January

Mark Bernstein reviews notes he wrote last June while at an ELO conference for Robert Coover. My favorites are the two on English professors:

These English professors have remarkable faith in the wisdom of crowds for refining critical categories. This faith seems strangely placed. If crowd-sourced categories are so good, who needs English Professors? What we want from a critic is exceptional insight: we want to see why the work that everyone adores is really dross, and things that nobody pays any attention to are really important. (As it happened, those crowds that were going to crowd-source haven’t materialized, anyway.)

The English professors also have a charming faith in open source as a repository of virtue, and some still think that universal standardization — everyone writing with the Official Approved Standard Tool — would make the art world richer. They’re advocates of beaux-arts new media – or would be if such a thing existed – while pretending to despise the salon and its masters. These are revolutionaries who long for state-subsidized art based on state-subsidized and state-approved software.