Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"


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Rand's novels are [...] as Sublime as it gets.

J

The only scene in Rand's novels which I think would qualify as producing an imaginal semblance of a full-fledged Kantian sublime type of emotional response is the one where a break in a smelting furnace happens at the Rearden mills. An event overwhelming to "the senses" and presenting frightful danger overcome with decisive action probably enacted in an exhilarated joy-tinged state.

The Winston Tunnel disaster is horrific, but the narrative indicates that the people on the passenger train had likely passed out from smoke inhalation before the freight train hit the passenger train. The people in the cab of that train would have had only moments of ghastly anticipation of their doom. No overcoming possible with the walls of the tunnel collapsing.

Dominique's exhilarated state during the Cortlant dynamiting meets the specs in terms of her reaction, but the event is distanced for the reader, since the noise and falling rubble happen quietly off stage.

I think that the general emotional frame of Rand's fiction makes it a good candidate for the "unsettling" variant of "the aesthetic of the strange," as described briefly in the post above.

Ellen

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I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about art but I have followed many of your conversations with interest. When you  point out the inconsistency that music doesn’t fit her criteria but she called it

LOL. Look at the amount of verbiage you produced when I didn't even cite a passage.  What would I be in for if I did? Ellen  btw, I haven't read any further than the sentence I quoted,

I could, abundant passages, like approximately the whole book. But I don't have the time, and if I did have the time, I wouldn't want to spend it on so frustrating a proceeding - way worse than t

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I think of Rand's two main literary efforts taken as a whole, or each individually, may qualify as producing an experience of the Sublime (sublime?) in the reader. I cannot say I have any disagreement yet with either Ellen or Jonathan. It will be interesting to see how Jonathan responds to Ellen even though I have no Sublime horses in this race. For me the discussion on this subject is a triviality until it involves Objectivism's interjection into created art as with Newberry's full-figured paintings, not his other work, and his effrontery in advocating what made that kitsch possible. It seems to represent a pure lack of usable brainpower and dishonesty in the presentation and defense of his viewpoints through a kind of obscurantism that pumps smoke and avoids true engagement in the implicit name of civility as though Jonathan's bad manners refutes Jonathan. Jonathan's manners are not the subject of the thread and he does engage everything he complains about as such too.

--Brant

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The statement indicates that Newberry isn't alone in extending Kant's views on the sublime to interpretation of Postmodern aesthetics.

Who said Newberry is alone in this? The problem is that his analysis is incompetent.

I could point you to Joseph Campbell's analysis of James Joyce's aesthetic views/goals, where he shows that they derive from Thomas Aquinas. I bet if I wrote a paper misrepresenting Aquinas it wouldn't go nearly as far (in O-land) as one on Kant. Aquinas being in the pantheon and all (one of the 3 A's).

BTW, I couldn't help noticing the following from the linked glossary:

Recent analyses of the sublime resemble Kant's model only vaguely and Longinus's hardly at all[...]

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Grabes' thesis is "[t]he necessity to postulate a third, independent aesthetic of the strange as a complement to the aesthetics of the beautiful and the sublime" (pg. 133).

Indeed, Grabes is proposing a third, independent category. He specifically states that what he is referring to is NOT the Sublime. In regard to postmodernism in art, Grabes' view is that Kant's "orientation to moral ideas" cannot be assumed to be true in the postmodern era, and, therefore, his view is that, unlike the notion of the Sublime, postmodernism in art does not deliver a sense of being uplifted.

The statement indicates that Newberry isn't alone...

No one has claimed that Newberry is alone in making his assertions.

...in extending Kant's views on the sublime...

Newberry isn't "extending Kant's views on the sublime." He'd first have to understand them, which he doesn't. He doesn't grasp -- in fact he refuses to grasp -- the fact that Kant's views on the Sublime include resisting and overcoming the entities of magnitude or horror. Newberry thinks (wants to believe) that Kant valued incomprehension and destruction rather than that he valued the feeling of overcoming those states. Newbsie is not "extending Kant's view on the sublime," but is assigning to Kant views that he did not hold, and then also claiming to find those Newberry-invented-strawman views in postmodern art (while not investigating the intentions of the postmodernist artists).

...to interpretation of Postmodern aesthetics.

I think you've gotten lost about what's being argued. No one has claimed that no works of modern or postmodern art contain/evoke the Sublime. No one has claimed that the Sublime has not influenced any postmodern artists. My position is that there are examples from almost every school or period which evoke the Sublime in people. Especially Romanticism, and most especially Rand's art. The resolution that is being debated is whether or not specifically Kant's notion of the Sublime (and no other thinker's before him) is the cause or foundation of the entire postmodernist movement in art. That is Newberry's position. It is not Grabes'.

Alerted by that hint, I went Googling and found that a number of postmodernist philosophers have discussed postmodern visual art and literature as displaying "the sublime." See for instance this glossary item from the University of Chicago for some information (starting about two-thirds through the entry) about Jameson's, Lyotard's, and Zizek's respective takes on "the sublime."

There are also discussions of modernism in relation to "the sublime" - for instance, an essay billed as a "landmark essay" which was published in 1948, "The Sublime Is Now" by American abstract expressionist painter Barnett Newman.

From the listing of topics in the sidebar, you can see that the compilers of the Tate's website take seriously the idea of a connection between "the sublime" and both modernist and contemporary art.

No one here has denied that there are examples of Sublimity in modern and postmodern art. No one has denied "connections." I'm sure that all of the people whom you've been investigating/searching/quoting would also recognize many more examples of the Sublime in Romanticism than in any other school/period.

Again, the issue has never been anything other than my rejecting Newberry's claim that the Sublime is a bad thing, that it represents the valuing of incomprehension and destruction rather than rising above it, and that it is strictly Kant's fault (and no other thinker's) that the Sublime includes the element of fear.

Nothing that you've cited above addresses the actual argument that I've been having with Newbsie. Nothing you've cited counters my argument.

J

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Rand's novels are [...] as Sublime as it gets.

J

The only scene in Rand's novels which I think would qualify as producing an imaginal semblance of a full-fledged Kantian sublime type of emotional response is the one where a break in a smelting furnace happens at the Rearden mills. An event overwhelming to "the senses" and presenting frightful danger overcome with decisive action probably enacted in an exhilarated joy-tinged state.

The Winston Tunnel disaster is horrific, but the narrative indicates that the people on the passenger train had likely passed out from smoke inhalation before the freight train hit the passenger train. The people in the cab of that train would have had only moments of ghastly anticipation of their doom. No overcoming possible with the walls of the tunnel collapsing.

Dominique's exhilarated state during the Cortlant dynamiting meets the specs in terms of her reaction, but the event is distanced for the reader, since the noise and falling rubble happen quietly off stage.

I think that the general emotional frame of Rand's fiction makes it a good candidate for the "unsettling" variant of "the aesthetic of the strange," as described briefly in the post above.

Ellen

Heh. Electron Ellen is so lost in the act of 'lectron chasin' individual scenes from Rand's art that she can't see the big picture Sublime? Say it aint so!

Okay, so, let's try to focus on the big picture.

In Rand's art, she presents the individual against the what?

What threatening and destructive phenomena did Rand's art present as gray and shapeless, and as being "everywhere and nowhere"?

When Galt sought to stop the motor of the world, was he speaking of actually physically stopping the Earth from turning, or was he talking about something else? What was he rising against? Was it of immense magnitude? Was it a powerful, threatening and destructive force?

Which entities did Rand's fictional characters speak of as using "terror in place of proof," of using "fear as your weapon" and of "the horrors they practice." Which phenomena did her heroes describe as having "horrors are their ends," and that "their bloodiest horrors are unleashed to punish the crime of thinking"? To what or whom did the heroes ascribe "the terror of unreason," and as being "expert at contriving means of terror," and of "giving you ample cause to feel the fear"?

Which phenomena did the heroes in Rand's art, as well as readers, feel their power to resist and rise above?

J

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There is a thread started by Michael K. concerning "Ayn's favorite painting."

Based on your understanding of the sublime, does this fit that?

Dali_CorpusHypercubus1954.jpg

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Making Strange

pg. 136

[bold emphasis added]

This also seems to be particularly suitable because more recent attempts to interpret Modernist and Postmodern aesthetics as versions of the sublime are based - with some reference to Burke - for the most part on Kant.

The statement indicates that Newberry isn't alone in extending Kant's views on the sublime to interpretation of Postmodern aesthetics.

Newberry was unaware of the fact that the concept of the Sublime existed prior to Kant. I've asked him many times why be blames Kant rather than previous thinkers, since his anger with the concept is based on the fact that it contains the element of fear, which is not something original to Kant. Newbsie hasn't answered. He doesn't have an answer because the goal to him is not really about the Sublime and what it actually means, but nothing more than a very bad attempt to vindicate Rand's blaming modern art on Kant.

Newberry read Kant, and he did so without knowing the long history of the Sublime, and without having any interest or curiosity in learning about the history. In his haste, anger, and intellectual shoddiness, he just arbitrarily assumed that Kant invented the concept, and that it was therefore something bad. He cherry-picked certain statements from Kant, misinterpreted them, and willfully ignored sentences or phrases which refuted his predetermined conclusions.

The Newberrian view is that the Sublime is evil and never existed in art prior to modernism/postmodernism. He doesn't recognize it in any other period, primarily because he doesn't understand what the concept means. The purpose is nothing more than to blame Kant for things that Newberry doesn't like. Reality be damned.

J

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There is a thread started by Michael K. concerning "Ayn's favorite painting."

Based on your understanding of the sublime, does this fit that?

What do you experience?

I'm sure some people could experience the Sublime, either the mathematical or dynamical, in the Dali image.

J

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There is a thread started by Michael K. concerning "Ayn's favorite painting."

Based on your understanding of the sublime, does this fit that?

What do you experience?

I'm sure some people could experience the Sublime, either the mathematical or dynamical, in the Dali image.

J

Thanks.

Fair enough, there is something unusual and unique about the geometry.

However, I do get a feeling of immeasurable pain and immeasurable resistance to it.

Also, the crucifixion template is difficult to ignore and clouds my "view."

Certainly not Sublime the way Kant defined it for me.

Your picture of the waters being released fit that Kantian Sublime.

However, that is because I experienced nature that powerfully when I was about 12.

A...

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Vertigo I get from the original Hitchcock work...never saw Poltergeist.

Downward it affects me horizontally it does not.

A...

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There are also discussions of modernism in relation to "the sublime" - for instance, an essay billed as a "landmark essay" which was published in 1948, "The Sublime Is Now" by American abstract expressionist painter Barnett Newman.

From the listing of topics in the sidebar, you can see that the compilers of the Tate's website take seriously the idea of a connection between "the sublime" and both modernist and contemporary art.

No one here has denied that there are examples of Sublimity in modern and postmodern art. No one has denied "connections." I'm sure that all of the people whom you've been investigating/searching/quoting would also recognize many more examples of the Sublime in Romanticism than in any other school/period.

That would be an interesting investigation. Somewhere around the time I entered an OL thread with my takes on 'the sublime,' my crib notes indicated Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. As soon as you mention Sublime in Romanticism, I get tugged back to that note.

Does Frankenstein even qualify as Romantic in a Randian scheme of things?

Anyway, I see Ellen's efforts as affording new discussion space. In Frankenstein there are horrible, tragic, unavoidably terrifying events, perhaps even disgusting events. In my memories of my first reading (tainted as it was by the Karloff film) I was sort of enclosed in a mental world of vast implications. I was wanting to be thrilled. I supplied the images and sounds to carry along the narrative and the moral. The willful doctor and his monster were 'romantic' in the Randian sense of minds striving for high goals, yet tragic for the inevitable thwarting of the goals. I tingle with a Rand spidey-sense that the novel is not good evidence of a Randian Fomanticism. But I could be entirely wrong. My mental video is of Angry Villagers.

Now I am going to craft a research phrase that mentions Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Objectivism, and Kant. I like it when OL commentary opens doors to inquiry.

To root my scattered thoughts back in the flow of discussion, here is a little-known Newberry-oid painting that captures a quiet spirit of Romanticism with a hint of the sublime. I will keep the title aside so the 'no outside considerations' rule is observed for first viewers.

le_poeme_de_lame-16-louis_janmot-mba_lyo

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Does Frankenstein even qualify as Romantic in a Randian scheme of things?

...The willful doctor and his monster were 'romantic' in the Randian sense of minds striving for high goals, yet tragic for the inevitable thwarting of the goals.

It's hard to tell for sure. Rand's notion of Romanticism, essentially, was that it advocated volition by showing characters choosing and passionately pursuing their goals. One of her stated criteria was that the characters had to succeed in their goals, which would result in a happy ending, but that was a criterion which she didn't apply to her own We The Living. So, as is often true, how do we decide which of Rand's contradictory positions or double standards represents her actual view on the subject? Do we go by her words about others' art, or do we go by her actions in regard to her own? Must striving characters be shown as ultimately succeeding, or can Rand's standards for judging/classifying/exempting her own art apply equally to others' art?

J

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I am hesitant to post the following video because a few Randian buzzwords for hidden evil are embedded in it, but I'm going to do it anyway.

 

This author, David Foster Wallace, is considered by lots of literary experts as one of the best postmodern authors of his generation (Gen X). He has an incredible capacity for observation, for bringing mundane things to conscious awareness and analyzing them with such genuine curiosity, he gets you interested in them. And I believe this is the correct way one should introspect about life. In fact, this is reflective of my idea of cognitive before normative reasoning.

 

Wallace does the cognitive part exceedingly well. He flounders a bit in the normative part and I think this was one of the things that tortured him. He could see problems, but could only come up with self-sacrifice yada yada yada as the answer. In fact, in the video below, he even says he is not making any moral prescriptions, that his talk is not about morality. But moral he does go...

 

(Apropos, I believe he went off in the altruism direction and did not consider the contrary except from the lens of his own "water," to use the metaphor from his speech, because his father, who is still alive, is a professor of philosophy. David grew up around that stuff. And he had a super-intellect--he devoured books at a fast pace. He was precocious.)

 

Here's the reason I am posting this. Earlier in this discussion, I read the idea of Kant's "sublime" being used in postmodern work. I don't know enough postmodern stuff to make a judgment if some postmodern artists did this, but I do know it has nothing to do with what Wallace is getting at in the video below. His message is to encourage you to choose to think when observing things, then imagine what they mean outside of your own perspective.

 

This is exactly what I mean by cognitive before normative reasoning. Note, my idea is a form of critical thinking, but it is on the inductive level, on the basic observation level, and it has two clear steps. So it is more than just testing an idea with contrary ones. It is trying to make a correct objective identification at the start.

 

Also, when David talks about "water" (listen to the talk--it's only 22 minutes and not boring at all--and you will know what this means), I see core story written all over it. It's more than just seeing the world from the perspective of being the center of the universe (which is the default we all have). It's also a matter of accepting or rejecting the core story we acquire growing up that explains the people around us and how we fit in. That perspective and core story are the water David's fish swim in.

 

This poor guy hung himself in 2008. Way too young to die. He apparently suffered from mental illness, but I believe he also suffered from having such a high degree of intelligence on observing things, he was unable to find something, anything, he could believe in that was equally intelligent regarding what it all means. I speculate, but I believe that contrast tortured him so much, in other words, having a super intelligent mind and being unable to use it on something so important , he finally felt like writing was pointless, and that made it so he couldn't take it anymore.

 

Watch, though. This is one hell of a talk. It's the 2005 commencement speech for Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

 

 

I wonder if this is what a great deal of postmodern visual art is about. (I have Hicks's book on postmodernism, but I have not read it yet, so I am not arguing for or against what he says postmodernism means.) That is, instead of postmodernism being normative art of the Randian sort--"this is what life could and should be,"--some of the postmoderns are saying, "Add this [subject] to the mix with these apparent absurdities--why have we left them out when everyone can see them?", followed by, "We will figure out what it means once seeing it correctly becomes habitual."

 

Or maybe I'm trying too hard. :smile:

 

But after that talk David Foster Wallace gave, I find it hard to accept an oversimplified version of the aesthetic motivations of postmodern artists.

 

Michael

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His message is to encourage you to choose to think when observing things, then imagine what they mean outside of your own perspective.

This is exactly what I mean by cognitive before normative reasoning. Note, my idea is a form of critical thinking, but it is on the inductive level, on the basic observation level, and it has two clear steps. So it is more than just testing an idea with contrary ones. It is trying to make a correct objective identification at the start.

Also, when David talks about "water" (listen to the talk--it's only 22 minutes and not boring at all--and you will know what this means), I see core story written all over it. It's more than just seeing the world from the perspective of being the center of the universe (which is the default we all have). It's also a matter of accepting or rejecting the core story we acquire growing up that explains the people around us and how we fit in. That perspective and core story are the water David's fish swim in.

Michael

This is exactly how I was taught by my family as I grew up.

And when I finished Atlas at about 15/16 and I closed the cover and said, "But of course."

The mental tumblers fell into place.

A...

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This author, David Foster Wallace, is considered by lots of literary experts as one of the best postmodern authors of his generation (Gen X). He has an incredible capacity for observation, for bringing mundane things to conscious awareness and analyzing them with such genuine curiosity, he gets you interested in them. And I believe this is the correct way one should introspect about life. In fact, this is reflective of my idea of cognitive before normative reasoning.

I could talk about Wallace all day long, except Rand fans rarely have read him. I remember recommending Up, Simba not too long ago on OL. It's his coverage of the 2000 McCain campaign, a real hoot.

This poor guy hung himself in 2008. Way too young to die. He apparently suffered from mental illness, but I believe he also suffered from having such a high degree of intelligence on observing things, he was unable to find something, anything, he could believe in that was equally intelligent regarding what it all means. I speculate, but I believe that contrast tortured him so much, in other words, having a super intelligent mind and being unable to use it on something so important , he finally felt like writing was pointless, and that made it so he couldn't take it anymore.

He was on an anti-depressant for many years. Decades even. He became very famous, financially independent (I imagine), and married. He went off the anti-depressant. He soon became physically ill (massive weight loss etc), and the depression came back with a vengeance. He went back on the anti-depressant, and it didn't work anymore. Then he committed suicide.

But after that talk David Foster Wallace gave, I find it hard to accept an oversimplified version of the aesthetic motivations of postmodern artists.

The focus of this thread has been on visual art, to bring in literature (and why not music?) is going to be a bit much. How are we going to agree on what books/authors belong in the category of Post-Modern? And then, how many OLers have read enough of them to have a conversation about it? It's not like a painting where you can post an image. BTW when I wrote about Michelangelo's Last Judgement on this thread I thought about tying in something from Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, but didn't bother, knowing that even the mighty Jeff Riggenbach didn't get through it.

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10385&p=132264

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BTW when I wrote about Michelangelo's Last Judgement on this thread I thought about tying in something from Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, but didn't bother

What the hell, I'll explain what I was thinking about. First, here's what I wrote about the Last Judgement:

The Last Judgement???? That's as Sublime as it gets. The sky opens, God/Jesus hurls people left and right (actually, mostly down) to hell, this is unimaginably big stuff happening (starry skies and thunderstorms got nothing on this) but you, having just been to confession and nibbled your weekly wafer, feel exalted and energized. Also safe: you're soul is in good standing, you're among the elect.

Trouble is, I forced the interpretation to match the elements of the Kantian Sublime. And fine, no doubt many people have experienced it that way. When I saw it I mostly marveled at the size of it, but I'm not religious so it wasn't going to affect me as "intended". However, historians believe Michelangelo was channeling Savonarola, and was in effect damning his target audience. So they shouldn't have been feeling safe. Does leaving out that element, the position of safety, subvert the Feeling of the Sublime? Or is it that the Sublime has, say, five ideal elements, and if you hit four out of five you're still on track to achieving it? My take is that you can hit just one really hard and elicit it.

Now, to tie in the Pynchon. Gravity's Rainbow is set at the end of WW2, and is all about the V-2 rocket. The V-2 lands vertically, so you can't see it coming, and travels faster than sound, so you can't hear it. Really scary when you think about it. The book's Macguffin is the quest for a particular V-2 with a mystery warhead.

At the end of the book the timeline jumps around wildly, with a scene of Richard Nixon outside a theater in California around 1970, then it moves back to early 1945, narrating the launch of a rocket (actually, the rocket, revealed at last) by Nazis, then a scene in a crowded movie theater* where this rocket is destined to hit, and finally there comes a switch to the second person. You might say Pynchon breaks the fourth wall, but really the point of the switch is that the rocket lands on...the reader. Like with the Last Judgement, you shouldn't be left feeling safe. But you might feel energized to get out there and join an anti-war protest. Or hide under the bed. Sublime? Yes, no, who cares?

*it's hard to do justice to this: the single deadliest V-2 strike hit a movie theater in Antwerp in early '45, and the movie Pynchon describes playing is the same one that played that night. This is not a matter of mutally exclusive interpretations: the rocket hits Antwerp, it hits L.A. (where Pynchon was living when he wrote it), it hits Richard Nixon, and it hits you. Post-Modern? Whatever, it works.

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The V-1 was called "The Buzz Bomb" because you could hear it coming. It could be shot down, too.

The V-2 carried a 1000lb warhead.

If I'm wrong it's dementia.

--Brant

demented (that's something else)

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When I saw it I mostly marveled at the size of it, but I'm not religious so it wasn't going to affect me as "intended".

Even without the "outside considerations" of the specific textual religious influence and artistic intentions, one can see and experience great forces and dangers in the image, no?

However, historians believe Michelangelo was channeling Savonarola, and was in effect damning his target audience. So they shouldn't have been feeling safe. Does leaving out that element, the position of safety, subvert the Feeling of the Sublime?

Only God had the power to damn others to hell. Michelangelo was not God, therefore his intending, hoping or attempting to damn them -- either in his art or only in his thoughts -- would not remove them from a position of safety.

Or is it that the Sublime has, say, five ideal elements, and if you hit four out of five you're still on track to achieving it? My take is that you can hit just one really hard and elicit it.Now, to tie in the Pynchon. Gravity's Rainbow is set at the end of WW2, and is all about the V-2 rocket. The V-2 lands vertically, so you can't see it coming, and travels faster than sound, so you can't hear it. Really scary when you think about it. The book's Macguffin is the quest for a particular V-2 with a mystery warhead.At the end of the book the timeline jumps around wildly, with a scene of Richard Nixon outside a theater in California around 1970, then it moves back to early 1945, narrating the launch of a rocket (actually, the rocket, revealed at last) by Nazis, then a scene in a crowded movie theater* where this rocket is destined to hit, and finally there comes a switch to the second person. You might say Pynchon breaks the fourth wall, but really the point of the switch is that the rocket lands on...the reader. Like with the Last Judgement, you shouldn't be left feeling safe.

The Sublmie isn't about "feeling safe," but about having the experience from a position of actual safety, whether it "feels" safe or not. In fact, the Sublime can include ~feeling~ quite threatened or overwhelmed, even when one knows one is safe.

A reader of a book is safe, regardless of how the book's content makes her feel. The fictional rocket that she is reading about is not a real, actual danger to her. Regardless of her feelings, in reality she is safe from that fictional rocket landing on her, just as people are safe from being tossed into hell when looking at a painting of other people being tossed -- the viewers are not actually being tossed along with the fictional depictions.

J

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...... You might say Pynchon breaks the fourth wall, but really the point of the switch is that the rocket lands on...the reader. Like with the Last Judgement, you shouldn't be left feeling safe.

The Sublmie isn't about "feeling safe," but about having the experience from a position of actual safety, whether it "feels" safe or not. In fact, the Sublime can include ~feeling~ quite threatened or overwhelmed, even when one knows one is safe.

A reader of a book is safe, regardless of how the book's content makes her feel. The fictional rocket that she is reading about is not a real, actual danger to her. Regardless of her feelings, in reality she is safe from that fictional rocket landing on her, just as people are safe from being tossed into hell when looking at a painting of other people being tossed -- the viewers are not actually being tossed along with the fictional depictions.

J

Agreed. That is why your picture of the release of those waters was "Sublime," I could feel pure awe and fear at the same time and from a safe place.

Interesting way to enjoy experiencing it.

A...

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He was on an anti-depressant for many years. Decades even. He became very famous, financially independent (I imagine), and married. He went off the anti-depressant. He soon became physically ill (massive weight loss etc), and the depression came back with a vengeance. He went back on the anti-depressant, and it didn't work anymore. Then he committed suicide.

 

Dennis,

 

I know about the anti-depressant thing. I'm even reading his biography by D.T. Max, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. But I've seen some videos by people who knew him well, including several videos of interviews with him.

 

I especially like a 2012 New Yorker panel discussion (see here), which even includes his biographer. In fact, there is a short excerpt from that discussion where his former roommate and friend, Mark Costello, said Wallace lost the will to write, which he thinks is one of the main reasons he checked out. (This is where I got the kernel that informed my comments above.)

 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CpCoY-mCGZs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

I was touched by what NY editor Deborah Treisman said, although she was the only one on the panel who never knew him personally. She said a friend of hers who suffers from depression told her killing yourself is not something you wake up one morning and decide to do. It's that you wake up every morning and decide not to do it. 

 

I, also, became interested in Mary Karr, his former girlfriend. I'm reading her memoir stuff right now (don't ask me when I have the time for all this :smile: ). I found it odd that she is a practising Catholic after listening to her consistent foul mouth during the full panel discussion above.

 

And, on my current reading list, I am actually going through Wallace's Infinite Jest. Since the 12-step program is one of the elements in that long-ass book, I, who went through the 12-step program twice (for both alcohol and drugs), can't not read it.

 

:smile:

 

To tie this post into this thread's discussion, I reiterate that postmodern thought seems to be oversimplified in O-Land. Not that some of the criticism isn't valid. It's just, to me at my present state of familiarity, it's incomplete from improper identification.

 

Michael

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