David Thompson
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February 06, 2015

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sk60

Perfect.

The Lurker on the Threshold

She invites the reader to "Become a Founder member of the Guardian today.

I may be a little confused here but I thought it had already been founded, so how can anyone become a founder member now? (Unless she is using "founder" in the sense of "the ship foundered on the rocks" I suppose.)

John D

Becoming a member means you’ll get to meet our journalists... meet up with Guardian writers and readers.

Well there's a tempting offer... Christ, she makes it sound like a cult.

David

Christ, she makes it sound like a cult.

I think the answer is pretty obvious: Guardian amulets. Readers could open a few buttons and flash them at each other – say, when on trains – and fondle them whenever they need to feel morally elevated.

John D

and fondle them whenever they need to feel morally elevated.

Constantly, then?

R. Sherman

Yet, those yobs who "know" each other by virtue of their Man U or Chelsea kit (or for us Yanks, our baseball caps) are just low-life yokels, I guess.

David

Constantly, then?

Pretty much. Though constant fondling may attract the wrong kind of attention.
“Excuse me, sir. Is that some kind of autoerotic device you’re fondling?”
“Oh no, sorry, officer. I’m a Guardian reader.”
“Ah, that explains it.”

David

I do like the fact that the Guardian membership page currently features a big photo of millionaire socialist Vivienne Westwood wagging her finger as she lectures her inferiors. Yes, the woman whose PVC handbags cost upwards of £400 and who thinks that food, clothes and other basic items should be made much more expensive.

Smudger

How do you "almost" nod at someone?

MikeG81

#IllReadWithYou

Probably as made up as #IllRideWithYou.

Joan

we almost nod to one another as we read the paper on a train.

The smug, it burns.

David

The smug, it burns.

It does have a whiff of… well, this.

Sam Duncan

“Christ, she makes it sound like a cult.”

You mean it isn't?

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

OT--you better stop bonding over the sexual degradation of women with all your men friends, David: https://witchwind.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/why-doesnt-she-leave-i-told-her-so-she-should-know-better-she-has-access-to-radical-feminism-shes-just-stockholmed-part-one/

Jimmy

Defend the Guardian’s independence and promote the open exchange of ideas, with a backstage pass to the Guardian

Only £540 a year. That's more than I pay in insurance each year for full-car and comprehensive contents cover.

I wonder, would they accept barter?. Say; a box of carrots and some turnips for 6 months of the privilege to smell their righteous farts behind the scenes.

Jimmy

OH look at me, mucking up my tags.

David

[ Wipes up spilled italics, muttering under breath. ]

Heralder

Becoming a member means you’ll get to meet our journalists and inform our thinking..

If only that were possible.

On the downside, without our nearly daily dose of the Guardian's Olympic-level solipsism, we would be robbed of so much entertainment.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Speaking of the Guardian:

Male Guardian has a thing against urinals; therefore no man should have a urinal.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

Wait, jimmy--540 pounds a year? That's what--$1000? To read about communism? Wow.

Jimmy

Wait, jimmy--540 pounds a year? That's what--$1000? To read about communism? Wow.

Approximately $1000, or $1117 NZ for the opportunity listen to George Monibot lament the sins of consumerism in person.

JuliaM

But no secret handshake...? I am disappoint.

dicentra

Male Guardian has a thing against urinals

MAINdrain?

Shouldn't that be MANdrain?

Sad thing is that Ormerod's article would have been right at home over at AoSHQ as a parody piece — and almost a good one.

In fact, if Ace were to publish it verbatim as his own work, he could pull a Borges and claim that his word-for-word recreation had entirely different motivations and intentions behind it, and therefore is very much a different text.

Would Guardian lawyers go for a defense that subtle and sophisticated? I mean, it's a Borges allusion, for crying out loud. You don't get higher-class obfuscation than that.

David

Male Guardianista has a thing against urinals; therefore no man should have a urinal.

It’s one of those articles in which the attempted humour jars with the author’s unpleasant and doctrinaire assumptions about “hairy masculinity,” “showy manliness” and “male privilege,” a sign of which, apparently, is the option of upright urination. The result is a piece that doesn’t convince either as argument or as humour. I mean, regarding the MainDrain thing, he misses an obvious problem. When ladies are seated on the throne at home, do they really want a malodorous, recently used plastic urinal just inches from their faces?

Nikw211

OT

Send in the clowns!

David

Re the exchanged nods of superiority on trains, it’s worth bearing in mind that Ms Toynbee seems to regard the brandishing of the Guardian not only as a measure of personal virtue but also as a kind of activism. And naturally she has a corresponding urge to correct the newspaper purchases of others. As when she tweeted her delight in interfering with a random commuter’s choice of newspaper. Because muttering judgmentally at strangers who consider buying the Times is what a sane person does.

The original Mr. X

"Speaking of the Guardian:

Male Guardian has a thing against urinals; therefore no man should have a urinal."

I'm shocked that this link has been up since yesterday evening, and nobody has yet accused the author of taking the piss.

Watcher In The Dark

They nod, they blink, they twitch, they dribble as they read the tripe... but they only do it for a better world for them and their kind. Not for you, you un-nodding vermin!

Watcher In The Dark

Do they also nod to each other on the flights to their luxury villas, too?

Robert

I wish I'd been that almost-Times buyer. It would have been worth buying three copies just to see the look on her face.
OT, don't know if you've seen this:
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120932/scott-timberg-culture-clash-review-americas-creative-destruction
Oh, the entitlement...

David

Oh, the entitlement...

Blimey. Artists are being “ignored to death,” says Mr Giraldi. “The artist in America is being starved, systemically and without shame.” And hey, people who call themselves artists expect to be given money someone else had to earn. Because they call themselves artists. Or, as Mr Giraldi puts it, serious artists.

Jonathan

" There’s the academic obscurantism in English departments, pesteringly prevalent since the 1960s, that shoves students away from the tonic pleasures of literature ..."

He almost gets it. The virtual takeover of the Arts and Humanities by far-left ideologues and the consequent demonisation and denigration of Western culture and civilization and their divorce from the tastes of the majority of people might also be a tad off putting.

Mags

Artists are being “ignored to death,” says Mr Giraldi. “The artist in America is being starved, systemically and without shame.”

"What does it mean when the middle-class makers of art are relegated to a socioeconomic purgatory?"

Too much supply. Too little demand. Bad product.

Next.

Charlie Suet

The main thing I took from that is that William Giraldi writes really turgid prose.

Anna

“The artist in America is being starved, systemically and without shame.”

The taxpayer in America is being taken for a ride, systematically and without shame.

dicentra

When ladies are seated on the throne at home, do they really want a malodorous, recently used plastic urinal just inches from their faces?

I don't imagine many fellows are keen on that idea, either.

The male method of urination is definitely a structural advantage, especially while camping, but if feminists want to file a complaint they'll have to contact either God or Evolution or the space aliens who seeded the planet.

Their choice.

dicentra

“it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”

Nature has already taken care of that: most plants have both male and female sexual organs, and most hybrids cannot reproduce except asexually.

What do I win?

AC1

But most of the spend on video games goes into Art costs. Video game spend in the US (alone) is worth 1-3 billion per month... That must leave room for a "few" artists.

Jimmy

But most of the spend on video games goes into Art costs. Video game spend in the US (alone) is worth 1-3 billion per month... That must leave room for a "few" artists.

I mentioned as much in my final years art essay. Concept artists and character designers don't have a problem with the concept of beauty (and they MUST have technical skills) and the general public have no problem with it either. It's the academics and the modern schools that get all wound-up over grievous impositions like technical proficiency and aesthetic standards. They don't like to make the connection between these things and paid employment.

David

Too much supply. Too little demand. Bad product.

In other news, my giant porcelain shoes haven’t been selling at all well. Oh, why will no-one buy my GIANT PORCELAIN SHOES?!

Jimmy

In other news, my giant porcelain shoes haven’t been selling at all well. Oh, why will no-one buy my GIANT PORCELAIN SHOES?!

Record yourself doing something horrid involving the shoes and bodily fluids, and then write a load of pablum to justify your obvious degeneracy while dictating to the audience how the work is to be interpreted (as utter brilliance, of course). One way ticket to stardom.

David

It’s strange how Mr Giraldi can stumble towards an obvious truth – say, about supply and demand or popular indifference to pseudo-intellectual noodling - and then at the last moment bounce off it, back towards self-flattery. I’ve some sympathy with Giraldi’s comment about the consequences of not paying for online content (and yes, there’ll be a fundraiser here at the end of the month). But his indignation rests in large part on an assumption that “serious” artists - by which I think he means uncommercial artists who disdain the market and popular appetites - are entitled to special favours, i.e., coercive taxpayer subsidy. Apparently they just are.

Again, as so often, it sounds like a caste thing.

Trimegistus

Note also the weird notion that journalists are "artists" and producers of "culture." That's one of the most toxic ideas to afflict the past half-century. Journalism used to be a trade. It was what you did if you were too skinny to become a cop and too drunk to be a priest. It was a job, and the people who did it were working for a paycheck, not trying to create "culture."

David

Note also the weird notion that journalists are “artists” and producers of “culture.”

Again, self-flattery.

The truth that quite a few artists and would-be “producers of culture” find unpalatable is that there’s a massive and unsustainable oversupply of people much like themselves. There are many more unemployed or under-employed artists roaming the land than could plausibly be exhibited in all the galleries in the country, let alone rewarded financially. The UK alone churns out tens of thousands a year. Likewise, would-be novelists, would-be “critical theorists” and would-be leftwing columnists. And most of these people have been educated for years at great expense, either to themselves or, more likely, to the taxpayer.

And so we arrive at a question I’ve asked before. For how many more years can taxpayers go on bankrolling, say, 20,000 students of fine art or 27,000 enthusiasts of media studies if their qualifications have little value in the job market and don’t lead to employment in the private sector and the repayment of their debts?

Jeff

The best line in the poor starving artist piece
"Following the foreclosure, the locksmith who showed up to bar Timberg and his young family from their home drove a car “fancier and substantially newer” than Timberg’s own “seventeen-year-old Honda.” This is our shining world now, how we prioritize: Locksmiths earn stabler livelihoods than the makers and chroniclers of our culture."

Heaven forbid someone offering a viable service is more valued than the artist trying to "shift my perceptions through "Oral fruit play… binding breasts in tape… kissing with black lipstick… spitting in your mouth… having visions of the underworld."

CIngram

There's a lesson to be learned here, if only I could put my finger on it...

But we're used to that kind of thing. What struck me about that line was the breathtaking snobbery, the assumption that a mere locksmith could never have had dreams, aspirations to higher things. Our locksmith did not, I think I'm on firm ground here, lie awake at night as a lad dreaming of a future in which he would be woken up regularly at three in the morning by drunks who couldn't find their keys. He might well have wanted to be a doctor, or an architect, even a journalist. He might still paint in his spare time, play the double-bass with a jazz band at the weekends, but it would never even occur to our friend that he might be capable of caring about anything other than changing locks.

This locksmith, being brighter and less selfish than our journalist, realized early on that his dreams were not going to feed him or his family (such insight comes to most of us, it's not pleasant, but there you are), and so he sought around, found an opening in locksmithery, and worked hard enough for long enough to give them a decent car (and presumably, by extention, a decent life in general), despite feeling no particularly satisfaction in the work itself. Mr Timberg meanwhile condemns his family to years in motels while he tries to persuade the world that it must pay him to do what he wants, not what it wants.

Apologies to our host for rambling, but I loathe these people. They don't just talk cobblers, I can laugh at that, but they also destroy the lives of people around them.

james

“it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”

What could go wrong if the madness spread to agriculture?

I wonder if there is any precedent in the last century for the ideologues interfering with a productive agricultural economy?

Hal

I wonder if there is any precedent in the last century for the ideologues interfering with a productive agricultural economy?

Um, d'ye mean aside from the famines triggered by Stalin and Mao?

oralJex

Good Lord, the woman in the center has taken the 'Compassionate Head Tilt' to a whole new level of, er, tiltiness?

wtp

What CIngram said. But the greater problem, those who deserve far more of our loathing, are those in charge of the clown quarter of academia. The sociology, psychology, philosophy, and those in the "humanities" who provide the foundation from which the Timbergs spring. The Timbergs are the end product, and to some extent the victims of this dead end culture. Those academics are busy pounding their misery into tens (hundreds?) of thousands of young people every year. There is where the problem lies.

dicentra

he sought around, found an opening in locksmithery, and worked hard enough for long enough to give them a decent car

Silly.

The obvious answer is that he uses his formidable lock-picking skills to nick valuables from other people's houses and cars.

I mean, wouldn't you?

David

This is our shining world now, how we prioritize: Locksmiths earn stabler livelihoods than the makers and chroniclers of our culture.

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen that attitude before somewhere… Oh yes, here. The last paragraph seems particularly relevant.

David

Morning, di. Another late one?

Richard Powell

@CIngram: I agree with almost all of what you say, but not your assumption that the locksmith finds no particular satisfaction in his work. Why shouldn't he? He deploys technical skill, which is generally a very satisfying thing to do, and he can often take pleasure from helping other people. (Though perhaps not in the Timberg example.) Do makers of giant porcelain shoes enjoy similar satisfactions? Probably not, and perhaps that is among the sources of their discontents.

Incidentally it would be an odd society where a competent locksmith did not earn a more stable livelihood than a self-selected "maker of culture". Also as a career locksmithery has the advantage that demand for your services tends to rise during difficult times.

dw

Oh yes, here. The last paragraph seems particularly relevant.

That.

David

That.

And of course this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And… well, I think you get the idea.

David Gillies

"[On the dissolution of the Louisville orchestra and the comment that if it were popular, people would have paid to see it] Timberg urges us out of this bamboozled, depleted mentation with which we permit the market to dictate the worth of things."

By "the market", Timberg means people other than he. A few paragraphs back we find the phrase: cultural stewards. I envisage a 'cultural steward' as one of those headsets you can wear while touring a museum that tells you about the pieces you're seeing, except this one tells you what you're supposed to think about them into the bargain. There's never any acknowledgement that the failure of "the market" to furnish Giraldi and Timberg et al. with the perquisites of a middle-class existence might be due to people making rational decisions about how to deploy their finite resources. There's no appreciation of opportunity cost (this is a failing of Leftists in general). Instead there is the question-begging assumption that "art" is such an unalloyed social good that its production must be subsidised by mulcting those whose revealed preferences indicate would not otherwise consume it. Never found in all of this is the idea (applicable to essentially every other walk of life) that if you cannot make your current employment pay, then you should go and do something else. It happened to agricultural labourers and steelworkers and typists. So either live in a garret or get a job that pays the bills.

David

By “the market”, Timberg means people other than he.

Bingo. It’s practically megalomaniacal.

Also, I applaud your use of mulcting. A criminally neglected word.

Trimegistus

Also: would anyone at all give a damn about her idiotic opinions if Miss Toynbee had a different last name? In other words, without her HEREDITARY PRIVILEGE she'd be just another resentful bus-stop mutterer.

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