11 July 2006

2 Kinds of Art, 2 kinds of People

When I started reading blogs a few short dog years ago (I think the leaves were just starting to turn....) one of the first blogs I started reading was Terry Teachout's About Last Night. Originally, I was looking for theatre suggestions for an upcoming trip to NYC, but I've become a regular reader. How could I not be intrigued by a site that had this quote in the 'About...' section:

Clement Greenberg, the great art critic, believed that "in the long run there are only two kinds of art: the good and the bad. This difference cuts across all other differences in art. At the same time, it makes all art one…The experience of art is the same in kind or order despite all differences in works of art themselves."
and that endeavors to be

...a meeting place in cyberspace for arts lovers who are curious, adventurous, and unafraid of the unfamiliar.
A few days ago, Teachout posted a rerun of his Teachout Cultural Concurrence Index. A not too serious 'test' -- not of one's arts knowledge but of one's art likings, as compared to Teachout. Check out this link or this one for the original explanation. Well, I'm always behind the curve -- apparently a year on this one, but I took the 'test' anyway. Below are my answers, with a few explanations.

Bear in mind my favorite "2 types of people" joke is this one:

There are 10 types of people in this world: those that get binary, and those that don't.

Yeah, I'm a geek. I have no defense. But I strive to balance all of the technical stuff that consumes my worklife with the arts in whatever form I find them. And the arts are everywhere!

So, just for fun and to give you a little idea of what I'm like, here are my responses, with a few explanations, to the Teachout Cultural Concurrence Index. I didn't really expect a strong concurrence with TT, so I was surprised by my score of 60. What does this mean? Not much, but it was fun!

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? Gene Kelley. I always thought he looked like he was having more fun!
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises? Gatsby. Frances made this comment about Gatsby recently on LitLove's blog: "imagine that empty, hungover feeling you have at 7am the morning after a May Ball, that exquisite blend of a longing having been fulfilled and sadness now that your goal‚’s been taken away, and made into a book, that’s it." I couldn't have captured the essence of that book half as well.
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington? Count Basie.
4. Cats or dogs? DOGS!
5. Matisse or Picasso? Matisse. A tough call, but Matisse surprises me more and seems to engage all of my senses. Sometimes I imagine I can actually smell a Matisse, but maybe that's because I've harbored a little green-eyed envy for 30 years that a high school chum actually got to touch a Matisse once while working stage crew. I think it was this backdrop.
6. Yeats or Eliot? Yeats. "In a Station of the Metro" is probably the poem that most frequently flutters through my brain, usually when I walk through a crowd but sometimes without any prompting, so if it were Eliot or Pound, I might have answered Pound. Still, Yeats is the best.
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin? Buster Keaton, because he doesn't have the cynicism of Chaplin.
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike? O'Connor
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca? To Have and Have Not, although I've probably watched Casablanca more.
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning? Pollock, by a splash.
11. The Who or the Stones? The Who. As I was growing up, the Stones were frequently stopped by my mother's demands to turn off the radio, but The Who somehow creeped in undetected. Still, I was never allowed to see Tommy when it was in the theatres.
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath? Plath. Plath was one of the first poets who affected me; if I encountered both for the first time with an adult sensibility, Larkin might win. Maybe I should revisit him.
13. Trollope or Dickens Can't answer, never read Trollope.
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald? Ella Fitzgerald.
15. Dostoevsky or Tolstoy? Tolstoy.
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair? The End of the affair (never finished reading The Moviegoer).
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham? Balanchine.
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers? Hamburgers, except in Chicago!
19. Letterman or Leno? Letterman -- he eeks out a victory on this one only by about 10 million laughs. He was making me laugh when he was doing the weather on the local Indianapolis station back in the 70's.
20. Wilco or Cat Power? ???
21. Verdi or Wagner? Verdi more than any other operatic composer; almost all of them more than Wagner.
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe? Grace Kelly.
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash? Cash. The man had a mystique. Loved Monroe's Bean Blossom festivals though.
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis? Can't answer.
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando? Mitchum.
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp? Can't answer. Unfamiliar with Morris.
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt? Vermeer. If I lived in NY, I'd want to stop in the Frick weekly to see or this picture or this one.
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin? Tchaikovsky.
29. Red wine or white? Red. Keep whites in the wine rack for people I don't like as much (just joking....maybe).
30. Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde? Wilde.
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity? High Fidelity.
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev? Shostakovich.
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev? Baryshnikov.
34. Constable or Turner? Constable, by a brushstroke.
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo? Can't answer.
36. Comedy or tragedy? Comedy.
37. Fall or spring? Spring.
38. Manet or Monet? Monet.
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons? Oh, come I have to answer this? The Simpsons, but only because I'll watch it with my teenage son and it makes him laugh, which makes me realize that he understands the difference between sarcasm and satire and that reminds me just how smart he is.
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? Gershwin.
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James? Conrad, no James, no Conrad.
42. Sunset or sunrise? Sunset. Don't see sunrises often unless I'm going to work early and then they aren't enjoyable.
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter? Porter, maybe?
44. Mac or PC? Mac if choosing for cool and useful, aesthetically pleasing, great marketing (once again), proving both FORM and FUNCTION are possible in technology. But what makes sense in my work life, the kid's school life, etc: sadly, the PC.
45. New York or Los Angeles? New York. Is this even a question?
46. Partisan Review or Horizon? can't answer.
47. Stax or Motown? can't answer. Don't know Stax.
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin? Van Gogh. THe VanGogh/Gauguin exhibit gave me a new appreciation of Gauguin, and made me realize how good Van Gogh was.
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello? Steely Dan. Maybe just because "Hey, Nineteen" reminds me of a boy, except he was too old to be a boy, and I was, well, just 19.
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine? Blogs. I like the diversity of editorial content, rather than one editorial perspective that would be found in a magazine.
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier? Gielgud
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers? can't answer.
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde? Chinatown.
54. Ghost World or Election? can't answer.
55. Minimalism or conceptual art? Minimalism (I think).
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny? "Eh, What's up doc?"
57. Modernism or postmodernism? Modernism.
58. Batman or Spider-Man? Jeepers creepers. Batman.
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams? Emmylou.
60. Johnson or Boswell? Johnson.
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf? Austen, although I don't really like either of them.
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show? Dick Van Dyke.
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table? Eames.
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity? Can't answer (don't know Out of the Past.)
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni? Figaro. The three duets in the final act is the most beautiful piece of operatic music ever written.
66. Blue or green? Sky Blue, Navy Blue, Ocean Blue, Blue eyes. Just blue!
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It? Midsummer Night's Dream. Even a poor performance of Midsummer Night's Dream can be magical.
68. Ballet or opera? Opera.
69. Film or live theater? Film.
70. Acoustic or electric? Acoustic.
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo? Vertigo.
72. Sargent or Whistler? Whistler.
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera? can't answer.
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma? The Music Man.
75. Sushi, yes or no? YES!
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn? can't answer.
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee? Williams.
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove? can't answer. Haven't read Portrait of a Lady.
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham? can't answer.
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe? Wright.
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones? Krall.
82. Watercolor or pastel? Watercolor.
83. Bus or subway? Subway. I'm a midwesterner -- subways have the aura of the unusual. If I had to depend on one for daily transportation, I would probably eventually come to prefer buses where I could see the world at street level.
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg? Stravinsky.
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? NEITHER. Peanut butter is gross! In a "eat it or starve to death" situation, would want to have crunchy over smooth. But I wouldn't eat it unless the situation was desparate.
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser? Cather.
87. Schubert or Mozart? Mozart.
88. The Fifties or the Twenties? Fifties.
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick? Huck.
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce? Mann.
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins? can't answer.
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman? Dickinson.
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill? Lincoln.
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann? can't answer.
95. Italian or French cooking? Italian.
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord? piano.
97. Anchovies, yes or no? NO! (allergic)
98. Short novels or long ones? short.
99. Swing or bebop? swing.
100. The Last Judgment or The Last Supper? The Last Judgment. Maybe The Last Supper would make me gasp like The Last Judgment did when I first saw it, but I'm doubtful.

1 comment:

litlove said...

What a fun test! Thanks for posting it, Cam. I can never resist this sort of thing!