Megankellie's Reviews > Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing by John Berger
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Sep 11, 12

bookshelves: educationalnerdoutmaterial, holier-than-thou, cantdoitcantfinish
Read from August 29 to September 11, 2012

On the top floor in the Strand Bookstore in New York, I saw a self-consciously bored worker show a struggling-to-be-bored kid with his mom to the art table. The worker was like "well, you need this, and this, and this" and I realized the kid must be in art school and the worker must have graduated pretty recently. The worker was like "have you read Ways of Seeing? By John Berger?" and wanted to have geeky enthusiasm, but kept her eyes half closed and only lifted the book two inches. The kid was like "no, what is that?" and trying not to care. The worker was like, totally monotone, "well, it's really amazing. You'll have to read that. Everyone reads it. Anyway, it's awesome." Then they went away and I picked it up, because I would like to go to art school, learn 1,000 techniques and become spiritually fulfilled, kind, married, a terrific cook, and understand flowers etc. and make informative life-affirming web shorts that are not irrelevant. In the bookstore, Ways of Seeing was boring but I decided it was my fault. Months later, I found it in a library in Santa Cruz, California. It is printed in bold type for no reason. I guess it is interesting. Oil paintings were about conspicuous consumption back in the day. Only women are conscious about what they present to the world looks-wise. Fetishizing the past helps aristocrats stay aristocrats. Capitalists turned art into a commodity. This is apparently all pulled from a BBC special which I bet is more interesting. At a certain point in your life this will BLOW YOUR MIND, but if you know in your heart that one day we will all hate stainless steel kitchens and be like "ugh, so old fashioned, barf" you will probably be like "yeah, this was okay."
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