The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey is the perfect occasion to be this Jerry Saltz. To compare the photos of the two Boeing 767s crashing into the Twin Towers would certainly count as dancing naked in public, but Saltz knows it wouldn't play right. The death of a Russian official in a far away country by an Islamic terrorist in a suit instead of a thawb, however, is just safe enough for a little self-serving display of brave individuality, as long as a few qualifiers—"pathological act of bloodletting, terrorism, nationalism"—are tossed in for protection against accusations of tactlessness and opportunism. If anyone accuses him of using a murder for self-promotion, he can call them out for "intentionally misrepresenting what I wrote" and tell them to "f— off." Otherwise, he can sit back and enjoy the feedback loop, retweeting things like: "@jerrysaltz may have just written the best essay on art and fear," and "incredible piece by @jerrysaltz on Ankara as historical art," and "The great @jerrysaltz gives an art critic's POV on the Ankara assassination."
Siri, the computer program that operates as an artificially intelligent personal assistant, appears to know the answers to everything. So seemingly, does the author Siri Hustvedt, or at least such is the impression given by her voluminous, humorous and wide-ranging new collection "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind." Unlike Apple's so-called knowledge navigator, though, Hustvedt doesn't just offer up information, although there's plenty of it here; she also delivers it to her audience with an invigorating blend of personality and imagination.
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ehind this ambitious collection of essays on art, creativity, sexuality and the mind is CP Snow’s old question: why is there such a wide chasm between the world of literary intellectuals and that of empirical scientists? Snow, married to a novelist and with friends working across all disciplines, was critical of the limits of rigid specialisation – a problem Hustvedt recognises from her own life: “In the last decade or so, I have repeatedly found myself at the bottom of Snow’s gulf, shouting up to the persons gathered on either side of it.”