Mar. 17th, 2007

philthecow: (hitchcock)
I've been reading a lot for my classes but unfortunately not writing enough.

When I need to assauge my guilt over not working hard enough, I tend to take overly detailed notes on my readings. It makes me feel like I'm doing active good-Swattie reading even if I'm not. Case in point? I remember much more of the re-enacting book I read without notes last week than I do of the book about Japan I read, and wrote three pages of notes on, yesterday. Maybe writing notes allows me to displace what I'm learning into another place, copying it like an automaton instead of actually thinking about it. I don't know. I'm so tired of school-reading.


Other reading I've done over break includes Internet-reading (LiveJournal, Facebook, Wikipedia, NYT Online, College Confidential and the Daily Jolt when I want to feel homicidal, my buckets of e-mail) and museum-label-reading, since Thursday I went to the Met and then AFAM with my parents and boyfriend.

At the Met was an exhibition about Modernism in Barcelona. We got the audio guide, which I like because it lets you both absorb information about the painting and look at the painting at the same time. I have a bad habit of spending more time with wall text than with paintings, which the audio guide prevents. That said, I would never not read wall text, and Leon was very happy with the wall text at the Met because "There's no bullshit." In this case, I thought the wall text didn't have enough bullshit. Don't tell me that "This painting features a man and a woman," I know that... tell me what the Freudian and post-structural interpretations are!

It's also interesting to be looking at a language that you used to know or that you sort-of-know because it's sort-of-like another language you do know. In this case, I used to know a little bit of Catalan, and it's also close to Spanish, which I do speak. So seeing bits of Catalan on paintings is like seeing people you knew in elementary school--familiar face, but who are they and what do they want?

At AFAM, we were looking at the Martin Ramirez exhibit, which spans a full three floors (out of four! go Martin go!). I worked at AFAM two summers ago, and I was pleased to see that they were still handing out a flyer inviting patrons to "put the cost of your ticket to a yearly membership" at the ticket desk, an initiative which I recommended in a report I wrote while I worked there. I guess it's working--go Lauren go!

Anyway, the wall text for this exhibit was written by four different people, and so each theme--trains, horses, Madonnas, immigration, was he or wasn't he crazy?--was treated by four different voices. It was nice because each of them had slightly different takes on the art, but they tended to repeat each other a lot, and some of them had really far-out-there theories, and one guy thought he was a poet. (He started a text about Ramirez's drawing of a train with "Where does this train go? To Drawing City," and then described what was in Drawing City. I didn't like his texts very much.)

Leon muttered that the exhibition was "schizophrenic," which was funny, because the artist the exhibit was about was also schizophrenic. He really didn't like all the bullshit he was smelling, but you know Leon. Boy sees bullshit everywhere. Personally, I thought it was awesome.


I'm reminded of how scared people are of the written word every time I hit somebody up for an interview for the paper, which I did yesterday, inspiring this reflection. They always want to see their quotes before they go in the paper, they sometimes drop hints that they've asked around about your reputation and do the flattery thing, they generally have a horror story about how they've been represented in the past, they always think that the story will have more influence than it actually does, and after it's been printed, they sometimes beg you to change the story and end up buying you dinner.

It's all quite a power rush--I would seriously considering going into journalism if I didn't, you know, get jittery and nervous around power.
philthecow: (hitchcock)
Henry Darger much?

I read this article in the Star-Ledger.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a bias towards local papers. I think people who live in New Jersey but who read the New York Times instead of the New Jersey paper are super-lame. I also think it's super-lame that Swarthmore distributes the New York Times instead of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I don't care if the New York Times is somehow objectively better, there's something to be said for local pride and local community and how it can be embodied through a newspaper.

I feel that by selecting the Times over papers like the Ledger or the Inquirer, you're just branding yourself as a snob for whom holding the "right" newspaper is more important than actually knowing the news that matters for you. If we were talking about the Times v. The Mountain Lakes Citizen, I would feel differently, because the Citizen is terrible, but if we're talking about a good-far-away paper v. a nearly-as-good-local paper, I will judge you for preferring the far-away paper.

(Maybe this opinion is why I chose the underdog-Gazette instead of the all-powerful-Phoenix when I came to Swarthmore. But Gazette 2.0 is on the way, and when it lands, you're all going to be scrambling to get over here...)

OK. The point is, this article is amazing. Amazingly creepy, sure, but amazingly Darger! I want to rip it verbatim and put it in my novel. Which I am still writing.

...that was all I wanted to say. I apologize for the tirade.


philthecow: (Default)

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