Recently, a colleague and I were talking about television shows we watched, particularly the ones stigmatized as “bad,” “junk,” and “garbage.” She threw in a few suggestions, none of which I thought were particularly terrible – a few sitcoms and reality shows. Finally, I said, “well, I watch wrestling,” to which, she replied, “you win.” This response is not unfamiliar. As somebody who regularly watches wrestling, my fandom is frequently approached with raised eyebrows, “seriouslys,” and the inevitable “you know it’s fake, right?”

More… “Spandex Ballet”

Melinda Lewis has a PhD in American Culture Studies. She knows more celebrity gossip than basic math and watches too much television.


Criticism isn’t powerful anymore. It doesn’t drive anything, it doesn’t define what is good and bad in culture. Surely this has mostly to do with all the changes in the media landscape over the last few decades. Basically, culture has been democratized. It has been flattened out and multiplied. There are no longer real distinctions between high and low. There’s just more.

The word criticism has its root in the Greek word krinein, which means — in its most original sense — to divide or separate. It’s about sorting things out and making distinctions. Criticism is thus about doing something that is, in this era, almost impossible to do. It is difficult simply to keep up with the vast global cultural output, let alone to make determinations and judgments.

So the critic lives in terror and humiliation, without… More…

I meant to visit a string of smaller art fairs along Collins Avenue and ended up spending the afternoon lounging on a $14 million yacht outside a $14 million home on Hibiscus Island instead. These things happen in Miami. The wealth, to its credit, is more of a “Why not?” kind of wealth than is generally found further up North. We were driven to the yacht and the mansion in a Bentley, which must constitute some form of Art Fair trifecta.

   2007 Art Basel Miami

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

It ended up being a useful excursion for our purposes, though, because my Aunt Lou Ann was there and she said something brilliant. I told of her of my aesthetic difficulties at the fair and I confided in her my fear of the… More…