W. Kandinsky: "There are no 'musts' in art." T.S. Eliot: "There is no freedom in art." Dostoievski character, after the ancient Middle East epigram: "Everything is permitted."
(R-rated weblog. Since one has been advised there is no Literature anymore, or even literature, only writing, one proceeds on the premise that this weblog qualifies as not-meaningless, since it is, or appears to be, a form of "writing." Image: Banksy.)
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Times Reporter Shows Openness to a Suggestion
Read! (When you can.)
I’m not sure if you had a chance to
read them, but I made a series of comments in support of your actions touching
the intruder who slipped into your wife’s hotel room a few weeks ago,
congratulating you on your courage.
Today I write regarding your
practice of using the expression 'Read!' in the promotional bulletins for
I was listening to BBC radio the other
day, and the presenter said at one point, ‘Stay tuned, if you can.” This
struck me as a wonderful way to show respect for the listener, to avoid the
usual fascistic command, ‘Stay tuned!’ No one likes to be bossed around. To
say, ‘Stay tuned, if you can,’ shows respect for listener, recognizes that many of us these days are under unrelenting pressure, from minute to minute, to
maintain our position in a competitive, not to say dog-eat-dog, workplace,
and do not need to have more pressure gratuitously applied via a radio
presenter. Or a leading journalist.
Whenever I read your exhortation “Read!," it strikes my ear as a
sour note, the kind of aggressive act one associates with the archetypal Ugly
American—imperialist, domineering, disrespectful, insensitive, ‘superior.’ The
content of your columns of course justifies use of ‘Read!,’ no question.
However, as Oscar Wilde said, ‘The most important thing in life is style,’ which
is an exaggeration, but one that makes a point worth considering. Your ethics
are beyond criticism, your writing lucid, your choice of subject matter deeply
human, and the tag ‘Read!,’ while politically and rationally justified, is
aesthetically, temperamentally, in its implications, out of sync with your good
qualities, in my humble opinion.
You have a powerful intellect and you
have a heart. I respect both, and offer this suggestion merely as something to
Ponder! (When you can.)
Mr. Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, New
York Times, 620 Eighth Ave., New York NY 10018
******************************** April 19, 2017 @ 5:07 PM
Cordial and interesting reply from Mr. Kristof received today in which he exhibits an admirable openness to considering an idea mailed in from out of the blue.