A digressive essay might partake of play, exploration, philosophical investigation, the Freudian free-association game, Surrealist automatic writing, the Situationist dérive, the Web drift, or all of the above.
Surrealism, for Buñuel, is as much a moral philosophy as it is an art movement.
We’d seen this movie before; suddenly, we were living it, even as we were seeing it through the aestheticizing lens of media memories.
In “State of the Union, 2004,” Vidal wrote, “Happily for the busy lunatics who rule over us, we are permanently the United States of Amnesia. We learn nothing because we remember nothing.”
Re-reading A Moveable Feast, which inspired Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (and controversy when the “restored edition” was published last year), we encounter the young Hemingway before he morphed into the mythical Papa. And what a queer character he is, fraught with sexual anxieties and unsettled in his masculinity—an accidental theorist, whether he knows it or not.
At the same time, there were some who despised carnival as a manifestation of poor, black, and idle people. Initially only tolerated by the elites, it ended up being partly regulated by the government, partly constantly reinvented by the people, and partly appropriated by different economic forces to become the largest celebration of the Brazilian identity, not to mention the greatest showbiz spectacle on earth.
More than just the preeminent commentator on the social role and cultural politics of graphic design in contemporary culture, the English cultural critic Rick Poynor is our most reliable dashboard navigator through the visual landscape, a politically astute, historically literate GPS plotting our course through the forest of signs.
“The billionaire goes for long walks at night alone amongst the ruins, sweeping dust from recent sandstorms off windowsills and open doorways. At night, when the stars come out, different constellations are framed by unglazed windows, as if justifying these concrete forms from above with the poetic force of celestial geometry.”
…A country where the consoling fiction of the level playing field and the aspirational fantasies fanned by celebrity culture parry any hint of class consciousness, owning a gun is the closest countless downwardly mobile Americans will ever come to any sense of immediate empowerment.
But at their most lethally perky, the politics of enthusiasm are the Black Flag of the intellect, killing critical thought on contact. Consider the ubiquitous Favorite This button: How many favorites can we have? Isn’t “favorite” the Everest of our emotional lives, reserved for the acme of our enthusiasms? When everything is our favorite, nothing is our favorite.