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« What's Your A.Q. (Aspie Quotient)? | Main | Idle Thoughts »

August 08, 2007

Elsewhere

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* No one's more surgically precise about the failings of liberalism than traditionalist conservative Jim Kalb. Incidentally, "liberalism" in this context doesn't have anything to do with the U.S.'s Democrats; in poli-sci terms, Republicans ("market liberals") are as liberal as Democrats ("welfare liberals"). We did an interview with Jim long ago: Intro, Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

* Major-league "Simpsons" fan John Williams is only lukewarm on the new "Simpsons" movie.

* Stuart Buck has found a lot of classic sports footage on YouTube.

* Here's a self-defense skill for PC owners: How to rid your computer of what I guess is now officially called "crapware."

* Seems to run in the family ...

* Shouting Thomas notices that it's the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love and responds with appropriate rue. "What the hell was it?" he wonders. "A political movement? Mass psychosis?"

* Searchie takes a walk through a magnificent Polish cemetary to pay her respects to filmmaking giant Krzysztof Kieslowski.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I wrote an introduction to the Canadian painter David Milne here.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at August 8, 2007




Comments

David Milne has always been my favourite Canadian painter, and believe me, I was/am well-grounded in them. Even met and got to know one or two, back when I was an art student. Milne seems to me to be the most original of them all - a "minor" painter, yes, but that isn't the same as being a mediocre one.

He does have something in common with Vuillard. But still, I think he came to his technique on his own, and naturally, out of a love for the subjects he painted and the medium he worked with, not, as did the Group of Seven, out of a desire to create some kind of uber-Canadian art form, nor, like some other Cdn painters, out of a wish to imitate what had already happened in Paris, or, later, in New York.

You mention Vedanta in your piece on Milne. But if you ever want to pursue a curious subject, you might want to consider looking into the effect of Theosophy - yes, you read that right - on painters after 1900 or thereabouts. Grand-daddy Kandinsky, one of the founding fathers of non-representational theory, if I remember correctly, was a Theosophist. So was Paul Klee; so, in Canada, were several members of the Group of Seven (I think it was several), including, above all, Lawren Harris. I don't know if Milne ever fell under this influence. One of my painting teachers once told me that someone ought to do a PhD dissertation on the influence of religion - esp. Theosophy - on abstract art.

Posted by: alias clio on August 8, 2007 4:27 PM



No one has done a dissertation on Theosophy and modern art? Talk about a missed opportunity! I had no idea Lawren Harris was a Theosophist ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 8, 2007 4:35 PM



I was thumbing through a book about art history a few days ago that had a chapter dealing with Theosophy and other late-19th century cults (or whatever they might be called). There was a photo of Madame Blavatsky with a somewhat complementary caption. Alas, I don't remember the title of the book -- but I'll pass it along should I stumble across it again.

In a similar vein, I notice in a couple of my books about the circa-1900 Symbolist movement(s) that in some cases there was a link to the Rosicrucians (Rose+Cross, Rose-Croix).

Art's relationship to religion is one of Friedrich's interests, so I hope he'll hop in and have something to say.

For what it's worth, I recently bought two books about those Canadian artists, but didn't notice a reference to Theosophy. But I probably wasn't paying close attention to that aspect of their background/careers and might have missed whatever might have been mentioned.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on August 8, 2007 5:07 PM



Thanks for the plug, Michael.

I'm still pondering the 60s. Father Rod took a trip up to Woodstock to visit, and he was quite determined to find hippies and peace, love and rock and roll. The things for which Woodstock is famous are mostly long gone. In particular, the music scene has disappeared... victim of DWI, feminism, anti-developmentism, etc.

I've been reading the Kalb piece on liberalism. Amazing, isn't it, how a libertine, anarchist social movement lead to the PC lockdown of the society? How did that happen?

I am reminded of the Grand Inquisitor, facing Christ in prison. "We've improved upon your work..." Isn't that what the Inquisitor said?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 8, 2007 5:38 PM




Reading Jim Kalb makes me aware of one of the weaknesses of Conservatism, their lack sometimes
of a sense of urgency when things have to be solved quickly.

It is good to decry the general dishevelment of the sixties, but one should also consider the
sluggishness of the conservative response to the
civil rights agitation. On one hand you had a
lunatic arrangemetne which separated people in all
activities, mandated by law, making sure that some
people got all the good things and some people all
the castoffs, that humiliaed and degraded them as
a matter of course, and all that conservatives
seemed to muster was that respect for tradition and subsidiarity meant to aid and abet such wicked
lunacy.

But the people who were humiliated on a daily basis had had enough, and went to whoever could help them. They might have agreed with respect for
traditin and all that, but respect for tradition was getting them a boot on the face on a regular
basis. So, if liberals came to them, and helped htem. they accepted hte help, and if communists came, they accepted the help. Since no conservativs came, well, they shrugged them off.

Conservatives failed to notice a sense of urgency and act on it, and thus missed the train in that occasion. If they had gotten involved, then all the nasty features they decry could have been prevented.

In politics, sins of omission have to paid for, same as sins of commission.

Posted by: Adriana on August 8, 2007 8:00 PM



Speaking of Canadian art, there was an artist, Edwin Holgate, who was a peripheral figure in the Group of Seven but whose work, IMO, is much more appealing than the big names. You can get a pretty good idea of him simply by googling Edwin Holgate images.
On page 1, next to last line, one image in from the left, is an image of a barn in a landscape. Click on enlarge and then look, really look at it. This is what an artist who's still looking, still trying, still humble, can do at age 70. Very simple...or is it? Very moving.
Donald, are you listening? Enough already with the photorealists.

Posted by: ricpic on August 8, 2007 9:35 PM



Oops. Page 3, third line. I coulda swore it was page 1. Age.

Posted by: ricpic on August 8, 2007 10:11 PM



The belief that we live under a PC lockdown is just plain psychotic. That Canadian painter is pretty cool.

Posted by: BP on August 9, 2007 1:26 AM



Shouting Thomas: Everyone seems to forget how the Grand Inquisitor story ends: "I know the truth about your Grand Inquisitor. He doesn't believe in God."

Posted by: alias clio on August 9, 2007 10:29 AM






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