Ben Katchor

I think a lot of these terms, nationalistic things, somebody is an American, or somebody is a Frenchman, or somebody is a Jew, I don’t know, it doesn’t mean anything to me. You really should start augmenting these words, saying what kind. If you want to say somebody is a Jew, what do you mean by that? Does he have blonde hair? I think a lot of these ancient nationalistic and ethnic terms have kind of lost their meaning, or their meaning is so broad, it’s nothing. It’s like he’s connected to the ancient world. Everybody is.

“I think a lot of these terms, nationalistic things, somebody is … Read More

Certain movies that are trying to evoke history are just like being in an antique store, and all you notice is that all the stuff has been gathered together, and it feels like a pile of antiques. How can you think that that will evoke the past? It doesn’t even have to evoke anything, but anyway, it’s how we’re living. It’s this moment where nobody has to immediately think too much about how things are being documented. It’s a great time.

“Certain movies that are trying to evoke history are just like … Read More

The basis of national identity is to say, “This is authentic to me or my forebears,” and is there even such a thing? How authentic is it to your life? Just because your grandfather did it, what does that have to do with you? If I say I’m working in the style of Rembrandt, so what? You can say it, but are you really? No, because when you try to literally copy a cultural artifact, you change it. It dissolves, and then who’s looking at it? People who appreciate that kind of drawing, or people it means nothing to?

“The basis of national identity is to say, “This is authentic … Read More

There’s a real connection between the history of print in Europe and nationalism, and how those two things could be formed. I think they may both now be ending, for good and bad, but I think mainly for good. Either globalism was supposed to make people all realize this is one big business going on and we should know what’s going on everywhere, or it makes people say, “I don’t want to become part of this thing. I want to be incredibly different from you and I want to uphold my local behavior.” Dress a certain way.

“There’s a real connection between the history of print in Europe … Read More