Yeah, Spooky has always struck me as a poseur, but itís always good to check things out for oneself, though most of us get to a place where we donít have the time and energy to devote to anything but our own passions, leading us to miss good stuff along with the bad.
As far as blather goes, I guess itís always part of the game, but some artists have more need than others. Two voices can cite the same sources and spout the same buzzwords, and one may be profound while the other is just full of it. The only way to know the difference is to actually study the sources for yourself, but artists are often too busy with art to do that in depth. As an impressionable youngster it was important for me to realize that for all the verbiage being slung around, very few critics, and fewer artists, actually proceeded from a consistent, programmatic application of a specific philosophical or critical methodology. More often the words came afterwards, as a means of justifying a gut-level recognition of what it was one liked. Thereís a difference between following the zeitgeist and following instructions. Itís ironic that today someone like Spooky seems desperate for intellectual validation, while the art establishment seizes on him as a representative of the ďauthenticĒ vitality of popular culture, a validity they are equally hungry for.
In the 70s, continental theory was just beginning to take over academia; many of the important texts hadnít even been translated. A generation later, students are awash in the stuff, and often without much guidance or sense of history. I would point them to the nuts and bolts of formalism and structuralism first of all; a lot of the problems come with post-structuralism, which is more of a critique than a platform. In an anti-intellectual age this has led to the even more vulgar realm of identity politics. I hate being in the position of agreeing with many of the points made by practitioners of these trends, but having to watch them throw the baby of Western culture out with the bathwater of human fallibility. Voices like Spookyís also smack of intellectual bullying; a pretense at knowing everything. But as suggested elsewhere, itís been a while since anyone could do that.

- alex 4-01-2004 10:01 pm

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