Category: Donald Barthelme

High Street 7.2 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (cont.)High Street 7.2 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (cont.)

“There’s nothing so beautiful as having a very difficult problem.  It gives purpose to life.” — Donald Barthelme (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 7.2 — “Freedom’s Just Another Word” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 7.3 — “Freedom’s Just Another Word” (cont.))

High Street 6.5 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.5 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“The four social classes under late capitalism are artists, rich people, the middle class, [and] poor people—this being the order of rank and precedence.  As the dominant class (morally/intellectually speaking), artists have a clear social responsibility to care for and nurture the three lower classes.  This is not by any means their primary responsibility, which is of course to art, but neither is it a negligible one.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.5 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.6 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.4 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.4 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Art is always aimed (like a rifle, if  you wish) at the middle class.  The working class has its own culture and will have no truck with fanciness of any kind.  The upper class owns the world and thus needs know no more about the world than is necessary for its orderly exploitation.  The notion that art cuts across class boundaries to stir the hearts of hoe hand and Morgan alike is, at best, a fiction useful to the artist, his Hail Mary.  It is the poor puzzled bourgeoisie that is sufficiently uncertain, sufficiently hopeful, to pay attention to art.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.4 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.5 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.3 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.3 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Where does desire go?  Always a traveling salesperson, desire goes hounding off into the trees, frequently, without direction from its putative master or mistress.  This is tragic and comic at the same time.  I should, in a well-ordered world, marry the intellectual hero my wicked uncle has selected for me.  Instead I run off with William of Ockham or Daffy Duck.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.3 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.4 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.2 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.2 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Every woman artist will tell you that she exists in a universe of discourse created by men, works with a language created by men, a language suffused, colored, drenched in male desire.  That is, every woman artist is speaking a foreign language, like Beckett writing in French.  This should not be overstressed, because the languages involved have much in common—indeed, so much in common that they appear at times to be exactly congruent, like a photograph of a photograph.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.2 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.3 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 5.5 — Criminal Defense (fin.)High Street 5.5 — Criminal Defense (fin.)

“Art is a commodity, art criticism is a commodity, the apple is a commodity, the air is a commodity, the ground under our feet is a commodity.  God is very much a commodity.  My emotions are a commodity, my desires the very locus of commodification.  My last illness is a commodity (twenty-two days at so much a day), my grave is a commodity (and not inexpensive).” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.5 — “Criminal Defense” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.1 — “Life During Wartime”)

High Street 5.4 — Criminal Defense (cont.)High Street 5.4 — Criminal Defense (cont.)

“One of the pleasures of art is that it enables the mind to move in unanticipated directions, to make connections that may be in some sense errors but are fruitful nonetheless.” — Donald Barthelme, “Reifications” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.4 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.5 — “Criminal Defense” (fin.))

High Street 5.2 — Criminal Defense (cont.)High Street 5.2 — Criminal Defense (cont.)

“It is the vocation of the artist, the fiction writer, the playwright, and the poet, to create new language.” — Walker Percy, quoted in “A Symposium on Fiction” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.2 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.3 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.))

High Street 4.9 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (fin.)High Street 4.9 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (fin.)

“Words get worn out, and instead of conveying meaning they act either as simulacra to conceal meaning or as if they were transparencies with no meaning.” — Walker Percy, quoted in “A Symposium on Fiction” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.9 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.1 — “Criminal Defense”)

High Street 4.5 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.5 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Every writer in the country can write a beautiful sentence, or a hundred.  What I am interested in is the ugly sentence that is also somehow beautiful.  I agree that this is a highly-specialized enterprise.” — Donald Barthelme, “On ‘Paraguay’” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.5 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.6 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

High Street 4.4 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.4 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art’s project is fundamentally meliorative.  The aim of meditating about the world is finally to change the world.  It is this meliorative aspect of literature that provides its ethical dimension.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.4 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.5 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

High Street 4.3 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.3 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art cannot remain in one place.  A certain amount of movement, up, down, across, even a gallop toward the past, is a necessary precondition.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.3 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.4 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

High Street 4.2 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.2 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art is a true account of the activity of mind.  Because consciousness, in Husserl’s formulation, is always consciousness of something, art thinks ever of the world, cannot not think of the world, could not turn its back on the world even if it wished to.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger, emphasis in original)

High Street 4.2 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.3 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

High Street 3.10 — Downhill Racing (fin.)High Street 3.10 — Downhill Racing (fin.)

“Art is always a meditation upon external reality rather than a representation of external reality or a jackleg attempt to ‘be’ external reality.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.10 — “Downhill Racing” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.1 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV”)

High Street 3.9 — Downhill Racing (cont.)High Street 3.9 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“When computers learn how to make jokes, artists will be in serious trouble.  But artists will respond in such a way as to make art impossible for the computer.  They will redefine art to take into account (that is, to exclude) technology–photography’s impact upon painting and painting’s brilliant response being a clear and comparatively recent example.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.9 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.10 — “Downhill Racing” (fin.))

High Street 3.8 — Downhill Racing (cont.)High Street 3.8 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“The combinatorial agility of words, the exponential generation of meaning once they’re allowed to go to bed together, allows the writer to surprise himself, makes art possible, reveals how much of Being we haven’t yet encountered.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.8 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.9 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))

High Street 3.6 — Downhill Racing (cont.)High Street 3.6 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“If the writer is taken to be the work’s way of getting itself written, a sort of lightning rod for an accumulation of atmospheric disturbances, a St. Sebastian absorbing in his tattered breast the arrows of the Zeitgeist, this changes not very much the traditional view of the artist.  But it does license a very great deal of critical imperialism.  This is fun for everyone.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.6 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.7 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))

High Street 3.4 — Downhill Racing (cont.)High Street 3.4 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“Not-knowing is crucial to art, is what permits art to be made.  Without the scanning process engendered by not-knowing, without the possibility of having the mind move in unanticipated directions, there would be no invention.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.4 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.5 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))

For your pleasure we offer kick-boxing or skeet-shootingFor your pleasure we offer kick-boxing or skeet-shooting

“Sometimes I think that there will be a place in the future for a literature the nature of which will singularly resemble that of a sport.  Let us subtract, from literary possibilities, everything which today, by the direct expression of things and the direct stimulation of the sensibility by new means–motion pictures, omnipresent music, etc.–is being rendered useless or ineffective for the art of language.  Let us also subtract a whole category of subjects–psychological, sociological, etc.–which the growing precision of the sciences will render it difficult to treat freely.  There will remain to letters a private domain: that of symbolic expression and of imaginative values due to the free combination of the elements of language.” — Paul Valery (quoted in “After Joyce,” from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)