About what I expected.
Heard on NPR’s Studio 360 over the weekend: Aha Moment: Kenneth Goldsmith & John Cage.
Not being at all familiar with the work of Kenneth Goldsmith, let’s just assume for the sake of this post that he doesn’t really exist, but is in fact a fictional artist, existing only in a bad novel somewhere. He was a successful artist. And he couldn’t stand it. Somehow he finds redemption in finding a niche art-form that pleases himself, and himself only.
For the record. I don’t get it.
I’ve always postulated that in art (painting, poetry, cabinet-making, masonry, music, etc.) if the artist can produce something that the artist loves, then it will be successful. If I could write a book that I would be willing to pay money for, someone else will be willing to pay money for it too. That’s what Kenneth did at the start. He loved his art. And the money followed. But artists seem to have some sort of allergy to success. If too many people like their goods at point Y, then they are convinced that they must have sold themselves out somewhere around point X. Its like an artist can’t objectively look at his or her own produce and determine where it falls in continuum between Bach and nsync.
But how is producing “art” that is inherently not art solve anybody’s problem. A 365 re-writing of a local weather report? If I were to put up a camera and do a time-lapse photoshoot for a whole year it would be mildly interesting to see what happens. Not art, but interesting. But to have, in either written or verbal form, a textual account of the weatherman’s predition of what will happen…this is beyond not art. Its not even interesting. Where is the joy in that for the viewed? How can there be any joy in that for him? He’s not creating anything. He’s regurgitating something that’s not even good to begin with. It would be like me retching up some Krystals on a plate and calling myself a chef. Bon appetit.
I understand he doesn’t want to be a rock star. Okay, I get it. But the solution for a musician who doesn’t want to be a rock star has to be better than smacking 2x4s together and calling himself a percussionist.
The tag-line I saw associated with that was “Lower obesity rates for young people in walkable neighborhoods” (HT: Twitter @anthonyflint 2013-May-1 6:39am)
I just happened to be driving down I-65 during the middle of the day yesterday where I could listen to the newly announced Pope Francis’s comments live. He asked those “present” to pray for him. So I did.
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
(Luke 16:16-18 ESV)
I’ve not studied a bunch of commentaries on this, but the last verse of this passage has always been presented to me in isolation. But I propose that one way of reading verse 18 is in context with the preceeding two verses.
Since John, the good news has been preached, and even before the gospel is completely revealed in Christ’s passion and resurrection, the buyers were out looking for to snag up some cheap grace. Everyone is forcing their way into the good news at the expense of the law.
But the Israelites are married to the law. To divorce themselves from the law to pursue the gospel apart from law is adultery. Any gospel that is herself divorced from the law is an adulterous gospel.
What should they do? What sort of gospel should they be looking for?
It is the seed of the woman that will crush the serpent’s head. Their marriage to the law was to be consummated so that it could flower forth into gospel. And he was right there, the Word-become-flesh, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was no new gospel; He was the fullfilment of the only gospel that ever was and ever was to be. He was not come to woo his people away from the law, but to show forth the fruit of the law: himself. He was the child, the offspring of the marriage. He was the fruit: true food and true drink.
My two oldest children, Timnah – 7, and Elias – just shy of 6, are just now at an age where they can catch a frisbee with “alligator hands.” They’ve both had a pretty decent throwing arm for some time, but catching takes the wee ones a bit longer to master. I remember going over to Andrea’s house one day in high-school and some of the neighborhood kids, whom she would babysit for on occasion, came over to play. One, a four-year-old, was holding a rubber kick-ball. He indicated he wanted to play catch. A good toss from him to me. A light lob from me back to him. Smack in the face…and then the arms criss-cross around his chest in something akin to a flail. As if it was any use trying to catch the ball AFTER it smacked you in the face. It was then that I decided rolling might be better. It was also then, as a high-schooler, that I realized that that type of play with my own children at some point in time in the future would be many years even beyond their first birthday.
I came to love ultimate frisbee in college. Once the kids started bouncing along, I started counting down the days to when I could at least play a little frisbee toss with them in the yard. On Saturday, that day had come. It wasn’t much. Elias, Timnah, and I stood in a vee with me at the bottom. The goal was to complete an entire vee: Elias throws to me, and I catch; I throw to Timnah and she catches; Timnah throws back to me, and I catch; one last toss to Elias and he catches. It took me a while to explain to Timnah that one half of a vee was not good…you had run the whole before you could waste your time counting. We got two whole vees before it was time to come in.
While the kids are old enough to play such a game, you can tell by the fact that we could only get through two perfect circuits that there is plenty of work to do before we’re shipping the kids off to the olympics (me predicting the sport will get added in the next 16-years). But the stray throws of both my oldest son and my oldest daughter do tend to push me a little. And since we had a goal in mind I took the opportunity to get pushed. We were starting to get the hang of things. The body had revved up from lethargy to a gear just short of active. But it was enough. We had completed the first vee and were working on another, chiding each other over every bad toss and every instance of the butterfingers. I take a toss from Timnah, make a soft flick to Elias, and the alligator jaws snap true. Here is the crux, the toss from Elias. His arm is good, but a little wild. True to form, he slings firm and wide to my right, but the disc maintains an even glide. I sprint. I leap. I stretch – laid out. Bingo!
My daughter’s telling of the story to Andrea was a little less flattering. “Daddy rolled around on the ground and caught the frisbee.” But that’s okay. I had all the evidence I needed.
“I’m not too old yet.”
The first thing I noticed upon firing up the web-browser this morning was a note a the top of my iGoogle home-page stating that iGoogle will be no more starting November of 2013.
This, in my opinion, is a terrible decision, and the reasoning they gave is worse that the initial decision. Yes you can “customize” your Chrome “new tab” page to add “apps” to Gmail, Calendar, Finance, Reader, etc. But these aren’t apps…there no more than links. I could do the same thing by making shortcuts on my desktop (like stepping back into the bronze age). With iGoogle I could see my Gmail inbox, see unread Reader feeds, see Calendar appointments, see the current weather and a three-day forcast, and also see how much value my IRA had lost in the past few weeks. On one screen. With one double-click. Ease of use and efficiency like this are what computers were made for. And now they’re going to can it.
Google needs a new motto: Don’t be Stupid.