QUOTE FOR THE DAY: Emphatic co-sign:

Mass culture always contains cleaned-up, camera-ready variations on the underground, incorporating just enough of what's "edgy" to maintain its own relevance. Sometimes this infuriates me, but I have to admit that the mainstream would be infinitely more boring without it. Hopefully kids who see pop culture that hints at the existence of something more complex will be emboldened to go off in search of it, and to create their own additions to the conversation. In my perfect world, though, complicated, messy, smart, irreducible artists who tell me things I don't already know about love/loss/friendship/sex/politics would get just as much attention as the slickly holographic versions.

I think the same thing is true, mutatis mutandis, of the canon. One should probably like the things one should like, but a person is dramatically more interesting if their favorites reflect their own taste, however imperfectly, and taste is nothing if not refined obsession.

As it has turned out, and little would I have guessed, that there is a fairly direct connection between liking 19th century novels and Roberto Bolaño (and my current attempt to understand Latin American literature). Or discovering Ingmar Bergman and Fellini (whose movies I don't think I actually like, but in their failures and frustrations I find very compelling) through Woody Allen. Or Britpop through Oasis. etc etc.

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