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[Xmca-l] Re: Verismo and Kitsch



David,
Care to offer your opinion on jazz?
And then on Adorno's opinion on jazz?
Just curious since I know he is often taken to task for his position on
jazz (and I assume that this criticism is oversimplified at least a little
but I don't quite know how).
As for the rest, I wonder if Vygotsky has a Kantian notion of aesthetics or
if you see significant differences there?
And your post gave me a good smile (a real enough emotion) with all of its
visions of the good life...
-greg

On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 11:05 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> In Leoncavallo's opera "Pagliacci", there is a love triangle in a group of
> travelling Commedia del arte performers. They stage an performance for a
> group of villagers (in which the theme of a deceived husband is
> burlesqued). In the middle of the performance, the deceived husband murders
> his wife, and the opera ends with the famous line "La commedia e finita!"
>
> Leoncavallo tried hard to convince his audience that it was a true story
> based on a murder that happened in his own family, but he was sued for
> plagiarism by another author, and the  suit was only dropped when still
> another author sued the plaintiff.. The evidence, actually, is that
> Leoncavallo wrote the opera out of jealousy of his colleague Mascagni's
> "Cavalleria Rusticana", which has a very similar triangle, an opera which
> is often paired with "Pagliacci" to this day.
>
> The idea of putting a play within a play and giving the real audience a
> frisson of wonder about the reality of the stage death is certainly part of
> art; it goes all the way back to Hamlet and even before (Shakespeare stole
> the idea of a play within a play with real murders from Kyd's "The Spanish
> Tragedy", which was showing while Hamlet was being composed.) But very few
> people would admit that snuff pornography--that is, pornography in which
> the actors are actually murdered--is a legitimate art form. So how to draw
> the line, and why? And does the line tell us anything about the difference
> between Kitsch and other forms of art.
>
> Vygotsky says that art is a social technique of emotion--real emotion
> brought about by unreal events. He also sees art as a process of
> indviduation, not socialization. Where Bukharin and his "Proletkult"
> movement saw art as being the "infection" of the masses by the emotions of
> a lone artist, Vygotsky sees exactly the opposite--the individuation of the
> emotion of an artwork by the viewer.
>
> Snuff pornography doesn't and cannot do this: it's not a real emotion
> brought about by unreal events but rather an unreal emotion (in relation to
> what we would really feel if we witnessed a murder) brought about by real
> events. But Hamlet can and does this: in fact, sensationalism is
> deliberately deferred throughout the four hours of tergiversation by the
> title character, and the sensationalist terror evoked by Kyd is brilliantly
> transformed into intra-mental horror.
>
> Kitsch cannot and doesn't do this: the emotions that Jeff Koons evokes are
> not real emotions at all, since his art is all about himself and his
> celebrity (and the same thing goes for Lady Gaga and a great deal of the
> "knowing, winking" kitsch that passes for art these days). it is not art,
> but rather a parody of art we are being given. As Adorno says, every form
> of art has to have some vision of the good life, even if it is only etched
> as a negative. But if the "good life" were simply is simply the commercial
> success of the artist which we are ordered to vicariously enjoy, then what
> we are given is a real situation with unreal emotions, as in snuff
> pornography, and not an unreal situation with real ones, as in verismo.
>
> Verismo--in Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana--uses an unreal play within a
> play about an unreal play to create real emotions: "Actors have feelings
> too," as Tonio says. There is some dispute about whether Tonio or
> the murderer "Pagliacci" speaks the line "La commedia e finita". My own
> view is that Tonio should say it, because the show must go on.
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>



-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson