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And a Second Shot of Monday Morning Wake-Up


by Jerome Weeks 22 Dec 2008

Huzzah. The global recession might actually be good for the arts! Well, the visual arts anyway. And mostly in the long term. So says Holland Cotter in the New York Times: “In politics the old order was voted out. In the art world money is running out. Auctions are iffy. Galleries are closing. Museums are […]

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  • Huzzah. The global recession might actually be good for the arts! Well, the visual arts anyway. And mostly in the long term. So says Holland Cotter in the New York Times: “In politics the old order was voted out. In the art world money is running out. Auctions are iffy. Galleries are closing. Museums are in slash-back mode. So 2009 could be 1989 all over again. Important to remember: The last crash opened the art world’s tightly guarded gates to a wave of upstart talent and radical new ways of thinking. That was great. It could happen again.”
  • Huzzah 2.0. The internet has actually brought back reading and writing! Sort of. It just didn’t bring back reading Tolstoy. Clay Shirky, who teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University, tells Columbia Journalism Review:
  • One of the things that I’ve noticed with criticisms of the Internet is that very often they’re displaced criticisms of television. That there are a lot of people, Nick Carr [in the Atlantic Monthly] especially is a recent addition to the canon, wringing their hands over the end of literary reading. And they’re laying that at the foot of the Internet. It seems to me, in fact, from the historical record, that the idea of literary reading as a sort of broad and normal activity was done in by television, and it was done in forty years ago….

The notion was that there was somehow this sacred cathedral of the great books and so forth. It was just that no one actually participated in it, and so it was sort of this kind of Potemkin village. What the Internet has actually done is not decimate literary reading; that was really a done deal by 1970. What it has done, instead, is brought back reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of people.

Many, many more people are reading and writing now as part of their daily experience. But, because the reading and writing has come back without bringing Tolstoy along with it, the enormity of the historical loss to the literary landscape caused by television is now becoming manifested to everybody. And I think as people are surveying the Internet, a lot of what they’re doing is just shooting the messenger.

Image from money.howstuffworks.com

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  • THere’s a big world out there, and in many places there are not only no computers, but many who can’t read. That is an audience for reading that perhaps we should consider.
    Let’s make one of the goals of the new century universal literacy. That would expand reading considerably.

    Now for authors. They are writing well, it’s the safe media and conglomerate behemoths that are ruining literature. I’ve reviewed a book by a local author, ” The Theory and Practice of Oligarchic Collectivism”, a collection of short thoughts or comments on different aspects of life by Graywyvern, that I felt was an instant world classic. I’ve never seen anything this well done since Pensees by Blaise Pascal.

    Response? Zero from both our hometown and the literary world.

    Whoever is in charge is blind to the contemporary literary talent that is rampant out there. There seems to be a wall of mediocre minds in the way of literary revival. Time for a revolution in literature.