Monday, February 20, 2006

Naturalist Superstition vs. Supernaturalist Superstition

A friend of mine recently attended a discussion between art critic Jed Perl and literary lion Leon Wieseltier at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. According to this friend, a member of the audience rose to ask the two if they had any advice for beginning art critics. Wieseltier immediately and adamantly belted, "Don't blog!" He went on to call blogging an exercise "somewhere between writing and typing." Well, it's clearly a bit of both, I'd say, but I'll grant him the bite of his muddled insult.

I'm a longtime fan of Wieseltier's, so despite his attack on how I pass 30 minutes or so of each precious day, I'll be the bigger man and use this opportunity to point you in the direction of his work.

His review of Daniel Dennett's book in yesterday's NYT Book Review borders on devastating, and says everything I would want to say about my own increasing disillusionment with the most stubborn priests of rationalism, but in much smarter ways. Read it here. And forgive him his stance on blogging. (And also try, while reading the review -- which you really should -- to not get distracted by just how much Dennett resembles Wilford Brimley.)

Dennett, top; Brimley, bottom:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah but the problem with a lotta these tellallish blogs is that they aggressively pretend to a kind of ingenuousness whereas writing is perhaps not an entirely ingenuous activity. plus editors.


10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, isn't telling ANYONE in attendance at a "discussion between art critic Jed Perl and literary lion Leon Wieseltier at the 92nd Street Y" not to blog a little like... oh, I don't know... telling a zebra not to have stripes?

3:05 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

No, not a smidge of ingenuousness around here. Wouldn't stand for it. In fact, I'm a 78-year-old woman in Topeka, Kansas.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic, so am I. We should catch a flic.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, I think I get it now: Americans Making Fun of Themselves for Being Super-Intellectual Geeks Who Blog About Attending 92nd St. Y Literary Discussions is the new Americans Making Fun of Themselves for Being So Dumb?

On some sick & twisted level, I guess that's progress.

1:51 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Well, it was a friend who attended the Y event, and I didn't make fun of her for it. Clarity in reading, my anonymous friend. That would be progress.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that sick, twisted and dumb is the new intellectual.

11:17 PM  

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