Rainer on the Road: Mit Tizian im Museum

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venedig

Wir befinden uns in einer aufregenden Zeit, vor allem was die Veränderungen der Kino- und Filmlandschaft betrifft. Abseits der obligatorischen Totsagungen wird innerhalb des filmischen Diskurses wild diskutiert: Wie soll man auf die Umstellung des Kinobetriebs von analog auf digital reagieren? Was machen mit den abertausenden Filmrollen in den Archiven, die nun kaum mehr gezeigt werden können? Wie lässt sich der Politik und der Öffentlichkeit klarmachen, dass es mit der Digitalisierung des Filmbestands nicht getan ist? Lassen sich Digitalisate überhaupt sinnvoll langzeitarchivieren? Welche Eingriffe sind bei der digitalen Restaurierung eines Films ethisch vertretbar? Was tun mit der unüberschaubaren Masse an Bewegtbildern, die tagtäglich von Smartphones und Digitalkameras aufgenommen und ins Netz gestellt werden (oder auf Festplatten schlummern)?

Präsentation der Jungfrau im Tempel von Tizian

Präsentation der Jungfrau im Tempel von Tizian

Fragen über Fragen also, denen allzu oft mit kaum mehr als halbgaren Ideen und Spekulationen gegenübergetreten wird. Die Filmwelt sieht sich einschneidenden Veränderungen gegenüber, denn anders als noch vor 15 oder 20 Jahren ist es heute nicht mehr so klar, was „Film“ überhaupt bedeutet. Was mich immer wieder erstaunt ist jedoch, wie sehr man sich im filmischen Diskurs in einer Ausnahmestellung wähnt, wie wenig man sich öffnet, um Erfahrungen anderer Disziplinen und Bereiche aufzunehmen und daran zu wachsen. Die digitale Wende betrifft, so viel ist klar, nicht nur das filmische Erbe und das Kino. Mehr noch, es gibt andere Bereiche, die ähnliche Umbrüche in den vergangenen Jahrhunderten schon in ähnlicher Form durchlebt (und überlebt) haben.

Es ist mir ein Rätsel, weshalb Filmarchivare und -kuratoren sich so selten an den Kustoden der Kunstmuseen und den Archivaren der naturwissenschaftlichen Sammlungen orientieren, die über Jahrhunderte Maßnahmenkataloge erarbeitet haben, wie mit ihren Werken angesichts eines wandelnden medialen Umfelds umgegangen werden soll. Ebenfalls erstaunlich, wie wenig man in Fragen der Werktreue, oder in kniffligen Konflikten, wie dem zwischen Original und Faksimile auf die Kunstgeschichte rekurriert.

Museum und Kirche

Eine lange Vorrede für einen Reisebericht aus Venedig. Vor rund 500 Jahren war die Lagunenstadt in Norditalien der Nabel der Kunstwelt. Die Venezianischen Meister der Renaissance zählen zu den höchstgepriesenen Künstlern der Geschichte. Ihre Werke haben sich in den letzten Jahrhunderten über den ganzen Erdball verstreut, doch ein Gutteil davon ist in der Stadt verblieben. Von diesem künstlerischen Erbe zeugt die absurd hohe Dichte an Kunstmuseen und Galerien, die in der Stadt zu finden sind, wie auch die unüberschaubare Masse an Kirchen.

Die Gallerie dell’Accademia (kurz: Accademia) ist Venedigs erste Anlaufstelle für Kunstliebhaber. Das Museum beherbergt die weltweite größte Sammlung venezianischer Malerei, darunter Werke namhafter Künstler wie Canaletto, Giovanni Bellini, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto oder Tizian. Der Kernbestand der Sammlung stammt aus dem frühen 19. Jahrhundert, als für die Studenten der Kunstakademie eine Galerie geschaffen wurde. Die Bilder, die dafür notwendig waren, wurden zu großen Teilen aus aufgelassenen Kirchen und Klöstern entnommen. Bilder, die zuvor Altare schmückten, wurden auf kahle Steinmauern gehängt. Statt Buntglasfenstern und Kerzenschein sorgten von nun an großflächige Oberlichter für ausreichende Beleuchtung.

Heute mag es natürlich scheinen diese Werke in einem hohen, weißgestrichenen Museumsraum zu sehen, heute stört sich kaum jemand daran (vorausgesetzt Hängung und Lichtverhältnisse sind zufriedenstellend), dass diese Werke an einem solchen Platz eigentlich nicht heimisch sind. Man könnte sagen, die Fresken und Gemälde sind ihrem ursprünglichem „working system“ entnommen, sind approbiert worden und haben sich im Museumsraum neu etabliert. Jahrzehnte der Kunstbetrachtung in Galerien und Ausstellungsräumen haben uns daran gewöhnt Kunst auf diese Art und Weise wahrzunehmen. Regelmäßig brandet Kritik auf, dass der White Cube womöglich nicht die beste Form der Kunstpräsentation ist, aber niemand würde dagegen ernsthaft ins Feld führen, all diese Bilder wieder zurück in Kirchen oder Kloster zu hängen, um dort ihr künstlerisches Potenzial zur Entfaltung zu bringen.

Tizian bleibt Tizian

Sofern man sich in den gewundenen Gassen nicht verläuft, braucht man der Accademia rund zwanzig Minuten zur Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (kurz Frari). Die Frari ist eine der größten gotischen Kirchen Venedigs und sticht selbst aus der Masse der prachtvollen Kirchen Venedigs heraus. Seit fast genau 500 Jahren, seit dem 19. April 1518 um genau zu sein, ist über dem Hochaltar der Frari Tizians monumentale Mariä Himmelfahrt angebracht (über hundert Jahre, von 1817 bis 1921 war das Gemälde jedoch in der Accademia ausgestellt). Neben diesem Hauptwerk Tizians finden sich auch Werke anderer venezianischer Meister wie Giovanni Bellini, Paolo Veneziano und Bartolomeo Vivarini in der Kirche. Obwohl Hängung und Lichtgebung in der Accademia vorbildlich sind, die Präsentation der Bilder dort mitdenkt, auf welche Weise diese Bilder ihre Betrachter adressieren, so bietet der direkte Kontrast zu den Bildern innerhalb des „working systems“ katholische Kirche einen Vergleich, was beide Formen der Kunstpräsentation voneinander unterscheidet. (Auch außerhalb sakraler Räumlichkeiten kann es natürlich solche „working systems“ geben. Ein Beispiel dafür ist das monumentale Wandgemälde im Dogenpalast, über das ich im Text zu meiner letzten Venedig-Reise vor zwei Jahren geschrieben habe.)

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venedig

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venedig

Es geht mir ganz und gar nicht darum zu sagen, dass sich diese Art von Kunst nur in der sakralen Umgebung entfalten kann, für die sie konzipiert wurde. Das Gegenteil ist der Fall: die Gemälde Tizians in der Accademia sind ebenso brillant wie die Gemälde Tizians in der Frari. Man sieht die Bilder in unterschiedlichen Kontexten auf andere Weise und es lässt sich darüber reflektieren, wo die Unterschiede liegen, aber im Kern bleiben die Werke davon unberührt. Man kann womöglich darüber rätseln, wo und wie ein Gemälde besser (oder weniger wertend, anders) an diesem oder jenem Ort zur Geltung kommt, aber es verliert auf keinen Fall seine Wirkung dadurch. Eine solche Behauptung würde das Werk selbst schmälern.

An diesem Punkt lässt sich offensichtlich mit Betrachtungen zu Film und Kino anschließen. Nicht ohne Grund habe ich oben dem filmischen Diskurs den Begriff „working system“ entlehnt, mit dem das Verhältnis von Film im Kino beschrieben werden kann: Die Filmkopie wird in der Projektion als performativer Akt zur Aufführung vor einem Publikum gebracht. Ähnlich wie im Fall der Gemälde Tizians haben sich im Laufe der Filmgeschichte jedoch alternative Wege etabliert, Film außerhalb dieses „working systems“ zu rezipieren (der Vergleich ist natürlich nicht perfekt – der Film als reproduzierbares Kunstwerk, wie auch als zeitbasierte Kunstform, was mit ihrer spezifischen Aufführungspraxis zusammenhängt, hat seine Eigenheiten – dennoch finde ich, dass die fruchtbaren Anknüpfungspunkte eines solchen Vergleichs die partikularen Kritikpunkte überwiegen). Ohne das Kino als primären Ort filmischer Wahrnehmung in Frage zu stellen, lässt sich , wie ein Blick in die Kunstwelt zeigt, womöglich dennoch einiges aus dem Vergleich des Kinofilms als „working system“ und seinen diversen Faksimilierungen gewinnen.

Perceptible layers of friendship, or when only adults are capable of play

Oftentimes it is assumed that youthful playfulness is lost in transition

                                                                                     lost in translation

 

as we maneuver from one age category to another

 

being disciplined to play, in certain spaces and within certain time slots,

 

what does it mean to play [in high school] – what does it mean to play [on a film set]

 

Theater play? Amusement, entertainment? Latitude, range? Have fun? Compete in sport? Act; take the part of? Gamble, risk? Produce music?

Definitions too reductive. Yet they all apply.

During last week, I went to the Open Studios at the Jan van Eyck Academie, and I was lucky enough to see a good film about the important subject of kids and how we force them to play.

Flicker like Flames [sketches towards a speculative film] is a film by the British artist Sol Archer, who, during his period in Rotterdam, tried to make a film with kids from a local high school. They recorded everything themselves. Here’s to the Future is a film by the American filmer and writer Gina Telaroli. A film made with and by friends on a sunny Sunday.

The group of children don’t know cinema. Most of them will become craftsmen. Or might become drug dealers. But before that, they are still permitted to reenact masculine standards by means of remaking scenes from Game of Thrones or Furious 7. Now, they do this together and they have fun in doing so. You see them laughing, making jokes. Working as a team, as classmates, in order to reach their ‘’goals.’’ They play, that is sure. But are they, in their context, capable of playing freely?

film setFlicker like Flames [sketches towards a speculative film] (Sol Archer, 2017)

For Telaroli’s film, she invited all sorts of friends to participate in its production. Artists, critics, all sorts of people. Most of them happen to be ‘’experts’’ on cinema. Yet this film is as ‘’messy’’ as the one made by the high school kids. They try to do everything in order to not reach anything. My mom remarked: ‘’I can’t bear watching this, is this even a film?’’ She took herself to bed.

Does true play demand true work? If our mothers can’t even imagine this, I don’t want to think about all the play/work that’s still lying ahead of us. All the play that still needs to be done. To be dealt with. People always say that ‘’we as adults inevitably need to deal with doing the work and nothing but the work itself’’ but perhaps this is not work but play. What then is this? Do I have any clue of what goes through my body when I think of ‘’play’’?

flmset2 Flicker like Flames [sketches towards a speculative film] (Sol Archer, 2017)

 As was said by Thomas Henricks’ in his essay The Nature of Play: An Overview:

‘’First published in 1938, Huizinga’s work [Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture] focuses both on the nature of play and on its changing significance in European societies from the classical period to modern times. The best known element of Homo Ludens is Huizinga’s statement of five defining characteristics of play. First, play is a relatively free or voluntary activity in which people set the terms and timing of their own involvement. Second, play is distinguished from routine affairs by its absence of material consequences. Third, play is separated from other activities by its use of exotic rules, playing spaces, ideas of time, costumes, and equipment. Fourth, play is marked by the way in which it both honors rules and yet encourages transgression and disorder. And fifth, play promotes the banding together of participants in “secret” or otherwise outlandish societies.

Here’s to the Future is very true, and for many of us, confrontational. Precisely because it is ticking all the boxes of what is outlined above. To me it transposed the idea that very possibly, we should not try to ‘’re-discover playfulness’’ again. But rather: to invent it for the very first time. We see the film and we feel that we’ve been tricking ourselves. That there is nothing to retrieve. Grounded in the belief that a film set can serve as a secluded place in which we make time to strengthen our bonds. To make friends but particularly to make friendships better by allowing each other to do something with our anxieties, safely. Is this also a form of playing with fire?

 Later on, Henricks continues:

‘’Although Huizinga was committed to the idea of playfulness as a spirit or orientation within societies, he also emphasized that those same societies historically have maintained frameworks—sometimes involving carefully protected times and spaces—to encourage playful behaviors. Clearly, such is the case with “games,” which are cultural formats that help people interact in defined ways and ensure the continuity of play across time and space. Sociologist Erving Goffman (1974) called these models for behavior “frames.” In that sense, play (as opposed to work, religious ritual, “real” fights, etc.) is a broad cultural arena where people learn to recognize, anticipate, and orient themselves. And there are more specific kinds of play—jokes, daydreams, contests—that we also understand. We “play” when we participate in these cultural forms.’’

Thus I noticed that one group of filmmakers (the high school kids from Rotterdam) is functioning much more within a frame that is supposedly determined to ‘’teach them something.’’ Whereas the second (the film enthusiasts) are much more willing to ‘’learn something’’, collectively. In spite of not needing to be on Telaroli’s set, while all the kids do need to partake in Archer’s shoot. So who’s really, radically, playing?

‘’As the last paragraph of Homo Ludens somewhat ruefully puts it, play in the final analysis “lies outside morals” and “in itself is neither good nor bad.” Play pursues neither truth nor justice but is instead a fundamentally aesthetic endeavor, a set of practices that explore the meanings of experience in a wide range of scenes and settings.’’

And this was precisely what interested me about these two films. Archer exposing education’s necessary evil: cloaked as ‘’play,’’ young adolescents are slowly being taught to indeed judge and to indeed, learn how to act in a shallow resemblance of society. It is important that many of the ‘’frames’’ or ‘’games’’ that are established and played also expand beyond the schoolyard. Telaroli, on the other hand, gets rid of these important restrictions and makes thinkable and sensible a first exposure to play in adulthood, perhaps also in life as a whole. Or is it safe to say: ‘’fun’’?

Both of these films, at points, provide hints of having fun. Now, it’s about time to inject a third player: Helen Hill’s The World’s Smallest Fair (1995). Not only is this unexpected visitor crushing many of the relations that were set and developed by the other two films, but foremost she is no longer concerned with rationality. As Soderbergh wrote when he posted his cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey; The Return of W. De Rijk: ‘’sometimes you have to cross the line to know where the line is. just ask any two-year-old.’’

In Hill’s film, she and her classmates from CalArts ‘’create one square mile of cotton candy in fantastical shapes.“ And in this square mile, sounds are recorded and images are taken which were uttered in a secluded period of time. I did ask: if they are really playing, why then are they looking for these boundaries? Is it not a tool in order te retrieve the sanity required to keep going outside of this particular square? Is it not a merely functional way of appropriating our ideas of ‘’having fun’’? Just as functional as the kids from high school? My conviction is: no. The ‘’just as’’ I employed is risky, since it tries to level these two inherently different endeavors. Limiting both their distinctly alternating affects and effects.


smallestfairr2The World’s Smallest Fair (Helen Hill, 1995)

I do need to add that Hill’s film evokes a similar response among flocks of people: namely, that of the assumption that this is not a film, or cannot be taken seriously as a film, because the characters involved do not seem to be taking it seriously themselves. But who says this is so? To establish a sense of communitas, “the sense of sharing and intimacy that develops among persons who experience liminality as a group“, a lot of sacrifices are demanded from each of the individuals who agree to participate. The intensity with which I see the – here it comes – art students interact with each other in this film, must have been quite exhaustive. Now, the fact that their involvement is explicitly mentioned in Hiller’s description of the film, is not making it easier for the skeptics to open up. Anyhow: people who live in glass houses should not throw stones, so I’d better rest my case.

What all these films present, are different conceptions and executions of what we see as play and fun. But to reduce them solely as devices to get something done or to reach a different point, is inescapable. Especially in cinema, where we are almost always existing in relation to how people around us spend their time, it is exceptionally daring to try to break with this habit. We are all possibly lonely, and to move away from ourselves we need to act in accordance to others. What some of these do signify, luckily, is that we do not need, a priori, to determine and calculate their outcomes. And I guess all three films that I tried to discuss in this text make such outcomes, and let’s say it, function, rather unpredictable.

making visible layers of friendshipHere’s to the Future (Gina Telaroli, 2014)

Video Essayists: the Self-Proclaimed Revivers of Film Criticism

This piece was originally published in German at kino-zeit.de. Julia Cooper-Mittenstädt was so kind to translate and work with the text. As there was some confusion with publishers concerning the nature of this text: No, it is not an overview about the status quo of video essays. Neither is it a text which in any way strives for scholarly argumentation. It is a reaction. Reactions are weak. They provide readers with targets and act as if cinema (in this case) were alive. One can and should react to reactions. Reactions are not safe, they contain mistakes and emotions. Reactions do not come about through a dead writer. In my daily work, I often have to encounter people who know better. They take the soul out of texts, in rare cases bringing it to a higher, more precise level, in most cases acting on subjective impulses, exchanging words randomly and thinking way too much about what their „readers“ want. They fail to articulate why they made their changes or what they didn’t like. They just change and uphold a standard for journalistic or academic or whatever kind of writing. They are proud of it and dislike any form of writing that is not edited as strictly as their own. I get bored three sentences into every one of those over-edited pieces. I can’t feel the author, I can’t feel the film anymore. Their principles of elimination are: Redundancy, choice of words, information. Those three elements or their lack speak about emotions towards a film or writing.  

A few weeks ago the Süddeutsche Zeitung celebrated video essayists as the new superstars of film criticism. After almost ten years on the scene, this movement of cinephiliac and academic internet culture has made it to the feature pages of German newspapers. “Well done,” one could say, if the article in question was not written with such a lack of reflection. The author can hardly help it, seeing as he ultimately takes up the very same repetitive treadmill of arguments heralded by the proponents of this form of film mediation.

In recent years, video essays have been characterized by fragmentation and popularization rather than formal development. The term “video essay” actually refers to a great number of very different things. Cristina Álvarez López, who, together with Catherine Grant and Adrian Martin, belongs to the pioneers of the pursuit and discussion of the practice of working with film in a manner driven by subjective editing has identified two tendencies within the genre. The first concerns pedagogical demonstration. More often found in the academic field, it almost always includes voice-over commentary and focuses on very precise, strict analytical work. Álvarez López connects the second tendency to the term “cinepoems,” relating it to an artistic impulse. One only needs to think of the numerous supercuts available online. In the virtual mass of videos flooding the internet on a daily basis, these two tendencies have multiplied several times over and branched into further subcategories. This may seem like a pointed assertion, but a look at the daily video output reveals fairly simple ideas and a playful joy in montage which tell us far less about the films “in question” than they do about the technical skills of the essay maker. These function on a short-term level and are easily digestible for social media (meanwhile, an increasing number of one-minute videos keep cropping up; see example below), but ultimately have nothing to do with their purported subject matter.

Transformers

Moreover, the nerd culture, which was the first to tackle the possibilities of digital film files and editing programs in the internet age, has by now become an institutionalized and professionalized product hankering after as many clicks and likes as possible. The best example is Kevin B. Lee, the rightful recipient of the Harun Farocki scholarship, whose essays on Fandor have long since stopped showing the candor and love for detail they had so regularly demonstrated when he first began publishing video essays on his blog. The same Fandor deleted dozens of video essays from their website during a recent restructuring. Meanwhile, Lee drifts from one film museum to the next as a live remixer. Some of his colleagues hold the incentive of artistic creation far too dear. They often aim for visual seamlessness rather than nurturing a capacity for discovery or suffusing their work with deep resistance, two qualities film criticism should contain. On the contrary, the pure beauty of edited images is just an exercise pretending as if cinema itself were obsolete or, in the best case, creating the effect of a commercial. Ultimately, the same holds true for video essay making and writing: there is the good and the bad, and there is probably something for everybody. One way or another, this form enables a discourse even if, in many cases, it includes viewers only insofar as it allows for them to manifest their own pleasure, subjectively supply “missing” films in the comments or recognize films in the video. But the constant, compulsive reinvention and self-thematization within the video essay field needs to be questioned, as the aforementioned article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung goes to prove.

The following sentence calls for scrutiny: “Instead of writing texts describing what the reader can then try to vicariously imagine, video essayists work directly on the film material.” Time and again, the performative aspect of the work involving editing and its corresponding tools is argued to be one of the crucial advantages of video essays. It is also claimed that video essays are concerned with a practical understanding of films. Another, more active kind of critical analysis is purported to emerge in the moment a theory is put to the test on actual images and sounds belonging to a film, which is said to bring the analysis closer to the actual film. This should, of course, also affect the viewer of the essays.

Materials

However, the use of the term “material” is more than dubious. In fact, as a rule, working with MKV files or DVD rips is in no way synonymous with working with film material. Quite to the contrary, unlike the films of Martin Arnold or Bill Morrison, which are perfectly comparable with video essays, this kind of work in no way concerns the material, focusing instead on the content and form of the films in question. Even if one were to agree that the digital was a material, the conditions of editing previously produced images would set a whole new work in motion. This would in no way guarantee a comprehension of images that could enable an exact seeing. Video essays do not truly argue in the “language of films,” as Lee once asserted. In fact, they serve as more of a language aid.

Video essays are also often credited with redefining film criticism. It has been rightfully pointed out that there truly is nothing new in the form of these essays. One only needs to think of names such as Bruce Conner or Jean-Luc Godard. Educational films by critics have a long tradition of their own, stretching from Helmut Färber to Serge Daney. Then again, this renewal above all concerns a historical point in the development of film criticism: the present – the transitional phase, the crisis and the search for new possibilities attuned to the medium in question. But which medium should film criticism attune itself to? The medium it takes shape in or the one it bears witness to? Possibly both?

The technical innovations of the times would seem to call for video essays, as would the needs of the users of film criticism. However, one could somewhat cynically argue that this demand has already passed. Twitter reviews and images are better suited for smartphones than videos are. As good as the possibilities of an audiovisual encounter with films may be, what motivates a comparison of such an analysis with writing remains obscure. Especially since it is repeatedly suggested that video essays make the subjective experience of a film visible. For example, it is possible to bring two apparently entirely unrelated films face to face, eliciting a spontaneous association between them in the viewing process. Such impulses should be checked, particularly when it comes to realizing childish desires of hearing music from Aladdin play alongside Pulp Fiction and so on. The same is possible in writing, it only looks different.

The Gap Between Viewer And Film

What’s more, in such cases, the video essay seems to be missing something essential: the gap between viewer and film. Rather than recognizing this issue, weight is confidently placed on analytical objectification, which time and time again leads to simplified pigeonholing. A rigorous belief in the image is at work here, one opposed to associating cinematic experience with any kind of translation work, claiming instead to have done away with translation altogether. This is misleading for a variety of reasons: video essays are not composed of films, but of fragments, often stemming from low resolution digital files, and the experience of a streaming player has nothing to do with cinema. These problems are commonly ignored, as if experiencing a film were equal to collecting motifs. Unlike motifs, memory is completely negated, including the deceptive memory that is such an integral part of every cinematic experience. Everything one has seen, although it was not even there, is erased by the integrity of the images (with a few notable exceptions such as Roger Koza).

Many video essays are the result of superficial scrutiny, maintaining that films can be measured and placed into grammatically solvable categories. Few think of the fact that films are often concerned with what happens between the images. While it is certain, also in view of the important work done by researchers such as David Bordwell, that it is good to have another manner of accessing film analysis which is made possible by digitization, it is neither better than any other approach, nor does it inevitably lead to a form of film criticism. Furthermore, writing includes a great deal of montage work. The ability to reflect on editing has nothing to do with technical means. Word combinations can reflect the working methods of films too. It cannot be claimed that writing is theoretical work as opposed to the practical work of creating video essays. Both forms demand theory as well as practice.

F for Fake

So, should critics reinvent themselves in this transitional phase? Is there going to be a change of form in film criticism? Only those who see film criticism as an industrial product rather than a frame of mind can make such a claim. This point brings us back to the struggle for survival we are involved with in the present. It is not to be expected that a good author will feel equally comfortable with editing, talking, or tweeting. The combination of tools is an even greater issue. Videos, texts, images, links – all of these could enable an interlocked, modern flow of film criticism. However, that is a matter for the publisher, not the authors. In order to achieve that, as the author for the Süddeutsche Zeitung makes a case for, much would need to change in the legal situation in Germany. Even so, it is no less modern to limit oneself to one form of analysis. As Jacques Rivette once said: “The only true criticism of a film is another film.” Whereby he was not referring to the idea behind video essays as much as he was alluding to the necessity of translating thoughts and feelings between cinema and the world. This occasionally impossible transfer of thoughts takes place only at a distance, a distance that enables critical potential, regardless of whether it is in analytical, educational or artistic work. The mass of video essays and their advocates would do well to invoke the common ground of such a discourse instead of promoting the ideals of market-oriented or analytical superiority.