A Critic at Large, Browbeaten, Dwight Macdonald's War on Midcult by Louis Menand, The New Yorker, September 5, 2011 opens with this creepy statement:
" . . . there is often a discrepancy between public values and private tastes, but as long as these things are kept in separate compartments people have no obligation to justify their personal likes on political grounds. They can be democrats out in the time square and snobs at home."
But ends with this more interesting statement, which I have been thinking about even more:
"But it suggests the remorselessness of Macdonald's commitment to exposing the self-promotion, self-satisfaction, and self-delusion that are always wrapped up in the business of making and appreciating art. The exposure is one of the foundational tasks of criticism, and Macdonald is one of its great exemplars."
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. Her literary comics are posted on Best American Poetry's Blog on Monday mornings.