Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘The Americans’

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.