23 jul. 2005

The great thing about reading for aesthetic ideology is that you get to give mediocre crap by your friends a free pass. "You" is often one of your friends.
"This work demonstrates an allegiance to the principles by which I and my work live, therefore viva our team."
That's what I hate about poetry (what I'm trying to train myself out of).


I'm guilty of this too, to a degree. You can't avoid a certain gregariousness that is more inclusive, even of a certain amount of poetry that is "mediocre crap." I'll never hypocritically single out a poem I think is mediocre for praise.

10 comentarios:

jane dijo...

Singling out "aesthetic ideology" as the reason we give our friends free passes on medicore shit (and they do the same for us) is another version of blaming theory? Said passes are given out of a very common definition of friendship, and we find the reasons we need. I don't recall telling a friend his/her poem sucked and having them say oh thanks for seeing past your aesthetic ideology, dude; they just feel more or less openly hurt, and bravely pretend to believing in the abstract virtue of "objectivity."

Jordan dijo...

Perhaps just blaming friendship, Jane.

jane dijo...

Yeah, friendship's the problem, though it's one I'm happy to have. Otherwise you have to be Breton or Debord and keep kicking people out. I just wanted to stand up for folks who give their friends passes on "aesthetic ideology" grounds. I really do know what yr talking about, and feel certain I've done it and had it done on my behalf, and it doesn't feel super. Maybe I'd just rather save my ire for folks who think it's bad to be "judgmental," and give everyone a pass that way...

Jonathan dijo...

***
Which "Jane" are you?


I give free passes to friends even when they don't share my AI or MO. And even when they're "friends" I've never met in person. I think the general gregariousness of the scene makes me reluctant to criticize. Even with complete strangers--I don't want some poet to email me and complain about me not liking their poem. Which happens more than you might think! Once I am "face to face" with the person, even if only on-line, I feel bad about having said anything negative.

Back-channel, I expect my real friends to tell me the truth about my poems.

Henry Gould dijo...

There just seems to be no single or correct or healthy pattern of correspondence between writing & relationships with others.

Writing can be a kind of prayer, a form of solitude, an admission of an incapacity to express what we want or wish or need to say to someone.

It can be a compensatory drug for soothing our crippled selves, souls, personalities.

Just saying that writers shouldn't be too hard on themselves for inconsistencies in this area. Maybe the art of criticism is simply the effort to put some kind of intellectual and ethical order into that situation - to define some borders. But it won't & probably shouldn't & actually can't replace the messy & confused reality. It's like a garden in the forest.

Henry Gould dijo...

The previous should not be read as some kind of justification for a lack of professional objectivity & disinterestedness on the part of anyone attempting to do criticism.

Henry Gould dijo...

...By which I mean, critics should just do their job : To say what they REALLY like, and explain why.

If what they really like to do is network & flatter their literary pals through puffing their "work" - well, they should say so. They'll find a lot of company.

Henry Gould dijo...

Hi - it's me. Just thought you might like to look at my photo op from Paris 1992 again.

Nada dijo...

Henry wrote, "critics should just do their job : To say what they REALLY like, and explain why."

I sometimes enjoy reading this sort of criticism, and if I can be said to have ever written criticism at all, it might fit this definition to some degree.

However, I believe that the job of a critic is something other: To describe, to compare, to track trends, to form syntheses, to place in contexts, to illuminate, and to characterize. Sort of like what a scholar does, but with a possibly less rigorous, more evaluative stance. Otherwise, critics are of no use than to simply fly flags for their own proclivities.

Ernesto dijo...

Amen.