Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On the other hand …

… Review: ‘Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth’ by A. O. Scott — The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“People say this kind of thing all the time,” Scott explains. “Magazines publish surveys in which celebrities are asked to name the book, film, or song that changed their lives.” Indeed they do. Why is this important? Who cares what celebrities do? The vulgarization of “you must change your life” into the American pastime of personal growth may be less an indictment of Rilke and his preferred state of concentration, and more an indictment of us and our preferred state of dispersal. When it comes to the question of what bearing the lower realities of American culture should have upon its higher ambitions, Scott regularly acquiesces in too much. “Culture now lives almost entirely under the rubric of consumption,” he proclaims. Speak for yourself, friend. The fight for the integrity of aesthetic experience is not over. Scott is not a fighter, he is a man on the scene.

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