Sunday, January 1 1995
Living in a contemporary world and writing about its complex history is a little like operating a weapon of sorts. Whichever way you hold it, you're aiming.
By the time 'The Televisionary Oracle' comes to an inevitable end, the reader is hooked into the un-sanity of our own world and the comparable sanity of kookdom.
Kevin Young has produced something important here, an evocative and provocative examination of art, music, pop culture, and what it means to be -- to use the overworked but inescapable phrase -- young, gifted, and black.
[Archie Green] embodies the best kind of common sense; reading him, we are alerted, as if from deep slumber, to how labor and culture, the active and the contemplative life, are not divisible territories but part of a complex environment in which thought and action form an indissoluble whole. Archie is, if anything, a agitator of the human spirit.
Listening to the music of the times permits one to remember, Bromell believes, the loneliness, the breakthroughs, the vertigo of radicalization, and the awareness of a fundamental instability that looked like ecstasy at one moment, like evil the next.
The book presents an interesting collage of the history of art and literature, peppered with artistic and literary obituaries like 'Tennessee Williams choked to death on the plastic cap of a nasal spray'.
One way to value nature is to examine what it would cost to replace the free goods it gives us with manufactured goods. For example, in the South 'maw nature' gave us lots of free water. With urbanization, water is no longer free.
To most Americans, the name of Leon Theremin brings to mind the musical instrument bearing his name. To his native Russia, though, Lev Sergeyevich Termen was literally a character who spanned the history of the Soviet Union, from the original Bolshevik Revolution to the collapse of the USSR.