Category Archives: criticism

The Totality of Facts

In 2013 I attended the European Quizzing Championship in Liverpool and wrote a piece about it. The original was so long and misshapen it took me two years to get around to editing it. I finally did, and it’s up … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetic experience, Berlin, criticism, cultural memory, David Markson, essay, ethics, Frances Yates, memory, philosophy, quizzing, Uncategorized, Wittgenstein | Leave a comment

Ana Lily Amirpour, ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ (2015): Redacted Facebook rant

It’s all surface. Every shot is pure style, but not in a good way. It’s got the logic of a music video: simply an excuse for letting cool images float around. Yes, you can talk about that kind of language … Continue reading

Posted in Ana Lily Amirpour, bullshit, criticism, film, pointless rants, postmodernism, reviews, Uncategorized, Wes Anderson | Leave a comment

If an artwork is morally dubious, does that make it aesthetically bad?

This stupid question needlessly dominates so much discourse about the “ethical criticism” of artworks. I wish it could be torpedoed out of sight. The question is stupid because (i) the answer is obviously “no”; (ii) it risks conflating two forms … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetic experience, aesthetics, criticism, ethical criticism, ethics, philosophy, pointless rants, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“How Should a Person Be?”: Sheila Heti’s imaginative philosophy

I have a piece up at The Point on “imaginative philosophy” in Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? This is an attempt to put into practice the kind of reading implied by Cora Diamond’s work on meta-ethics and literature, … Continue reading

Posted in concepts, Cora Diamond, criticism, ethics, form, friendship, literature, philosophy, publications, Sheila Heti, Stanley Cavell, work, writing | Leave a comment

Beethoven, Cavell and Talking Nonsense

In music, film and literature (though not in visual art), grammar is the question of what comes next. The grammar of natural languages imposes restrictions on word order. Functional harmony frowns upon certain progressions of chords. The famous Kushelov Effect suggests … Continue reading

Posted in academia, Adorno, aesthetic experience, aesthetics, criticism, ethics, form, literature, music, philosophy, pointless rants, Rilke, Stanley Cavell, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Ideology, the aesthetic, and the difficulty of reality

CHICAGO, IL. – My first post from outside Berlin. I’m currently sheltered in my graduate-housing “unit”. Blog-writing has dried up recently, which is more than I can say for the weather. I’m on exchange to the US, paying my dues … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, Cora Diamond, criticism, difficulty, ideology, literary canon, philosophy, relativism | 3 Comments

I wrote this for my PhD

First academic books rarely shake off the “I wrote this for my PhD” feel. Not to the detriment of their rigor or scholarship, a certain punctiliousness marks the surface of such writing. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where this feeling … Continue reading

Posted in academia, bullshit, criticism, pointless rants, rejected book reviews | Leave a comment