“… our expectation that avant-garde art must puzzle, shock, and, above all, resist immediate understanding”: pianist-critic Charles Rosen on Elliott Carter (1908-2012) back in 1973
Is there not a point — of acclaim, respect, mainstream success, [stupid word alert] “influence” and simply being paid lots to do what you enjoy doing — where self-awareness should kick in, as you find yourself unleashing this take-down term at others? Own your power: you are not the embattled nobody you imagine.
(Am looking at self somewhat here, not that I use this specific word very often.)
(But not just at self…)
There are moments when those who most puff themselves up as warriors against empire suddenly seem its most plausible — not to say effective — secret hirelings.
His politics is what he does. What he says — his “line” — is merely how he gets his hand on someone’s wallet, or up someone’s skirt. Ideologues and intellectuals — left, right, centre, other — are often (actually not so) strangely boneheaded about this. They’ve invested so much in mastering specific verbal arguments, big technical shibboleth words and metrics, that they can’t bear to cede how very much easier they are to play as a result.
The guesses will be higher if you mention a big number beforehand
Can mark-grubbing suck-ups ever, in themselves, be radicals? Do radical projects always require a host of cautious Tory dittobots to give even good ideas social heft?
*note: master is sometimes a girl
When I first read about Mallory and Irvine years ago — there was a plaque in a church to the latter, and I used to gaze at it as a child — I was fascinated and intrigued by the idea that two people could just vanish off the side of a mountain. The clouds came down, and when they disappeared, the climbers had disappeared too: a ghost story, really.
I’ve read enough about Everest since to get a sense of how unimagineably and breathtakingly vast it is: and now I think what strikes me, really, is that so little does actually vanish. Everything’s still there, of course; but the curious fact is that everything gets seen — it just doesn’t always get reported.