Monday, January 12, 2015

Sharpening the Contradictions

Not that anyone is interested in what I am reading as news posted on this aging technology called a "weblog", but this commentary by Juan Cole is the best summary of the strategic motivations and larger political context of the attacks in Paris that I have read, and I would like to archive it for discussion and later reference. The article was posted on the day of the shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.
 ...
“Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.
...
The only effective response to this manipulative strategy (as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani tried to tell the Iraqi Shiites a decade ago) is to resist the impulse to blame an entire group for the actions of a few and to refuse to carry out identity-politics reprisals.


via Hullaballoo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Portland, Oregon: where work is optional.

The New York Times noticed a cultural phenomenon on the west coast. It only took 15 years or so on this one:
Portland, meanwhile, has the opposite problem. It has more highly educated people than it knows what to do with. Portland is not a corporate town, as its neighbors Seattle and San Francisco have become. While there are employment opportunities in the outdoor-apparel business (Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear are all nearby) or the semiconductor industry (Intel has a large presence in Hillsboro), most workers have far fewer opportunities. According to Renn, personal income per capita in the city grew by a mere 31 percent between 2000 and 2012, slower than 42 other cities, including Grand Rapids, Mich., and Rochester. And yet people still keep showing up. “People move to New York to be in media or finance; they move to L.A. to be in show business,” Renn said. “People move to Portland to move to Portland.” Matthew Hale may have all the kombucha he can drink, but he doesn’t have a job.

 Link.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Cult Of Jeff Koons Must Die

Might does not always make right, although that would seem to be the proposition on which Koons’s current lofty position is based. In art history departments there is nowadays an inclination to submit all art to a sociopolitical analysis, which is convenient when critics and scholars want to rationalize the considerable attention they pay to Koons’s marketing strategies. Too many column inches have been wasted on his stint in the early 1980s as a commodities broker on Wall Street and on his powers of persuasion when it comes to pushing art dealers to bankroll the extraordinary production costs involved with his work. Why should we care about any of this? When was it that the art of the deal became the only kind of art that art people want to talk about?

Link.

Monday, September 08, 2014

One World Trade Center: how New York tried to rebuild its soul

As for the future of culture at the World Trade Center, that may be the trickiest problem of all. Numerous cultural institutions, among them the Signature Theatre, the Drawing Centre and the now-defunct New York City Opera, had envisioned a move downtown. But during the planning process Pataki, still in presidential-wannabe mode, proclaimed: “We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom” – and this threat of censorship was enough to send many prospective tenants packing. A site is still designated for a cultural institution, but its location between 1WTC and the PATH terminal guarantees headaches for construction, and Frank Gehry, the project’s initial architect, was dismissed last week. Still, there will be Eataly, there will be 50 different kinds of olive oil to buy! In the city that Bloomberg made, that may be culture enough.
Vivienne Gucwa writing for the Guardian

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DARK SOULS 2


Hi guys.  Play Dark Souls 2.  This game is the most fun i have had playing a video game.  Only playing in Jason's world have i had this much fun.  play it.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

100 Million Dollars

DIA pledges to raise $100 million for art, Detroit pension rescue fund
A $100 million promise equates to an additional $5 million in annual fund-raising a year on top of the roughly $12 million it already raises annually for operations and the approximately $200 million in endowment funds that museum has committed to raising over the next decade.
That, my friends, is some rather incredible and admirable arts fund-raising . . .

via ArtsJournal

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just another day in Detroit



I was trying to find images of a rumor that artists had filled a car with explosives and driven it off of this roof, but alas the search engines have not found that video to date.

"Riding around Detroit's derelict Packard plant on a homemade dirt-bike"

via boingboing

Detroit Fire Sale

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to announce today a state financial pledge toward boosting Detroit’s pension funds and protecting Detroit Institute of Arts paintings from a bankruptcy fire sale, sources told The Detroit News.
Bankruptcy fire sale of a major museum collection to pay unsecured creditors would be a terrible precedent. Slashing pensions for the same would be pernicious.



Detroit Institute of Arts fire sale: The worst idea out of Motor City since the Edsel (Washington Post)

Since I am traveling to Detroit once a year now for work, I find the 50 year saga of its diminishing population and fortunes, and what kind of urban space that has created fascinating.


Good photo essays here:
detroiturbex.com

Monday, December 30, 2013

Antiques Roadshow discovers Van Dyck

I used to be interested in this show back when I had a television and watched PBS. In each episode everyone is hoping exactly this will happen . . .

Link.

Thursday, November 28, 2013