Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thoughts Copped from a Master

Real life has intruded, once again. In lieu of more silence, I give you a few fine quotes from the critic Pauline Kael. Because I am a jackass, I've replaced the word "movies" with the word "comics" (and tweaked the surrounding language, since we don't "go to" the comics). The ideas transfer across media nicely.

Comics are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.

When you clean them up, when you make comics respectable, you kill them. The wellspring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable.

If we make any kind of decent, useful life for ourselves we have less need to run from it to those diminishing pleasures of the comics. When we read comics, we want something good, something sustained, we don’t want to settle for just a bit of something, because we have other things to do. If life at home is more interesting, why read comics? And the comic world, frequented by true fanboys—those perennial displaced persons in each city, the loners and the losers—depress us. Listening to they cheer the cons and jeer the cops, we may still share their disaffection, but it’s not enough to keep us interested in cops and robbers. A little nose-thumbing isn’t enough. If we’ve grown up reading comcis we know that good work is continuous not with the academic, respectable tradition but with the glimpses of something good in trash, but we want the subversive gesture carried to the domain of discovery. Trash has given us an appetite for art.



Post a Comment

<< Home