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Friday Ephemera

Today’s Word is Chutzpah

This just in

An artist has been given thousands of pounds of public money to simply live in Glasgow for a year.

Oh come on. There’s at least one joke in there.

Scottish Government quango Creative Scotland is giving £15,000 to Ellie Harrison after she vowed not to leave the city limits for all of 2016. The 36-year-old believes this will allow her to “increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ - testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”

All her ideas

It is understood that the project will see her maintain an internet blog and that her whole life here will be a “work of art.”

How staggeringly convenient.

Harrison was born in London but has already lived in Glasgow for a number of years.

There we go.

Update, via the comments: 

Writing in the Guardian, Liam Hainey rushes to defend Ms Harrison’s low-effort art project, denouncing “budget butchers” and asking his readers to “look at the bigger picture.” All while carefully ignoring anything that might trouble the assumptions of the freeloading arts community. Mr Hainey, a former Green councillor, dismisses the widespread mockery of Ms Harrison’s hustle as “predictable.” But he doesn’t seem to grasp that much of the mockery occurs because hustles of this type are themselves so predictable – that what we’re seeing, yet again, is a display of arrogant presumption, one that’s routine among a socially and politically narrow subsidy-seeking caste

These exercises in narcissism are a staple of state arts funding. And the existence of state funding - in which the public has no say, and in which any normal corrective feedback is side-lined - actively encourages mediocrity and cronyism. All of which understandably chafes the chops of those left footing the bill, year after year, many of whom may feel that the recipients of their confiscated earnings are incompetent, parasitic or simply taking the piss. Year after year. Of course Mr Hainey, like Ms Harrison, has no incentive to think realistically about the many stated objections. For the hustle to continue, its participants must become evasive and impervious.

And so Mr Hainey tells us, triumphantly, that the money spent on Ms Harrison’s vacuous, preening tat isn’t in fact being wasted because it was already earmarked for art that would probably be unpopular and which nobody asked for. The uncomprehending Mr Hainey instead suggests that the hustlers be given more of the money that someone else had to go out and earn. Because they’re artists, you see, and therefore more deserving of your earnings than you are. Presumably, our Guardian columnist imagines himself as virtuous, on the side of the angels, above mere selfishness. It simply doesn’t occur to him that the coercive system he endorses and wishes to see expanded is itself unjust, and that people like Ms Harrison are exemplars not of virtue, but of vanity and selfishness.

Via Christopher Snowdon.