The Guardian’s Aisha Mirza bemoans the “psychic burden” of living among white people, which is worse than being mugged.
The more I think about it, the more this may exemplify a near-perfect Guardian article, the ideal to which all other Guardian columnists should aspire. It’s haughty and obnoxious, is ignorant of relevant subject matter, is frequently question-begging, and its imagined piety is premised on a rather obvious double standard. Specifically, Ms Mirza’s belief that people who leave London do so, secretly, because they don’t feel comfortable living among people with skin of a darker hue, which is racist and therefore bad, and her own simultaneous preference not to live among people whose skin is paler than hers, which is somehow not racist at all, and is in fact aired as the last word in righteousness.
Brace yourselves for some taxpayer-funded cultural improvement.
Those with a taste for even more daring and challenging work may prefer the theatrical stylings of Mr Ivo Dimchev, a “radical performer” acclaimed for his “gripping sensitivity” and whose performance piece I-ON “explores” the “provoking functionlessness” of various objects, before showing us “how to make contact with something that has no function.” Readers are advised that the aforementioned contact-making, which was performed as part of the 2011 Vienna International Dance Festival and is shown below, inevitably includes vigorous self-pleasure with what appears to be a wig.
To seize on The Good Life as an affirmation of eco-noodling and a “non-greedy alternative” to modern life is unconvincing to say the least. The Goods only survive, and then just barely, because of their genuinelyself-supporting neighbours – the use of Jerry’s car and chequebook being a running gag, along with convenient access to Margo’s social contacts and expensive possessions. And insofar as the series has a feel-good tone, it has little to do with championing ‘green’ lifestyles or “self-sufficiency.” It’s much more about the fact that, despite Tom and Barbara’s dramas and continual mooching, and despite Margo’s imperious snobbery, on which so much of the comedy hinges, the neighbours remain friends. If anything, the terribly bourgeois Margo and Jerry are the more plausible moral heroes, given all that they have to put up with and how often they, not Tom’s principles, save the day.
Living in London, the Guardian’s Aisha Mirza is, naturally, unhappy:
I understand there is a psychic toll of living in a place where you have to fight, for space, time, money. But what these Why I am Leaving London articles are missing is that, while the psychic burden of living in the city with the highest living costs in the developed world is very real,
Wait for it.
for a brown person, the cost of living surrounded only by white people is worse.
“Please, no more white people writing smug articles about leaving London,” writes our Guardianista, smugly, before claiming that “the world will validate your beautiful white children,” wherever they are, “forever.”
I feel the comfort of London peel away whenever my train pulls out of King’s Cross and the threat of overt racism is increased...Outside London, I am put immediately into a position of defence. This is something my white counterpart will never understand.
On August 21, the world’s first official, naked public performance art festival will occur in the streets of Biel, Switzerland, featuring projects from 18 international artists.
Local artist Thomas Zollinger has organised a two-day display of self-imagined transgression, during which he and his fellow artists will “increase beyond gallery walls the presence of the naked body as an artistic medium,” and will “explore the possibilities of the naked body in the urban space.” But sadly, not in the way that people with particular tastes might actually want to pay for. Instead, “nakedness is employed as a sculptural element in dialogue with the architectural environment, ground structures and pedestrian traffic.”
Be still my girlish heart.
Given the lack of pornographic appeal, and with it a lack of public interest, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some funding issues have arisen:
Although Biel’s culture office and other institutions helped fund over half the festival’s cost, the organisers are seeking donations online to cover artists’ lodgings, security measures, and other expenses. Incentives to contribute include options to participate in a nude performance of one’s choosing: for 111.55 CHF (~$127 USD), one may partake in “Naked Audience,” which involves stripping and sitting on a chair on a sidewalk while watching pedestrians; 280 CHF (~$290 USD) earns one an invitation to a “Naked Lunch” during which a series of “creative activities” will unfold.
Oh don’t pretend you’re not tempted.
Mr Zollinger’s earlier forays into Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ can be beheld at length here. Where, for instance, you’ll find a seven-minute piece titled Naked UFO, also staged in Biel, in which members of the public cope quite well with the Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ - a composure that rather deflates the ostentatious claims of transgression and taboo, and the alleged “challenge and confrontation of the naked body.” A handful of people wait around looking slightly puzzled, possibly hoping that something interesting will happen, eventually. Two children look amused before wandering off to be amused by something else. And for the most part passers-by pass on by, their minds somehow unshattered by the Incredibly Daring Nudeness™ of it all.
Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedov just erected a 69-foot statue of himself in the centre of Ashgabat, the capital [of Turkmenistan]. He’s up there on a golden horse atop an enormous slab of marble that looks like an iceberg. He’s compensating. Two years ago he fell off a horse at an official race. The only reason we even know this is because a brave person in the audience captured it on amateur video and uploaded it to the internet. All the other riders rode past him as he lay flat on his back in the dirt, but he was declared the winner regardless and awarded an 11 million dollar prize for his “performance.” This clown follows President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006 of heart failure. He renamed months of the year after himself and his family. He built a 60-foot statue of himself that slowly rotated so that his face was always in sunlight.
If you’re terribly out of touch and therefore unfamiliar with the concept of a sniff parlour, the article elaborates:
The menu for the establishment indicates that conversation is the basic service provided. However, options allow customers to select costumes, sniff the odour of the attendant’s hair and receive a slap in the face. Fees at the parlour are priced at 1,000 yen for every five minutes.
Hey, I’m not judging. I’m just putting it out there.