Tag Archives: art

The Fine Art of Agriculture

Mysterious “corn circles” of incredible complexity that appear overnight, or a baseball park as in the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” — who knows what you might come across in your local rural idyll these days.

But travel some 600 km north of Tokyo, then take a drive off the beaten track. There, in a village in verdant Aomori Prefecture, who would ever expect to find exquisite Edo Period artworks sprouting amid a swaying green sea of enormous rice paddies? Continue reading

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Beauty Kills—A Self-Rebuttal: Or, Why Joel Kotkin isn’t Always Wrong

In my recent post, Universal Beauty and the Responsibility of Cities, I argued that beauty is an essential element of urbanism. Forget all of that for a moment; here’s the other side of the coin: beauty kills. It can turn cities into lifeless museums animated only by tourists, inhibiting creativity and innovation while exacerbating segregation and homogenization. Look at any interior design magazine spread; room upon room of artful still-life orchestration. These are rooms that pose, not rooms that are lived in. Look at fashion models, their faces inscrutable and eyes vacant. True, this is not the sort of beauty I was advocating, but an emphasis on beauty can quickly lead one astray if untempered. Beauty is essential, yes, but it can be as intoxicating as drugs, and potentially as destructive.
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Literary Theme Parks

The affront to our more cultivated sensibilities aside, are literary theme parks really signs of the apocalypse? Do they cheapen the written word or testify to its durability? Cormac McCarthy has said that he doesn’t think film adaptations of his books have any effect on the books themselves, that the books are the books and nothing can change them. Even with the thousands of professional and amateur adaptations and reinterpretations of A Christmas Carol, and even since the opening of Dickens World, the book itself remains a great read. Continue reading

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