Friday, October 29, 2004


Sorry for so much time spent on NEW CRITERION, but its history is a cautionary tale. The original mind behind the project was Hilton Kramer's. Acolytes parrot Kramer's idiosyncratic neo-conservative arguments without understanding them. The appeal for followers is being able to tie Kramer's ideas into conservative politics-- ignoring the fact his ideas aren't conservative, but are built on the same garbled Clement Greenburg-style modernist foundation that's been part of our culture's problem. Or, David Foster Wallace and NEW CRITERION are branches of the same diseased elm.

Kramer's perspective and criticism still had relevance (barely) in 1982-- but the world has moved on its axis since then. His abstract-expressionist gods, along with the then-fashionable modernist and postmodernist philosophies, have fallen away from the globe. No one any longer believes any of it.

Kramer's parrots had better worry that when he moves on, the contradictions in his quirky ideology-- between the Classics and modernist junk, for example-- will be nakedly exposed, and his brief movement will fall apart.

(The foundation of Kramer's ideas are decayed European. The ULA takes its ideas from the independent ungarbled ethos and essence of the American continent.)

1 comment:

King said...

p.s. Parrots of any type exhibit closed and stilted thought. For instance, TNC's knocks against Kerouac and the Beats date from a Norman Podhoretz essay from around 1960! To treat the Beats the same way today, when they're historical artifacts, as when they were visible as clear and present dangers (to Podhoretz) shows TNC's inability to think and argue within a context.