Monday, June 29, 2009

Eric Bentley on artists and explanations

That it is not always desirable for an artist to become too conscious of what he is doing can be amply illustrated from the career of ... Charles Chaplin. When people explained to Charlie what was going on in his early films, he unloaded their explanations into his later films, which, consequently, are weighed down with explanations. Though the artist, qua artist, does not explain himself, in our day, explanatoriness has become the besetting sin of the cultural climber: Charlie Chaplin thought by explanations—symbolism, message, philosophy—to come up in the world.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jim Harrison: Eat or Die

Small portions are for smallish or inactive people. When it was all the rage, I was soundly criticized for saying that the cuisine minceur was the moral equivalent of the fox-trot. Life is too short for me to approach a meal with the mincing steps of a Japanese prostitute.