Elsewhere (78)
Dealing with Impurities

Because I’m Glorious, Goddammit

Rummaging through my images files, I found this.

The hubris of moochers

It’s one of the less baffling signs from Zombie’s report on Occupy LA, May 1st, 2012. Zombie’s caption reads, “Narcissistic personality disorder, coupled with delusions of grandeur.” Which seems fair enough. I suppose the placard might have been a little more honest if it had said, “I expect to be paid for a job that doesn’t actually exist and which no-one has asked me to do.” Or, “I’ve decided I’m an artist and therefore you owe me money.” Or, “I’m not prepared to do any of the things that you unenlightened people would be willing to pay me to do, but I’m still going to demand that you give me your earnings anyway because, yes, I’m that important.” Though admittedly the last one might be a little wordy for a slogan. Readers may wish to devise captions of their own.



Laborers of the soul, mirrors of you

I need pepper spray, stat.

The Sage

Doesn't she realised that true artists are supposed to be starving in their garrets?


I find her ideas compelling and wish to subscribe to her newsletter.



If he/she designed his/her own sign then I'm not sure that I would want to see any more examples of his/her art.

Craig Mc

A job that doesn't pay is called a hobby.


What Steve said. Plus if he/she were a "mirror" of me, her art would reflect a loathing of the decline of Western Civilization as it relates to creeping socialism and generally weak leftist thinking. Somehow, I'm not getting the feeling his/her art does that.


"Give me your wallet and while you're at it make me a decent sign."


"Will hold up crap signs for $10."


Leeches don't like going hungry!

Mr. Saturn

Make your "art" work for you or get a real job you twit.

Karen M

“I’ve decided I’m an artist and therefore you owe me money.”

I've decided to be a communist and therefore you owe me money.

I've decided to be an anarchist and therefore you owe me money.

I've decided to drop out and therefore you owe me money.



“Plus if he/she were a ‘mirror’ of me, her art would reflect a loathing of the decline of Western Civilization as it relates to creeping socialism and generally weak leftist thinking.”

Well, as Zombie says in his report, you do have to wonder how so many people, including students – supposed intellectuals - can proudly demand that you give them your earnings while offering nothing in return and no credible, or even comprehensible, reason for doing so. Apparently, their disdain, historical ignorance and bewilderment are meant to be persuasive. It’s almost as if a large part of the education system had gone horribly, comically wrong.

[ Added: ]

Looking through the photos, of which there are more here, it’s hard to discern a coherent and unifying theme; at least I can’t spot one that’s remotely tethered to reality. There are idiots displaying their support for Maoist terrorist groups; idiots pretending to be anarchists and hoping to look hard; several communist teachers (idiots by definition); and idiots claiming to be “the 99%” as if that were (a) true, (b) a meaningful basis for demanding free stuff, and (c) an excuse to assault police officers. And this chap seems miffed by the fact that people are generally expected to pass a test before getting a driving license. Because, hey, it’s so unfair.


I think I'm special, but haven't got round to realising everyone feels that way about themselves. So luckily I am able to persuade myself that I should be provided paint, food and mostly drink by that fool Johnny Taxpayer!

PS: I also don't see why art should be bought on it's own merit, in case that part wasn't clear above. Thanks for listening!

Bit lengthy - but it's got a certain ring to it.

John Smith

Your schools made me what I am today: Time to pay the piper.


"Doesn't she realised that true artists are supposed to be starving in their garrets?"

They're also supposed to be unappreciated in their time and to have their genuis overlooked by the lumpen philistine masses until long after their death.

So the best way to acknowledge this lady's status as a labourer of the soul and mirror to your most inner being would be to continue not giving her any money and to keep regarding her as a self indulgent talentless loafer.

sackcloth and ashes

'Laborers of the soul'

Well done, sweetheart. You've just quoted Stalin ...

Actually, he described artists as 'engineers of the human soul' [inzheniri chelovecheski dukh), but it's close enough.

Stalin loved artists. Particularly the ones he executed and sent to the gulag.


Personally, I'm just trying to make good pictures. Clearly I'm doing it wrong.


"Taz me, bro."



“Personally, I’m just trying to make good pictures. Clearly I’m doing it wrong.”

A much sounder footing, I think.

But our artistic Occupier doesn’t even try to convince us that she makes beautiful things. Instead, she tells us that she and her peers are of Immense Sociological and Metaphysical Importance: “Artists are workers, labourers of the soul, mirrors of you…” It’s remarkable just how much presumption and comical self-inflation can be crammed into ten words. Mirrors of us, indeed. Yes, we, the lumpen masses, are lucky they bother to selflessly enlighten us. It reminds me of the anti-capitalist “artist and activist” John Jordan, who expects public subsidy of his fatuous noodling because he’s “showing us how to live differently.”


The more I think about it (I know, I know) the more amusing/annoying it gets. So part of what these navel gazing, look-at-me types find so amazing about themselves is their ability to peer into our souls and mirror us, but they make no attempt, or a very shallow attempt at best, of understanding us. Presuming of course that she is appealing to “us” to give her “our” money. I think it’s more likely she is appealing to her fellow travelers to vote her our money.

...I just re-wrote that to take out the him/her…I’ll just be comfortable with my hegemony/patriarchy/whatever to assume it’s a her. Certainly ain't much of a him either way, at least according to what I was taught.

the wolf

I'm not sure what it is that makes these types believe that their talents should transcend the vulgarities of the marketplace, but it seems to me she would do much better by hanging a shingle up and trying to make a living like the rest of us. She is no more owed a living for her craft than the automaker, carpenter or programmer.


the wolf,

“I’m not sure what it is that makes these types believe that their talents should transcend the vulgarities of the marketplace…”

As superior beings, they’re above such base concerns. It’s the egalitarian way.


"Subsidize us, we're special"

One wonders what kind of artist she has designated herself to be. Perhaps she's her own exhibit, in an installation called 'the art of self-involvement'. Sorry love - the market is flooded.




Runcie Balspune

I would have expected an artist to have better writing. And I can only assume the lack punctuation of some kind of minimalist cr*p.

Let me give it a guess.

"Artists. Are workers laborers of the soul mirrors? Of "you" and "we", need, to eat (tweet?) too!"

Man, that _is_ deep. I'll send you the invoice later.

Runcie Balspune

punctuation of = of punctuation


These 'artists' ought to become acquainted with the '11 Rules For Life', wrongly attributed to Bill Gates. They're intended to apply to teenagers, but as most of these people don't appear to have graduated mentally from petulant adolescence they're remain relevant in a more general sense...



'they' remain :(

Sanity Inspector

"Yes luv, we know: people need art. Your job is to sell us on the idea that we need your art."


I'd be interested to learn that person's position on DRM. I have a strong suspicion that they believe it's a terrible thing. But use their art in a t-shirt without paying and whooooa nellie.

Spiny Norman



The post has it right on the money, but the vast majority of the commenters at your zerohedge link are a disturbing combination of the Occupodpeople and RonPaul!-bots. It's a black hole of inanity. A singularity of stupid. Reading through their drivel probably cost me 10 IQ points... Gawwd.


"If I had any talent, I'd be making money from my art, not standing here holding a stupid f&*king sign"


the wolf,

“I’m not sure what it is that makes these types believe that their talents should transcend the vulgarities of the marketplace…”

Further to my previous, there’s also the fact that such people are continually being told they deserve special favours, being as they are so heroically leftwing.

For instance, according to the Observer’s Elizabeth Day, a 32% chance of being awarded an Arts Council grant simply isn’t good enough. Ms Day acknowledges that the market for art is very limited and very few artists make a viable living as artists and that poverty and dependency are likely to result. She therefore concludes that life-long stipends are in order - at public expense, naturally – rather than a rethink of one’s vocation. Similar noises were made by the Guardian’s Laura Barnett, who claimed, rather indignantly, that “the British government makes no specific social provision for artists,” even though it does, to the tune of half a billion pounds a year. One Guardian reader suggested that free studios, free electricity and unending public subsidy should be provided so that people could “just be artists.”

The thinking seems to be: “There is little or no market for what I’ve chosen to do with my time. Therefore the state should take other people’s earnings and give that money to me. Because… well, because I’m fabulous and deserve it more than they do.” And those of us who find these assumptions a little odd are often denounced as philistines who, in the words of Hanif Kureishi, “hate culture.” And don’t forget Laurie Penny’s claim that “we have no business speaking of social progress” unless we continue subsidising “projects” such as NowhereIsland, in which she and her leftist shipmates spent half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money bitching about capitalism and relocating dirt. Grumbling about the bill for such fatuous self-indulgence is, Laurie says, “anodyne” and “inconsequential.”


In my very sketchy (hehehe) understanding, the church and rich statesmen bankrolled workshops and artists for a few centuries. Competition for patrons must have been extremely fierce, with no social security net to fall back on if your work didn't

I guess to this day rich people fund art through a different route - and many artists rather self-destructively don't want this arrangement. Perhaps these people imagine themselves to be the next unappreciated Gaugin or Van Gogh, and because of their faddish leftist leanings this idea of the state paying them appeals. With a bit of encouragement from Grauniad-numpties they are soon demanding government money - obtained at one too many removes for them to be overly concerned about where it's coming from..

I also imagine that in this day and age we have a lot more leisure time, when millions are able to attempt art, music or writing. This makes the whole enterprise seem a lot less risky. And it's a splendid example of the sort of wrongheaded feelings of entitlement that's been encouraged - supposedly as a feature of a "civilized society". That's the expression the Guardianistas use on CiF.



There’s also the problem that while a sense of entitlement to public subsidy has become a default assumption, what’s being offered in return has, in general terms, diminished and become much less interesting, much less valuable. Would you voluntarily pay for this, or this, or this? If it’s art, where’s the beauty? Doing away with aesthetics in favour of vacuous conceptual noodling, leftwing politics and desperate attempts at cleverness, as so many ‘artists’ have done, isn’t exactly helping their demands for subsidy. The production design of a good blockbuster film, or a decent computer game, or a typical smart phone interface, has more aesthetic content than any of the conceptual tat offered here, for instance. And if you’re after a sense of intrigue and wonderment, a function art once served, you’re now more likely to be rewarded watching a DVD of the illusionist Dynamo. There’s better stuff elsewhere, readily available, so why pay for narcissistic flimflam?


"Give me your money, PEASANT!"


There's an interesting article in this month's Standpoint. The writer has detected a major shift in the way conceptual art is being viewed. What was cutting edge only 5 years ago is now looked at as indulgent. Mastering craft and technique is being rediscovered. Tracey Emin is producing drawings.


Karl Marx was obsessed with the parasitic elements of society that fed off of its fruits without adding value. I now see what he means.


Her very existence is apparently my obligation.

Or am I getting too Randian?


Shades of Stalin's creepy quote about writers - 'Engineers of the human soul'.


The problem with art is that photography has made technique irrelevant. Nobody modern is impressed by an artist's ability to depict reality, because just about every First World dweller over the age of four has a camera about their person at all times.



Denis Peterson paints things like this, which are technically remarkable and striking in their photorealism but, for me, not particularly engaging. In that sense, yes, pure technique isn’t enough. On the other hand, Samuel Michlap uses the same medium – oil paints – to make these. The first one is pretty damn good, I think. And both require a mastery of the medium.


It’s worth hunting out Thomas Sowell’s essay Marx the Man, republished in this. On reading it, you can’t help wondering how much of Marx’s writing was an attempt to excuse his own arrogant, parasitic and irresponsible behaviour.


As it happens, she is a mirror of me.

I have a job, she doesn't. I produce something useful that people are willing to pay for, she doesn't.

I don't expect anyone to carry my ass. She does.

Dr Cromarty

'and we need to eat, too'

Get a f****** job, then.

sackcloth and ashes

Talking of wasters, dear Polly has decided to go off on one again:


'fromboise' notes (12th November, 8.54pm) that 'It's self-evident that this week Ms Toynbee found nothing of substance to write about'. No change there then.


"Denis Peterson paints things like this, which are technically remarkable and striking in their photorealism but, for me, not particularly engaging. In that sense, yes, pure technique isn’t enough. On the other hand, Samuel Michlap uses the same medium – oil paints – to make these. "

I know which I'd rather have on the wall.


"Give Me MONeY to suPPort THe WoRkinG GlaSSeS"


Graphologists among us will be fascinated by the sign's uneven style and badly formed letter shapes.

For the non-graphologist, it is just a bold and clear statement that the writer has never been educated, and has no intention of being bothered by such social niceties.


Oh God, I never want to see a smirk that smug and self-satisfied again as long as I live... Yet another vacuous airhead who expects society to pay them for being an outsider.

I try to make a living as an artist. It's not easy. But I knew that when I started so I've never expected charity. If I fail it's my own fault, not society's. When I work hard and my work is good enough, with luck it sells. I've never thought of myself or of artists as important, never had grand self-absorbed ideas of what artists are. It's just a craft, a skill that some people appreciate and pay money for. We're neither laborers of the soul nor the unacknowledged legislators of the world - we just make things with a scarily tenuous and intangible value to society (or, in the case of so much contemporary art, no value to society at all).

The notion that working people should have their money taken from them by the state and simply gifted to talentless self-aggrandizing hacks like her (or indeed, to me) is horrifying, and in my opinion deeply immoral. It's also a sure way to destroy art; real art has to come from an informed and adult viewpoint, not from a mind shriveled by childlike entitled narcissism and abject infantile dependency.


Here, try this one on for size:

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