Friday, May 21, 2004

So it's Friday, and you're wondering "where the fuck is the intemperant poorly-written rant about something I don't care about." Sorry, friend, there is no rant, for the simple reason that I was able to enjoy this week's New Yorker in peace. No self-contradictory load of crap to interrupt my reading pleasure, no Denby lurking at the end to spoil the effect. Shit, I even read the fiction this week, which I highly recommend for its, uh, incendiary finale. Even if I'm not quite this happy, the Tomkins piece on the demoiselles' makeover was fun and smart:
Elderfield comes in at least once a week to see how things are going. "Famous pictures start to look like reproductions of themselves," he said. "They are reproduced so often that your memory of them is replaced by the memory of the reproduction. Well, this picture now doesn�t look like any of its reproductions."
This is something that I've tried clumsily to say before, and it's nice to see it expressed so crisply. It is also interesting to watch an idea from the domain of "theory" enter the real world in a meaningful way, which is something James Wood needs to think about:
But none of this can be done, or even attempted, if aesthetics are not a real concern, and if writers' intentions are continually ploughed into ideology.
Of course, he's right, in the sense that there are aesthetic objects (novels, paintings, whatever) that deserve to be considered on their own merits, and that is something that writers are more interested in than others. But the idea that you can separate the "intention" from the ideology is stupid, and I don't see what you'd gain from trying it. It's a false dichotomy. The critic's job is to deal with aesthetics and ideology, which isn't that hard.

Links via Maud and the hag, who also suggests this month's Atlantic story, which begins:

Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat.
Fucking tell me about it.

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