Dentistry of Art

"Our capacity for imagination defines us as precisely as our power of speech. In order to be able to cope with tomorrow I have to create, today, however briefly, an image of the world I am about to enter." Anthony Pagden "Without exile, without nostalgia for the lost country, I do not think I would be a writer.” Isabel Allende "And therein lies one of my fatal mistakes in life. Just a few days ago I wrote a note to myself; 'always, even in moments of fulfillment, your tendency to think: its not here yet! You always experience even the most perfect present moment as mere advent. You always expect something more afterward, something bigger, the ultimate." Peter Handke "My Year In No … [Read more...]

We Interrupt Our Scheduled Programming to Bring You…

"Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie." H. Rap Brown "We see images on TV, and evaluate ourselves on the basis of what we see." Jena Gordon "The culture's habit of finding "seriousness" acceptable only if offered by people who are finally not serious is yet another way that our culture makes certain that nothing alarming will come of our newfound interest in heretical ideas." Curtis White There is a certain type of white liberal (overwhelmingly white, but not exclusively) in the U.S. today, and they and their sensibility and values define Hollywood products. Film of course, but far more, really, in television. And they are increasingly … [Read more...]

Kitsch Endgame

"The main thing about the stranger, after all, is that he is strange. He is not like us; he will never understand us. Our greatest fear, perhaps because the possibility is often so seductive, is that we will become like him and loose ourselves.” Robin Fox "The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil." Hermann Broch "One of the most American traits is our urge to define what is American." John Updike "The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects." Adolf Loos "Families, for … [Read more...]

You Will Not Be By That

"But if the word ‘inspiration’ is to have any meaning, it must mean just this, that the speaker or writer is uttering something which he does not wholly understand – or which he may even misinterpret when the inspiration has departed from him. This is certainly true of poetic inspiration." T.S. Eliot "The words that matter most are the words we don’t understand. If we have believed that words can matter only when we understand them – at least to some extent – in what way might they matter to us when we don’t?" Adam Phillips "There are only two diseases: one is riding an ass to search for the ass; the other is riding an ass and being unwilling to dismount." Shu-chou (Ch'an Master Shu … [Read more...]