I’ve been slightly incommunicado, having spent the better part of a week in Manhattan for the New York Encounter, upon which more later.
Then, upon returning home to my dear abode in Tucson, I realized with a start that I had left my laptop–with I’m sorry to say scads of unbacked-up work–in the TSA bin at LaGuardia!
So THAT’S been fun. I ordered a new laptop that very evening, Feburary 21. It was supposed to arrive in two days, but was eight days late and only arrived yesterday. So I had to compose and type my weekly column into, as well as kind of conduct a good part of life on, my phone.
Here’s the miracle: There is a very clear and fairly easy process whereby to file a claim for your lost-at-TSA goods, and by the very next morning I received an email saying “Good news! We have retrieved your item”…AND, they said, they would mail it to me.
The bad news is that I discovered after a few fruitless hours that it is apparently literally impossible for FedEx or UPS to print the necessary pre-paid mailing label from someone else to you. I could write an entire essay on the Kafkaesque morning I had at my local FedEx attempting to execute what seemed like this fairly straightforward transaction (Plus it would’ve cost something like $170 for a two-day delivery, not that I minded, but…really?)
The good news is that my dear friend Patrick, who lives in NYC, was coincidentally flying through LaGuardia on Monday and was able to pick up my precious (albeit totally battered) device. And he mailed it out USPS two-day yesterday for $17.10. I will hold off 1000% rejoicing till it’s delivered but all in all I would say St. Anthony is DEFINITELY ON MY SIDE.
Meanwhile, last week came and went but here is the way my arts and culture column began:
Jed Perl was The New Republic art critic for 20 years, writes frequently for The New York Review of Books, and has published, among other titles, a two-volume biography of the American sculptor Alexander Calder.
His newest book — Authority and Freedom: A Defense of the Arts (Knopf, $14.89) — is a cri de coeur against the notion that art is only useful insofar as it advances or promotes a particular ideology, political stance, or “clearly defined civic or community service.”
That arts have their own independent significance was an idea that Perl took for granted growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. Over time he came to realize that attitudes toward art are in fact cyclical. During the Depression, for example, more and more people, including artists themselves, “began to insist that their work be viewed and evaluated through a social or political lens.”
That’s happening again now, obviously.
READ THE WHOLE COLUMN HERE.
4 Replies to “AUTHORITY AND FREEDOM”
So sorry to hear about your troubles! That picture just warms my heart–I love NYC! I was also at Encounter but your talk was so full that we were not even allowed up the stairs. I’m posting the link here–looking forward to watching it now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA5FCmCDRW8 My friend both came back wiping their eyes.
Aw thanks, Amy, and sorry we missed each other. I wrote a column for Angelus on Msgr. Albacete’s new book so will post the link again in a post when the piece is up. It was a huge experience….I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there, too!
Thankful that you are back from your travels safely! Am Australian born and raised. Art is for everyone! in Oz, poor and rich. Art is very important and encouraged and $ubsidized in Oz. Art is not to be feared but to be embraced in Oz. All to say, so different than what Jed Perl writes of.
Right he’s DEFENDING the arts, as art–not as propoganda or “moral message.” Good for Australia!!! Thanks, Glenda–