I’ve been making an annotated photo of my bookshelf.. Also, here . As delightful as doing that was, the data is part of a flash file, so what’s the point if I can’t download the notes easily. (Luckily Flickr has opened their API’s, so someone will probably write a text extraction tool, if I don’t).
Here’s a camcorder review site.
Here’s a list of a messy desktop. Oh, my, I need to do a screenshot of mine.
I think that art has always existed with, if not competed with popular culture. When the court was reading “The Canterbury Tales,” the illiterates in the street were singing folk tales and watching jugglers and clowns and God knows what. It’s always been this way and probably always will be–the novel has somehow been posited for us as a kind of “mass item” and if it sells only 1500 copies is seen as a failure. I don’t know if that’s even a reasonably intelligent way of thinking. A novel, even a lousy novel, can’t command the audience of the least successful TV sitcom, and yet such a form is “supposed to.” Outside of the dreary rubbish that is churned out by god knows how many hacks of varying degrees of talent, the novel is, it seems to me, a very special and rarefied kind of literary form, and was, for a brief moment only, wide-ranging in its sociocultural influence. For the most part, it has always been an acquired taste and it asks a good deal from its audience. Our great contemporary problem is in separating that which is really serious from that which is either frivolously and fashionably “radical” and that which is a kind of literary analogy to the Letterman show. It’s not that there is pop culture around, it’s that so few people can see the difference between it and the high culture, if you will. Morton Feldman is not Stephen Sondheim. The latter is a wonderful what-he-is, but he is not what-he-is-not. To pretend that he is is to insult Feldman and embarrass Sondheim, to enact a process of homogenization that is something like pretending that David Mamet, say, breathes the same air as Samuel Beckett. People used to understand, it seems to me, that there is, at any given time, a handful of superb writers or painters or whatever–and then there are all the rest. Nothing wrong with that. But it now makes people very uncomfortable, very edgy, as if the very idea of a Matisse or a Charles Ives or a Thelonious Monk is an affront to the notion of “ain’t everything just great!” We have the spectacle, then, of perfectly nice, respectable, harmless writers, etc., being accorded the status of important artists. I saw, for instance, maybe a year ago or so, a long piece in The New York Times on the writers who worked on some hero-with-guns movie. Essentially a pleasant bunch of middle-class professionals, with the aspirations of, I’d guess, very successful cardiac surgeons. Workmen, in a sense, who do what they’re told to make a very good living. Not a shred of imaginative power left in them. But the piece dealt with them in the same way that the paper deals with Sharon Stone, Leonard Bernstein, Mark Rothko, Merce Cunningham, etc., etc. It’s sort of all swell! My point, if I haven’t yet made it, is that while it’s all right to think of something as delicious as Dallas or Dynasty as, well, delicious, it’s not a good idea to confuse them with Jean Genet. Essentially, the novelist, the serious novelist, should do what he can do and simply forgo the idea of a substantial audience.
Am I just a literary nut, but am I the only one who gets excited about the “new releases” at blackmask.com? The most unsettling thing about blackmask/gutenburg is that so little information exists about these authors, and few downloaders have taken advantage of the site’s commenting feature. (I plan to).