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Post #860 • August 25, 2006, 11:02 AM • 30 Comments

Catch aquamaniliamania! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Remember how Iran said that in response to the Danish cartoon manufactured controversy dustup, they were going to have an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust? They went through with it. And the Iranians are staying away in droves.

The Fogg is getting 82 Sickerts. This town just gets better all the time.

Gregory L. Blackstock's drawings. I saw his book at the MIT bookstore, and it is more than the sum of its thousands of parts. The interview at the link is priceless.

The evolution of speech balloons. (Waxy)

Photo of Yakushima forest by Antipixel. (Kottke)

The Art of the Shiv. (Reddit)

Department of Skills: 20-second one-handed Rubik's Cube solve. (Reddit)

Admin: The Café is closed. No one has used it in a month and the last ten subscribers were robots, indicating a forecast for torrents of board spam. Discussion at comment #5 here. However, a store is coming soon.

Comment

1.

Senor Trash

August 25, 2006, 2:26 PM

Holy crap, robots can blog?

2.

Franklin

August 25, 2006, 3:50 PM

They're pretty good at it too, as long as they only have to repeat the same C1@Lis ad over and over.

3.

Jack

August 25, 2006, 7:21 PM

A palindrome for the day:

As I pee, sir, I see Pisa.

OK, enough of that. I have to get back to work on my epic poem.

4.

opie

August 25, 2006, 7:51 PM

Just make sure you are on the down side of the tower Jack, and not against the wind.

Otherwise you are in for a sip a pisa pis

(That's a special inside-out palindrome)

5.

ahab

August 25, 2006, 8:13 PM

Is that a dig at my sonnet a few days ago, Jack? "Trying verse" to be sure.

6.

Jack

August 25, 2006, 8:38 PM

No, Ahab. Far be it from me to discourage sonnet writing. I'm surprised anybody even remembers sonnets. My epic poem , by the way, is called "The Rape of the Sabine Womyn." It's a revisionist pseudofeminist masterpiece, soon to be a major motion picture.

7.

George

August 26, 2006, 1:36 AM

Kuspit

8.

Franklin

August 26, 2006, 8:02 AM

I had no idea that Kuspit's thinking had so much in common with Paul Johnson's. I don't think he's so far off, but I can't help but think that there's a more straightforward way to say what he's saying. If there were a society for the prevention of the abuse of metaphors, they would have had him arrested six installments ago.

9.

opie

August 26, 2006, 8:06 AM

George, Kuspit insists on making often reasonable and and accurate observations unreadbable with all that academic babble.

If he would just blow off all that hot air he might have something,

10.

ahab

August 26, 2006, 1:09 PM

Perhaps somewhere right now there are obscure artists, preoccupied with intellectual research and picturesque wonders, willingly shut up in miserable studios. . . who ponder emptily, unhappily, the universal thought in order to express it in a language intelligible to all. Fiat lux! Because what is important now is. . . to leave the Babel of confused tongues and to create, by virtue of a common thought, a common language, a common form disengaged from all the shadows cast on human nature by all the high borders of absolute systems, by local prejudices, by all sorts of errors which still divide the family of nations.
Théophile Thoré(3)

Satisfying enough to keep me from digging into Kuspit's essay for more or better.

11.

Marc Country

August 26, 2006, 4:16 PM

Hey Franklin, do you know of any comics/cartoons that make deliberate use of different typefaces for different speakers, etc.? I've never seen such a thing in mainstream 'funnies', but it seems ike such an obvious avenue for designed expression, that somebody must be doing it...

12.

Marc Country

August 26, 2006, 4:41 PM

Comment 9, times two.

13.

opie

August 26, 2006, 5:07 PM

The problem with Paul Johnson is that he thinks art is just some kind illustration of grand ideas, and that it is just no more than a lot of subjective takes. He really doesn't get it.

14.

Jack

August 26, 2006, 7:08 PM

I was going to read the Kuspit, against my better judgment, but finally passed on it. I think we're better off trusting our own eyes and deciding for ourselves. More often than not--much more often--listening to supposed authorities is largely a waste of time.

15.

George

August 26, 2006, 8:36 PM

re #9...Kuspit

So, I'm stuck here.

Precisely, what does this sentence (from ch10) mean?

"If the esthetic "belongs to art as art" rather than being "brought to bear on art ‘from the outside’," then bringing the esthetic to bear on reality outside art desublimates the esthetic so that it no longer belongs to art. "

16.

Franklin

August 26, 2006, 10:24 PM

Basically, if aesthetic quality is intrinsic rather than extrinsic, then using aesthetics outside art makes it less noble, and takes the aesthetic exercise away from art. It's false, but that's not my problem.

17.

George

August 26, 2006, 10:47 PM

F. That doesn't sound right. opie?

18.

Franklin

August 26, 2006, 10:58 PM

If you don't know what it means, how do you know the interpretation doesn't sound right? I'm going to bed.

19.

redneck railroad

August 26, 2006, 11:15 PM

Sounds like someone wants their reading spoon fed to them.
F's interpretation is correct, i think.
Why is there so much avoidance of and animosity towards writing of this sort? We can't all write short and emphatic sentences filled with small, unambiguous words.
to bed.

20.

Franklin

August 26, 2006, 11:37 PM

Why is there so much avoidance of and animosity towards writing of this sort?

"He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink." - John Ray

21.

Marc Country

August 26, 2006, 11:53 PM

We can't all write short and emphatic sentences filled with small, unambiguous words.

Of course we can. I just did. Look, there's one more. Hey, it IS easy!

22.

Noah

August 27, 2006, 12:10 AM

Kuspit offers a critique of many of the same things that have been discussed here. I question dismissing his ideas based on his presentation. I don't find him as unreadable as most of you seem to.

23.

opie

August 27, 2006, 12:15 AM

comment #21 times 2.

24.

opie

August 27, 2006, 12:28 AM

The sentence can be comprehended, George, but the logic is faulty. The esthetic can "belong to art as art" without being affected by any use of the esthetic outside art. I don't see how the "esthetic" can be "desublimated", or really what that even could mean.

Kuspit needs an editor, but who would want the job.

25.

George

August 27, 2006, 1:08 AM

re 24 et al..

Yeh, I dissected the sentence and I sort of get the "intrinsic-extrinsic" notion, but it's a really mangled argument. I think he is using "desublimates" as meaning "to make unpure", debased or profaned.

Noah said "Kuspit offers a critique of many of the same things that have been discussed here. I question dismissing his ideas based on his presentation."

That's why I posted the original link.

I disagree about the presentation, it is poorly argued and a stake in the heart of the arguments.

Kuspit is playing defense. too bad.

26.

ahab

August 27, 2006, 1:25 AM

What, by the way, are the side effects of catching aquamaniliamania? Does one actually face the risk of turning into an aquamanile, or might that one merely exhibit the symptoms of constantly sculpting unique aquamanilia of his own. I think I might know someone who'd make a great case study.

27.

Marc Country

August 27, 2006, 10:36 AM

"The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short."

-Arthur Schopenhauer

28.

opie

August 27, 2006, 11:19 AM

"Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books."

John Ruskin

29.

Marc Country

August 27, 2006, 12:07 PM

"Obscurity and vagueness of expression are at all times and everywhere a very bad sign. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they arise from vagueness of thought, which, in its turn, is almost always fundamentally discordant, inconsistent, and therefore wrong.

When a right thought springs up in the mind it strives after clearness of expression, and it soon attains it, for clear thought easily finds its appropriate expression. A man who is capable of thinking can express himself at all times in clear, comprehensible, and unambiguous words.

Those writers who construct difficult, obscure, involved, and ambiguous phrases most certainly do not rightly know what it is they wish to say: they have only a dull consciousness of it, which is still struggling to put itself into thought; they also often wish to conceal from themselves and other people that in reality they have nothing to say."

-Schopenhauer

30.

jordan

August 28, 2006, 2:38 AM

Aquamaniliamania - architypical glyph perhapes?

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