For newcomers, three more items from the archives.
Fearless artist José Carlos Teixeira gives Western society the thrashing it deserves.
Mr Teixeira’s ostentatious subversion is all the more amusing because it’s so conformist. He, like many others, is doing what he thinks he ought to be seen doing, if only by those playing much the same game. Making a thing of beauty isn’t a consideration and isn’t attempted, possibly because it doesn’t suit the role-play of being a “social and political agent.” What matters to Mr Teixeira is demonstrating his compliance with the belief that art should be a vehicle for anti-bourgeois gestures, which signals both the cleverness of the artist and his ideological credentials. This is done by muttering the standard incantations – “hegemony,” “subversion,” etc. The use of such terms indicates the artist belongs to an approved ideological caste and has the approved political views. (We can be fairly sure that the assumptions being “challenged” and “subverted” won’t include egalitarianism, the parasitic nature of arts subsidy or the latest conceits of the postmodern left.) So the more loudly a piece of art affects an air of subversive radicalism, the less reason there is to believe it delivers anything of the sort.
Anti-social behaviour and the weight of doing nothing.
The stare, body language and bellowing have to be calibrated just so. Too little force and mockery may ensue – from which there’s no recovery. This is after all a game of humiliation. You have to look as though you mean it absolutely. Those being bellowed at have to at least entertain the possibility that you may do them serious harm if they fail to comply. The risk of embarrassment has to be theirs and theirs alone. This requires a certain willingness to look like an escaped mental patient, at least temporarily. But looking utterly bonkers and socially incongruous is much easier to do if you’re not inhibited by a large group of other people conspicuously doing nothing.
Christina Hoff Sommers highlights inaccuracies in feminist textbooks. The Sisterhood takes umbrage.
Needless to say, Sommers’ line of enquiry isn’t universally welcomed. Her points about gross errors, overstatement and competitive victimhood are often met with prickling indignation, not least from those whose activities include some combination of the above. Some denounce Sommers as “conservative” – a synonym for evil – a “female impersonator” and an “anti-feminist,” a term that suggests both the crime of apostasy and a very narrow definition of what “real” feminists should be concerned with and how they’re permitted see the world.
There’s more, of course, in the greatest hits.