Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Whither Genius? Whither The Audience?

That Thursday Dude has tweaked and re-posted an earlier entry that I thought was worth my reconsideration as well. It seems TTD is worrying over a particular topic that sits at the bottom of his brainpan the way sand sits in an oyster. He's puzzling over some astutely rendered dichotomies: creative vs. critical, taste vs. genius, and one or two more to boot. His post is a nuanced exploration of character, biology, primal impulses and the assumed role of the critic.

Reading it, my own (post-nasal-drip-clouded) brain swerves in several directions at once (no Hindu monkey, I). My inclination is to think of these classifications as representative of a particular internal tension, rather than warring factions or dichotomies. I love reading criticism, and have whiled away many a pleasant hour in its consumption and production. If it's good criticism it has an aesthetic all its own. But at the end of the day, it's just a quick improvisation off a larger composition that required greater energy and devotion of the artisan. Working with the definitions that TTD supplies, can criticism ever be a work of genius?

(A: Yes. Goddard's maxim is the one to remember.)

I think the more pertinent question is, what's a genius without an audience? The most competent creative types have a shrewd understanding of their audience's expectations; the best authors/singers/auteurs realize, in other words, that they are performers. A performer recognizes boundaries and limitations, imposed from within and without, then works at delivering a surprise.

So who is the greater genius: Franz Kafka or Max Brod? One more dose of this cold medicine, and I believe I may just have the answer for you.


DarkoV said...

I can't comment to the message but I will comment to the streak. Whatever medication you are or are not taking for the fall fatigue, maintain the exact same regimen. Like a batter on a streak, some things just should not be delved into for explanation or cause. Perhaps that does of medicine you are limping toward is a dose best not taken. The journey, after all, sure beats the destination.

Please, continue.

Trent Reimer said...

Yes, just imagine if Einstein had lived out the entire sum of his days in unpublished obscurity. We would never have obtained the atomic bomb or Star Trek.