Re-engineering “taste”

One way I've found it helpful to think about "culture" in a more manageable scale is through the metaphor of an unending variety show, with many theaters and stages (think music festivals—GovBall, Coachella). This neverending show presents a class of problems to any audience member attempting to grok an act, or to any act attempting… Continue reading Re-engineering “taste”

Enthusiasm, Play, and “Cool”

Idea: Young animals of countless species have been observed engaging in play, exploring their environment, testing boundaries, and entering low-stakes simulations of behavior that will in adulthood become high-stakes (e.g. wrestling, hunting, dollhouses). In humans, playful exploration in this sense is associated with the sincere enthusiasm of discovery—young children can still be surprised or highly… Continue reading Enthusiasm, Play, and “Cool”

Oscillation / Fashion

1. Oscillation You can never really tell when James Murphy’s being sincere, whether he’s making fun of others or making fun of himself. “Pow Pow”’s his statement of philosophy—“from this position / I can totally see how the decision was reached”—which is a sort of pragmatist-PoMo enlightenment: acknowledge perspective’s providence on truth and then turn… Continue reading Oscillation / Fashion

Poets are Intelligence Assets

As I understand it, the idea in Benjamin Hoffman's "Poets are intelligence assets" is that there's all this ambient information about specific cultural moments which is packed into a text unintentionally. My impression is past theorists have called this, loosely, "ideology," though the word carries deep-politic connotations. "Worldview" may be a better term, but I'm not… Continue reading Poets are Intelligence Assets

On the Erotics of Interpretation

by Suspended Reason w/ James Wood In Antonioni's film L'eclisse, the luminous Monica Vitti visits the Rome stock exchange, where her fiance, played by Alain Delon, works. Delon points out a fat man who has just lost 50 million lire. Intrigued, she follows the man. He orders a drink at a bar, barely touches it,… Continue reading On the Erotics of Interpretation