Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Doghouse Riley vs. Paglia

Amazing piece of writing by a guy who knows his cinema vs a chick enslaved by cliché.

I KNEW I was going to regret it, but The Editors had so much fun at Camille Paglia's expense that I clicked on the link, like I expected it might have wiped the smug off her caricature or somethin'. And the title was "Art Movies: R.I.P. Long before Bergman and Antonioni died, the mystical art-house film experience faded to black." And I was fucking stuck reading it. Nothing forces me to link to it, though, and I'm sure you can find your way there if you simply have to.

On the culture front, fabled film directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni dying on the same day was certainly a cold douche for my narcissistic generation of the 1960s.

Well, it's a touching tribute. With any luck, cold douching will replace Taps.

Is there some container somewhere for that "my narcissistic generation of the 60s" bit, or have we discovered the Universal Solvent? Leaving aside the atrocious phrasemaking, is it perhaps time now, after an intervening four generations' respective Decades, to ask ourselves whether her generation of the 1960s was a particularly narcissistic one? Have you noticed a pronounced lack of self-absorption in those born in the 1970s, say? Is it possible that this supposed narcissism is an artifact of life lived in the Global Village, or buried under a constant barrage of Advertising and manufactured acquisitiveness and consumerism run amok? Or an artifact of our reaching a critical mass of people paid to say stupid shit? Or is it just an artifact of looking at people as though they're defined by what somebody said in a magazine somewhere?

It's one thing to use The Sixties as shorthand for the commonly accepted laundry list of poorly-understood and facilely-connected major events that occurred within its Gregorian borders (or within the popular imagining of those borders). It's another to hold a loaded metaphor to everyone else's head and deprive them of loose change. Camille Paglia watched European films while in her twenties. Wow. It was The Sixties. Wow again. She saw them in art houses in the company of friends. Totally unexpected. I'd have guessed "on DVD, while playing Tetris™".
You owe it to yourself to go read the whole thing.