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April 2014

Because We’re So Hungry for Modern Poetry

Somehow I question the truth of this.

At least we are according to the aesthetes behind Swansea’s taxpayer-funded art festival Art Across the City, which improves the locals with things like this, and specifically conceptual artist Jeremy Deller, whose work, above, is sited in a car park behind a shopping centre. The press release for this mighty piece tells us, “Deller’s plaintive request gets straight to the point. Everybody and everywhere could do with more poetry.” Likewise, presumably, “everybody” could “do with” more conceptual art too. 

Continue reading "Because We’re So Hungry for Modern Poetry" »

Friday Ephemera

Babies’ first encounters with lemon. // Montana elk herd crosses road. Will the lone straggler make it? // Paper robot field test. // A life-sized cardboard Iron Man and other cardboard creatures. // What a dog’s tongue does. // Special needs Doberman. // How many days did you spend watching that show? // If the Moon were a giant disco ball. // Build your own solar system with Super Planet Crash. // Alien audiobook. // Drag balls in Kansas, 1950s-60s. (h/t, MeFi) // Kingdom of the little people. // A-ki-ra. // Hedgehog masks. // City of darkness. // Can you do a British accent? // The coldest city. // A brief history of post-credits movie scenes. // Baby elephant gifs. // And finally, befriend your hummingbird

Beats Standing

Brace yourselves, dear readers, it’s art news time. Today we marvel at the searing brilliance of the French performance artist Abraham Poincheval, who, as I type, resides in the belly of a bear. Or rather, in the hollowed-out carcass of a bear, one that’s currently situated in the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris. Mr Poincheval is, we’re told, re-enacting “a powerful sensitivity” and “profound symbolism,” one that “still grips the Western world’s imagination today.” It’s a “communion” that will “inevitably bring him to a state of profound meditation.” He’s “confounding the boundaries between man and animal.” How so, you ask? 

Just like the mammal during the winter months, Poincheval remains within a small enclosure, keeping with him all the basic things he might need to survive throughout the weeks spent inside; food, water, activities and even a place to relieve himself… By residing within the species, Poincheval aims to understand his own physical limits and experience animal nature, a symbolic image of the ‘inside out’ of a bear during hibernation. 

Mr Poincheval began his immense artistic feat on April 1 and hopes to make it through two weeks of, um, “residing within the species” and “experiencing animal nature,” albeit with pillows and electric lighting, amenities and distractions, and a kettle on hand. There is, of course, a live feed for the benefit of aesthetes unable to make it to Paris

I urge you to tune in. It’s gripping stuff. 

Elsewhere (118)

The Wall Street Journal reveals the unspeakable suffering of leftwing students at an Ivy League college:  

The demonstrators had a 72-point manifesto instructing the college to establish pre-set racial admission quotas and a mandatory ethnic studies curriculum for all students. Their other inspirations are for more “womyn or people of colour” faculty; covering sex change operations on the college health plan (“we demand body and gender self-determination”); censoring the library catalogue for offensive terms; and installing “gender-neutral bathrooms” in every campus facility, specifically including sports locker rooms. 

We rarely sympathise with college administrators but we’ll make an exception for Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon, an accomplished mathematician who for some reason took the job last year. The occupiers filmed their confrontation and uploaded the hostage video to the web, where Mr Hanlon can be seen agog as his charges berate him for his “micro-aggressions.” Those are bias infractions that can’t be identified without the right political training.

Mr. Hanlon left after an hour and told the little tyrants that he welcomed a “conversation” about their ultimatums. They responded in a statement that conversations - to be clear, talking - will lead to “further physical and emotional violence enacted against us by the racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, transphobic, xenophobic, and ableist structures at Dartmouth.” They added: “Our bodies are already on the line, in danger, and under attack.”

The mighty student ‘occupiers’ were also rendered tearful and distressed on discovering that their behaviour had been described as “threatening.” You see, the students’ threats of further “physical action” should be heeded and obeyed but not recognised as threats. That too would be a “micro-aggression.” Dartmouth’s annual tuition of $65,133 has evidently failed to deter fits of delinquent psychodrama by checkers of privilege whose own colossal sense of entitlement somehow escapes detection.

As noted previously, this kind of obnoxious and narcissistic behaviour is regarded as a credential by many students on the left, as somehow self-validating, something to be proud of. It’s what elevates them within their own immediate peer group. They’re achieving their in-group status, their imagined radical chic, by imposing on others – people about whom they simply don’t care or for whom they show outright contempt. It’s more than a little symbolic that the disruption and clearing up are always at someone else’s expense. Despite the guff about “social justice,” their behaviour is fundamentally parasitic.

And hey, think of how well they’re using that $65,133 a year. Think of the message they’re sending to potential employers. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who wants to abolish capitalism, who hallucinates “white supremacy,” who dismisses dialogue as “racialized and white” and “gendered and masculine” and therefore invalid, and who threatens “physical action” if their absurd demands aren’t met?

Continue reading "Elsewhere (118)" »

Beasts of the Air

Meanwhile, in other high-altitude cow transportation news:  

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing because the almost 400 cows it was transporting were giving off too much heat. The Boeing 747 was forced to touch down at Heathrow Airport in London. The plane was flying over the Irish Sea when a fire alarm sounded from where the 390 cows were being kept, reports the Sunday People. After the plane landed, technicians inspected the plane, but found no evidence of any smoke. Instead, they concluded that the alarm was set off by the cows.

If they learn how to make fire, we’re buggered. Mercifully, there are no reports of a catastrophic methane build-up

Friday Ephemera

Skate Bush. // Substandard taxidermy. // Life is like that sometimes. // The clandestine laboratory register. // He likes all of the effects. // How to alarm friends and family by squeezing your head inside a jar. // From the air. // A worryingly thorough archive of flight attendant uniforms. (h/t, Coudal) // For fans of Hong Kong neon. // The ups and downs of TV shows in annotated graph form. // Global migration flows. // Apparently this is an advert for bottled water. // Play with Patatap. // Just this. // At last, a coffee shop for birds. // Cats and metalheads. // When in doubt. // Distributed intelligence and farting ink. // And finally, in the name of science, a simulation of 1,500 people trying to cross a road while texting

Elsewhere (117)

Chris Bing on that elite education you could be paying for: 

Skidmore College, ranked as one of the nation’s most expensive private colleges in the country, is now officially offering a course on Miley Cyrus: “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media.” The 2014 summer course will be taught by assistant visiting professor of sociology Carolyn Chernoff. “I am interested in cities, arts, and social change, particularly on the level of social interaction and the production of ‘community,’” Chernoff’s professional bio reads on the school’s website. “I investigate the role of culture in reproducing and transforming social inequality, and research conflict around diversity and difference.”

No, don’t. You mustn’t laugh at a woman in hipster glasses.  

Tim Blair goes undercover, unsuccessfully, at a Green activist training day: 

Next we were called upon to mingle with each other. “Try to find the person in the room who looks as though they hold completely different views to yours,” [anti-capitalist activist Bruce] Knobloch urged, which was an optimistic call, given that everyone at the event was of like mind. A laughing Asian woman turned to me and said: “Everyone should just line up to meet you.”

Do read Tim’s adventure in full. You’ll learn about “non-linear change strategies” and the looming “fascism” of people who aren’t anti-capitalist activists.

Jim Goad checks his “white privilege”:

According to conference founder Eddie Moore, Jr., “White supremacy, white privilege, racism and other forms of oppression are designed for your destruction - designed to kill you.” If that’s the case, privileged whites are doing a piss-poor job, seeing as how the 400,000 or so Africans who were transported to the New World in slave ships have - through the noxious evils of white privilege, white technology, and living amid a predominantly white culture - blossomed into around 40 million modern black Americans. That’s an increase of 100-1 and truly the most inept genocide in world history.

And Tom Paine bids us goodbye and good luck: 

To me, [Britain] now seems a strange, immoral place. For example, I read articles in the Guardian and the Times this week about the abolition of inherited wealth. The Economist also recently wrote about it. It did not even occur to any of these columnists that they were talking about the property of others. They did not create it. They did not inherit it. They have no just claim to it. Yet they have no moral concerns about proposing its seizure.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.