Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Is the Critic a Parasite? On A. O. Scott’s ‘Better Living Through Criticism’



“Our drive to create originates in — and compensates for — a primal feeling of alienation, of lostness in the universe and confusion about our identity,” New York Times film critic A. O. Scott writes in Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. If the title here implies self-help (and it wouldn’t be the first such book inspired by Rilke’s final injunction in “Archaic Torso of Apollo”), the tone of the above suggests pop psychoanalysis. Scott goes on: “Frequently aligned with that sense of our original inadequacy is, somewhat paradoxically, a perception of our subsequent decline.”
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