April 9, 2014

"Part of what I’m interested in interrogating is this kind of collective shame that we feel about sentimentality..."

"... and I think sometimes that shame manifests as accusation—accusing a film or a piece of art of manipulating our emotions. And sometimes it can show up as self-recrimination," says Leslie Jamison, author of "The Empathy Exams."
Things we describe as “guilty pleasure” reads [are] things that bring us to these cheap flowings of sentiment that aren’t really “earned” or aren’t rigorous in some way.


Roughcoat said...

"Interrogating"? That's a po-mo academic for you. Only po-mo's talk that way. De Man, Derrida, Fish, the whole obnoxious lot. Deconstructionism and all that crap. It makes them sound tough to themselves and each other. "We interrogate the texts," they say. Giving bullshit a bad name, I say.

madAsHell said...

But how does another person’s suffering affect one’s own emotional intelligence? What are you supposed to do with someone else’s pain?

Jamison does not know the answer.

...and then I stopped reading.

David said...

“There’s a certain kind of person that I went to Harvard with that wouldn’t want to cry at ‘Titanic,’ you know?”

So glad she let us know she went to Harvard. Because that was so germane to the point (there is one, I think) she was trying to make.

Mark O said...

I demand rigorous shame. Followed by a light hand spanking.

Ann Althouse said...

"So glad she let us know she went to Harvard. Because that was so germane to the point (there is one, I think) she was trying to make."

It's interesting… I thought there was a thing about Harvard people that they avoided mentioning Harvard.

Ann Althouse said...

"Not easy for Harvard grads to say they went there" ("'I’ll say near Boston,' Mack said, the mortar board still tilted on her brow. 'I try to be as general as possible and move on.'... When confronted with questions about their education, many elect simply for a kind of dodge, the most famous being the Boston method. 'I went to school in Boston.' Sometimes it’s 'near Boston.' Or perhaps even 'Cambridge.'").

David said...

I thought there was a thing about Harvard people that they avoided mentioning Harvard."

So They say. Not so much in my experience though.

In this case the reference is totally unprompted and unnecessary.

Take the "at Harvard" out of the sentence and it makes the same point.

"Near Boston?" "Cambridge?" Consider the audience. They audience gets it.

RecChief said...

can't these people make it through a column without "C" word?

RecChief said...

also, how do you signal that you are one of the self-appointed elite if you don't let them know you went to Harvard (or some other suitable self appointed elite institution) for your book learnin'?

Helenhightops said...

I had three med school classmates from Harvard. One went to great lengths to avoid saying so, and he did use the "I went to school in Boston" schtick. Which was dumb, and affected, because the rest of us performed as well as he did.

Earnest Prole said...

Roger Scruton says the moral problem with sentimentality is that it’s all about you.

“Sentimentality: The enjoyment of emotion for its own sake, without regard for the true character of its object. The fundamental feature of sentimental emotion is that it is founded, not in a belief about and desire to understand its object, but rather in a belief about and admiration for the subject, as a vehicle of heroic, dignified, or tender responses. It is essentially self-directed. Hence it generates a lack of real interest in its object, a preference for fantasy over reality, and a disposition not to observe but to falsify the world. It has even been described (by Oscar Wilde) as the other side of cynicism and, contrary to its own self-image, is apt to seem cold-hearted to those directly affected by it. The thought of the true lover is 'This deserves my love,' that of the sentimental lover, 'I am admirable, loving this'; it is evident that the first has, while the second has not, an interest in, and a motive to understand, the object of his emotion.”

tim in vermont said...

Yeah, Art without sentimentality forced on us in public spaces at public expense.

Movies without sentimentality

Novels without it

Music without melody.

It is all so much better because you get to congratulate yourself for being able to appreciate it, not like those chavs who graduated from State U.

traditionalguy said...

Harvard is much to brag about. There are Stoics everywhere. But only a passionate lover is a completed man, or so thinks the Lord God.

And Bush said, he could see Putin's soul.

RecChief said...

by C word, I meant "collective"

Howard said...

Us Harvard parents love dropping the H-Bomb. Of course we start with the Boston, Cambridge tease to appear humble because false modesty is a required trait. However, the H Bomb only has any real meaning if you are talking grad school in an obscenely funded STEM field.

Collective shame? Most everyone wallows in sentimentality. This person acts like a psychological masochist.

SOJO said...

Oh dear. White people problems definitely, but she's sincere enough.

I give you a sentimental Thai ad that helpfully explains the value of your sentimental feelings: http://youtu.be/8_GWPEKY_jk

(I think the Harvard mystique is a lot stronger on the East Coast, but I can see where it would inevitably incite a spectrum of reactions when uttered out loud in certain company.)

BDNYC said...

I hate the "in Boston" or "near Boston" dodge. It's actually quite insulting and arrogant. The basic idea is that the person they're talking to might feel inferior if they say Harvard, so they spare that person the embarrassment. How noble.

Some Elis do the same thing, saying they went to school "in Connecticut."

RecChief said...

Whenever I hear someone say they went to school "in boston" I always ask if they mean BU or BC?

Good hockey schools.