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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: March 23, 2023 10:46AM

The following is an excerpt from A.O.Scott, a movie critic---but tell me---couldn't this just as easily be about a religion--one in particular?

"The thing I love most about the movies is their ability to obliterate reason and abolish taste. You know the jump scare is coming, but you jump anyway. You suspect you should be offended by the joke, but you laugh helplessly in spite of yourself. Why are you crying? You don't really know, but you can't argue with tears."

The "obliterate reason" is such an obvious connection, but, the one that gets me the most is--abolish taste. Not the only beautiful thing Mormonism abolishes. Is it!

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: March 23, 2023 11:35AM

Interesting.

It obliterates reason, but somehow it constructs the wall needed for cognitive dissonance at the same time.

As for abolishing taste (with movies), I wonder if that means pushing boundaries to make people uncomfortable. I used to be uncomfortable with swear words in movies. Now I expect them. I don't know if this is progress, but for movies to continue to shock and awe, they are going to make people squirm. We pay them well to do it. Mormonism is bent on making people reject viewing new things in new ways.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: March 23, 2023 12:05PM

Nice expansion. "Mormonism is bent on making people reject viewing new things in new ways." Yes. That is the cinematic difference.



I think I can live without reason. We seem to be forced in that direction anyway with reason at least bound and gagged and trying to communicate with eyes only. But I can't live without taste if we must choose between the two.

Now, I'm off to decorate a basketball hoop for a wedding reception.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: March 26, 2023 10:52AM

Done & Done Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> "The thing I love most about the movies is their
> ability to obliterate reason and abolish taste.

Nice eye, D.

Taste and reason are precisely what can be recovered upon leaving LDSinc. Also, are what develops when we turn off the flickering image and open a book.

But not always. Take A.O. Scott, whose mind is a victim of his job, an example of déformation professionnelle. His work exemplifies our intellectual culture after 9-11, glib and empty. Intelligent sentences that add up to nothing. Leon Wieseltier, reviewing an A.O. Scott book (2016), gets him and our time right:

“The interest of Scott’s book lies not in its contribution to the solution of the problems it treats [criticism], but in its exemplification of our moment in American culture and American cultural journalism. It is an accurate document of the discourse of “takes.” This movie, that book, this poem, that painting, this record, that show: Make a smart remark and move on. A take is an opinion that has no aspiration to a belief, an impression that never hardens into a position. Its lightness is its appeal. It is provisional, evanescent, a move in a game, an accredited shallowness, a bulwark against a pause in the conversation. A take is expected not to be true but to be interesting, and even when it is interesting it makes no troublesome claim upon anybody’s attention. Another take will quickly follow, and the silence that is a mark of perplexity, of research and reflection, will be mercifully kept at bay. A take asks for no affiliation. It requires no commitment.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/03/ao-scott-critic-without-a-cause/426828/

They say Scott is moving on to review books…



Read Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Hardwick, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, just for example, and compare their essays to anything from the left hand column at Arts & Letters Daily and try not to despair. Compare Pauline Kael, even in her later, bullying style, to A.O. Scott, and…



By the way, Pauline Kael is now enshrined in the Library of America, but nothing she wrote was as intelligent as Renata Adler’s famous NYRB take down of her from 1980. Snippet:

“Now, When the Lights Go Down, a collection of her reviews over the past five years, is out; and it is, to my surprise and without Kael- or Simon-like exaggeration, not simply, jarringly, piece by piece, line by line, and without interruption, worthless. It turns out to embody something appalling and widespread in the culture. Over the years, that is, Ms. Kael’s quirks, mannerisms, tics, and excesses have not only taken over her work so thoroughly that hardly anything else, nothing certainly of intelligence or sensibility, remains; they have also proved contagious, so that the content and level of critical discussion, of movies but also of other forms, have been altered astonishingly for the worse.”

—“The Perils of Pauline” [essay behind a paywall]—


If things were that bad in 1980, how bad were they in 2016 let alone today? Or is this simply a case of the sky is always falling?

I’d like to tie all this together but I gotta run. Thank you as always for the invitation to think, D & D,

Human

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: March 28, 2023 11:21AM

I see you may share my feelings on critics, haha. As I am unfamiliar with Rilke I must explore as the link you posted has made it impossible not to. Something about aging has made me more curious than ever.

I read a lot of reviews---more book reviews than movies. But often a critic, in-between their own self aggrandizing ways, will give you the meat of the book, some great lines, and something to see in a new light in spite of themselves, and there is some value there. Isn't so much of a book's purpose just the frame for a single point? Ironic that Scott indicts those who obliterate taste.

" Make a smart remark and move on". Ha. Too true.

Most critics don't review but use the supposed review as a means to showcase their own supposed cleverness, intellect, and smug way with words whether praising or panning. Usually I skip the first two paragraphs and look for where they first introduce the book itself before one more zinger in the last paragraph. Much the way the point of a conference talk is not meant to inspire or impart new knowledge but to showcase the apostle's superior connection to God as they feed on their reflected images in the eyes of their smitten subjects.

But we live in a Tik Tok world where notoriety is King and substance is a nuisance and of no value in getting attention and the securing numbers of followers necessary to maintain an imagined self esteem and hopefully an endorsement. And another "smart remark" is essential if one wishes to stay relevant. And, another.


And a statue changing you? And the world stuffs themselves into museums to say they saw a sculpture or a painting which they may actually finally see when they examine their selfies later with said object and, then, actually glance at that which they have used to frame their own life. What would Rilke say about that?

Trappings. Indicating something to adorn and encage at the same time?

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: March 31, 2023 12:22PM

Done & Done Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Most critics don't review but use the supposed
> review as a means to showcase their own supposed
> cleverness, intellect, and smug way with words
> whether praising or panning.

That is so well observed. It’s the sin of the better critics. Many of my favourites are guilty.

(Quick aside because you will understand. Circumstances have arisen whereby I must cancel a trip to see the Vermeers at the Rijksmuseum. Life long fanatic, willing even to put up with the lines and stress. Once flew to Vancouver and back in a day just to see one, when a Vermeer hadn’t been in Canada for 50 years. The mixed news is my lovely better half is still going and has promised to take lots of pictures of the lines and crowds and the gawking misery of it all. She says that might cheer me up.)

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