Monday, December 17, 2007

Fish on Two World Views

Stanley Fish, who I always thought of as a provocative sometimes infuriating (ly wrong) law professor, and who was also a dean of arts and letters at the University of Chicago, writes today of two quintessential New York experiences, one the endless refractions of character and choice, the other the endless fascination with contingent chaos.

What do I mean? His look at The Fugitive, a 60s TV series that breathlessly propelled its main character into the nooks and crannies of ordinary lives magnified through their stresses on choice, morality, mortality, a later movie (which sounded an awful lot like a low-budget Woody Allen sketch) of the same, but even more plotless spotlight on conflicts between inner worlds, and a new museum of contemporary art that looks like a crash pad after everyone sniffed cocaine and then went out to eat.

And, of course, I liked his admittedly retrograde view of the tensions of the soul as they soundlessly and furylessly confront their mute inner stresses brought on by brief, intense contact with others.

If you have time for a longish read.