Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

My Response to Sontag

playcity23's picture

Sontag's essay was annoyingly hard to follow. If I was a prof. grading on style (not content) it would be lucky to get above a 2.0. That being said, one of her assertions stuck with me. She says "The effusion of interpretations of art today poisons our sensibilities." (I had to look up what effusion meant) So, wait what? Is she saying that we aren't supposed to be interpreting art or literarture? I would argue that's what makes literature and art art. That it can be seen from so many different angles. It doesn't poison us, it enlargens our minds. Sure it might taint the original work, but it doesn't lose its value because of it. 

I'm also seeing that I didn't post earlier about what my trip into the city was like (sorry Anne). I originally intended to take the one o-clock train into Philly but I lost track of time talking to my folks. So I ended up going an hour later and revelling in the political institution that is Macy's. I had a moment with the big 'Murican eagle in the center of the store. Then I had another moment with the big light show Christmas tree thingy. I think I'll always be blown away by how consumer-oriented the US is. It still blows my mind that you can shop for anything besides gas and coffee on a Sunday. 

After quitting Anne's place, my Esem comrade/hallmate/good friend and I rooted through Marshall's for good stuff. Then we went to the Christmas market in the Love park and stroked pretty decorative paper made by a Nepalese woman who seemed like she was making up prices as she went along. We had a hassle/adventure trying to get back home because the SEPTA we wanted to take was an hour late. We ended up taking the NHSL instead of exploring Suburban because we were exhausted. 

As for Play in the City 2.0, I would go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to test out Sontag's claims. I would sit in a reasonably quiet gallery and drink in the paintings without going deeper than face value. Then I would go into another gallery and do the opposite: interpret to the max and try to look at the paintings from two different lenses (i.e historian and a psychologist). Then, I would go sit in the museum café and read Memoirs of a Geisha or something equally riveting for an hour (do something that takes one's mind completely off the paintings). After the hour is up, I would go back into the two same galleries and interpret the gallery I first only looked at face value (and vice versa for the other). Record and reflect on findings. Look for discrepancies. Report back to class on Tuesday.