Ruth Franklin on wrongness in art; Frank Rich on wrongness everywhere

It's been a good couple of days for wrongness-related journalism.  Over the weekend, Frank Rich wrote a column in the New York Times connecting the dots all the way from Alan Greenspan and George Bush to Tiger Woods and the Pope -- correctly observing in them not unrelated instances of folly, but instantiations of a broader problem in our culture's relationship to error. 

Meanwhile, at the New Republic, Ruth Franklin asked what happens when two critics -- "reasonable, educated people, well-versed in the artistic genre they have made their focus" -- passionately disagree.  More generally, she poses a question I raise in the book as well: are "right" and "wrong" relevant yardsticks for aesthetic judgments?  If so, why do we as a culture insist on treating taste as wholly subjective?  If not, why do we as individuals often insist that our opinions about art or literature (or home decor, or coffee brands) are correct?

Both pieces make for great reads.  Nice to have some fellow wrongologists out there. 

Okay, maybe you don’t have strong beliefs about the “right” way to load a dishwasher, or about your sweetheart’s propensity to do it “wrong.” In that case, either you are unusually saintly or (like me) you don’t own a dishwasher. But you almost certainly get involved in domestic disputes about who’s right and who’s wrong all the time; we all do. Although interpersonal arguments can have a number of causes – from serious and painful breaches in trust to the fact that we haven’t had our coffee yet – an impressive number of them amount to a tug-of-war over who possesses the truth. We fight over the right to be right.