Art Smarts: Two New Books on the Meaning of Arts

The Economist on two new books, The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa and What Good Are the Arts:

Mr Kimmelman, a gifted piano student as a boy, returned more seriously to the keyboard in 1999 when he entered, and went on to the final round, of an amateur piano competition in Fort Worth, Texas. Organised by the Van Cliburn Foundation, which since 1962 has presented the world’s leading piano competition for young professionals, the competition brought 90 people, who neither taught nor performed professionally, to Texas.
Mr Kimmelman’s article about his fellow pianists—a numismatist, two flight attendants, a hairstylist and a former crack addict who had been jailed for burglary and who found taking up music helped him recover—raised a sizeable correspondence from people who are not artists by profession, but for whom art adds an important other dimension to their lives. It was this idea, so emblematic of the author’s own life, that spawned the book.
Far better is the second half of the book in which Mr Carey seeks to persuade us that the greatest of all art forms is not painting or music but literature, and English literature specifically. Uninflected and without gendered nouns, English was uniquely placed to offer Shakespeare the linguistic pliancy and suppleness he needed to turn out the epidemic of metaphors and similes that so mark his work.

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More on Suspended Sennett Middle School Teacher

Sandy Cullen:

Police spokesman Mike Hanson said the report of an incident April 1, 2004, at Sennett Middle School “slipped through the cracks,” and was not reviewed by a detective or a representative of the Dane County district attorney’s office to determine if charges should be filed.
“It’s an unfortunate event,” Hanson said. “We need to backtrack and go back and investigate.”
Hanson said it is not known exactly how the mistake occurred, but the report had been mislabled in a way that could have erroneously indicated that it had already been referred to the district attorney.

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