As I was researching
my master thesis and examining the tautology of genre, I stumbled upon Sholem Stein’s list of unusual westerns.
Luck would have it that the first film on the list,
, is on YouTube, so I watched it. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!
Did it live up to its expectations?
Not really. It’s a silly film.
It gratuitously features a nude boy, just as did. But not as nude here and only seen from the back. El Topo
And then there are the
close-ups, Sergio Leone style, including tiny drops of sweat.
I finally started writing my master thesis for a degree in philosophy.
“Can porn be art?”
The answer: “Yes it can be but usually it’s not.”
Anyway, to get to this answer, one needs to define art and porn.
Defining art is notoriously difficult.
Defining porn less so. First you need to get rid of the tautological genre-trap (see
). genre theory, corpus and tautology
Page 135 from ‘Theories of Film’ (1974)
I finally read the original page on which the problem of the tautological genre-trap is first elaborated [above].
The page is from Andrew Tudor’s 1974
, the chapter’s title is “Critical Method: Auteur and Genre”, the page 135. Theories of Film
The text reads:
“To take a genre such as a ‘Western’, analyse it, and list its principal characteristics, is to beg the question that we must first isolate the body of films which are ‘Westerns’. But they can only be isolated on the basis of the ‘principal characteristics’ which can only be discovered
from the films themselves after they have been isolated. That is, we are caught in a circle that first requires that the films be isolated, for which purposes a criterion is necessary, but the criterion is, in turn, meant to emerge from the empirically established common characteristics of the films.”
Tudor calls this an ’empiricist dilemma’.
More philosophically, you might call ‘genre’ an
My way out of this
Make use of
Venn-diagrams. Some works are part of the ‘western’ set but can overlap with other sets.
Mark E. Smith was an English musician, known for his post-punk group the Fall, a renowned and idiosyncratic offshoot from the UK post-punk popular music scene.
His voice is reminiscent of
Jonathan Richman and tracks such as “ Big New Prinz” [above] are as weird and danceable as Richman’s “Roadrunner” for example.
On a personal note: the covered “
Mr. Pharmacist” in 1986, at a time when I was into garage rock.
P.S. The train footage in the clip of “Big New Prinz” is an example of
Hugh Masekela (1939 – 2018) was a South African musician, composer and singer.
I celebrated Hugh’s 70th birthday nine years ago
 and pointed to the two compositions of Masekela that are in my top 1000 (“ Grazing in the Grass” and “ Don’t Go Lose It Baby“).
Above is “African Secret Society”, a 1974 composition by Masekela, soft, breezy and jazzy (and I love the idea of an African
Also [above] a recent find I discovered after France Gall’s death, “
Umqokozo (Children’s Game Song About A New Red Dress) “, a song French musician Serge Gainsbourg used without credit as “ Pauvre Lola” and on which you can hear Masekela playing at 0:55.
, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co.
As I’ve mentioned
, I travelled to China over the holidays, to visit my daughter Bonnie.
On holiday , and practically only then, I read.
My finest read this trip was
Michel Houellebecq‘s . One of the most enigmatic essays in that collection is “ De koude revolutie Sortir du XXe siècle” (2000), the title of which translates as “Leaving the 20th Century”, but which has, to my knowledge, not been translated into English.
The essay starts as a diatribe against
the left, against 20th century social sciences ( Pierre Bourdieu) and thought ( Jean Baudrillard). It criticizes the and praises nouveau roman New Wave science fiction (“ Ballard, Disch, Kornbluth, Spinrad, Sturgeon and Vonnegut…”).
Most of all it praises American writer
R. A. Lafferty and extols the virtues of the short story “ The World as Will and Wallpaper” (1973), the title of which references Schopenhauer’s and manages to weave The World as Will and Representation William Morris (English artist, writer, socialist, activist and designer of wallpaper) in the story, both as character and as author of , which in this story has become The Wood Beyond the World a place which cannot be reached.
I am quite fond of texts that make broad sweeping
Last Sunday, I came across one such generalization in the Dutch translation of Kristeva’s
(at the Strangers to Ourselves Sint-Jansvliet flea market in Antwerp).
“Nowhere is one more a foreigner than in France . Having neither the tolerance of Anglo-American Protestants , nor the absorbent ease of Latin Americans , nor the rejecting as well as assimilating curiosity of the Germans or Slavs , the French set a compact social texture and an unbeatable national pride against foreigners.”
The above generalization is one of
national character, one of the hardest to make and the least respected, the category basically came into being with Hegel and Herder‘s and fell out of favor with Volksgeist Nazism.
I visited my daughter Bonnie in China over the Christmas holidays. An entirely pleasant journey. This is what we did.
Jazz À Gogo (1964) – France Gall
France Gall was a French singer. She is famous for such songs as “ Teenie Weenie Boppie” (on LSD), “ Zozoi” (Brazilian), “ Ella, elle l’a” (on Ella Fitzgerald) , “ Laisse tomber les filles” (on Lotarios), “ A Banda (Ah Bahn-da)” (Brazilian), “ Poupée de cire, poupée de son” (Eurovision song winner) and “ Pauvre Lola” (which only features her giggle).
Of personal interest is her
collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg.
Notorious is the fact that she apparently was unaware of the fact that the “lollipops” in “
Les Sucettes” could mean more than just mere lollipops, despite her being already 19.