Part of a Series: “Self-Help for Surrealists.”
Predictably, “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary” (September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014) at the Museum of Modern Art, packed them in.
His studied cool, like a high-roller blowing smoke rings with overdone unconcern, is a dead giveaway. So, too, is the plinkety-plink of marimba keys, so high they make a sharp, brittle noise, like bones, as he sings those words.
To this day, my leftish friends of a certain age define fashion as any investment in appearance whatsoever, and view it with deep suspicion as clear evidence of counterrevolutionary tendencies.
“Getting the Fear,” Manson called it—embracing the dry-mouthed jitters of sheer terror, riding that moment when your heart is thudding so hard it feels like something trapped inside your ribcage, trying to get out.
In suburbia, the only good lawn is a dead lawn, a lawn where nothing moves, where every unloved bug and unsightly “weed” (in smirking quotes because only culture makes a weed) has been wiped out with a little help from our friends at Monsanto.
The Surrealist calls not for the abolition of manners, but for an etiquette that does away with snobbery and class-anxious conformity and substitutes, in its place, a social philosophy that celebrates the insurgent intellect and the idiosyncratic self.
Sometimes, it seems as if American history is measured out in dead black bodies.
What makes seemingly throwaway images get stuck in the hippocampus and stay there, for a lifetime?
‘Playboy’ had the added benefit of explicitly and more or less effortlessly linking high culture — wine, food, jazz — with the very epitome of masculinity, virility.