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Re: [BKARTS] Shit (was: Book Art Criticism)



Harold Pinter in his acceptance speech for the nobel prize titled Art, Truth and Politics said

"In 1958 I wrote the following: "There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?"

In 1986 Gustavo Perez wrote in Literature and Liminality: Festive Readings in the Hispanic Tradition

"In the end, the issue comes back to urbanity: I would like to think that there is room -- in our literature, yes, but especially in our criticism -- for a discourse that is not urbane. Urbanity implies civility, polish, detachment, understatement, good breeding. I want to make a plea for critical rudeness, for critical crudeness, for overstatement, for relajo, for what I would call sub-urbanity, were it not for the hygienic connotations of the word in contemporary society. When this book was in manuscript, one of its readers commented that it dealt with "some of the most repugnant bodily acts." But criticism, I would maintain, is a bodily act, and even a repugnant one, in the literal sense of the word. I want to make a plea for repugnant bodily acts: the house of fiction could use an outhouse of criticism (an in-house outhouse, however -- an in-and-out house -- for criticism is a fictional kind). I want to make a plea, finally, for a discourse of limits that is also, liminally, a discourse off-limits."

I would like to suggest, with due respect to the boredom and experience of those who have been in this debate for many years (and those of us over fifty), that there is a place for wanting both a lack of urbanity in our art criticism, and a measure of civility in our dealings with fellow citizens. It is interesting that Pinter draws this distinction between viewing art and dealing with people, and I wonder if it is not time for new places to be created in our thinking.

Jessica

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