Conservative Tastes

Conservative Tastes

Monuments to Lost Meaning

By From the October 2011 issue

ALL CULTURE begins with commemoration of the past and honor rendered to the dead. The oldest literary monuments in the Western tradition, the Iliad and the Odyssey, seemed to their original audience to be historical accounts, in suitably decorative form, of events they believed should not be forgotten by those who would be born long after all who fought at Troy were dead. Probably, the cave paintings at Lascaux, six times older than the Trojan War, were meant to commemorate a particularly memorable hunt, a kind of memory of whose victims has outlived by 17 millennia anyone's memory of the hunters. Such irony--by which I mean the tendency of meaning to change with context--is routine. Shelley's Ozymandias, whose "shatter'd visage" and "vast and trunkless legs of stone" were all that remained of those works upon which that hero had once invited the mighty to look and despair, is rather the rule than the exception for those in the commemorative trade, given a long-enough perspective.

Conservative Tastes

Heaven Help Us

By From the September 2011 issue

A two and a half hour film is not the best medium for metaphysical exploration. Fortunately, not all directors are Terrence Malick.

Conservative Tastes

Can You Wiig It?

By From the July/August 2011 issue

New breakthroughs in tastelessness in the world of glass ceilings.

Conservative Tastes

In Our Bitter World

By From the June 2011 issue

As our esteemed editor has pointed out, "the condition of our political discourse" today is worse than "rancorous" or "toxic" -- it's nonexistent.

Conservative Tastes

Trash Collection

By From the May 2011 issue

From comics to 3-D, pretty much everything is trash now.

Conservative Tastes

Preening to the Converted

By From the April 2011 issue

Why would a lovely, revelatory talent like Joyce DiDonato bad-mouth Fox News?

Conservative Tastes

The Art of Discrimination

By From the March 2011 issue

How casually our age compares Bach and Beethoven to Lady Gaga.

Conservative Tastes

Taking “Offense”

By From the February 2011 issue

Not that anyone is shocked anymore, but the transgressive crowd which aims to shock gets upset if someone is actually shocked by their productions.

Conservative Tastes

Happy Days with Blondie

By From the December 2010 - January 2011 issue

Dagwood Bumstead is a much better symbol of American manhood than any of his successors.

Conservative Tastes

Legislating the Art World

By From the November 2010 issue

What passes for artistic work these days.