In addition to the commonly-accepted definition of narcissism, readers of this blog are likely familiar with a second, more nuanced definition. This second definition more-or-less defines contemporary individualism in the west. It is a pervasive, subtle sort of selfishness that is defined so loosely so as to apply to most people; alas you, dear reader, and I are not exempted.
Quite often, when discussing works of art, people argue about the intent of its creators. What did Stanley Kubrick want to say with “Barry Lyndon” or, let us say, “Eyes Wide Shut”? What ideas did Jean-Paul Sartre encase in “Nausea”? What’s the message of <…>? On and on these questions go.
Questions of this sort appear due to various reasons, but I’d highlight this one: the desire to see past the obvious things and discern various intricacies. Symbols, references, thoughts hidden between the lines, you name it. In other words, these queries are driven by curiosity, by thirst for knowledge. And in this specific case, who can quench it more effectively than the creator of the work?
But all such discussions will consist of pure speculation, unless the author had the courtesy to accommodate his work with some sort of documentation, an official guidebook of sorts, which contains authentic revelations. Such a commentary, if provided, swiftly puts an end to all arguments about what the author himself saw in the work he produced.
By JamesVagabond — July 3, 2014 at 6:06 am
Hi. It’s been awhile for me. I suppose this is a bit less abstract than the usual writing on the site, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about as it has reflected off of a lot recent events that I’ve gone through.
By mackytrajan — May 16, 2014 at 7:18 am
The Big Lebowski is one of the greatest films ever written.
This is a fact about the world in which we live. It is not merely my subjective opinion. But why is it so beloved? If you think about it, nothing really even happens. I mean, of course, lots of things “happen”—it’s very complicated: a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous—but in the end, nothing of any meaning or consequence has occurred: nothing’s changed. Sure, Donny died, but—Fuck it—that wasn’t even enough to stop the Dude and Walter from competing in the semis. What makes The Big Lebowski so great, though—apart from being the most quotable movie of all time—is that it is essentially a statement about the souls of us Americans at the end of the 20th century.
Fifteen years ago, The Big Lebowski was released in theaters and was roundly rejected by the American court of public opinion. But as Oliver Benjamin, founder of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, notes, it was a different world back then: America was still in “full-achievement mode,” riding high on government surpluses and the techno-optimism of Silicon Valley. Or maybe we were just too busy playing with our Furbies and getting jiggy with it to have much time for any introspection. Since then, however, a “Great Lebowski Re-evaluation,” as Benjamin calls it, “gradually took root among the youth counterculture after the goddamn plane crashed into the building,” and the movie is now considered to be one of the most revered cult classics of all time.
By Jeremy Sheeler — March 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm
Authorized for distribution to . Approved for comment.
By operator — March 21, 2014 at 2:26 am
PoMo Twitter buddy @SilentMachinery is a font of bad jokes and good observations. Following an exchange about ‘House of Cards’, about which I can’t say much, @SM invited comments on some other pop culture phenomena, specifically ‘Kill List, Field in England, Tree of Life, any random Lars von Trier movie, Sopranos finale, BrBa finale, pick a Cronenberg’. I’ve been noodling on the reply a bit, and even though I can’t really do much over Twitter, I remembered that this website exists for exactly that sort of thing. I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to doing any of it, but this post is about why I’m not really interested in doing parts of it.
By GuyFox — March 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm
Personal fact: I’ve gambled for money exactly 3 times in my life. The first was at a pool hall, where I was drinking under age and hustling some friends at 9-ball long ago. A Guy on the verge of becoming a proper junkie was on the con and smelled my teenage ego a mile away. He came up and challenged me to a shell game, the original where you have to guess which of three little cups is hiding the pea. I denied him and challenged him to a game of 9 ball. Cleverly, he challenged a couple of my friends for no money, and they both won. So when he came back to me, I of course put 10 currency units on the table and played, and, of course, I lost. Stupidly, I lost again at double or nothing. I should’ve been paying more attention when my friends played, because they could have said that the pea was up his ass, and it would have been. As soon as that cup covered the pea, it disappeared so that it could reappear wherever it needed to be for them to find it. They weren’t the mark. And when it came my turn, it wasn’t that I couldn’t find the pea, it’s that there was no longer a pea to find.
By GuyFox — January 26, 2014 at 9:45 am
1. In The Loop
A friend who happens to be a DJ once commended me for knowing (and liking) Burial; I noted Burial was rather hard to not know about. Similarly, as we started talking about movies, I argued that David Lynch was practically mainstream. I was wrong, in one very specific sense – Our culture, and specifically the digital realm, has completely obliterated the logic of mainstream/niches. Anyone can play a game of Six Degrees of Bacon on Wikipedia with music, television, literature… and very easily end up here, or here, or here. Finding out about any one of these is trivial; Pitchfork – paradoxically, by which I mean not paradoxically at all, Mecca of “alternative” music – publishes reviews on Mogwai and Isis and Burial (and how). The Guardian and just about every other news-outlet will review any new David Lynch movie. There are no mainstreams and niches, there are only loops of varying sizes.
By fabius mayland — January 1, 2014 at 11:55 pm