Saturday, April 26, 2008


When one reads THIS critique, one gets the feeling that the critic doesn't appreciate good fiction. And he probably would say so himself, emphatically no less. This is typical of aggressive and yet un-self-examined modernist architects and theorists.

This proses a real problem for poetry.

There are two problems with complaining about fiction. The first is that fiction is not only a valid form of representation, but I would argue that it's more than that: fiction is necessary for our social, intellectual, and spiritual well-being. The second problem with complaining about fiction is that the modernists are 'guilty' of fiction in direct proportion to their vitriolic criticism of the use of it.

I had the poor fortune to visit the Getty Villa a couple of weeks before the official opening. Poor because I love the Getty Villa, and it's rather like seeing a close friend fall into hard times and turn to drugs and prostitution. Well, I guess that's what it's like. Anyways, what stuck out like a sore thumb were the non-fictional cracks in the non-fictional parking structure that had already non-fictionally formed. Before the Villa was reopened.

The greatest fiction present in this critique is the misleading comments about how much we know of Roman Villas. True, the Getty Villa was inspired by the Villa dei Papyrii. It's not a copy. But does it matter? The Getty Villa is true to the form of Roman domestic architecture, about which we know a great deal, unlike what one gleans from Mr. Campbell's comments.

"A theater and a villa would never have confronted each other in this way. But at the Getty, that confrontation is the stroke of something like genius that makes the whole complex work, creating a center of gravity that magnetizes everything around it."

Yes, that's right. A stroke of something like genius. As in, monkeys making the sign for 'banana' display something like rationality. Maybe tomorrow I'll recognize the obvious genius of a critic who in one simplistic sentence is capable of relating gravity and electromagnetism. In theory, I could string this along forever.

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