Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Last Buying Spree (You Are Free)



Ordered online the last morning of the last Day o' Innocence last week at work, when I still thought the folks there liked me and that I had years of a cushy regular income before me (instead of just 2 more days of $12-an-hour temp work)...

Well, the empty days and weeks ahead will certainly give me plenty of time to read Kant and Hume, huh? That's what I WANTED, wasn't it?? Funny, I ordered these 2, plus a book on aesthetics by Dave Hickey (hasn't arrived yet), all because I was browsing through a "Chronicle Review of Higher Education" at work. There was a poll there of professors asking which philosophers had most influenced them; Hume was way ahead, followed by Kant. I'd heard of them, but had no idea what either believed. (The only philosophers I have any familiarity with are Nietzsche and Sartre and Camus -- existentialism was still very trendy when I was taking philosophy courses in the 1980s!) It really bugged me that I had no idea why Hume and Kant were so influential! The "Review" also had an extensive interview with rogue art critic Hickey, whom I'd never even heard of (though he'd spent time at UT-Austin). I was drawn by a quote from one of his essays on encountering Beauty:

The sudden unexpected harmony of the body, mind and world becomes the occasion for both consolation and anxiety. In that moment, we are at home with ourselves in the incarnate world but no longer in tune with the mass of people who do not respond as we do. We seek out, as a necessity, the constituency of people who do respond, if such a constituency exists.

And then later in the article, about academia and art:

In the same way that Rousseau observed that for moderate people, "it is in their interest that nothing be better," Hickey thinks that the entire supporting apparatus for art and artists--college art departments, museums, galleries, artists' grants--saps the vitality and beauty from art by regulating and controlling it, and worse, by crushing desire.

Interesting that this ties in with my just reading about the iconoclastic MONA museum in Tasmania (see the below "SNAKE" entry). (For more synchronicity: Cat Power's playing at that very museum in a few weeks! And the titles of the CDs of hers pictured here: "You Are Free" and "What Would the Community Think?" Ha!) :)

Of all the books pictured, though, guess which, of course, got opened first and will probably be the only of the bunch ever read all the way through! :) (Yes, the gossipy "Burnt Diaries" by Emma Tennant, who had an affair with Ted Hughes in the '70s!)


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