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    simple and simplistic

    Dear teachers,

    There are only two questions, but I give you the whole paragraph for context. Thanks a million in advance.


    Although art historians have spent decades demystifying van Gogh's legend, they have done little to diminish his vast popularity. Auction prices still soar, visitors still overpopulate van Gogh exhibitions, and The Starry Night remains ubiquitous on dormitory and kitchen walls. So complete is van Gogh's global apotheosis that Japanese tourists now make pilgrimages to Auvers to sprinkle their relatives' ashes on his grave. What accounts for the endless appeal of the van Gogh myth? It has at least two deep and powerful sources. At the most primitive level, it provides a satisfying and nearly universal revenge fantasy disguised as the story of heroic sacrifice to art. Anyone who has ever felt isolated and unappreciated can identify with van Gogh and hope not only for a spectacular redemption but also to put critics and doubting relatives to shame. At the same time1, the myth offers an alluringly simplistic conception of great art2 as the product, not of particular historical circumstances and the artist's painstaking calculations, but of the naive and spontaneous outpourings of a mad, holy fool. The gaping discrepancy between van Gogh's long-suffering life and his remarkable posthumous fame remains a great and undeniable historical irony. But the notion that he was an artistic idiot savant is quickly dispelled by even the most glancing examination of the artist's letters. It also must be dropped after acquainting oneself with the rudimentary facts of van Gogh's family background, upbringing, and early adulthood.
    Question1: Just want to make sure that the phrase at the same time here means YET or nevertheless instead of at the same instant, which is another definition in a dictionary.

    Question2: Question1 leads to the second question. If “at the same time” means YET, then there should be a contrast between the two sentences before “at the same time” and the one after. Since the one before “at the same time” is sort of positive, there must be a negative quality in the sentence after “at the same time”. So is the word “simplistic” gives us a negative sense, in other words, too simple? Non-native speakers of English usually are not able to detect the subtle difference between simple and simplistic. Can we say simple tends to be a little positive, whereas simplistic tends to be a little negative? Thanks.

  1. rancher247's Avatar
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    Re: simple and simplistic

    1. The phrase does not mean "at the same instant," but probably most closely means "But the myth also offers..." or "However"
    2. Simplistic-The tendency to oversimplify an issue or a problem by ignoring complexities or complications.
    Simple-easy to understand, deal with, use, etc. or not elaborate or artificial; plain
    Hope this helps!:)


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