Thursday, April 12, 2007

DON'T YOU WONDER SOMETIMES?

I got to talking to a parent at one of my art classes about art & vision & what it takes to be an artist. Specifically we started talking about how little kids have this big block to conquer concerning their perception of artistic quality & their own output. They never match up at the beginning, you've got to work your ass off to become a good artist, you most likely are born with the brain for it, but then you've got to master expressing your brain & making your hands or whatever work all of these ideas into the real world. The whole time, the outside, mundane world is pressing in on you. Always, it's like a giant, crushing mass of gelatin & hot dogs & spam, all pressing in on you. In a way, it's easier to just acquiesce to this mass of diversified uniformity, to just become part of it. But, to be a true artiste, you have to fight that bastard, & you've got to never stop fighting it, because like i said, as soon as you open your mouth, it starts to push inwards. So, to be a true artist you've got to like fighting, you've got to be egocentric enough to conquer this enormous gelatinous conformity that is always telling you to be like it, you've got to believe enough in your own vision to crush everything that gets in your way, & you can't let alien philosophies impede this. There can't be any other ideas in you besides your own. At the same time, the ideas cannot be literal, but entirely "felt". While this sounds impossible, once you begin to cleanse yourself & increase your own philosophical cohesion to a burning point, you can keep society's infection away from you. In fact, you can begin to project your own ideas into the society & eventually, sway & control the mass. Of course, i didn't go this far with the parent, but if we had been drinking, this conversation certainly would have happened. At the same time, your vision cannot be for its own or your sake, it cannot become a platform or a movement or an institution, because the true artist's work is exactly like the introduction to Dr. Who. It is exploration & communicating what you find.

36 comments:

Noah Berlatsky said...

I think I just have a very different idea of what being an artist is than you do, Sean. You're conception seems very Romantic -- artist as individual battling against conformity, etc. etc. I find that sort of thing very hard to take seriously. On the most basic level, it's almost impossible to sustain without some serious cognitive dissonance (attacking mass culture and then linking to a commercial network television show, as just one example.)

Artists are integrated into society in various cultural, economic, and historical ways. They're not any more individualistic or virtuous than anyone else. In any case, the art I like the most is predicated on historical and cultural understanding, not on cutting oneself off from all influences -- as if such a thing were even possible.

Luke Pski said...

Liking art based on historical or cultural understanding doesn't have much to do with the creative act, the making of the art- that appreciation comes after the fact .One can understand art in those terms while embracing their own deal, without feeling like it should influence your own creations as a matter of course.
Furthermore, an artist that Sean describes can do work that participates in a greater dialouge, or in popular culture, but that depends on the greater cultures' perception of the work, not necesarily the artists' intent.
It's easy to dismiss Seans idea, but I know that if I hadn't stuck to my guns, in many ways, I could easily be putting up drywall for a living, or selling insurance, or teaching 4th grade; that resistance to the norm, as I understood it, is what allowed me to pursue what I do now.
And, maybe that's what the guys at the Radiophonic Workshop had to do to make the crazy intro music, or the guys who dedicated themselves to writing science fiction, or the designers who drew up Daleks.
You can atack the horrible, anti-culture elements of mass culture and still see some potential for good in that culture, or even have your stuff embraced by elements of the mass culture.
So, I don't think it's a matter of the artist as an island vs. every fucking thing out there, it's about the artist vs. the homogenizing influence that doesn't value creativity one bit.
It's easy to look at it from an academic angle and say, well, we've always had artists, they've always been a part of the culture, but that doesn't account for their ability to perservere in a culture that despises most art and artists.

Noah Berlatsky said...

But artists and art aren't despised. They're adored. Pop music; television shows; movies -- people love that stuff, identify with it, build their lives around it. Some art is less popular than other art, sure, but so what? The less popular stuff isn't necessarily better, even though it may be more individual, in some sense.

Art can be inspiring, but that inspiration is generally about plugging into communal, cultural values (like individualism, paradoxically.)

If my choice is between being an academic and breaking my arm to pat myself on the back for being an artist, I'll be an academic, thanks.

Sean the Sean said...

I'm not feeling so argumentatively coherent right now, but here's a short response, Noah, you don't get it, i'm not sure if you can. Luke, you got it. Also, don't we all know about the unification of opposites? You can find transcendent beauty amongst the wasteland, even in things like Mad Balls & Garbage Pail Kids & Jolt Cola. Ultimately, what i'm talking about is humanity's ability to go beyond the mundane, beyond the apparent, beyond the pragmatic, beyond the linear & achieve some degree of what being human is really about. Which is not just being a reactive animal. Also Noah, you mention popular culture manufacturers, who i don't consider to be true artists. We know from history true artists who tried to become mass media figures & usually ended up killing themselves because of how their souls were torn apart.

Luke Pski said...

People despise the artistic spirit when they're confronted with it directly, in daily life. The same people who might love a song are the same people who might've kicked the shit out of the singer ten years ago in a school parking lot for 'thinking he's cool' , or whatever code for not kowtowing to the norm.
There are plenty of entertainers out there that might be loved from the word go, but that's about style , and 'cool'
This isn't about style, or about 'cool', or patting anybodies back, it's about maintaining a certain amount of seperation from the stultifying, anti-cultural elements that we all know exist.
Instead of finding a relativistic, subjectivist and aloof academic safety-net for engaging culture, the artist that Sean desribes seeks to engage it in a more visceral, direct way, relying on his perception above all and fighting for it if necessary.
And it's very real, Noah-It would be a lot easier to 'get along' with family , co-workers,etc, if I dropped all of this crap and got a cubicle job and started playing golf. It takes a certain belief in what I'm doing to not go that way- I'm not saying my art is even good, but it's a necessary thing for me to go forward with the life that I want, with maintaining that creative and inquisitive mind that I want to live with. A value system is necessary for maintaining that.
Standing outside of myself and veiwing my own life and mind in the academic way you describe sounds like death to me- I'd no longer have any kind of personal stake in anything, and it'd all fall away into abstraction relativism.I'd pick up golf clubs and think it's just as valuable as anything else.Or, I'd join some kind of art co-operative and end up making community-approved art , which is as good as golf.

aeron said...

I'm with you 100 percent Sean. I am surrounded by a world that fits artists damn near close to someone that recently escaped an insane asylum. And motherfucker, I wouldn't have it any other way.

We can wish for a world that embraces us but what we really need is a world that ignores us. If you saw something that you could completely relate to artstically and creatively on some popular television show like the view, would it still interest you? Probably but damn if you wouldn't lose a little bit of passion for it.

Matthew Allison said...

"Artists are integrated into society in various cultural, economic, and historical ways. They're not any more individualistic or virtuous than anyone else. In any case, the art I like the most is predicated on historical and cultural understanding, not on cutting oneself off from all influences -- as if such a thing were even possible." - NOAH

Sean, I believe that Noah gets what you're saying. He just doesn't agree and I'm leaning toward his view as well.

First off, I'm not sure how to "cleanse" myself in the way I'm assuming you mean here. I take it that you're talking about mainstream pop culture influences, correct? Are more obscure, eccentric forms of artwork/merchandise more acceptable? I see that you have a passion for retro spray paint cans. Is that seeping into your work? And if so, isn't that tainting your artistic vision? Is it acceptable to be inspired by a Krylon paint can but not the latest issue of X-Men, an episode of SNL, or a McDonald's commercial for that matter?

I know people in the military who view their lifestyle as being the pinnacle of the way a human should live. It's a philosophy that suits them but they are so entrenched in that mind set that they can't comprehend anyone not living that way. It sounds like you are having trouble understanding how people can not want, or need, to live the life of an artist. As a teacher I would imagine you have a desire to shape the minds of your students so that they may walk away from your class with a better understanding of their creative nature. There are also gym teachers who think all kids should be able to hit a homerun and do 50 chin-ups. At the same time there are science teachers who wish for their pupils to have a better understanding of the way nature works. There are many facets of life and to say that the life of an artist is in some way the most fulfilling and valuable is misguided, in my opinion.

I feel fortunate that I have a creative mind and the ability to express my self with art. I do not, however, feel that I am in some way a more complete human being because of it.

Luke Pski said...

I'll let Sean respond to this, but I think he's talking more about maintaining an independent mind and being weary of the things that might sway us into mediocrity. I'm thinking about the word 'artist' more as a way of engaging the world than just what we do, like making drawings or prints or comics- that's just craft/skill, which doesn't mean much in and of itself.

Sean the Sean said...

Matt, it might make sense to you that Noah gets what i'm saying, but you didn't get it either! I didn't make any value judgment or create any comparative scale on being an artist, i just reread the piece! I think you are more agreeing with Noah, who is more responding to the triumphant tone of my piece, than to the actual content or intention. Anyhow, the true artist brings life to the chicken mcnugget & whatever else. Spray paint is what i make it, as i have declared myself lord over my own domain. (note the word "my" not "our" or "yours") The thing about hot dogs, gelatin & spam isn't that they are mundane consumer products, but that they are highly processed food-stuffs, composed of many different animals & then rendered uniform in consistency. This is a very large human desire, & as we have connected minds through ESP, you must resist this if you intend on pursuing your own vision. My central point is how to be a true artist, not saying that it is better than or more fulfilling than being in the military or making sausages or whatever. I wouldn't want everyone to be an artist, this whole thing began with talking about the specific type of brain that creates an artist!

Noah Berlatsky said...

Matt, Sean means I don't "get" it the way hippies feel squares don't get it; I'm incapable of appreciating the blissed out rebellion. Maybe if I did more weed.

Be that as it may, and despite the fact that I love Shelley (who was walking that individualistic walk, what? 200 years ago? how long does it take before a received cultural tradition of individualism stops being viewed as individualistic and starts being recognized as a received cultural tradition? but I digress...) where was I?...

Anyway, academicism may sound like death to Luke -- and well it might. Academics are, on the whole, pompous, boring, careerist monomaniacs. But artists are, I think, even more pompous, even more boring, probably more careerist, and definitely more monomaniacal. It's a question of which loathsome insect you want to have devour your vitals for all eternity, I guess. Certainly intellectuals are every bit as despised as artists, if self-pity is to be the gauge of virtue (though, of course, intellectuals also have cultural capital and power, just as artists do.)

Sean and Luke, you want to say that the culture oppresses artists, yet what you really mean, as far as I can tell, is that there is art out there you don't like, and instead of just admitting it's a preference, you seem to want to turn it into a hegemonic psycho-drama. If that's what inspires you, have at it, I guess. Cassie's still made better art than nearly all of us, even if she wasn't beaten up in high school.

Sean the Sean said...

Noah. Once again, i feel like you're arguing with someone who isn't there! I also feel like your relativistic view of this is not life affirming, nor is it particularly useful. I've never been beaten up in my life, i'm built like a linebacker or a weight-lifter or a pro-wrestler, this is not an issue for me. I was popular in school & continue to be popular wherever i go. This doesn't stop me from disliking society. I also have no idea who "Cassie" is. Also, i wasn't trying to frame this as "my new idea". You're tripping off of a lot of stuff that hasn't been said by me.

Luke Pski said...

You're just being priggish at this point Noah.
I'm not sure what your point is about Shelley- it isn't really about loving or hating the output of an artist, it's about what Sean believes is necessary for an artist to mainatin precisley what makes them an artist; an independence of mind. It has nothing to with liking Shelley, Or Byron, or whatever fruitcake and it has nothing to do with imagining artists' are kings among men.
Academicism isn't death because of the pomposity, or whatever you've decided my argument was, it's that it's a relativistic realm of thought, where , in the pursuit of egalitarianism, all values become equally viable to the point where none become truly viable.
I don't think you understand our argument at all.
This isn't really about the art-product, the material that artists' make, it's about how to engage the world as someone who identifies themself as an artist. It's about valuing your mind.
You sound like a cultural studies graduate student at a barbecue trying to impress a girl with horn-rimmed glasses and a vintage sweater.

Sean the Sean said...

Am i at this barbecue too? I'm gonna slap her bottom & take her home.

Sean the Sean said...

Oh wait, i'm married! I'll go get some more chicken & two more beers.

Luke Pski said...

I somehow erased a line- before the thing about the grad student, I wrote that someone saying Cassie is a great artist sound like a grad student,, etc.

Noah Berlatsky said...

You've made it clear you think I'm a grad student, Luke. Not sure how liking Cassie fits into that argument exactly; perhaps you can expound.

Sean, Cassie is a contemporary R&B performer. Her huge hit last year was "Me & U"; she works with Ryan Leslie. And it was Luke who was talking about high school trauma; sorry to lump you two together.

My point about liking Shelley is that while I can enjoy some folks who think art is about radical freedom and individuality, the argument in general continues to annoy and bore me.

Misunderstandings are always possible, of course. Perhaps you even misunderstand me. Who knows?

Noah Berlatsky said...

Goodness knows I should stop, but what the hell. Luke, disagreeing with your value system doesn't necessarily mean I don't have one of my own. I think the worship of the creative act and the consequent Romantic split between the artist and society is both dumb and noxious. It encourages cultural atomization, spiritual hubris, and mental atrophy. As an example, you sneer at Shelley, even though the early Romantics seems to be pretty much where you're getting all your ideas. Insulting academics is fine (good, even) but being anti-intellectual to the point where you can't even be bothered to figure out what you're talking about is a good deal less impressive. Perhaps it's you who doesn't understand what you're saying?

Luke Pski said...

I like Shelley. In fact, I wonder why, in a culture that 'loves' artists, we don't have more artists of that caliber. Instead we have Zadie Smith and Believer readers who talk about their ironic love of trashy R&B and Chris Ware.
Again, I don't think you're understanding ( and if I'm so off track, why don't you wise me up? It's as though you're arguing on terms that you assume we agree on- when our arguments don't use the terms you've assumed, it's proof we don't know what the fuck is going on..Is the Romantic split you talk about only available to us via the academic assesment of Byron or Shelley? )
- I'm not suggesting an out and out 'split' between society and the artist, I'm suggesting the artist should develop and try to sustain a way to engage the world that does comes out of not giving into the mundane, the banal or the (very obvious) elements in seek to homogenize us into a can of spam.

Luke Pski said...

For you to use my "high school trauma" thing in the way you have is pretty dishonest; I was trying to describe in a generic sense how the "public" might like a song ( you stated our culture loves artists) but have no respect for artists, or anybody who resists the stultifying norm when they're confronted with it directly.
I suggest you go into a TGI Fridays in Columbus Ohio some night and start talking about society and politics with the same verve you do here and in your writing with whoever is sitting at the bar; I think you'll find out real quick how welcoming people are to ideas that threaten their sense of right in the world. My point was not that artists are somehow special, or that kid in the parking lot was even an artist, but that there are a whole lot of ignorant and hateful people in the world that would ,and do, gleefully crush people who step out of line.

Noah Berlatsky said...

Sure...but that has nothing to do with being an artist at all. In fact, artists are just as ready to snub those with who they disagree. So what? The creative act isn't a courageous resistance to people's idiocy or cruelty or whatever; just as often it's part and parcel of it. Art's part of the argument and dialogue about who and what people are and should be -- it's not a ticket out of the debate.

You say, "itt's about what Sean believes is necessary for an artist to mainatin precisley what makes them an artist; an independence of mind." I don't agree with that. It's not independence of mind which makes someone an artist; it's doing whatever it is that society designates as art (in the same way, a commitment to service isn't what makes you a McDonald's employee — it's working at McDonald's.) Artists — even great artists -- don't think any more independently than anyone else. Ideas of originality and creativity are just as hidebound as any other idea you'd care to name.

I love various art produced by various people for a number of reasons: it's beautiful, mysterious, thoughtful, and so forth. But to fetishize the creative act as some sort of antidote to cultural forces you dislike strikes me as preposterous. If you really dislike modernity, joining al-Qaeda is undoubtedly a more forthright and impressive statement than drawing album art, doncha think?

Anyway, I hope your friend who likes to see us all argue is enjoying him/herself! I'm off to fight the man by scribbling with dry-marker on computer paper....

Luke Pski said...

I think we fundamentally disagree with what makes an artist an artist.I'm not willing to cede my own idea of what art and artists should be about to the tides of
arbitrary designation.That's exactly the relatavism that I wrote about.
What do you personally value in art Noah? Is that going to change if our culture designates to the contrary?

Luke Pski said...

To say that no one is more tuned-in or more aware that anybody else is absurd on its face; how many great works deal with alienation from masses that seem to be sleep-walking? It's as old and true as dirt.
In order to be an artist, you have to try to stay tuned-in so that you can, instead of riding the waves of "cultural designations" , at least attempt to stake a claim and keep your value system in play.No one says it's not messy, or that i's simple matter of choosing between absolutes.

You're right when you say people can make 'art' that serves ideas I don't like, - with my own personal stake in the game, I'm able to comfortably call such material "bad art"- It's not an abstracted, aloof view; I don't have to cross-reference my interpretation of value with Feminist Economic theory , or whatever post-modern nonsense.That doesn't mean I shouldn't listen to it, it means I shouldn't kow-tow to it, or ascribe more importance to it than it deserves.
If we do, we end up with a stale, homogenized, climate-controlled, proto-socialist "art-world". Oh, wait..

Should I not make album covers because I have problms with modernity?
Who told you my sole purpose was in destroying modernity? Is modernity the production of consumer goods? Explain, please.
That you recklessly ascribe motives to those who disagree with you really paints an unflattering portrait of you ; it's clear sign of disrespect.You're communicating to us like you think we're complete idiots.
What I've tried to describe here is more of a world-view, a way of life, a way to engage reality , a process- It is not based on material output or being a genuis .You don't choose it for the results it might bring, you choose it because it seems like the best way to live.It does not promise results or recognition, or even in making art that you really like.
For someone who presents his views as nuanced and complex, your arguments ironically tend toward either/or propositions.

Noah Berlatsky said...

I like lots of different things in art: high levels of craft, insight, a sense of history, a sense of humor...beauty's in there somewhere, too, and mystery, though both of those things are hard to quantify, obviously. Again, it's hard to talk about in the abstract, because it varies from medium to medium and even from individual piece to individual piece.

Your question at the end about what our culture does or does not designate seems to me to be based on a fundamental confusion about how cultural power works. I think this is at the root of a lot of our disagreements, actually. I haven't thought it through entirely -- but, as a start — our culture is part of me, and I'm part of it. Put me in a different culture, and who knows what I would or would not think? So the answer is kind of yes, kind of no, kind of the empty set. I will say that my enthusiasms re: music, for example, do and do not change with the times; same for my interests in visual art. Paper Rad's pretty important to where I'm coming from, for example; they changed the culture in certain ways, and I responded (to the best of my ability). At the same time, I've been into some things for years and years. But culture doesn't speak with one voice, anyway, and even an individual's response can be multi-vocal too. (Is that relativism? Very well, then...Bob's your uncle!)

Luke Pski said...

I have a fundamental confusion about how cultural power works, yet you haven't thought it through enough to explain it? Have you thought it through enough to understand it's fundamentals?
You're not in a different culture- you could not be "someone else".We are all born with certain characters that no amount of socilaizing can change; they can obscure it or try to pervert it, but it's still there. I think it's on us to try to find our voice, so to speak, and to embrace that fully without assigning value to another voice simply because it exists, much less let it drown you out because it's been 'designated' as important.That doesn't mean we don't hear it, but if it's a voice that is trying, explicitly, to drown yours out it's much more exciting and rewarding to shout back rather than allowing it to designate you to oblivion.

Matthew Allison said...

"Matt, it might make sense to you that Noah gets what i'm saying, but you didn't get it either!... I think you are more agreeing with Noah, who is more responding to the triumphant tone of my piece, than to the actual content or intention." - Sean

Yes, I am agreeing with Noah but I also reread your intitial piece and what I was saying was not a simple reiteration of Noah's thoughts but rather a response to these two statements:

"...you've got to be egocentric enough to conquer this enormous gelatinous conformity that is always telling you to be like it, you've got to believe enough in your own vision to crush everything that gets in your way, & you can't let alien philosophies impede this..."

"...keep society's infection away from you."

I took these to mean that you feel that the segment of society that does engage in, or at least appreciate the arts was what you were referring to. The "alien philosophies" such as those of people in the military in my example, and "society's infection" or those who lead "normal" lives. When you use terms like that it makes it easy to assume that you somehow feel the artist is superior to the common man. If that wasn't your intention then you may want to reconsider your language.

Matthew Allison said...

"...the segment of society that does engage in..."

That should have read "...does not engage in..."

Noah Berlatsky said...

I have a sense of how (I think) cultural power works. What I haven't thought through is how exactly our differences work, and/or how to explain it without boring the pants off everybody (presuming anybody still is wearing pants that haven't been bored off).

I agree that I can't be somebody outside of our culture. What I don't understand, or what I disagree with you about, is your discussion of finding "your voice" or not letting "other voices" drown you out. Whose voice is whose, exactly? Culture is part of you; you can't speak outside it. Nor can you arbitrarily assign this bit as your culture and that bit as someone else's. It's all part of a whole, and the different bits aren't easy to tease out.

Incidentally, just because art is a culturally determined category doesn't mean that you can't make value judgments about it. "Politician" is a culturally determined category too, but I can say, "that politician is bad" or (at least in theory) "that politician is good." You can base those judgments on various values. Similarly artists are defined by what they do and what society says an artist is, but that still leaves a lot of room to approve or disapprove of art on lots of grounds.

In fact, I think getting rid of all the nonsense about "real" art or art-as-rebellion-against-the-culture or whatever makes value judgments clearer and more meaningful. For example, it makes it possible to be enthusiastic about Dr. Who (on formal or narrative or aesthetic grounds) without entering into a convoluted and clearly preposterous argument that the creators of a mainstream media program are somehow valiantly battling against media culture.

aeron said...

I'm gonna stay out of the conversation but I do want to say this...

http://tracker.zaerc.com/torrents-details.php?id=8505

haha

Sean the Sean said...

True enough Matt! Anyhow, the bit about society's infection doesn't mean that you avoid it, because you don't necessarily become what you are around if you are strong of mind! Jesus walked with the prostitutes & the lepers & the scum, but was a prophet! Right? Buddha spent time with all types of scum in the real world & was a prophet! This is what i'm talking about. It's not a negation of reality, it is a changing of reality that must come from the person who can achieve that degree of self existence. Society's infection is pragmatism & realism, based on the status quo. They do nothing for men of vision & destiny.

Noah Berlatsky said...

ummm...but Jesus wasn't a prophet despite hanging out with prostitutes; he hung out with prostitutes because he was a prophet. He recognized the humanity and divinity in everyone; that was his message (or at least a part of it.) Same with Buddha. They had problems with society, sure, but their answers to those problems were about self-abnegation and heaven, not, not, and also not about "self-existence". Turning Buddha and Christ into Romantic icons of self-assertion is so flabbergastingly bass-ackward that it makes my head spin. If you want a Romantic Christian hero, best stick with the Devil, the way Milton, Blake, and black metal do.

Also, you seem to be comparing yourself to Christ and Buddha. Not sure that that's a good idea, rhetorically. (Though Shelley did it too. (To Christ, I mean. Don't know if he ever compared himself to Buddha.))

Luke Pski said...

I think it's a pretty easily understood point that Sean makes here; Jesus walked with sinners, people whose actions he did not approve of and still managed to come away clean- and it wasn't because he wasn't tempted. There are many instances in the Bible of Jesus resisting temptation- and we are meant to use that as a model. To support your argument with "Jesus had some problems with society" is absurd- "Some"?, yeah, he dabbled in that..
You're just looking for fights, Noah, it's getting obnoxious. It's constant one-upsmanship.
to claim some kind of authoritative knoweledge of the ultimate point of Jesus that disallows anything but is just ridiculous.You know full well that the Bible, and the story of Jesus in particular, is much more nuanced than you present it here, but you avoid that because it would deter you from your motive; proving to yourself that we're idiots and you know the score.
By all means, disagree with us, but don't be such an insufferable dick about it.

Sean the Sean said...

What Luke said. But now that we're entering a religious discussion, i think i'm going to cut & run! That's what this was about anyhow, it was a spiritual call to the true artist. All discussion aside, i'd argue that i am quite close in personality & destiny to Christ. Not so much Buddha, because he was a prince who was afraid of death! Not me. I'm more like the characters he meets along the way. But Jesus was a pissed-off magic Rabbi who didn't like the way things were. I am forced into the role whether i want it or not. I believe Jesus wanted people to walk his walk as well, so what is wrong with comparing oneself to Jesus?

Noah Berlatsky said...

Luke, you're the one who seem unable to have a disagreement without descending to gutter insults. You say you're pissed at me because I dare to interpret Jesus, but Sean's doing the exact same thing. I've tried to be good tempered and humorous about my disagreements. If anyone's gotten up on a high horse here, it's you, who have insulted me repeatedly, calling me everything from a grad student (and yes, that's an insult, and you know it quite well) to a dick. I'm disagreeing because I really disagree with what Sean says (I think his discussion of Jesus' relationship with society is wrong, for example, and your exegesis isn't any more convincing.) If I haven't made it clear as to why I have problems, that's possibly a flaw in my verbal skills, or, alternately, an inability or unwillingness on your part to see where I'm coming from. Either way, resorting to lame insults and facile speculation about my motives is unworthy of you. It's also a rotten way to promote discussion, which is something you've said you like to have on the blog. (If you only want opinions aired that you agree with, or if you think that we all need to apologize repeatedly and praise each other's intellect before we make a negative comment, then you should say so up front. Then we'd all know where we stand at least.)

Sean, Jesus did want people to walk his walk. He also encouraged humility, as I understand him. And while he didn't like the way things were, he was very pessimistic about the possibility of changing them. He also emphasized self-abnegation and dedicating oneself to God -- and God is absolutely not the creative spirit. It's a specific spiritual and religious concept. I think forgetting that is unfortunate. But I nonetheless appreciate your willingness to discuss the matter without getting your panties in a bunch.

Luke Pski said...

Look Noah, I'm not alone in this. I may have written some things that I regret- and I apologize, but it's my opinion that you set the tone, for the most part.
I'm not going to argue about arguing here.
Let's just stop being dicks and show some respect for one another, okay?

Luke Pski said...

i thik this is where is started to devolve:
"Matt, Sean means I don't "get" it the way hippies feel squares don't get it; I'm incapable of appreciating the blissed out rebellion. Maybe if I did more weed. "

Noah Berlatsky said...

Well, fair enough. I will try to avoid provoking unpleasant devolution in future.