Spawn of Mars
Don't worry. If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.
Close to the Heart
On the Occasion of Neil Peart's Death
Thursday, February 6, 2020 3:26 pm
While it is not unreasonable to wonder about the life of an artist — or even to admire an artist's everyday conduct — I am of the mind that the artist does not matter (beyond his getting the proper credit and payment). To be sure, his life is relevant insofar as it clarifies his work; but other than that...
Most artists are scum. Beethoven was a bitter bastard. Shostakovich was a pathetic collaborator. As men, neither merits celebration. Celebrity for artists should be rejected. Go ahead and admire Haydn because he was kind, pious, and hard-working; then pity and decry him because he was adulterous; but remember that there were many kind, pious, hard-working, and adulterous men in the world. It was not Haydn's life that distinguished him; and it is not his life that should concern us.
Favor the Heart Over the Tail
Hacksaw Ridge Is an Amazing 40 Minutes
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 9:14 pm
Beware! Spoilers follow.
For its first hour or so, Hacksaw Ridge
is very disappointing. For another half hour it is active
, if not exciting. And then there is a scene that is transcendent; and the remainder of the movie is wonderful.
That's Where You'll Find Me
Maybe Dorothy Sings About the Wrong Thing
Saturday, August 12, 2017 12:19 pm
There's a misalignment in The Wizard of Oz
What is its moral? "There's no place like home." Dorothy has found herself in a land over the rainbow, and yet her ultimate desire — the fulfillment of which she asks of the Wizard — is to return to Kansas. Near the end, Glinda prompts Dorothy to articulate the lesson that she, Dorothy, has learned; and Dorothy replies:
If I ever go looking for my heart's desire, I won't look any futher than my own backyard. Because if it's not there I never lost it to begin with.
This lesson, of course, accords with the narrative facts that the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion each already had the thing he sought. The Scarecrow was already brainy; the Tin Man, full of heart; the Lion, courageous. And Dorothy, in Kansas, already had the place most free of trouble: her home with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.
Concert After the Fish-Fry
Arvo Pärt's Passio
Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:48 am
I've been listening to Arvo Pärt for quite a while. I'm not sure how I discovered him. He is still alive and still composing. His work, since the 1980s, has been generally focused on the sacred, using chant and polyphony.
I don't know much about music. I know most definitions; I can follow a discussion well enough. But I cannot explain to you the difference between a harmony and a melody — not with understanding. And I cannot distinguish either in a work. I am stupid when it comes to music. Fundamentally I am sub-intellectual. For me, a musical work is either a good noise or it's disposable.
An Interruption of the Wallpaper
The Emptiness of Rothko
Saturday, February 2, 2008 4:42 am
I am an optimist. I believe that foolish forms of art endure only so long as they are a means to self-elevation. Once it is no longer the Mark of the Smart Set to gush about a certain sort of art, that art will be abandoned.
Depicting Christ Anew
Encouragement From the Past
Sunday, May 27, 2007 1:54 am
How am I to say anything anew? For two thousand years, artists have been depicting Christ and what He was and is. Even if I am inclined — even if I am impelled — to express, in my fiction, an image of Christ, what fresh manner can I take? I am not clever enough; and my civilization is in its decadence: it offers no help; it has spent itself. At the end of our culture, all has been done and done.
A Bee Contemplates Buzzing
The Definition of High Art
Sunday, January 8, 2006 8:46 pm
Despite having been a writer for decades now and having had the unsurprising and frequent inclination, as a producer of art, to contemplate the nature of art, it was many years until I realized something that I think is very true.
Let me begin by stating the obvious: All works are not substantially equal. However much the academics might want to de-privilege the canon, there remains a qualitative difference between high art and low art. This, to be sure, is not news. If you think I am merely about to scoff at academics who overpraise hip-hop or graffiti, you would be wrong. Such academics, however much they perdure, have been adequately ridiculed already. My question is only this: Given the obvious fact that some art is high and some low, what is it, in the end, that distinguishes high from low? And my answer is this: Depth of information.