Sunday, July 24, 2005

Example of Thought Substituted With Judgements Based on Perceived Characteristics

The italicised text in the following quoted passage is pointing out an example of the lazy substitution of thought with judgements based on perceived characteristics. That is, it's showing a case where, rather than thinking about whether a certain classification (in this case ‘art’) is appropriate in a particular case, we simply make this discision by looking for certain characteristics that we take as markers for that classification. We'll automatically perceive something as being, or not being, of that classification on the basis of the presence or absence of these characteristics.

We are right to shrink from the very idea of a "funny" book. There should be no such genre. We should expect laughter to be integral to the business of being serious. We are back in a new dark age of the imagination. We read to sleep. Either we refuse the idea of art altogether (something we do with every page of a Dan Brown novel we turn), or we confer integrity on it from outside, allowing it to be art only by virtue of the pre-determined importance of its subject matter, or the acceptability of its attitudes. This is a species of censorship to which we have all acceded. (my emphasis)

The article this passage is quoted from is here. I actually have only skimmed through it -- it's just that that sentence caught my eye.

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