To decide yesterday‘s contest, I’ll have to point to Jeremy’s comment:
Rembrandt in a walk:
-He believes that “God is in every leaf on every tree”. Most of his greatest paintings are portraits of himself or regular people (as opposed to portraits of kings or Popes, or mythical battles, or etc.) Same for his etchings.
-He believes in embracing variation. Check out especially his later work, which is famously unpolished and is all the more evocative for it. In contrast, Russell spent his whole career trying, and failing, to impose more precision on the foundations of mathematics and language than is possible.
-As a painter, he knows a thing or two about the importance of one’s “model”.
Normally I’d go for any comment that points to my obsessions, but this comment by Jeremy is so clearly doing so, that I’ll have to disqualify it. Also, he didn’t mention Stan. So I’m calling this one for Updike.
Now for today’s bout. I don’t know enough Carlins for that to be an entire category, but George made it in the Comedians category, and he’s up against conceptual artist Barbara Kruger.
If it was up to my friends from high school, Harvey would go for George, and Kenny would go for Barbara. But it’s up to you. Whaddya think?
My first thought is that Carlin should win easily—but, there’s just one thing. Many years ago when I was sick and home from school, I turned on a daytime TV talk show and, who should I see but George Carlin! He was doing a set that was perfectly adapted to his audience. I don’t remember the details but it was things like: Y’know how, when you’re in the supermarket, the cart just spins and spins around? etc. He was doing bits about shopping and doing the laundry and whatever else he thought would work with that audience. What was weird about it was that it was so clearly non-Carlin material, yet it was given the standard Carlin delivery.
At some level this is admirable professionalism—but it also struck me as a bit creepy, almost as if someone released a video of Newt Gingrich giving a stirring soak-the-rich speech to the American Socialists organization, or, umm, I dunno, seeing Ed Wegman give a lecture on research integrity. Put it this way: After seeing his performance on that talk show, I have no doubt that Carlin could give a set that’s perfectly adapted to the Columbia audience—but would we care?
Say what you want about Barbara Kruger—call her a talentless self-promoter with a one-note shtick, whatever—at least you have to admit she won’t compromise.