Doing this assignment and reading at this particular point in my life was potentially pretty interesting, because we’ve just read a book on the 20’s in American Lit, and we are studying this particular decade in American History. It’s always nice to approach a text with context, and so I tip my hat to Dan Brown and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This article, however unfortunately lacked Fitzgerald's flair and Mr.Brown's engaging sports related tangents.
An immediate note: I particularly enjoy the use of the word “cartwheeling” in the first paragraph Unlike the New York Times article, Izumi Miyazaki's post does not make use of the “cartwheeling”, so I believe the superior of the two writings is obvious. The use of the word cartwheeling, perhaps, comes second only to the use of the descriptor, “makes out furiously.” I believe Izumi could use a lesson in prose from the New York Times. I’ll get her on that.
In all seriousness, the article does provide a very visual description of Thomas Benton’s works, and even the somewhat cringeworthy description of the moldings “little silver lightning bolts” helped me to visualize the work being described. To give credit where credit is sue, the pictures that accompanied the article accomplished this exact same task.
In her latest connection post, Izumi mentioned using what she viewed as a somewhat “vague and piece-y” text as a springboard to find more engaging information, i.e., spending as much time looking up the artists mentioned briefly within the text as reading the text itself. I appreciated that the word piece-y as a descriptor is now a part of my vocabulary. This inspired me to go on a hypertext-y sort of adventure via the links in the Thomas Benton article. In addition to learning about the “ rougher edged”Thomas Benton and, most interestingly to me, his clashes with the abstract expressionists, I also spent to reading the article about Ziegfeld Follies theatrical juggernaut, Tintoretto, and the mechanics of blast furnaces, all of which I found far more interesting than the article itself. Did you know the Ziegfeld Follies were first presented on a New York Rooftop? Or that a blast furnace can usually work for 10 to 20 years without stopping? I also immediately was drawn to the name of Max Eastman, mentioned as a friend of Benton’s, because my father has been collecting imagery from the early 20th century for one of his projects and much of the imagery come from the socialist magazine, the masses.
In general, the things that I found most interesting in the article, i.e. his feuding with the abstract expressionists or his so called “provocative statement’ were the things touched on the least, while most of the text was spent trying to figure out a way to incorporate the word’s lurching and lavender into a NYT article.
As always, excited for the seminar, and an opportunity I may have to describe something as "cartwheeeling."