Doug Bruns

The Americans

In Writers, Writing on February 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Robert Frank’s The Americans

I am just back from the Robert Frank exhibit at the National Gallery of Art (Looking In: Robert Frank’s, The Americans)and ache to do something of consequence. Is that not the definition of inspiration? There is nothing I can say about The Americans that will be fresh and of any importance. Beside, there is nothing I want to say really. Sometimes a thing is best talked about. Sometimes not.

John Updike died a week or so ago. I am struck by this comment from Adam Gopink in the current The New Yorker:

“Updike’s great subject was the American attempt to fill the gap left by faith with the materials produced by mass culture.”

I think about mass culture a great deal these days, in particular these days when mass culture is melting and consumerism is melting, along with confidence and arrogance and self-defining destiny. The great sucking sound foretold by Ross Perot is not the loss of jobs to overseas labor, but rather the drain-plug being pulled in the basin of American hubris. What an interesting time to be an observer. And a painful time. Everything interesting has an element of pain associated with it, it seems. If not for the participant, then for the observer.

  1. Your last graf has me thinkin’, Doug. Thanks for the food for thought.~Amy Hooper

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