[ No, this post isn’t about the current state of Politics in the “greatest nation that’s ever existed”, or The Vatican. But it is me being, as usual, angry and amused, reductive, pessimistic, excited, juiced up, judgmental, and making sweeping generalizations about humanity, our plight, our collective cultural soul, blah, blah — note: I am a big fan of the Tour de France, absolutely care and absolute also do not care about the cheating. And I will be following as much of this year’s Tour as I can.
I think, really, that I care more about the Tour de France than I do about humanity ]
In less than 48 hours the 100th edition of the Tour de France will begin with huge fanfare. Does it matter that Lance Armstrong finally came clean (in his way), admitting he’d cheated his way, coldly and methodically (Armstrong headed up, according to USADA, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”), to his record 7 consecutive tour titles? READ MORE >
My friend Tadd over at Big Other has a post up about why Plato wanted to kick all the poets out of his ideal republic. And I’m no philosopher. But my understanding has long been that Plato’s problem with poets/art (besides the whole mimesis “copy of a copy” thing) is that art is messy, uncontrollable.
Like, consider this:
Someone—some artist somewhere—decided to make this. Is it good? Bad? Funny? Sick? Evil? Juvenile? Calculated? Hip? Clever? Stupid? Immoral? Amoral? Sure—it’s all those things, and more! It supports a variety of readings. In fact, the better an artwork is (I think this is a pretty OK one), the more irreducible it tends to be (at least, according to certain lines of aesthetic reasoning that I think Tadd would agree with).
Good art disrupts the social order. It wakes you up, shocks you, makes you feel alive—it makes you see the world again, differently. Bad art is boring, predictable, prescribed, a weak illustration of what you’ve already been thinking. (That’s my problem with so many depictions of September 11th, Roxanne—they reduce that day into something so digestible, so mundane, it’s as though it never happened.)