Friday, February 25, 2011

Shocked Again

A few days ago, I pointed you to a piece about "vagueness".  As the writer argued, there is something about contemporary patterns of speech ("like, you know", for example) that suggest the desire to be deliberately vague.  Because I found that argument interesting, it won't surprise you that this first line in a different article by a different writer caught my attention as well.
ANOTHER MONTH, ANOTHER media hurricane of "controversy" in "the arts." Forgive my use of quotation marks in the previous sentence, but in our postmodern world, it's hard to avoid them if you want to be precise in your meaning.

The writer in this case is James Bowman who, among other things, is the film critic for The American Spectator.  (I've linked to his work several times before, most recently for his review of The King's Speech.  He's always worth a look.) 

In this piece, Bowman links the need for using quotation marks with the Kabuki dance that is the modern artist's presentation of some deliberately "shocking" piece of "art". (See, I'm doing it.)  That presentation results in a predictable, and desired, expression of outrage by some representative or other of the bourgeoisie, which is itself followed by an equally predictable expression of outrage in return by the artist, the art community, or both.

Anyway, life in contemporary America can be so convoluted that a sane guide like Bowman is necessary ftrom time to time.  Give it a look.


  1. I find myself using quotes all the time. I can't use the word "liberal" without quotes most of the time, for example.