Reviewed by FRED SIEGEL

Alan Ehrenhalt describes a demographic reversal, with the wealthy moving to cities and the working class moving to the suburbs.

Sincerity
By R. JAY MAGILL JR
Reviewed by LAURA KIPNIS

A sweeping cultural history of the ideal of sincerity.

Problems? What problems? Literature? What literature? What? Me, worry?

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

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Al Hirt’s Greatest

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Or listen here.

Marketing Militarization to the Child Market

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

If the video doesn’t play, go here.

How to Become White

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

1) Steal some land.
2) Murder as much of the indigenous population as possible.
3) Make racist laws that oppress the remainder.
4) Kill some from time to time, to let them know who’s boss.
5) And be sure to mock them, the living and the dead, with crude, even brutal, racist humor!

Just a little white humor from Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of the (white) Jerusalem Post.

A Comment on the Movies

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

I’m speaking of the morality play of the Jesuits, not the morality play on the style of Everyman, which is the British morality play in Gothic form, before the Renaissance. I see it in the dark grey of Germany, Holland, more or less of the Breughel period. Musically, I can only point to Carmina Burana, which comes from the same time. Now, in the telling of a story in films, the director is more or less obliged to stylize characters as characters are stylized in artwork in the Church of Notre Dame or the Gothic churches of England. You have only a short time to tell a story, and therefore — I’m now going from one theory to another, so don’t misunderstand me — you must have two sides, as in the commedia dell’arte, and later seen in our great Western successes as: the man with the white hat, the man with the black hat. You have the wonderful chance — which no theatre ever had — to create the background against which your characters tell a story, in a stylized form. If you take today, for instance, Z [1969; Costa-Gavras] — in it there is the highest form of stylization; the director created a Greek chorus with the blue-steel helmets of the police, and this becomes a theme in his film. It reminds you of the Eumenides — of the great classical Greek tragedy. You look at that picture, and whenever danger comes and whenever brutality forces you, these blue-helmeted figures take the whole screen.

— Edgar G. Ulmer
Interview with Peter Bogdanovich
Who the Devil Made It

Personally, I doubt there’s a director working in Hollywood today who would understand anything Ulmer is talking about. Ulmer was a Czech, a European who immigrated to the United States. Along with many other Europeans who fled the Nazis or came for the money, he created the so-called “American” movie.

Now, we have what Sarah Palin might call Real Americans making the American movie. The American movie is now mainly concerned with comic books.  As a college rommate of mine once observed, the only Real American art form is the skyscraper.

Crash!!!

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

2.8571428571428571428571429e-13th of The (Class War) Bailout goes up in smoke. (The pilots made it out.)

On Artists with MFAs and Other Certificates

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

   If Tristan Tzara had barely suspected the meaning of this famous existence we drag along between apes and bedbugs, he would have seen the fraud of all art and all artistic movements and he would have become a Dadaist.  Where have these gentlemen who are so eager to appear in the history of literature left their irony?  Where is the eye that weeps and laughs at the gigantic rump and carnival of this world?  Buried in books, they have lost their independence, the ambition to be as famous as Rabelais or Flaubert has robbed them of the courage to laugh — there is so much marching, writing, living to be done.  Rimbaud jumped in the ocean and started to swim to St. Helena, Rimbaud was a hell of a guy, they sit in the cafés and rack their brains over the quickest way of getting to be a hell of a guy.

— Richard Huelsenbeck
En Avant Dada:  The History of Dada (1920)