Literally Shocked, Moved, and Millionaired
I found a book – I married a Communist by Philip Roth – in a free pile in a laundry room at a friend’s building. I’ll read just about anything I can find for free. And then randomly quote from it.
Currently I am also reading, Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry; “Misty was a pinto pony whose coloration included a large patch of white on her side, shaped like the United States.” See!?
Another random gem sitting on my pile of books is Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker, a holiday gift from a well-meaning rich ex. I use this sort of like the I-Ching. If I am wondering what to do with my life or if it is auspicious to wear a certain pair of jeans that day, I will randomly open it and take advice from the first passage I spy such as, “You decide based on what you believe is logical, sensible, and appropriate for the time. The problem, however, is that your right choice may not be a successful choice”, and then I’ll change to jeans which are clean. And so it goes each day.
Anyway-I thought I’d quote from one of the aforementioned books and make it a game. See if you can guess which book the following quote is from. Please do not cheat, He is watching you:
[“Art as a weapon?” he said to me, the word “weapon” rich with contempt and itself a weapon. “art as taking the right stand on everything? Art as the advocate of good things? Who taught you all this? Who taught you art is slogans? Who taught you that art is in the service of ‘the people‘? Art is in the service of art – otherwise there is no art worthy of anyone’s attention. What is the motive for writing serious literature, Mr. Zuckerman? To disarm the enemies of price control? The motive for writing serious literature is to write serious literature. You want to rebel against society? I’ll tell you how to do it – write well..
Start preaching and taking positions, start seeing your own perspective as superior, and you’re worthless as an artist, worthless and ludicrous. Why do you write these proclamations? Because you look around and you’re ‘shocked’? Because you look around and you’re ‘moved’? People give up too easily and fake their feelings. They want to have feelings right away, and so ‘shocked’ and ‘moved’ are the easiest. The stupidest. Except for the rare case, Mr Zuckerman, shock is always fake. Proclamations. Art has no use for proclamations! Get your lovable shit out of this office, please.“]
… and more …
[Can that have been the unseen drama? Was all the rest a masquerade disguising the real no good that I was obstinately up to? Listening to them. Listening to them talk. The utterly wild phenomenon that is. Everyone perceiving experience as something not to have but so as to talk about. Why is that? Why do they want me to hear them and their arias? Where was it decided that this was my use? Or was I from the beginning, by inclination as much as by choice, merely an ear in search of a word?]
And a random bonus quote which is relevant to something I guess, maybe the last post, from the NYT…
Julius identifies the five most common defenses of scandalous art. There’s the First Amendment defense, which says that art is entitled to constitutional protection; the ”aesthetic alibi,” which makes art into ”a privileged zone in which the otherwise unsayable can be said”; the estrangement defense, which says that art instructs by jolting viewers out of their conventional responses; the formalist defense, which insists that it’s naïve to talk about what art ”means,” because the only proper subject of art is its own formal properties; and the canonic defense, which maintains that many works of art refer to older and now canonical works, and so it’s ignorant to let them offend you, unless you want to take offense at the older works too.