paper wolves and indivdualism, deciding what sucks and what doesn’t in the age of the amazon review, wall street’s agenda for 2012

A short video with some thoughts on individualism. The Wolf I Used To Be

At the very beginning and towards the end there is also a question of the “voices” that one should listen to. The end credits have a behind the screens look at how the paper cut animations were created.

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. Along with Huckleberry Finn, Gatsby has been called at one time or another THE great American novel.  Seeing that it has 94 one-star reviews on Amazon and  28,966 one-star reviews GoodReads was a little bit of a shock. It literally only took five seconds for me to shrug that off. I wish I could find it now, there was a short blog entry at one of the magazine sites – Salon maybe – that thought it a strange practice for people to claim others should see this or that movie or television show because it was great. Than argue with commeters who disagreed. If you’re going to do a written piece about media – or literature – it is pointless to say that this is great and if you do not like it – well fill in the blank. That just tends to be true of art. One can only gather their insights into that work of art and hope that it might get people thinking about it in a way they had not before. Certainly Gatsby is not a page turner in the way Stephen King or J. K. Rowling are. Beyond Good and Awful: Literary Value in the Age of the Amazon Review

I’m not the first person to point this out, obviously, not by a long chalk. There are whole fields of thought built on it. Kant wrote about it in his Critique of Judgement in 1790—he pointed out the weird way in which our response to a work of art, while intensely personal, feels like it’s universally and objectively true. Kant puts it better: “In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we allow no one to be of another opinion.” If Kant had lived just a couple of centuries longer, he would have had the Internet to show him just how right he was. (You can see the New York Times struggling with the same issue in this rather contemporary-feeling clipping from 1881. And then of course there’s the entirety of reader-response criticism. So yes: I’m not first to market with this brilliant insight.)

[  ]…But either way I feel like there should be more talk about the criteria by which we make literary judgments. More and more books are being published every year, but we have less of an idea than ever (what with aesthetics being dead, or at least resting) how to filter and sort and organize and canonize them, or even whether we should. Presumably the canon-making machinery is continuing to grind forward, and certain books are being assigned in college classes and reissued by the Library of America and so forth, according to the whims and desires of the canon-makers, whoever they might be (for all I know I might be one of them). But we still don’t know much about why.

Short of resurrecting and solving aesthetics, the least we should do is consider trying to move beyond doing the sucks/rocks debate a million times a day on the Internet, and talk more about what it means to say that a book sucks.

Even when it totally obviously does.

As I was was posting music with a lot of posts several weeks in a row one could see that my taste is eclectic, the same is true for other art. Much of that, seldom mentioned in the study of aesthetics, if anywhere, is based on mood. If I’m in the mood for a mystery even a complex dramatic novel that I really like will not do. I’ll read a couple pages and cannot bring myself to make it a suitable substitution. A few days later I’ll feel bored by the idea of a writer slowly leading me down false paths with obtuse clues and re-love the serious drama.

This photo is from here – 17 Candid & Personal Photographs By Director Stanley Kubrick

If one listens to Fox News and conservative pundits we are living in the great Marxist end times. Businesses are burdened to the point of breaking by the White House cossacks that come by to take their share to finance the secret squadron of black helicopters that are going to swoop down to steal your gun and Bible. Someone forgot to tell the thieves on Wall Street – Wall Street ‘Likely To Set Records’ For Political Spending Aimed At Defeating Obama In 2012

Despite a large overall fundraising advantage, Obama has raised just $5.1 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors so far this cycle compared with $12.4 million for Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to Sheila Krumholz, executive director of [the Center for Responsive Politics]. […]

Securities and investment firms are the top industry donors to the Republican Party so far this cycle, having given $12.4 million. The industry has given $10.3 million to the Democratic Party, second to $12.7 million from lawyers and law firms.

The gap for Romney, a former private-equity executive and founder of Bain Capital, is even larger when his super PAC — Restore our Future — is included. Restore our Future, which can raise unlimited sums from individuals and organizations, had hauled in $30.1 million by the end of last year.

This is not about taxes or money, it is about money in the U.S. equally power. Take the big donations out of politics and goodness forbid, the people will run the country.

old woman walking in a field. old copper engraving

Had to add this: On this day in 1633 Galileo arrived in Rome to face heresy charges. He later defended himself in the margins of this book.