Analysis: “I Yam what I Yam – but is it Art?” by Crispin Sartwell

This opinion editorial was published on the Los Angeles Times website today (february 12th) by Crispin Sartwell. The main idea of this piece is that people are becoming less and less able to think for themselves in today’s world, thanks to media and popular culture, and it uses a statue of Popeye that was purchased for $4 million at an art fair as an example – some people may not see this as a work of art because it doesn’t conform to their particular views of art, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t art at all. A majority of this article was opinion, with a few facts sprinkled in, much like the other editorials I have read through lately.

The tone of this piece is clearly subjective and informal, using phrases like “Alan Ginsberg sucks” and “There, I said it”. It refers to the reader as “you” repeatedly, giving it an almost conversational feel. This is one of the characteristics of editorials that I have seen lately. Some other characteristics I see in this piece are the lack of a definite lead, lots of opinion, and a clear bias – this man is a professor of psychology and aesthetics, so he would know more than a typical person about the effect that culture and media have on the way people think and view things.

Paragraph Analysis:

The eighth paragraph has only three short sentences and contains many of the traits of an editorial in itself. It expresses the author’s view on someone – he “sucks” – and it addresses the audience  – “Stop pretending to like Picasso.” The second sentence begins with the conjunction “and”, which is quite informal and probably wouldn’t happen in a formal reporting piece.

SOURCE ARTICLE:,0,2523689.story


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