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updated mon 25 aug 03


Lily Krakowski on sun 24 aug 03

Dear much-admired Vince:

I start another thread name because this if far from the newbie thread. You
ask why I am so leery of the word "artist". Has Western Culture spoiled it
for me?

Certainly Western Culture has spoiled much. But that is not it.

I believe in differentiation. I believe in clear lines between the sacred
and the profane, night and day, and so on. No doubt it is a profound part
of my being Jewish...A recent series in COMMENTARY by David Gelernter (sp?)
has one segment on that topic-- but to keep religion out of it...Let me say

When all lines are blurred what exactly does language become? And if
language disappears how can clear thought, analytic thought, survive?

Today, people don't do wrong anymore. They make mistakes. To me a mistake
is driving to Smith Place instead of Smith Street; it is dressing too warmly
or coolly for the weather. Theft, fraud, adultery, perjury are not
mistakes; they are crimes. Call'em sins.

Today every dingy shop is a "boutique"; every dreadful culinary concoction
is a "gourmet" item. Need I go on?

The debasing of language is terrifying. It is why so many people have been
given high school diplomas without ever having learned to read.Nothing needs
to be earned anymore. Everything is an entitlement.....

If everyone who takes pencil to paper is an artist then what do we call,
well, erg, the Artists. If every two-year old up to her fontanel in clay
is an artist then what do we call Lucie Rie?

I have no problem with "potter", "painter", "sculptor" and all that. Fine.
Accurate. I have no problem either with words like "kind", "good",
"thoughtful", "generous" --but not saint, not saint.
In my life I have known two people I would call saints. Only two. But I
have been fortunate to know many good, kind people.

I like differentiation. I like deference. I like words that show honor and
respect. I do not feel lessened by calling a rabbi "Rav" or "Rabbi" rather
than Mo. We need to honor the office more often; it influences people in
those offices to honor their office as well. (At least I think --or do I
mean hope--so)

Having said all that: of course I agree with you that we need more
imagination, more spiritual freedom, more innovation and creation and joyous
exuberant thought, more painting, more writing, more song, more
dance.....But that is what life should be--a constant creation a constant
leap makes us aspiring, striving humans. And yes, a few will
become saints, a few will become artists.

I don't think we really disagree, Vince. I think we just arrive at the same
goal differently.

All good wishes

P>S> How is your ponytail surviving the Summer heat?

Lili Krakowski
Constableville, N.Y.

Be of good courage....