Once upon a time, questions about the use-value of art were the height of philistinism. “All art is quite useless,” wrote the aesthete Oscar Wilde, presaging the attitudes of modernists to come. Explaining this statement in a letter to a perplexed fan, Wilde opined that art “is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way.[...]
Just what is an author? It might seem like a silly question, and an academic dissection of the term may seem like a needlessly pedantic exercise.[...]
With college tuitions ballooning to the point of implosion, and free educational content proliferating online, the future of education is a scorching hot topic.[...]
If you’re a reader and user of social media, you’ve likely tested your lifetime reading list against the BBC Book Quiz.
Or perhaps you’ve allowed your worth as a reader to be determined by the number of Pulitzer Prize winners you’ve made it through.
Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “because fine writing rarely pays, fine writers usually end up teaching, and the [MFA] degree, however worthless to the spirit, can be expected to add something to the flesh.[...]
I know, it’s a dated reference now, but since I still watch the remade Battlestar Galactica series on Netflix, the mystical refrain—“All of this has happened before and will happen again”–still seems fresh to me. At any rate, it’s fresher than the clichéd “history repeats itself.[...]
Orson Welles once claimed that Gregg Toland, cinematographer for Citizen Kane, taught him everything he needed to know about shooting movies in a half hour.[...]
The next time some know-it-all moralist blames any number of social ills on violent video games or action films, ask them if they’d rather kids stick to the classics.[...]
I don’t know about other disciplines, but academic writing in the humanities has become notorious for its jargon-laden wordiness, tangled constructions, and seemingly deliberate vagary and obscurity.[...]