josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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14 Apr '13 01:23:35 AM

There is something conditional about grammatical necessity, but failure to satisfy the relevant conditions rarely has results as settled or as exhaustive as the alternatives, 'makes sense', or 'nonsense', suggest. Instead, the results are usually open, various, sometimes unsettled. Art relies somehow on this openness. In this respect the artist is something like the person in the Tractatus (6.422) subject to an ethical law. Faced with a grammatical necessity, '… must…', an artist's first thought is: 'and what if I don't?'. And then they try it out.

13 Apr '13 07:14:58 AM

The shoots melt the snow around them with their own heat.

13 Apr '13 04:17:50 AM

Academics are like lawyers: they don't want to be caught asking questions they don't know the answers to.

13 Apr '13 04:16:55 AM

K. was always completely at a loss about what art was. She'd barely venture to say anything about it. I can talk without knowing—I don't feel like I'll lose my way or need to stop for directions—but I could stand to make it clear that I (think we) don't know what art is. You make that sort of thing clear, I think, not by hedging and qualifying, but by asking the right sorts of questions; by asking them openly.

13 Apr '13 02:59:29 AM

The differences between, say, boring chapters and boring episodes. Like being able to skip ahead versus being able to skip (but not ahead).

13 Apr '13 02:40:56 AM

Premises for highly episodic TV narratives might hinge, week after week, on new places (boldly gone to), new clients or patients, new cases (to open files on or, if old, close), new victims (dead, alive, fresh, cold), new monsters (of the week), new reveals (omg! polar bears!), new visitors (howdy, podner), new leads or new information…

Each carries its own sort of plot with it, its own natural ways of encountering and dispatching with the weekly novelty and making room for the next (the ship never stays, nor usually the crew; most patients are healed, clients satisfied, monsters killed; few visitors stay; leads generate more leads).

And each show whose premise hinges on this sort of something new also incorporates, somehow, an outlook on the fact that there will always be something new. On the fact that it will always be that. This needn't be expressed directly by the characters; it could show up in the way cast changes are made, or in the fact that they are made at all.

12 Apr '13 02:02:32 AM

'And then there is the actual class period, during which you scramble to scoop up what the students toss you and shape it into something which is changing even while you handle it…'

11 Apr '13 10:38:18 PM

When critics listen to music they can also sometimes hear what the musicians are trying to do.

11 Apr '13 08:19:51 AM

Assignment for an aesthetics course: write a set of instructions, 2 pp., titled 'How to read a poem out loud—and why'.