Friday, August 04, 2006

Hart of the Matter

I just ran across this quote and thought it worth blogging about, from Hart's Beauty of the Infinite:

"The most potent reply a Christian can make to Nietzsche's critique is to accuse him of a defect of sensibility -- of bad taste. And this, in fact, is the last observation that should be made at this point: Nietzsche had atrocious taste." (p.125)

It's a great rhetorical display, but at first I had to turn back to the title page to make sure that this was David Bentley Hart's writing and not Joe Queenan's.

Joe Queenan is as funny and mean-spirited as Hart is verbose; he is every bit a guilty pleasure. Salon.com describes him (here) as follows:
He's a self-proclaimed "full time son of a bitch" who has "never deviated from
[his] chosen career as a sneering churl," and his specialty has been ripping on
movie stars and the banalities of American culture. As a cultural critic,
Queenan has taken potshots at nearly every trend that has come down the pike.
What his criticism sometimes lacks in substance, he makes up for with smartass
bile. And when it comes to tearing apart celebrities, he is merciless.

Queenan even invented a term, "Scheissenbedaurn", which translated literally from the German means "shit regret", and describes the feeling of sadness that passes over one when some cultural artifact is found to be not quite as vacuous and bowl-churningly bad as one had anticipated.

Just to say, the criticism that, for all of his radical and influential critique, to dismiss Nietzsche for not only being wrong but also having bad taste -- that's a Joe Queenan move if ever I saw one. I just hope I don't find that his taste is better than anticipated and experience Scheissenbedaurn as a result.

(Queenan also writes occasionally for The Guardian, including a film column entitled "The Cineplex Heckler".)


Blogger dante35633 said...

That quote can only be based on his love of Wagner, don't you think?

Sunday, August 06, 2006 8:13:00 PM  

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