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Showing posts from December 28, 2014

kaelism and grand budapest hotel

I went to the see the Grand Budapest Hotel last year. I liked it, but I can’t say that the pleasure of the experience induced any kind of critical afterlife in me – I forgot it almost immediately. Except for the Royal Tennenbaums, all of Wes Anderson’s films have this effect on me. So I was surprised by the virulent criticism of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Wes Anderson in general that was published in the Jacobin a couple weeks ago. Although the film left me without any compulsion to think about it after I walked out of the the rancid butter smell of the lobby, turned to A., and asked her where she wanted to go to dinner, the screed against Anderson did make me think an old thought, which I could entitle the problem with Kaelism. Kaelism, as Pauline Kael, the movie critic, practiced it, is a critical form that concentrates firstly on the audience that one imagines is being enticed to a movie, or enjoys it; secondly, on what other critics have said about the movie; and only thirdl

Adam, Beckett and superfluity

adam and economics Our basest beggars, King Lear said, are in the poorest thing superfluous. This is a truth that is often bent about to show how true communism goes against the human instinct for acquisition. I don’t think it works like that – in fact, it is only under the system of unlimited private enterprise that the population is truly stripped of its assets, so that, at the end of the day, in many of the most advanced economies in the world, the vast majority really owns nothing after you tally up assets versus debts. This is very much true of the U.S. But if you let the truth point to its own meaning, it does show something about human expansiveness – which takes a shitload of history to turn into acquisition. Human breadth does require superfluidity, repetition, margins. Molloy, Beckett’s beggar, runs perhaps the most famous riff on the beggar’s possessions: “I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking-stones. They were pebbles but I call them st