Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: ‘America!’ Edition

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Morning, folks!

Those who've spent substantial portions of their intellectual lives poring over Alexis de Tocqueville—i.e. New York Times columnists, Tea Partiers, and anybody who wishes to reinforce any political argument ever—might benefit from the insights of a new biography, discussing the limits of Tocqueville’s research and what a difficult time he had getting laid in the New World. French aristocrat strikes out with American women on road trip, is forced to channel sexual frustration into 1,000-page tome to be cited by every armchair sociologist for next two centuries. Only in America!

America! Where the ideal of social mobility is canonized in animated children’s films, and then applied to the narratives of Pulitzer-prizewinning authors!

America! Where laconic country musicians are considered as essential to the literary canon as said authors!

America! Where the spirit of ingenuity begets video games you control with your mind!

America! Where everyone’s a critic, and every critic is a critic of everyone being a critic—except for this critic, who is a critic of critics who criticize amateur critics as harmful to criticism, and says as much in this essay—of which I am critical!

Perhaps Tocqueville has something to say about the decline of professional criticism. Take it, Lexie!

The nearer men are to a common level of uniformity, the less are they inclined to believe blindly in any man or any class. But they are readier to trust the mass, and public opinion becomes more and more the mistress of the world.

That guy was so horny and right. Anyway, what use are professional critics anyway if they’re going to go and say The Black Eyed Peas are the No. 1 reason to be excited about rock and roll? Yeesh.

That’s enough democratic irascibility from me. Have a good Monday!

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