Category: art

Notre Dame Cathedral

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From the viewpoint of sheer durability, art works clearly are superior to all other things; since they stay longer in the world than anything else, they are the worldliest of all things. Moreover, they are the only things without any function in the life process of society; strictly speaking, they are fabricated not for men, but for the world which is meant to outlast the life-span of mortals, the coming and going of the generations. – Hannah Arendt

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Public image

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Conservative America was always rancid.

It will be a miracle if Trump doesn’t meet Ethel Rosenberg’s fate.

Don Jr. is the Sonny Corleone of the Trump Crime Family.

Julian Assange’s Russian peeps are coming for Chelsea Manning.

As Assange’s patsy, Manning had no choice but to cooperate. While the celebrity hacktivist/GRU agent dined on gourmet empanadas in a posh Knightsbridge townhouse, Manning was locked up in a military prison, subsisting on a diet of baked beans and Wonder Bread.

I knew the MyPillow guy was a whack job.

AOC was certainly better prepared, more focused, and more composed than Tlaib.

Artists have no responsibility to do anything but make art. This autonomy is precious and should not be sacrificed for philistine purposes.

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Looting museums to meet the emotional needs of the present is foolish and dangerous to art. To treat culture as property is philistine.

Nationalists instrumentalise art to embellish their power. Museums are a bulwark against such abuse of art.

National populism is an international menace.

Bernie Sanders will push 80 in 2020 and is damaged goods politically (dismissing southern primaries in 2016). Moreover, he should run as an Independent to avoid the charge of opportunism (i.e., using the Democratic Party when it’s convenient, ditching it when it is not).

Opportunism: After losing the nomination in 2016, Mr Sanders renounced his membership in the Democratic Party and was soon busy raising funds for his revolution on YouTube.

The nineteenth-century bases of industrial capitalism are no longer the leading edge of liquid capitalism (to paraphrase Zygi Bauman). The social disruption caused by AI and the “flexible” labor arrangements of the twenty-first century capitalist economy is not addressed by Trumpist and Sandersite ideas (neo-mercantilist protectionism and “socialization,” respectively), which remain locked in a nineteenth-century perspective of the nation state and labour-capital relations.

Consumers are primarily concerned about quality of service and consumer rights, not ethics and workers rights. The twist is workers are also consumers.

Smart twentieth-century Marxists used Freud’s work. Dumb ones didn’t.

Althusser liked Freud. Zizek is also cathected

Freud’s essay on group psychology explains the craving for the love of a strong leader among the populist masses.

Smart socialists are never motivated by envy. However, the dumb ones are.

There’s no litmus test for holding office other than being elected or appointed. To apply one to “wealth” is undemocratic and discriminatory.

If you like family dictatorships:

Hafez al-Assad 12 March 1971 – 10 June 2000
Bashar al-Assad 17 July 2000-

Putin aims to restore the glory of the Russian Empire. His ideology is neo-imperialism. Externally, he found a useful idiot in Trump, whom he plays like a balalaika. His investment in Brexit appears to be paying off as May and Corbyn unwittingly (or wittingly) do his bidding against the EU. Internally, the economic outlook for Russia remains bleak, as its leading exports — orphans, mail order brides, and political violence — have remained unchanged for at least a decade.

The civilised world will have to come to terms with the Black Hand of Donetsk sooner than later. One observes that what appear to be relatively small slights (see Pussy Riot’s stunts and WADA’s ban of Russian athletes) are more of an affront to his fragile ego than the threat of military reaction. Like Trump, Russia’s Eternal President can be played.

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Moral panic

 

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The removal of the Waterhouse painting in Manchester is only another black eye for the city.

I recall a time when religious fundamentalists sought to ban photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe because they were “pornographic.”

Only a philistine would demand that art be moral.

Curators need the “creator” to sell to a public which is addicted to celebrity. They’ve sold the artist, not the art, for a long time. Hence, they remain behind the times intellectually for financial reasons.

The public, and the journalists who write for it, were never were educated in semiotics, structuralism, modernist aesthetics, etc., to begin with.

I remember when a man of the cloth called for the “extermination” of the Sex Pistols.

Arendt never apologised for being Heidegger’s lover.

Althusser murdered his wife, but no one demanded the New Left Review close its shop.

Épater la bourgeoisie.

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Anything goes

Frontality is passé.

Sadly, gun ownership in America has gone from being a hobby to an addiction. Promiscuous gun laws only promote the addiction.

The 2nd amendment was especially important in areas of the new nation where slaves outnumbered free persons.

Neither Brexit nor Trump nor Sanders will/would fix the economy. But false hopes die hard.

It’s not news that journalism thrives on conflict. It’s not the business of journalism to create consensus. However, it should be the business of journalism to offer reality-based reportage.

Trigger warning

In a 1968 interview, Marcel Duchamp told Joan Bakewell that art no longer had the capacity to shock the public. Today shock is imposed on art (and all visual images), from the outside, by the professional outragetariat, thereby reducing sublime and beautiful aesthetic experiences to feelings and emotions and short-circuiting the aestheticization of life.

Dragons over King’s Landing. High Sparrow on fire. Sansa dead. Let the Game begin.

Fanfic: Carrie and Quinn foil a plot to kidnap Hodor.

Voir dire is one of the scariest things one can experience as an American citizen. One would never want to be judged by a jury made up of such peers.

One cheer for gentrification: coffeehouses and grog shops were the springboards of English greatness.

NY Republican Primary: People whose social status has been falling for decades live vicariously through the towering ego of Mr Trump. His campaign is basically following the format of reality TV. He should do well in places like Long Island, Staten Island, Buffalo, and Scores (his old haunt).

Revolution and art

As Immanuel Kant noted in 1763, the French have a feeling for the beautiful. But that’s not the whole story.

Aristocrats and intellectuals were not “purged” during the French Revolution (many sided with the Revolution). The post Napoleonic Restoration brought such groups back into positions of influence. But Napoleon himself was keenly interested in the arts and the major Academies were reorganized under his munificent care. Modern art (“autonomous art” as per T. W. Adorno) emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century via a rejection of “academy art.”

What occurred in post-revolutionary Russia and China, the emergence of various politicized aesthetics, was aggressive hyper-Philistinism combined with an ugly streak of raging Puritanism.