Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In-House Must-Read

Please take the time to read through Icepick's critique of the Bobby Fischer piece I cited, which begins in the comments here. I hope he's compiling it for a post of his own somewhere, but meanwhile, you can learn a great deal in an enjoyable style by piecing it together out of the Haloscan chopper.

I'm glad he spent his fury on the article itself, and didn't have enough left for my inferences from it, which dealt with the nature of social eccentricity and artistic genius. But some of the additional material he brings to the discussion tends in that direction, too:

Almost none of Fischer’s transgressions even come close to Aron Nimzovitch leaping upon a table and screaming “Why must I lose to this idiot?!” in the middle of a tournament hall, with other games still being played.

Heh. But that reminds me of me playing Alliance in battlegrounds on "World of Warcraft." I know it's irrational to flip the bird to a computer screen, but, well .... Which brings up the obvious fact that there are a great many antisocial eccentrics without enough of genius in them to fill an eyedropper. But there does seem to be a higher concentration of them among the great artists than among the general population.

Coincidentally, one of the examples I mentioned, Ezra Pound, gets a good, short summary here.

William Carlos Williams, a few years ahead of him at the University of Pennsylvania, noticed right away. Pound “was often brilliant,” he wrote, “but an ass.”

Then there's this, which reminded me of Icepick's account of the Nimzo incident: "He challenged the poet Lascelles Abercrombie to a duel on grounds of 'stupidity' so great it amounted to 'public menace'...”