It’s For Posterity

Over at Normblog, Norm Geras (one of the UK’s best bloggers!!) posted a challenge:

The story is that, civilization approaching its possible doom (not really, but it’s the premise of the poll), the normblog readership has been assigned the task of assembling for posterity a representative collection of the Arts of Humankind, to be preserved in a sealed container so that some future beings of intelligence, discernment and taste can discover it and be impressed. That’s you and me, and also you. What we all have to do is to nominate under the following 12 headings those artists whose work we would like to see going into the sealed container…

I’m going to cheat and do it twice, once for people who I think everyone should agree must be there – “Standards”, and once for people who I think might not be so well-known “Upstarts” – who are likely to be my personal choices.

Everyone / Upstart

1. Poet – Homer / Mark Doty
2. Playwright – Shakespeare / Tom Stoppard
3. Novelist – Vladimir Nabokov / Jim Harrison
4. Composer – Johannes Sebastian Bach / Igor Stravinsky
5. Jazz musician – Miles Davis / Joe Williams
6. Rock or pop star/group – The Who / The Clash
7. Country music ditto – The Carter Family / Johnny Cash
8. Movie director – Francis Ford Coppola / John Ford
9. Painter – Picasso / Marie Cassat
10. Photographer – Imogen Cunningham / W. Eugene Smith
11. Sculptor – Constantin Brancusi / Joseph Cornell
12. Architect – Christopher Wren / Frank Gehry

Drop Norm an email and play yourself…

5 thoughts on “It’s For Posterity”

  1. Yeah, I found that Obama speech pretty alarming, too. One hole for the guns, one for the gold, one for the Shakespeare and the Johnny Cash …

    You had Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Pasternak, and Solzhenitsyn to choose from, and you pick Nabokov? Never mind, brother, you dig in your yard and I’ll dig in mine.

  2. Hey, Armed: What’s the comment policy if I respond to every comment which includes a non-sequitur gratuitous slap at Obama with a similar non-sequitur slap at a Republican of my choice? Would it also be OK if I included two such gratuitous slaggings if the Obama comment includes some reference to Messiah-dom? My intention, BTW, would be to use exactly the same comment over and over, in the “Carthage must be destroyed” kinda way. . .

    Now that THAT’s out of the way, how much “work” are we allowed to put in the capsule for each of these folks? If I get four or five hours of space, or whatever the digital equivalent is, per “artist”, my pitch is that my “rock/pop star-group” is going to be Ertegun and Wexler. That’d get me Joe Turner, Ray, Aretha, the Coasters, Cream. . . if I get to make it “Ertegun/Ertegun/Wexler”, it gets me Coltrane, Mingus, and Coleman cuts too!

    Now, aside from this being a neat trick to accommodate my present infatuation with early Atlantic product, is this a less legitimate view of modern artistic product than picking movie _directors_ , as opposed to screenwriters or actors, and if so, why?

  3. I can’t decide if Tyler Perry is more of a movie director or a playwright, his work is poetry in motion.

    Is there a category for ‘most brilliant artist known to man?’

  4. SB – I think if you do it just as you did here, I’d have no objection at all. This post wasn’t about Obama at all…

    And as to how I feel about Wexler, check this out.


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