What Good Are the Arts? asks John Carey’s recent book of the same name. The New Criterion think Carey’s thesis is informed by cynical political motives rather than earnest convictions, and accuses Carey of dabbling in the risky art of aesthetic relativism: Obviously, art is ultimately about “the search for truth” (a lesson we’d do well to remember before society falls apart). But as Carey and others point out to the contrary, the Third Reich was all about art—and yet, art under the Third Reich had precious little to do with “searching for truth.” So just what good are the arts? Here’s what a few others have to say on the subject.
posted by saulgoodman
on Oct 4, 2006 -
Bible Dudes. I'm a Bible Scholar, a Scriptural caller,
I got a lot of books but not a lot of dollar.
Things from antiquity you know they be ravin',
I throw around words like sitz-im-leben,
A bazillion languages are cloggin' my head,
All of my heroes have been a long time dead.
Come on along now, all the Bibledudes' buddies,
Cuz Yo! We gonna rap BIBLICAL STUDIES!
posted by ozomatli
on Apr 14, 2006 -
The Antichrist Checklist : The most recent entry in Slacktivist's extremely insightful and entertaining series on mocking and deconstructing the Left Behind books. Being written from the perspective of a non-fundie Christian just makes it even more powerful. Slacky reveals how manufactured the cooked-up, hacked-together "prophecy," that fuels the series is. If you believe all that nonsense, and can make it through this series with your wacky premillennial dispensationalist beliefs intact, then I'm sorry but there is no hope for you.
Highlights of this week's installment, the best I've seen in a while: the antichrist, the paucity of the biblical evidence for him/it, and this sentence: "The composite sketch derived from all these descriptions yields a portrait that looks a little like Nebuchadnezzar, a little like Antiochus Epiphanes, a little like Nero or Diocletian, and a little like Victor von Doom."
posted by JHarris
on Aug 19, 2005 -
An insightful piece of poetry criticism by Adam Kirsch encapsulates the work of Charles Bukowski, popular poet with MeFi's and others. Camile Paglia has a go at poetry crit in her latest, Break, Blow, Burn.
I read the Kirsch piece because I have a passing familiarity with Bukowski, and if I saw someone reading a volume, I'd have some snap insight into what their interests may be. Though I often judge a reader by their book's cover, I could do this with very few poetry books, and I can't remember seeing anyone with a poetry book, or telling me about a poetry book in a long time. While some of us read for pleasure, we probably aren't reading poetry. The slam poetry movement of a few years ago seems to have lost its media fire. The death of poetry is periodically announced, and others disagree.
My casual observation is that many poetry lovers actually write poetry, and are not students of the genre. Poems are short, it's easy to call something a poem, and it may make the writer feel better to write one out. Rarely are they good, and rarer still will they find an audience outside of web communities of other poetry writers. Can vigorous and accessible poetry criticism revive poetry readership? Does anyone who does not write poems read poetry, especially unfamiliar poetry? Will anyone cop to writing it but not reading it? And should we care?
posted by rainbaby
on Apr 26, 2005 -
This guy has hit the nail on the head. I've been marveling at how it was possible to completely screw up the sequels to what I consider the greatest action movie of all time. Matt Feeney has precisely and eloquently pinpointed everything wrong with the Matrix sequels.
posted by aznblader
on Nov 10, 2003 -
Film Schools obsessed with theory David Weddle complains that in film schools "discussions about movie characters, plots and the human beings who created them are replaced by theories such as semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalytics and neoformalism. [More inside]
posted by gregb1007
on Sep 14, 2003 -
Music crticism in weblogs: Chat rooms and vanity sites seem so mid-’90s in internet terms, but the future of music criticism is lurking deep in the blogosphere. An article from Toronto-based free magazine, Exclaim!
posted by hoder
on Jul 2, 2003 -
The Worst Book I Ever Read “Finnegan’s Wake is the best example of modernism disappearing up its own fundament.” A Brief History of Time and Iris Murdoch show up twice. Mein Kampf is as interesting as a bus timetable and “JK Rowling is the sub-literary analogue of Tony Blair.” Tolkien appears most foten, making him the most hated of this little group.
posted by raaka
on May 25, 2003 -
Dixie Chicks Pulled from Air After Bashing Bush Dude, these Texas people didn't find criticism of the president unpatriotic when Bill Clinton was president. They thought it was a sacred duty...Apparently country stations in Texas and elsewhere are pulling Dixie Chicks albums because their lead singer, while on an overseas tour, criticized Bush, saying she was ashamed to be from the state as him.
People who want to criticize the critics of the critical comments are supporting the Chicks by buying their albums and requesting their songs.
I never thought I'd buy a Dixie Chicks album, but that's what I'm going to do tonight, and I'm paying full price!
posted by jengod
on Mar 14, 2003 -
Fuck Hip Hop. Title of a block-rockin' essay by dj, filmmaker and cultural activist Pierre Bennu.
I think the time has come to bid a farewell to the last black arts movement. It’s had a good run but it no longer serves the community that spawned it. Innovation has been replaced with mediocrity and originality replaced with recycled nostalgia for the ghost of hip hop past, leaving nothing to look forward to. Honestly when was the last time you heard something (mainstream) that made you want to run around in circles and write down every word. When was the last time you didn’t feel guilty nodding your head to a song that had a ‘hot beat’ after realizing the lyrical content made you cringe.
Cultural Commentary in 10 Easy Lessons "....there's an astonishing abundance of cultural criticism these days -- in magazines, newspapers, web sites, blogs, television....if you removed the five or 10 most abused forms of criticism, there would be a deafening silence. Or perhaps room for other kinds of commentary to grow..." With so much published and available these days. it's damn near impossible to sound original.
posted by Voyageman
on Dec 15, 2002 -
President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand: If the administration really had contempt for the UN, it could withdraw its support and let that organization complete its collapse into a Third World debating society. If Bush wanted to lash out at every threat in the world, America's near-$400 billion defense budget could provide the soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and missiles to wage several small wars at a time, from Libya to North Korea (and most places in between). If America were trying to seize the world's oil reserves, we could have swept aside the Saudi sheiks long ago. If we were indifferent to the casualties of enemy civilians—and the only alternative is to be indifferent to the deaths of our own soldiers and civilians—then anti-war academics would have to give up tallying those casualties one-by-one. But none of this is actually happening.
posted by dagny
on Oct 23, 2002 -
Is modern literature too pretentious? "In the bookstore I'll sometimes sample what all the fuss is about, but one glance at the affected prose -- 'furious dabs of tulips stuttering,' say, or 'in the dark before the day yet was' -- and I'm hightailing it to the friendly black spines of the Penguin Classics" This essay from B.R. Myers in The Atlantic has been expanded into a book. I thought this defense of Raymond Chandler makes a good point about how literature (or at least its critics) can be exclusionary.
posted by owillis
on Aug 8, 2002 -
Special Agent Crowley Speaks Up (NYTimes link , normal rules apply)
Ladies like this are the real heroes in our country and she has something to say before Congress about the new Bush agency. Ms. Dowd agrees and said, "The shape of the government is not as important as the policy of the government."
posted by nofundy
on Jun 11, 2002 -
At large in the blogosphere And yet another analysis of the world of blogging. Does this one, by a decent literary and cultural critic, present blogs and blogging in a better light than many earlier ones? note: NY Times free reg reqd.
posted by Postroad
on May 5, 2002 -
Israel refuses the UN factfinding mission, as if anyone ever had any doubts about a government that has consistently refused any third party monitoring, fact finding, or international observers, in any aspect of the conflict with its Palestinian neighbors. In doing so, Ariel Sharon's government yells out once more its disdain for international public opinion, and kicks yet another attempt at establishing an impartial view of the situation in the balls. If Israel acted in rightful self-defence in Jenin, then a UN fact finding mission could only confirm this state of affairs, now couldn't it? How long will we all stand by and watch this happen over and over again? Can we be critical of Israel without being labelled anti-semitic? Does the Holocaust provide permanent immunity from compliance with international law to the state of Israel? If as a white Christian I feel anger and frustration, what should my muslim brothers in other parts of the world feel? Am I surprised that some of them resort to dispicable means to make their point?
posted by coyroy
on Apr 28, 2002 -
Literary lynching, the practice of attacking authors who make statements against the U.S. government or engage in dissent, gets a comprehensive overview with a book in progress. As 72 year old author Dorothy Bryant puts it, "More than ever, we need free exchange of facts and opinions. I hope that looking back on a few cases that have had time to cool off will help us to understand the psychology of literary lynching, and to resist it — not only in others but in ourselves." But in today's world, is there any distinction between a thoughtful response and a downright ugly rejoinder anymore? (via Moby Lives)
posted by ed
on Apr 2, 2002 -
A Good Summary, albeit in the form of a NYPost Editorial, as to why Israel should ignore 95% of the criticism it gets regarding it's current policy towards negotiating withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. President Bush: are you listening?
posted by ParisParamus
on Mar 18, 2002 -
Rock band Creed is not fond of free speech. Creed was slammed on this site recently and their actions toward this music critic in Cleveland doesn't help their cause. In this case, Creed seems to be doing a lot of "Do as I say, not as a I do" speak. I was at the Cleveland show Sunday night and I enjoyed the concert, but this story is disappointing.
posted by munger
on Jan 28, 2002 -
Niches of Trust is an Online Journalism Review article about three 'consumer journalism' sites run by individuals who come from journalism backgrounds. They do something now rare in corporate media - provide honest information separate from advertiser influence and, when necessary, are critical of the business or product being reviewed. The sites are The Car Place, Theme Park Insider and Consumer World. What are your favorite run-by-one-person sites that provide critical analysis of products?
posted by fleener
on Jan 27, 2002 -
Real Cinephiles Prefer Reading "Cahiers du Cinema" to Going to the Movies: I stopped reading Cahiers du Cinema - the famously dogmatic French film journal where Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Rohmer cut their teeth - a few years ago, when it got too arty-farty for its own good. Well, it's slowly becoming essential again. Their website is trés chic, intelectually challenging and a welcome antidote to the usual online movie-reviewing clowns. Or is it still a load of pretentious rubbish? (In French, but with a lovely intro, lots of cool stills and a Quicktime interview, in English, with underrated director Paul Verhoeven)
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Dec 5, 2001 -