Sunday, April 19, 2009

What could be more fun than . . .INTERNET MONKEYS !!!

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."
Thus Robert Wilensky, professor of Information Science at the University of California at Berkeley, quite good-naturedly characterized the omnipresent detritus of our Cybertimes.
And now, permit me to tiptoe through the tulips of our basic aesthetic dilemma:
  • If a monkey (or a million monkeys) produced the works of Shakespeare, would it be art? Not from the monkey's point of view unless the monkey understood the inestimable insights it produced. Not from the reader's point of view, unless the reader is similarly capable of understanding the insights.
  • If the Works of Shakespeare were produced on the Internet (by monkeys or otherwise), how would we (the general and, presumably, curious public) learn about them, read them and find art therein?
  • No matter how we tiptoe through the tulips, our path leads to a fundamental notion of DISCRIMINATION, of the necessary and fundamental task of distinguishing art from junk, music from noise. It is the act of making a judgement based on one's PRINCIPLES and one's UNDERSTANDING.
  • The "Marketing Revolution" has been largely successful in removing the notions of discrimination, principle and understanding from popular awareness and replacing it with the far less taxing phenomenon of IN-YOUR-FACENESS, once the exclusive domain of demanding children and street-vendors. With in-your-faceness to light one's way, one chooses from what is thrust upon one and the labor of marketers acquires the dignity of a Presidential news conference.
  • One of the very few reassurances I have recently had of divine justice was a visit to the annual meeting of the MLA - The Modern Language Association - the conference and meat market for university English teachers. Thousands of naifs pumped full of post-modern pilf and competing for a few dozen university teaching positions that are not, in essence or in name, English as a Second Language (remedial English). If students are not forced to read crap, they won't. The real damage is that few will read persist to read anything else, except vampire novels.
  • The response to this New Age, to this new onslaught, was brought to us by the most unlikely of guru's, Nancy Reagan: JUST SAY "NO!"
  • Coming posts will suggest books and sources of books for those looking for what was once called a good book.
  • I'll also explain in a future post how Ronald Reagan is partially to blame for this aesthetic famine.