KEN LOACH’S ‘I, DANIEL BLAKE’: A BRIEF NOTE ON TWO ILL FOUNDED CRITICISMS

(1) ‘It’s sentimental‘ . No, it isn’t. ‘Sentimental’ is when you focus on how much you are enjoying your own sensitivity. Sentimentality’s essential object is oneself, and it’s faux, inauthentic, self indulgent. ‘Love Story’, for anyone who can recall it, was sentimental. IDB is emotional: its object is on the people portrayed and yes, it aims to upset you and make you angry – that is, if you are emotionally alive as a human being. This is not ‘sentimentality’. (2) ‘The working class characters aren’t realistic: they don’t swear, scream or drink’. This one says more about the assumptions of the … Continue reading

Richard Wagner

Bryn Terfel Odin

With many of the key figures of modernity, popular beliefs about them are seriously askew, sometimes at 180′ from the truth: so Nietzsche was neither anti Semitic, nor a nationalist; Freud didn’t say it was ‘all about sex’ etc; Marx wasn’t a proponent of a one party state etc etc. It is almost as if whatever the popular view is of these figures, the truth lies in the opposite direction. With Wagner, though, the case is rather different: for a start, he was an antiSemite, and not just a bit, either: seriously so. The mistake lies in thinking this has to … Continue reading