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Category archives for on art

Q.

“Hi! My name is Sufjan. History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”
Sufjan Stevens, “Christmas Mysteries of the Chicken McNuggets as Explained by Macrobiotic Star People and Aunt Harriet’s Magic Ouija Board

For the last two days, Madeleine has been sending me Sufjan interviews, quotations, and stories. Sentences like these, reminiscent of when our father told a friend coming to visit that his four children were all named after the Q and highly sensitive about being called by the wrong number. Humor the best reminder of the ties of DNA.

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Saturday morning paper.

Like the great medieval commentators, Benjamin demonstrated by example that commentary may be an instrument of originality. And in his case, not only of originality, but also of redemption: in Benjamin’s view, interpretation does not so much discover meaning as release it, and loose it upon the world so as to liberate it. Benjamin read messianically. Insight, for him, was a variety of intoxication.
Leon Wieseltier, preface to Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations

Yet take care to avoid the “aspiration to cultural power — a dazzling distraction from the possibility that there may be nothing lasting at the core.”

It seems a great, kind, beautiful gift when Wieseltier says, “Benjamin’s work is evidence of the light that a religious sensibility may shine upon secular existence.”

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Vocation.

A vocation need not be learned at vocational school. A week ago, Jennifer Mascia noted for the New York Times that “while there may be a dearth of federal dollars going into gun violence research, journalists are attempting to fill the gap.” Mascia refers to a Cleveland, Ohio publication’s database of shooting deaths, though her own post is part of that project.

A few weeks ago, Ana asked me where I’d choose to work if I knew I’d get any job for which I applied. I said NPR, thinking also of PRI and Vox and Syria Deeply and anyone and everyone else seeking out and publicizing information thoughtfully, intentionally, and thoroughly. Journalism. That’s a key element of “gospel,” isn’t it? You can’t tell what’s good without telling what’s bad, and vice versa.

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Perfection(ist).

kc

You know Joyce kept writing Ulysses on the proofs, over and over again as they sent them for final corrections?

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Hey-aya-aya-aya-ya.

Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity.
Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
       the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
       and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15, New International Version

Still immersed in Fitzgerald for a paper drawn out long past the end of the semester, and I don’t mind at all. So good.

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