Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Most unkindest cut ...

... Comparing Human Smoke to The Da Vinci Code.

I would not call the people Anne Applebaum is criticizing "amateurs." I would use the term "dilettante." As Van Wyck Brooks pointed out years ago, we lost something with the decline of the amateur, someone who studies something con amore and takes as much care and is as rigorous as any "expert." And there is the problem that some credentialed experts - think Michael Bellesiles or, for that matter, Michel Foucault or Freud - have proved notably unreliable, while others have become too tendentious to take seriously. Disinterested scholarship suffers when scholars succumb to the lure of "engagement" and "relevance."

To see what I mean: Don’t read further if you are squeamish.

1 comment:

  1. Some of the best musicians I know - classical and otherwise - are amateurs who for one reason or another have decided not to make their living doing what they love. And many are very rigorously trained indeed.