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Killing blow

Eric Raymond flips allll the way over into the cult of tradition with a resounding thud:

“A deadly genius is a talent so impressive that he can break and remake all the rules of the form, and seduce others into trying to emulate his disruptive brilliance — even when those followers lack the raw ability or grounding to make art in the new idiom the the genius has defined.”

He then goes on to explain that Picasso, Coltrane, Joyce, Schoenberg, and Brancusi killed their respective fields by being so brilliant. For bonus points, he posits that the problem was caused by the death of the patronage system. You see, once artists were permitted to do whatever they liked, some of them produced deadly work.

The former sentence is not an exaggeration. The exact quote: “Geniuses were not permitted to become deadly.” I.e., geniuses were not allowed to break and remake all the rules of the form. And, in Eric Raymond’s eyes, this was a good thing.

This obsession with safety over risk is really getting out of hand.

One Comment

  1. t. rev t. rev

    Why call it `deadly’? Why not just say that the forms have been completed or finished? Nostalgia is not destiny.

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