Of critical theory
Forty years ago Harold Rosenberg said “art in our time cannot escape having a political content and moral implications. Criticism that is unaware of this is fatally poverty-stricken.” Today you can look for critical theory behind cans of soup at the supermarket. You can find it in your apartment, or in your home. Maybe your pool, if you have a pool. Your cat can teach you critical theory. Your dog is chasing a squirrel. There’s a lesson here somewhere, everywhere. Even at the corner store. Not in the trees. The trees can’t tell you about critical theory, but the wind can. You don’t need a sense of humor to know it’s raining a lot. Look around. Better yet, look at yourself. Harder. Look harder and deeper at yourself. And see that you are just an it. Critical theory is the space between things. There are books entirely on this lack of space. More books all the time more books on theory. Eat. But you don’t need to read the books. You just need to pay attention to them. Let them envelop the you that you thought you were in rust. Give yourself to them, and you will find that you weren’t really. But they are and they aren’t. And it’s never enough to think that you know, because you don’t. All there is is an idea of something between the things, spreading them out, making them whole. A ghost. Find it in the penny fountain at the mall below the sun light crashing gently thru the atrium, so high above. It’s in the dust on the plants next to the food court, where the last sandwich artist makes too-hot coffee for the grandmas and the grandpas, stretching out their limbs like wet shirts hung over a dry line strung between two buildings within several larger buildings, waiting to learn what it’s like to be an idea in the mind of someone living without knowing they’re going to die.