“All acts of translation are re-interpretations — adaptations even more so — and this can provide the excuse that anything therefore goes. But while questions of taste can be submitted to no ultimate arbitration, there are transgressions which are not matters of taste at all. In particular, the introduction or exaggeration of erotic content is an opportunity which many cannot resist.”
“When the first public opera houses were founded in the mid-17th century, they were designed more as venues for social interaction than as sites of aesthetic experience. … [Audiences] might perhaps listen to an aria, or watch the ballet (if there was one), but no more; and, if they did not like what they heard, they would make their displeasure known.” When and why did they quiet down? Historian Alexander Lee explains.
Greenblatt and company treated “culture as text”; they challenged such concepts as originality, genius, aesthetic merit, “the classics,” the canon, and “major works” vs. “minor works”; and even as they sought to upend conventional approaches to literary criticism, they sought, too, to overturn what they saw as old-fashioned approaches to the telling of history, producing “counterhistories” that would amount to “assaults on the grands récits inherited from the last century.”
“Data have turned journalism into a commodity, something to be marketed, tested, calibrated. Perhaps people in the media have always thought this way. But if that impulse existed, it was at least buffered. Journalism’s leaders were vigilant about separating the church of editorial from the secular concerns of business. We can now see the cause for fanaticism about building such a thick wall between the two.”
“The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.”
“Back in Europe, [Gad] Elmaleh, who has big blue eyes framed by well-worn laugh lines, is famous. Like, famous famous. His films rake in millions at the box office, he sells out arenas for one-man shows, and walking down the rues of Paris with him, which I’ve done, is a laborious task due to all the selfie-seekers.” What’s best about living in New York? “I love being anonymous, being in a place where no one cares.”