criticism gone awry

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Fri Aug 13 16:10:37 EDT 1999

	Nat wrote:
>"I  have a series of essays tucked in the to-do-sometime pile called "The
>Experience of Fiction" and "Art is a Tool". A lot of why people read (or see
>movies or bring themselves in front of art of any kind) has to do with what
>happens to them during the experience. I think much of criticism and
>analysis as taught today has more to do with justifying and distancing
>oneself from that experience than with looking at it, appreciating the
>importance of it, and seeing how it works. The fundamental problem I have
>with how I was taught English lit when I didn't enjoy it, is that I wasn't
>persuaded of the pleasure of the experience. Being shown how to enjoy it
>FIRST would have been infinitely more useful than learning the tricks of how
it was made."

Hear hear!  I want to put a word in about justifying and distancing
oneself from that experience - or anything.  I don't think people like
to change, for the most part.  It's a situation which can lead us to
only seeing what we like and putting the rest of things somewhere far
away from our attention until destiny rubs our noses in it. I speak only
as a person with a dirty nose ;)

And, I hypothesize, art of all sorts is the tip of the match for people
because it sort of brings these life attitudes to a focal point.  When I
think about how few folks actually practice an art as compared to the
many, many folks who have strong feelings about various creative areas -
it's really amazing.  I've always thought that stories like how
Parisians rioted when Rite of Spring debuted are very inspiring.  I
suppose this is because it shows people care and are involved with the
world around them, despite indications to the contrary.  Sure, rioting
can't be considered a constructive expression of strong feeling, but
rioting over art? Wow!

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