Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Who I Am – Why The Greats?

August 7, 2008

I already have one blog that no one reads – it’s at  I already have a page of reviews not many know about – 180 and counting on at , some of which I am very proud.

But my blog and my reviews are both too unstructured and too structured.  To me, a favorite column to read, over and over again, are Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies.”  These essays are dissections of what makes a movie great from the ground up, but they are also personal and insightful.  I’ve cited a line from his review of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Trois Colours series many times because I think it’s gorgeous.  He is talking not about those movies, but The Double Life of Veronique, a movie about a woman who, for a second, glances herself on a bus heading back to an alternate life she’ll never know, and he writes the following paragraph:

I connect strongly with Kieslowski because I sometimes seek a whiff of transcendence by revisiting places from earlier years. I am thinking now of a cafe in Venice, a low cliff overlooking the sea near Donegal, a bookstore in Cape Town and Sir John Soane’s breakfast room in London. I am drawn to them in the spirit of pilgrimage. No one else can see the shadows of my former and future visits there, or know how they are the touchstones of my mortality, but if some day as I approach the cafe, I see myself just getting up to leave, I will not be surprised to have missed myself by so little.

 I will not be surprised to have missed myself by so little.  I think this is what criticism can do – connect us with who we are, and no amount of writing can do this subject justice.  These words on this blog are my opinion, no more, no less, although I happen to like my opinion.  And movies and music and writing and art have been important to me throughout my life. 

So, I wanted this site to be direct: Greats.  Not great movies, those have been written about enough, and of those, I am just not a good enough authority.  For music, all you have to do is listen to be moved.  Music came along to make our fears and joys into something beautiful, and then post-modern, noisy artists like The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey even made our ugliness and chaos beautiful.  All you have to do to be an expert on these subjects is feel something when you hear music, even if it distracts you from all over feelings.  No one that I know of writes about The Sopranos in the way I wish they would, and their episodes are works of art, each containing something you probably didn’t notice because it looked, to you, just like real life, and we often don’t notice what goes on, all the time, in real life.  Same goes for the short stories, though these you will likely notice because it is their intention to call out their commentary on life. 

I used to think that perhaps I’d be an important critic, or I wished to be one, and I thought maybe then I could publish my thoughts of songs and albums and Sopranos episodes.  Now I don’t have to be, but my goal is not any different – maybe it’s better this way because I can say that I’m just a guy and these are my perceptions.