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I do not know what art means but I know what it is.
April 6, 2010 7:52 PM   Subscribe

The Wisdom Of Rats - A personal essay on art and time and everything, by Charles Bowden for Harper's.
posted by The Whelk (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Have to admit, I'm more interested in the wisdom of rats than some guy's wisdom. I was hoping that this was going to be something naturalistic about rat behavior.
posted by stoneegg21 at 8:22 PM on April 6, 2010


tl;r [shrug]
posted by unSane at 8:27 PM on April 6, 2010


Fustian, yeah -- well, OK -- hell, yes, but some good and interesting ideas in an unusual package, Actually, I think too many too many. At least too many for me to find a comment on the content, because without the package they have no connection at all.
posted by Some1 at 9:44 PM on April 6, 2010


I normally like c bowden but...
posted by rebent at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2010


Gotta love Harper's controlled vocab...
posted by unknowncommand at 9:55 PM on April 6, 2010


Wonderful prophetic writing. Thanks.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:01 PM on April 6, 2010


I really liked this, thank you.
posted by cirripede at 10:18 PM on April 6, 2010


I have trouble understanding writing that is about everything and anything, I question the all-embracing attitude, I quake at the multitude, I require coordinates, I hope for clarity, I open the door and go outside but I also open it when I go back inside, what's up with that, I like vindaloo, sushi, hamburger, too.
posted by The Mouthchew at 2:06 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to say I'm a big fan of Charles Bowden. For some reason he always reminds me of the Tommy Lee Jones character in No Country For Old Men. I first heard about him in an episode of NPR's Hearing Voices and I was hooked. Check out the hearing voices website for some audio of Bowden's editors and subjects HERE (mp3 podcast).
posted by popecork at 6:46 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have trouble understanding writing that is about everything and anything, I question the all-embracing attitude, I quake at the multitude, I require coordinates, I hope for clarity, I open the door and go outside but I also open it when I go back inside, what's up with that, I like vindaloo, sushi, hamburger, too.

I'm a sucker for this sort of essay, but your (altogether sensible) point reminds me of James Russell Lowell, wittily reviewing Thoreau's hopelessly meandering book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:
We have digressions on Boodh, on Anacreon, (with translations hardly so good as Cowley,) on Persius, on Friendship, and we know not what. Mr. Thoreau becomes so absorbed in these discussions, that he seems, as it were, to catch a crab, and disappears from his seat at the bow-oar. . . . as it is, they are out of proportion and out of place, and mar our Merrimacking dreadfully.
For those of us who say the more Boodh and Persius the better, also worth reading are the strange, poetic essays of Eliot Weinberger.
posted by cirripede at 4:24 PM on April 7, 2010


Is man actually more complex than a pigeon? Who's a biology geek here? I'm curious.
posted by Erroneous at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2010


No; that part bugged me as well. If you compared humans (or pigeons) to, say, a single-celled organism, you'd have an argument. Despite Haeckel's trees of life, though, we are not at the top of the zoological ladder, or any more complex than a rat with wings. Here is a pretty solid (and brief) rundown on this question.
posted by cirripede at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2010


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