Apr. 10th, 2017

mtbc: maze E (black-cyan)
I watch some arts documentaries. I have very little background in the arts but I like to learn about new things. In these sad times when the BBC no longer show Open University lectures early in the morning, for televisual edification I am forced to rely mostly on evening mini-series on BBC Four, though perhaps if I hunted further online I would find more than poorly recorded live presentations.

As well as enjoying arts documentaries, I am interested to notice how I form opinions of the presenters despite not having the knowledge to confidently judge what they say. For example, Andrew Graham-Dixon seems a nice enough fellow and shows us interesting things but I just don't quite buy everything he says about them all. Not the objective facts, of course, more about the things' significance and effect: he sees things in them that I do not have faith are truly there.

In contrast, I typically find Jonathan Meades more persuasive even though he does not shy from opinions* from which I infer that he often does not voice the consensus in a field but, despite my lack of background, his thinking feels so well-anchored and -constructed that I am more eager to take what he says as scaffold across my own ignorance. Where he is controversial then I expect that he at least makes a valid point.

Sometimes I am able to come back and partially correct my ignorance, to look at source material for myself and reappraise the credibility of others' view of it. However, life is short and some mirrors are dark to me. For example, the late Colin Wilson thought it quite clear what David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus was really saying, beyond the strange fantasy story at its surface. It is a shame that I did not press him for more detail as I am so poor at seeing beyond the obvious in literature that I must rely on others to help me know what to think.

*Examples might include,

  • Accessibility means nothing more than being comprehensible to morons.

  • The sacred cow of sustainability is due for slaughter.


mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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