Monday, January 21, 2008

Fools lament the decay of criticism. … Criticism is a matter of correct distancing…. Today the most real, the mercantile gaze into the heart of things is the advertisement. It abolishes the space where contemplation moved and all but hits us between the eyes with things as a car, growing to gigantic proportions, careens at us out of a film screen. … [P]eople whom nothing moves or touches any longer are taught to cry again by films. … What, in the end, makes advertisements so superior to criticism? Not what the moving red neon sign says—but the fiery pool reflecting it in the asphalt."

Walter Benjamin, 'This Space for Rent' (in One-Way Street, Selected Writings, p. 476)