The other day I was blathering on about how I didn’t feel well read enough. How I hadn’t read enough classical literature, hadn’t attained a liberal arts education, and how it all hampered my “getting” a lot of philosophic discourse.
Yada yada yada, as they say. Can you spell PRIDE? I was reminded of this when I was reading some stuff on Job. His “friends” were quick to advise Job that all his troubles arose from his obvious sinfulness. They merely reiterated the well known Jewish blessings and curses theology of the time. Virtuous people, pious ones were given good things in life, and the sinful were punished with all sorts of misfortune.
The ironic point is that so sure are the friends of this proposition that they are guilty of exactly what they claim against Job–namely that his pride in being righteous is the cause of his downfall. Repent they urge. Indeed. It turns out that they are the ones full of pride in their “correct” theology.
I’ve recently read a comment on here, and traveled to his blog. He is about to begin a refutation of the Q doctrine, the accepted “in” theory of most biblical scholars. From his preliminary references, I’m eager to see what he has to say (guided by Mark Goodacre’s analysis). My theology may indeed take a turn. I’m open at least. Job opens us to looking at things in a new way I would hope.
I never read much of the Beat Generation. Have to admit that front up. I was too young during their heyday, but never found reason to pick them up much, though I have a book of Ferlinghetti’s poetry somewhere. Never read Kerouac, nor Ginsburg. I found them pretentious for some reason. I never felt similarly about the Algonquin Round Table gang. Go figure.
I’m about to dip into that group I think. At least I think I may. Kudos as always to my new BFF 3quarksdaily. I must say, by way of proviso, that I rather think of literary critics what I think of art critics. Which is very little. I find a whole lot of that stuff just pretentious (my word for the day I guess) crap. Critics are people who wannabe what they critique I suppose. There is usually a goodly sense of pouty envy attached to their O-pinions, in my opinion that is.
Mark Cohen has collected the writings of a guy by the name of Seymour Krim. You can read a review of the book here. The name is Missing a Beat: The Rantings and Regrets of Seymour Krim.
People in the arts, whatever the genre, it seems to me, are people who by definition are filled with a certain egocentricity. I mean writers want to be read, because they undoubtedly think that whatever they think is worth everybody knowing. I mean it doesn’t get more pretentious (there it is again!) than that does it?
In reading the review of the book, I was stopped dead by this quote:
“I wanted to swallow the entire … world and spit it out again not merely as an artist but as some kind of literary-human-intellectual God,”
It seems to me, no more egocentric remark has been placed upon a piece of paper than that. Point made.
Although Krim wrote for a basket full of prestigious magazines, he never gained the acclaim he sought. And so he writes of his “failure,” along with all those others who wrote and failed to elicit the parade down 5th avenue with confetti falling from the sky in honor of their very being.
“I knew gifted, fresh, swinging writers who told me in moments of confidence that they knew they weren’t ‘great’ or ‘major,’ ” he wrote, “and their voices were futile with flat tone when they confessed to this supposed weakness: as if the personal horn each could blow was meaningless because history wasn’t going to faint over them. History, the god of my grotesque period, the pursued phantom, the ruby-circled mirror of our me-worshipping egos which made monomaniacal fanatics out of potentially decent men!”
Can I hear a great “MEA CULPA?” Oh not about me! Good gracious no. I’m but a squeaky mouse in the corner of the barn. But oh the angst of all this!
It’s a tour de force of the inner workings of the artist revealed. I’m going to buy this book. I can’t tell you why it struck me as so fascinating, but the prose is worth it alone, I’d say. As I neither sweat nor groan over the silly posts I make each day, I can at least see how far removed I am from such as Krim. It’s an opportunity to view real talent.
It’s an opportunity to view a soul truly bared. Most of us seldom do that you know. And even when we do, it is done with great care. Always a bit left unsaid I suspect. Unlike Job, who I think bared his soul with total honest, unafraid of what would come. (Didn’t think I’d tie it up did ya?) Most of us are too broken and wounded to even share that final kernel of utter truth with the one we love most. And I mean God here folks. For we live in some fantasy that we don’t have to speak it aloud in our closets because he KNOWS. Which is nothing more than avoidance of speaking the hellish words out loud. But Job, it seems, did. Or maybe he didn’t and I’m all wet.
In any event, I plan to buy and read this book and see what Krim has to say. Perhaps it will not be what I think or plan or hope. But then again, most books never are. We reach out in an attempt to see ourselves and the human condition. No more can we do.