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Post #460 • January 24, 2005, 6:54 AM • 22 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, because we demanded it, the Critical Self-Esteem Test. You thought we were kidding.




January 24, 2005, 3:31 PM

I love tests. I scored 100%.You gotta be some wacko wild ass inconsiderate insensitive jerk to get 100%. Be careful of the tricky cat questions. There was not one question about postmodernism, but there are many answers a free thinking postmodernist would gravitate toward.

Congratulations Franklin (and oldpro????) for a fine way to start my miserable day salting up profs.



January 24, 2005, 4:32 PM


Congratulations. I never had much doubt about your self-esteem anyway.

I did the questions & answers and Franklin did the evaluations. We expect a joint Nobel Prize for this work.



January 24, 2005, 5:46 PM


I only got a 78%, damn! I demand to know which one I missed! Otherwise I'm gonna shoot someone else's cat.



January 24, 2005, 5:47 PM

Oh I only got a 71 when I answered honestly. I had to crack the test to get 100. Only test I ever took where 8x12=100. Why didn't you have 10 questions?


J.T. Kirkland

January 24, 2005, 5:55 PM

I got a 78% score as well when answering honestly, or as honestly as possible since some of the selections of answers didn't include what I'd really do in the given situation.

I guess I'm allowed to continue pursuing this whole artmaking thing a bit longer! Do we get membership cards for passing this test?

Oldpro - did you get my email?



January 24, 2005, 5:58 PM

Zeke: You had to miss more than one to get 78. But at least you reached the highest level - "good". These guys are stingy with their praise. Whatever happened to excellent, insanely great, outrageously wonderful, or the pinnacle we all seek ... "perfect". And no exclamation points either.

Must be tough love or some such.



January 24, 2005, 6:15 PM

Catagories are Good, Fair, Middling, and Poor. Hey, the art world is a tough place...



January 24, 2005, 6:25 PM


You write: "Whatever happened to excellent, insanely great, outrageously wonderful, or the pinnacle we all seek ... "perfect"."

Hey, if your self-esteem is high enough, who needs it?

I should have done 10 questions. I got lazy. My high self-esteem told me I could do it any way I wanted to. I assumed Franklin would do a 12.5 for each one. It's all his fault.

You guys tried to answer "honestly"? I thought I made the alternatives idiotic enough so that was impossible. I guess not.


Membership cards? Damn, I guess I asked for that. Maybe we can revive the old CACA card from a few months back.

I got your email but was away a lot of the weekend. I will answer ASAP.


J.T. Kirkland

January 24, 2005, 7:05 PM

Yeah oldpro, next time Guy says I lack critical self esteem I can pull out my virtual CSET membership card and go, "BAM!! Take a look at that!!"

I imagine membership would need to be renewed annually, right?

If so, Guy... you can stay off my back until January 24, 2006!



January 24, 2005, 7:08 PM

I got a 75% and am considering changing fields.



January 24, 2005, 7:32 PM

I got a 43%. Middling! I may have left one question blank. What I would actually do in most cases was not an option, alas. The description was pretty good, except that I don't read Artforum or monographs of famous artists. And I'm not so much in a frantic search for inspiration as I am for TIME! My studio is in fact a table, in its own--um, let's call it--annex (more than a corner, less than a room).

Anybody else have a table? How about this game: what's on it besides the art supplies and art?

On my table:
Five plants
Four old journal/sketchbooks
Folded up poems (in-progress) by me and another by a pal
Lamp (duh)
Coffee cup (duh)



January 24, 2005, 7:59 PM

I got a 53% - Fair. I think what kept my score down was my choice of the option indicating that if I was driving behind a car with a headless driver, I would call a friend on my cel phone and burst into tears.



January 24, 2005, 8:12 PM

(*waves to Kathleen*) And, on my table (which is actually the classic discarded door on top of a rickety smaller table):

a scanner and a tangle of wires / two old portfolio binders in the process of being gutted and updated / a lamp / a stack of CDs--gang starr, charlie parker, the raincoats, slant 6, stars, sonny rollins, the shins, and fania all-stars / a messy stack of papers and folders that need to be filed / an underused Flash MX manual / a kitchen timer / a bunch of postcards / a measuring tape / toggle bolts (for shelves that need to be put up) / a bottle of sumi ink / and art supplies in glass jars and more boring stuff



January 24, 2005, 8:20 PM

Interesting most of you got such good scores. When I took it myself (after Franklin did the ranking of the answers) I was in the middle. Once again, it's all his fault.

It is also interesting that once you formalize something and make it look "scientific" there is an almost irresistable urge to take it "seriously", even while being conscious that it is not and no matter how ridiculous it is. Hmmm...does this say something about Postmodernism?


This is not the legend of Sleepy Hollow. The question reads "APPEARS to have no head". Next time you drive in Miami look at all the cars ahead of you. This appearance will obtain in a substantial number.


I would welcome it of course, but I don't think you would after you got there.



January 24, 2005, 8:22 PM

JT: I agree. Many of the answers did not really suit reality. For instance, on the seaweed question I wanted to say:

Wait until the right moment arrives, then remove it with your tongue and don't say anything. After all, you were both eating the same meal.

That's a lot more romantic than calling the waiter.


J.T. Kirkland

January 24, 2005, 8:44 PM


For the seaweed question I was looking for this response:

I'm confused. I thought I was eating dinner but clearly seaweed isn't "Food," so how on earth did this get in my teeth during dinner?

Disclaimer: The above is an attempt at humor and should be regarded as such. I don't wish to "swallow" my words later this week.



January 24, 2005, 9:03 PM


your answer is a good one, but simply "remove it with your tongue" is more abrupt and funnier. Even better might be:

"lean over, kiss your date and try to remove with your tongue."

But even that suffers from complexity - too may actions. "Have the waiter remove it" I though was good because it is such a situational mismatch, like a Marx brothers skit.

There are a lot of parallels between humor and art.


Joseph barbaccia

January 24, 2005, 9:13 PM

I got a "0" ! I must be ready to "emerge!



January 25, 2005, 1:49 AM

I only got a Middling - 34%. But I didn't answer the question about the person I want to sleep with who has food in her teeth - if my goal was to sleep with her i wouldn't say anything.

anyways, this 34% doesn't matter because i think i am about to be sent to prison.



January 25, 2005, 9:10 AM

I scored 75. The cat thing was funny. Maybe not talking about the cat so much is the secret to success...



January 25, 2005, 5:45 PM

Okay, the first time I did it I answered somewhat close to what I would really do though many of the questions had none of my options.
I got 75%.
Then I took it again for the heck of it and answered everything the opposite of what I would do.
I still got 75%.
So that means I can remain a dual personality because I'm never going to make it anyway!!!
Thank you for the freedom of that knowledge...
ps. sucking the seaweed off her teeth would be best, forget the licking part...
and what if I just threw the cat up against the painting in the museum?



January 26, 2005, 12:27 AM

I'm taking applications for membership in my little whining coterie.



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