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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Believer - Interview with Kevin Goldsmith

No, this is not an Onion article; this exists.

Conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s work is simultaneously among the most mundane and the most maddeningly provocative writing being done today.

A few years ago, I published a super-boring book that was a radio transcription of a Yankees–Red Sox game. I included everything that was on the radio, from the pre-game show to the ads to the broadcast-booth patter.

. . . .

When the book was published, I sent a copy to the Yankees organization. Naturally, I never heard from them.

Clearly, Goldsmith missed his true calling as a court reporter, instead of a “conceptual poet.”

The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: November 30, 2011 at 12:27 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Bob Evans Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#4003296)
For his next work, he's going to sample Moby-Dick.
   2. akrasian Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:00 AM (#4003390)
Let's not forget his work, Day for which he retyped the entire contents of an issue of the New York Times. In the article, Goldsmith admits that "My books are better thought about than read. They’re insanely dull and unreadable"

Not to mention basically transcriptions of copyrighted material (owned by others).
   3. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:51 AM (#4003427)
Damn. What a friggin' racket. Those of us actually CREATING art can't get any press and this jerk-off gets press for typing up previously published material?

Amazing.
   4. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#4003526)

Not to mention basically transcriptions of copyrighted material (owned by others).

Those of us actually CREATING art can't get any press and this jerk-off gets press for typing up previously published material?


Man, you guys would be no fun to be around. This kind of thing is great - almost more fun because of the petty reactions it produces. I think the most valuable part of conceptual art is that it's a great litmus test of interesting people, meaning those people who can accept things that simply make no sense in any conventional economic or rational way.

I'm also guessing he's not bothered by copyright, considering he teaches a course on "poetic practice and the art of plagiarism."

Great stuff!
   5. akrasian Posted: November 30, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#4003543)
I'm also guessing he's not bothered by copyright, considering he teaches a course on "poetic practice and the art of plagiarism."

Time to scan his "works", and call the released edition "Copies of Kevin Goldsmith"

I'm wondering - does every student in his class just turn in the same term paper?
   6. Greg K Posted: November 30, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#4003557)
It's like retrosheet but better!

My books are better thought about than read. They’re insanely dull and unreadable

This is usually my reaction to the craze for really terrible movies. Sure, the IDEA of a whole movie based on a grudge match between a giant crocodile and a giant octopus is kind of amusing, but to sit through 2 hours of it seems like a bit more dedication than the joke deserves. I guess I'd say I find conceptual art interesting, but if you dropped the art and just had a discussion of the concepts I'd probably find it just as ineresting. But then again I've always had a firmer grasp on words than visuals...to each his own.
   7. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#4003605)
I guess I'd say I find conceptual art interesting, but if you dropped the art and just had a discussion of the concepts I'd probably find it just as ineresting.

I agree. I thought his interview was fairly interesting and thought-provoking, but I'm not sure it makes any difference to me whether or not the books he discusses having written actually exist. I suppose it makes some difference that he *claims* to have actually written them, since contemplating the possibility that he has actually wasted his time on an utterly pointless task like copying an entire issue of the NY Times affects my thinking -- it would be less thought-provoking if he had merely discussed the concept of the books as a thought experiment about something an imaginary conceptual artist might do. But since I have no interest in or intention of ever actually looking at his books, it doesn't really matter to me if he is lying about actually having written them.
   8. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#4003873)
I thought his interview was fairly interesting and thought-provoking, but I'm not sure it makes any difference to me whether or not the books he discusses having written actually exist.


Agree with this agreement. I think it's more interesting to see these ideas in the context of a piece of fiction, which is in itself actually fun to read. Say, Borges or Phillip K. Dick, who invent all kinds of interesting ideas without being so literal as to actually do them. That way you get to think about cool things and get a good read. In this case, the interview itself.

In any case, it's probably a more interesting world than not to have one guy who types out a transcript of a complete Yankees game.

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