I wouldn’t consider Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita a classic or say there’s more value to it than in a Michael Bay film.
It’s an impressive technical achievement, and it’s formally beautiful; if that justifies its existence, I don’t see how that’s enough to justify its study.
I once read an essay arguing that if there were a story about someone obsessed with chopping off dicks, it wouldn’t matter how gorgeous the prose was: no one would assign it. Instead, this is about lusting after and raping a young girl, so we can call it literature. If hedged, ‘provocative literature’.
There’s a lot of literature that’s beautifully written. This one in particular is studied because it allows people to lust after a teenage girl under the pretense of art, from within the gaze a sexual predator they’re allowed to empathize with without feeling guilty of it themselves.
Continue reading “‘Why is “Lolita” considered a literary classic?’”
If we pretend that culture and art are the hammers they were never meant to be, very soon we will arrive at a point which says other ideas and the people who hold them are wrong, then inferior, then dangerous, and finally as subhuman or not fit to live—or at least unfit to live around us, some illusory sense of social or culture “purity” now the goal.
—Tim Miller at word and silence
I disagree with your premise. In a 2001: A Space Odyssey’ sense, we’re always trying to rid ourselves of the tribe the next hill over. Baboons and chimpanzees don’t need art criticism to break open the bones of rivals and suck out marrow in victory.
Continue reading “‘Civilization Does Not Civilize’ – or barbarize, either”
‘There is nothing to history. No progress, no justice. There is nothing but random horror.’
–The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
Carl Panzram is one of the worst human beings ever to have lived.
If I were asked to name the face of evil, probably I’d say something like Adolf Hitler or if I were feeling more clever, Joseph Stalin or someone else universally considered a despicable human being who was responsible for the deaths of millions or tens of millions of people.
Stalin seemed to have been deeply, genuinely in love with his first wife. Hitler seemed to have a place of sincere kindness in him for dogs and secretaries.
Continue reading “‘Panzram: A Journal of Murder’ & light in the darkness”