24 may. 2010

I never liked the idea of a "symptom" very much (in cultural studies). In the first place, symptom implies disease, something wrong, so a poem, a story, a song, or a dance being "symptomatic" of some larger phenomenon implies that it's like a rash that is a symptom of an infection. Something is wrong and the painting or building or motet is a sign of that. Secondly, the larger, seemingly more significant phenomenon the symptom is a symptom of is going to be something less interesting than the drawing or movie or cantata. The idea of the symptom, however, reduces the novel or play or fugue to a secondary status.

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Make two piles, in one put the human condition, getting along better together, what makes us truly human, what it means to be American, learning about other cultures...

In the other put, the works of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, Paul Klee, Robert Creeley, Frida Kahlo, Basho, Issa, Bach...

Which pile would you choose? In other words, can you only justify the second pile by using the vague humanist rhetoric of the first? Isn't it, rather that we want to have the pile of actual works and feel the need to use some kind of mealy-mouthed rhetoric to justify our interest in them?

2 comentarios:

mic_comte dijo...

Paul Klee is definitly the best in your list.

Judy dijo...

Bach.