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Waxing explicit

Post #1456 • February 16, 2010, 9:12 AM • 143 Comments

Art criticism only ever hemorrhages efficacy as time goes on. You might upbraid Clement Greenberg's ghost for holding the art world in his iron grip for a spell; you would do so fallaciously, but would find yourself in sizable, and by some metrics estimable, company. But who would you accuse of such a thing now? The art world grinds on heedless of its critics. However, one efficacy remains within the powers of art criticism, at least as a side effect: the burnishing of the writer's own credentials. By turning the right phrases, a sufficiently well-placed critic can imply to his readership that his opinions embody true taste, which said readership disputes at risk of relegation to the class of unwashed chumps.

But even this efficacy may be eroding. A couple of well-placed critics recently decided against mere implication, and made their threats explicit. Jerry Saltz on Tino Sehgal:

I was suspended in some weird nonspace. I felt variously shook up, spaced out, turned on, told off, intimidated, ashamed, thrilled, and shocked. ... If you want, you can see it in five minutes, not say a word, and view it as a sophomoric recapitulation of sixties performance art, or just phony-baloney b.s. I have no doubt that some visitors leave the Guggenheim never knowing they walked through This Progress.

Or, without the thin veiling, you can fail to have the profound art experience that Saltz had at the Guggenheim thanks to his extraordinary sensitivities. ("It was a lesson in how vulnerable art can be," opined the critic. Did you not learn this lesson yourself from Tino Sehgal? So much for your vulnerability.) Meanwhile, Peter Schjeldahl rent all veiling entirely:

You will enjoy your visit to the Tino Sehgal whatchamacallit at the Guggenheim—“show” doesn’t fill the bill—or else expose yourself as a hopeless grouch.

So much for earning the reader's assent through the craft of argument.

Perhaps we're seeing the first signs of regime change - the old guard resorting to coercion as blandishments become unpersuasive. I'd like to think so. In a much-discussed article for the Times this weekend, Roberta Smith threw her hands up:

The current exhibition of Gabriel Orozco at the Museum of Modern Art along with the recent ones of Roni Horn at the Whitney Museum and of Urs Fischer at the New Museum have generated a lot of comment pro and con. So has the Tino Sehgal performance exhibition now on view in an otherwise emptied-out Guggenheim rotunda. But regardless of what you think about these artists individually, their shows share a visual austerity and coolness of temperature that are dispiritingly one-note. After encountering so many bare walls and open spaces, after examining so many amalgams of photography, altered objects, seductive materials and Conceptual puzzles awaiting deciphering, I started to feel as if it were all part of a big-box chain featuring only one brand.

For starters, I wish I could fine her ten cents a day for the decade that this realization is overdue. Secondly, thereafter she recommended shows that might, at best, pull art back to the equally safe haven of Pop, surrealism, and combined variants thereof. But she rightly scolded the museum world for overlooking David Park and Larry Poons. And she ended with a passage I'd like to inscribe into the flesh of certain members of the curatorial illuminati:

[Museum curators] have a responsibility to their public and to history to be more ecumenical, to do things that seem to come from left field. They owe it to the public to present a balanced menu that involves painting as well as video and photography and sculpture. They need to think outside the hive-mind, both distancing themselves from their personal feelings to consider what’s being wrongly omitted and tapping into their own subjectivity to show us what they really love.

These things should be understood by now: The present is diverse beyond knowing, history is never completely on anyone’s side, and what we ignore today will be excavated later and held against us the way we hold previous oversights against past generations.

Message to curators: Whatever you’re doing right now, do something else next.

Contemporary museums have no reason to exist if they're not going to reflect what's going on in the art world in its entirety. Instead, they have largely become the enforcement arm of a historical narrative that regards Duchamp as Jesus, Greenberg as Satan, and Beuys, Kosuth, Warhol, and Bourgeois as the Gospels. I'm not arguing for a different pantheon, but for no pantheon, and each work of art and each essay measured on merit, not pedigree.

On his Facebook page, Saltz huzzahed at his wife's perspicacity, saying that he agreed with every word, as if he never penned that self-aggrandizing Sehgal review. The decline of criticism's powers of influence and the fickleness of some of its practitioners make me hesitate to regard Smith's article as a watershed event. It won't surprise me if we go back to business as usual next week, with some critic fawning over another nigh empty room and scolding the unconvinced for failing to slaver properly. But I have never witnessed this level of protest in the Times's art section, even accounting for Holland Cotter's feckless anti-capitalist tirades. I note it with guarded optimism.

Nashville Critical preserved an informative outburst that Saltz directed at a Facebook reader. I think it gives us a better sense of the man than his paid writing in recent years, and displays exasperation with the profession of art criticism commensurate with Smith's frustration with the museums. This adds to my optimism. The time has arrived to provide the alternatives. Let's get hustling. Maybe we'll win some efficacy back.

Comment

1.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 10:29 AM

Guarded optimism is appropriate. Establishments don't change overnight. Yes, our doubts about the art world are front and center now, in a bigger conversation. At least for a little while. (Quickly forgetting things - like Smith's article - is a distinguishing characteristic of our culture.) We'll see if she continues to champion marginalized artists.

2.

opie

February 16, 2010, 10:43 AM

That a critic calling for something marginally different can create such a shock wave only shows what a miasma the art world has become.

The problem with these people is that they do not have a clear idea of what art is for, so they call for "something else" rather than something better, and their something else, from the evidence presented, would be as dreary as what they are deriding.

I have no respect for them or the art they favor. We would be better off if they all just went away.

3.

Jordan

February 16, 2010, 10:44 AM

The writing is terrible.It's trying too hard, too many silly words.

But, then again, writing is an subjective art too.

4.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 10:46 AM

That "informative outburst" is rather telling. Saltz is right about one thing: he needs an editor very badly. Otherwise, it suggests he should have gone into advertising, PR, concert promotion or something along those lines. He seems completely lacking in the gravitas of a credible art critic and sounds very much like an exceedingly effusive, over-emoting, flighty case of arrested adolescence, not to say a ditzy, gushing flake. He's perfect for his job (and I don't mean art critic).

5.

Pretty Lady

February 16, 2010, 10:50 AM

Amen.

I thought it was a bit odd, the way so many of Jerry's Facebookers were hailing Roberta's 'courage' for writing this. As far as I know, Roberta Smith is not an artist; she gets paid (badly) for writing her opinions about art, whatever those opinions may happen to be. She's not running the risk of offending the powers that be, and having her endeavors blacklisted by those powers, the way you or I would. You know, those artists who have been saying precisely the same things on their blogs for the last half-decade, at least.

Museum curators: the Fox Network of the cultural plutocracy.

6.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 10:55 AM

I expect the "shock wave" will do little to alter business as usual. Business, after all, is the real name of the game, and as long as it holds up well enough, why would they change course, except for a "same dog, different collar" scenario? That, in effect, is what Smith is proposing, as has already been pointed out. OP encapsulates it nicely: these people may want something different, but different is not the same as better, and it may be qualitatively the same or even worse.

7.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 11:03 AM

And OP, these characters have absolutely NO intention of ceding an inch in real terms, let alone going away. Convenient cosmetic adjustments are one thing (even the worst totalitarian regimes will make those), but substantial change is another.

8.

opie

February 16, 2010, 11:25 AM

Courage? That's a joke. Courage would be giving hard ratings to all the garbage out there, calling it out for what it is instead of exchanging one species of detritus for another.

They know better than to do that. That's what Greenberg did. Look what happened to him.

9.

John

February 16, 2010, 11:27 AM

Hi Pretty Lady,

Aside from whether Fox is a "cultural plutocracy" (I wish it were), their commentators have more fun on the air than any of the others. If news has become entertainment, which it has to a great extent, why not watch people having fun, even if they say a lot of stuff you can't agree with? If the Fox anchors do nothing else, they have a blast while broadcasting. They get a kick out of what they are doing.

The other news network anchors attempt to never say anything you can agree or disagree with, the grayest of the gray. But they do have "gravitas", sometimes crushingly so.

"Plutocracy" means governed by the wealthy. So if "cultural plutocracy" means governed by the culturally wealthy, I'm all for it. But simply being able to complain about what's wrong with culture is not wealth, and that's about all I've seen on Fox.

On the other hand, if it means culture is run by the literally wealthy, I don't think the Fox people qualify. They make more than most of us, true, but not enough to be considered rich.

10.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 11:29 AM

I think she was saying that museum curators were the Fox Network of the cultural plutocracy, not that Fox Network was a cultural plutocracy.

11.

MC

February 16, 2010, 11:38 AM

Remember, folks:

Fox Network ≠ Fox News

The former features intelligent commentary (The Simpsons); the latter does not.

Carry on...

12.

MC

February 16, 2010, 11:40 AM

Maybe Roberta Smith will win this years Bulshitzer Prize for art criticism... Take that, Holland Cooter!

13.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 11:43 AM

OP, even Chris, who likes Saltz on some level, was put off by the reportedly overt and pervasive brown-nosing that characterizes many or most of Saltz's commenters on his Facebook site. In other words, they'll cheer whatever he says, including, obviously, his praise of his wife.

14.

opie

February 16, 2010, 11:45 AM

MC try watching Fox news a few times.

Then make your remarks.

15.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 11:46 AM

John : "The other news network anchors attempt to never say anything you can agree or disagree with, the grayest of the gray. But they do have "gravitas", sometimes crushingly so."

John, a minor point, but I wouldn't mistake Ted Baxter-style pomposity for gravitas.

I understood PL's 'cultural plutocracy' comment to mean 'culture governed by the wealthy,' not exactly a plutocracy, but I get the idea. That system has the attention of some prestige-hungry contingents of 'the wealthy.' Is that the kind of system or wealth one wants to attract? I think that's nuts. What would you have if you got their notice? No, thanks. Life's too short.

My question remains "Would any of it exist if it wasn't paid any attention to, and if something of real value were put up instead, wouldn't it be noticed by the ones one cares to have dealings with?" I think so. And that would attract the means I like to attract.

As it is, Fox, and the complaints on here are just two sides of the same coin.

16.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 11:47 AM

Curators = Fox News = master narrative.

17.

John

February 16, 2010, 11:47 AM

I think you have the right interpretation, Franklin. In fact, it is so right I should have gotten it in the first place.

That said, museum curators CERTAINLY don't have the kind of fun Fox anchors do. Instead they are academic and often without common sense or taste. But they DO say stuff you can agree or disagree with.

Despite my last sentence, the shoe just does not fit. Fox is simply not academic and there is a lot of common sense expressed there. And they have fun in public.

Taste? That's in short supply everywhere.

18.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 11:50 AM

I meant to say that Fox and the complaints on here are the other side of the coin.

19.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 11:51 AM

Taste is in eclipse, not in short supply.

20.

John

February 16, 2010, 11:57 AM

Taste is in eclipse, Tim, that's as certain as its short supply. But what exists in the giant shadow is just not very large.

21.

MC

February 16, 2010, 11:59 AM

Opie, you incorrectly assume (or pretend to assume?) that I haven't watched Fox News.

I have seen plenty of Fox News, which is how I know that there is a difference between Fox News, and the Fox Network.

Others here have confused the two in their comments, so I thought I would help clarify the terms:

Fox has Homer Simpson, while Fox News has Glenn Beck.

... Ah, now I see their confusion.

22.

opie

February 16, 2010, 12:01 PM

Saying the art world is a plutocracy, or any kind of -cracy, is giving is way more credit than it deserves. Maybe idiotcracy, or doltocracy, or stupocracy would do.

Seriously, folks, if any critic of music or architecture or literature or even food and wine ever wrote the kind of things we have been looking at they would be laughed out of business. The art world is no plutocracy, it is a bunch of ill-informed, confused people walking around in circles.

23.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 12:01 PM

The Radio City Music Hall plot to destroy America is serious stuff.

24.

Pretty Lady

February 16, 2010, 12:02 PM

Man, I have just got to stop making banal, cliche'd comments on art-related threads. They create so much controversy.

25.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 12:04 PM

It fits to the extent that Fox News (not the network, as MC rightly reminds us) attempts to force history into a preconceived narrative, even if it means suppressing information or disinformation. It also fits in that the postmodernist style of argument, irrational association of sentiments, is functionally identical to the one used by Glenn Beck et al. I'd say that Fox anchors are having more fun, but remember that the curators were trained on notions like jouissance and thus think they're having fun in their sad way.

26.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 12:05 PM

MC, I can't comment on Fox News because I never saw it except to notice that the sets, clothes, etc, were no different from those on the old networks. You seem to be viewing things through a certain assertive prism. That's OK, but it ain't the mountaintop.

John, if I've understood you correctly, my suggestion would be to get out of the shadow.

27.

MC

February 16, 2010, 12:05 PM

That would be wise, PL. I'm assuming you meant FoxNews, BTW... but, maybe you meant what you wrote.

28.

opie

February 16, 2010, 12:06 PM

One might say that Glenn Beck and Homer Simpson aren't all that different, MC.

But how about the reporting, the "news" itself, not the editorializing which all good liberals love to hate. How does Fox measure up against MSNBC, for example. Ever thought about that?

29.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 12:11 PM

Franklin: "It fits to the extent that Fox News (not the network, as MC rightly reminds us) attempts to force history into a preconceived narrative, even if it means suppressing information or disinformation."

The network, with its ownership and sponsors, does the same. The Simpsons, especially.

30.

John

February 16, 2010, 12:12 PM

Pretty Lady, I would not call it controversy as much as stimulation.

Homer Simpson and Glenn Beck go together nicely. They are both funny, both entertain, both nuts, and both utter remarkable one-liners.

Why is "Fox News" or just "Fox Network" a pejorative term? The only funny thing I've heard on CNN lately is when Falcon Heene said "who the hell is Wolf?" And to the credit of someone on CNN, they run that clip every time they have the slightest excuse. But none of their people get the credit for the line, it belongs to little Falcon.

31.

MC

February 16, 2010, 12:14 PM

Jesus, you guys get sidetracked easily. Please, leave the Fox shit alone, and get back to talking about Franklin's post.

Damn you, PL!

32.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 12:22 PM

Tim, I didn't realize that the goal of The Simpsons was reportage.

I'm going to respectfully ask that discussion of Fox News ends here. I realize that there are avid, or at least bemused Fox News viewers here, and they are about to collide with my fury that they refuse to report on Dick Cheney's admission on ABC that he supports torture. Onward please.

33.

John

February 16, 2010, 12:23 PM

Come on, MC. Bless you, Pretty Lady.

I think the reason PL stimulated discussion is that stories about the sorry state of art criticism are just more of the same ole same old. True, bad criticism affects us more than we would like. But we know it stinks and have known it for a long time. This Fox thing injected some new fire into the smoldering ruins.

Rather than saying Fox News attempts to force history into a "preconceived narrative", is just say I disagree with some of what they say. But give them credit for at least saying it. I don't find the other news networks so much as "slanted" or "too liberal" as I find their neutrality boring. I'd welcome a truly liberal network, as long as they downplayed the preachy aspect (which I wish Fox would do too).

34.

John

February 16, 2010, 12:25 PM

Sorry Franklin. I did not read your #32 because I was busy composing my #33.

35.

John

February 16, 2010, 12:29 PM

As far as changing the sorry state of art criticism goes, nothing is forever.

36.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 12:35 PM

One can, at least, opt to watch another news network. The museums are inescapable and enjoy support and tax advantages unavailable to individual artists. Opie said:

Seriously, folks, if any critic of music or architecture or literature or even food and wine ever wrote the kind of things we have been looking at they would be laughed out of business.

It's no coincidence that those creative fields have no equivalent of the art museum in their profession.

As far as changing the sorry state of art criticism goes, nothing is forever.

I'm not sure what you mean here, John.

37.

opie

February 16, 2010, 12:40 PM

I will be glad to comment on Fox News no further, Franklin, but hold your fury. Cheney's approval of waterboarding (if that's what you mean by torture) has often been mentioned on Fox programs, by Cheney himself, among others, and most recently (and approvingly) last night, or the night before, by Ann Coulter.

I don't know where you are getting your information.

Try watching sometime. As John says, they are at least amusing.

38.

John

February 16, 2010, 12:41 PM

Franklin, I meant that bad art criticism will go away at some point, especially vulnerable for going away is the nearly absolute dominance it enjoys now.

As far as equivalents for museums go:

Music has its recording companies.

Literature has its publishing houses.

Architecture, maybe doesn't have an equivalent.

39.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 12:54 PM

I don't find fascists amusing. And I'm not using that word lightly - I'm specifically referring to people who believe in strong, centralized, unchecked government over liberty and the rule of law. We hanged Japanese officers for ordering the waterboarding of captured American combatants. Anything less than Cheney swinging from a rope by his snapped neck isn't full justice.

John, recording companies and publishing houses are not tax-exempt state-funded enterprises, and that makes all the difference. (The recording companies are attempting something just as bad - bending copyright law to support their increasingly failing business model, but that will collapse in the end.) Eventually both are subject to the will of their customers. Museums, not so.

40.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 1:00 PM

By the way, John, in case it wasn't clear, when I said gravitas in #4, I did not mean being dull, glum or stone-faced. I meant having real substance and real depth, not being the art-critic equivalent of a giant, hyperactive, slobbering puppy who, as it happens, is neither young nor cute. I repeat, it's not so much that Saltz is "self-aggrandizing," as Franklin says, but that he's frankly embarrassing.

41.

MC

February 16, 2010, 1:07 PM

Opie, with all due respect, your "try watching sometime" line is unbearably condescending, every time you trot it out.

See you on the next thread.

42.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 1:14 PM

"Eventually both [recording and publishing companies] are subject to the will of their customers. Museums, not so."

You got that right. Museums are so not subject to my will that I've mostly stopped bothering to check on what they're showing when it comes to contemporary work. I do, however, get some transient satisfaction out of immediately tearing up and discarding museum mailings, especially the ones soliciting paid membership.

43.

opie

February 16, 2010, 1:17 PM

I don't mind that it is unbearably condescending, MC. I don't mean it that way, but if it comes across that way, so be it.

Franklin, "strong, centralized, unchecked government over liberty and the rule of law" is exactly where we are headed right now and is what all the conservatives and tea partiers and Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins (and me) are terrified of. You need to bone up on the history of fascism in the 20th C. Read "Liberal Fascism". And calm down about Cheney.

And, if it is not asking too much, give me your source for any time anyone was hung specifically for waterboarding.

I don't want to continue this any more than you do but you are giving me no choice.

44.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 1:20 PM

Franklin: "Tim, I didn't realize that the goal of The Simpsons was reportage."

You didn't? The 'goal' or part of the 'goal' of any of that stuff is to give a weather report of the popular culture. I really don't see how you can seperate, intentwise, Fox News and the Fox Network, or anything on any of those networks, for that matter. Bottom line: ratings. Unwise to just go with whichever slant is appealing.

45.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 1:27 PM

Franklin: "We hanged Japanese officers for ordering the waterboarding of captured American combatants. Anything less than Cheney swinging from a rope by his snapped neck isn't full justice."

If you really want to make this an issue you need to look into this, Franklin. The Japanese didn't practice the same waterboarding as the Americans at all.

46.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 1:30 PM

Fascism? Please. The distinguishing mark of a fascist government is the use of physical violence to control a population. Ask scholars, or my immigrant parents. I'm irked by how easily we toss the term around.

47.

John

February 16, 2010, 1:30 PM

Jack, I knew you were using gravitas in the good sense. That's why I put quotes around it.

I would admit that when I mentioned recording companies and publishing houses I was thinking about their effect on music and literature being the same as that of the museum on the art project. Maybe they are closer to the galleries and dealers. But in art, the dealers and the museums would be very hard to distinguish by an alien who did not know our tax system. As a congenital lumper, they all seem the same to me when they all act the same.

48.

opie

February 16, 2010, 1:35 PM

MC the reason I condescendingly suggested that you watch some Fox news programs is because you are a very smart guy and the automatic rejection of Fox News, along with a snarky comparison to a cartoon, is knee-jerk, not smart.

John, for example, is also a very smart guy, and he disagrees with me pretty strongly about political stuff, right here on this blog sometimes, but he says something to the effect that he disagrees with them but they are amusing. This is a calm, intelligent neutral observation, not the usual "they are all bad" kind of thing which is tiresome from both sides.

49.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 1:39 PM

Tom Hering: "The distinguishing mark of a fascist government is the use of physical violence to control a population."

I know of the kind of fascism which controls the means of production by fiat. Czar of this, czar of that, not answerable to voters... Maybe you mean totaliterianism.

50.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 1:47 PM

I just looked up "jouissance" on Wikipedia and now my brain doesn't work any more. Help!

51.

opie

February 16, 2010, 1:51 PM

Tom, that is the distinguishing mark of a repressive government, which Fascist governments usually turn out to be,

There is no real concise definition but in general use it means authoritarian nationalism with independent corporations that are "in bed" with the government. The nasty stuff proceeds naturally from this, but it is not part of the ideology itself.

What everyone seems to have a problem with is that there are really only two kinds of government, those which control the individual and those which leave the individual alone. What you call them is beside the point.

52.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 1:54 PM

Tim, no, I mean Fascism.

"Fascism believes that the nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. Fascism identifies violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality."

53.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 2:01 PM

Tom, re #52, OK.

Opie: "What everyone seems to have a problem with is that there are really only two kinds of government, those which control the individual and those which leave the individual alone. What you call them is beside the point."

I'd agree except, since the late 19th Century, every kind of government which controls the individual, that is , of stateism, has been increasingly on the rise in the US, and very few seem to know to what extent or the consequences. It serves to know what they're called and what they look like.

54.

opie

February 16, 2010, 2:05 PM

You are right Tim. It pays to get all their names and ideologies and chase them back to hell.

55.

John

February 16, 2010, 2:24 PM

If the government does not control corporations (legally they are individuals if they are incorporated, as the Supreme Court recently underlined), then corporations will control true individuals.

Without "big government" we would not have mandatory air bags, ABS, or perhaps even seat belts ... and so even if you bought these items as extra cost accessories, when you have an at fault accident you might have to live the rest of your life with the fact you killed someone that under today's "big government" would survive, perhaps without any injury.

Further, without "big government" mandating fleet mileage, the cost of gasoline would skyrocket.

I could go on, but I think my point is clear enough. There must be a balance between government power and individual freedoms. Absolute freedom for individuals would result in chaos that makes the old "wild west" look plenty tame. Only a few would have real freedom, most of us would be frozen in terror.

Even the "small government" fanatics, many of them, anyway, want the government to outlaw actions they don't like, such as abortion. The Catholic contingent might also ask the birth control be outlawed, using the same logic as the anti-abortionists. And the same "small government" folks want a big military. Who do they think runs the military, the Red Cross?

Balance is the issue. We need "parents" in charge who will make us eat spinach, drive on the correct side of the street, spank the butts of greedy bankers, protect our borders, and in general keep order and peace.

56.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 2:30 PM

"Republican presidential candidate John McCain reminded people Thursday that some Japanese were tried and hanged for torturing American prisoners during World War II with techniques that included waterboarding. 'There should be little doubt from American history that we consider that as torture otherwise we wouldn't have tried and convicted Japanese for doing that same thing to Americans,' McCain said during a news conference." Specifics here.

57.

opie

February 16, 2010, 2:37 PM

This is not evidence that any Japanese were hung for waterboarding, despite the headline, which misreports the contents.

58.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 2:38 PM

Opie, don't tell me to calm down about Cheney. I wouldn't mind seeing him end up like Mussolini - shot, hung from a meathook, spat on, and pelted with stones, in that order. Sadly, there's no legal mechanism for producing that outcome. (There's some history of fascism in the Twentieth Century for you.) You need to stop reading crap by Jonah Goldberg and go get your hands on some David Boaz or Charles Murray. Is that too intemperate for you? I'm just an entertainer! At least give me credit for saying it! It's just that I love my country! Or employ whatever other justifications with which you excuse Fox pundits for not thinking straight.

Fox has people like Shepard Smith, Judge Napolitano, and Tucker Carlson, who are principled small-government conservatives. But its moneymakers are populists like Beck and fascists like Hannity. Watch at peril to your conscience.

59.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 2:42 PM

Since you apparently refuse to click links, the second one goes to this:

"McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning." Politifact went on to report, "A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps."

The source: "R. John Pritchard, the author of The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: The Complete Transcripts of the Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. They also interviewed Yuma Totani, history professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and consulted the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, which published a law review article entitled, 'Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts.'"

60.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 2:43 PM

First, John, I don't find much evidence that all the 'improvements' on autos required by lobby-driven political hacks have improved auto safety. Fatality rates are the same as they were decades ago.

John: "Even the "small government" fanatics, many of them, anyway, want the government to outlaw actions they don't like, such as abortion."

No, John. Listen to the 'fanatics,' not the ones talking about them. The abortion issue is about returning the question to the states, not outlawing anything. The outlaws are liberal attorneys who keep finding rights in the US Constitution where none exist, then requiring the 'fanatics' to prove otherwise.

"We need "parents" in charge who will make us eat spinach, drive on the correct side of the street, spank the butts of greedy bankers, protect our borders, and in general keep order and peace."

The 'enumerated powers' clause in the US constitution does not mince words. The Framers understood that individuals can better decide about their lives than a politicized government can.

61.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 2:44 PM

I just looked up "jouissance" on Wikipedia and now my brain doesn't work any more. Help!

Sorry, that should have come with a warning label. There is no help. That way lies madness.

62.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 2:51 PM

Some kids are pretty annoying. I think abortion should be legal until the fetus reaches the age of six years. I'm pretty sure that it's a viable organism at that point. Unfortunately liberal lawyers keep finding rights in the Constitution that don't exist, so I can't kill my toddlers like the chattel they are. Where does it say that babies have rights?

63.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 2:53 PM

So, back here in the art gallery....

I just read Jerry's "informative outburst". It does give a better sense of the man and why I like him having met him; in person he's much more about simply having fun and enjoying yourself, including art. When it comes to art I believe in having a good time, and I feel more warmly towards those who feel the same. I still have a problem when they believe in having fun over and above every other consideration (cf. Yayoi Kusama) -- it's possible to have fun grounded in a very serious sense of craft and accomplishment. Fun is possible within high standards. (Few people would go on a hand-carved rollercoaster, and fewer would survive.)

But I'm confused about one thing. Jerry says "the advertising model for print media is obviously AT AN END", with which I agree wholeheartedly. But he doesn't understand why it's at an end and doesn't explain what killed it, which is online advertising. Online advertising is much cheaper because you can clearly calculate your Return On Investment -- and it's low. Magazines survived as long as they did, I firmly believe, because ad numbers could be fudged. You can't fudge any more, not when Google can instantly give you a precise graph of your advertising and its effectiveness over the past six months.

Which means his conclusion doesn't follow: "Why not almost starve ALSO writing with other critics for their own on-line art magazines"? Because if magazines can't pay, online magazines really can't pay, and almost starving slips over into actually starving. Salon.com is perpetually on the brink of closing its doors and it's produced at a level of quality a group of art critics could never match.

And further, why bother agglomerating into an online magazine? What purpose would it serve to have one site with me, Hrag Vartanian, Roberta Smith, Ed Winkleman, and Eric Gelber? When any reader can put them all together into their own personalized magazine?

What would everyone get out of it? The less popular writers would get some extra traffic, but what's in it for the more popular writers? Association with unpopular jerks?

The very idea of a magazine, of a centralized point from which information is dispersed, is what's in question. It's not about finding a new way of packaging the product, it's about a whole product -- one without packaging.

Little did we know that the whole newspaper/magazine system was merely a way for society to subsidize the livelihoods of writers and editors, most of whom no one wants to pay for individually. It's dying and how will writers get paid in the future? Maybe they won't.

64.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 2:55 PM

Franklin, why do you keep equating the Japanese form of water torture with what Americans do with waterboarding? I've never been able to find any evidence of that.

65.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 2:56 PM

Franklin, Heinlein once wrote that all males should be raised in a barrel and fed through the bunghole. After eighteen years, society decides if they should let him out or drive in the bung.

My son is 12. Heinlein was oh so right.

66.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 3:02 PM

Re#62 : "Unfortunately liberal lawyers keep finding rights in the Constitution that don't exist, so I can't kill my toddlers like the chattel they are. Where does it say that babies have rights?"

Nice try. Well, not really. Babies, born or unborn, are the responsibilities of parents to the extent that the parents abide by laws, good or bad. Parents have rights named and defined in the US Constitution.

67.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 3:16 PM

why do you keep equating the Japanese form of water torture with what Americans do with waterboarding?

What's your evidence for differentiating them?

Babies, born or unborn, are the responsibilities of parents to the extent that the parents abide by laws, good or bad.

Maybe those laws are unconstitutional, and besides, responsibilities mandated by law aren't rights. That's how all liberals think, of course: that you can mandate better conditions for some allegedly disadvantaged class of people - in this case, small children - by regulating the behavior of everyone not in that class. Hence speech codes, for instance, or Affirmative Action.

Obviously we should leave the decision to the states, and if your state allows the slaughter of children up to six years old, and you don't like it, you just move somewhere else. Too bad about those outlaw liberal lawyers preventing that from happening.

68.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 3:18 PM

Chris is absolutely correct about everything in #63. The solution is either philanthropically supported criticism conducted as a group of writers, or individuals publishing themselves.

69.

opie

February 16, 2010, 3:21 PM

I did check the links, and I did read that. It says that water torture was one of the techniques. It also says that a number of the prosoners tried were hanged. Nowhere does it say that anyone was hanged for waterboarding, particularly of the extremely highly controlled waterboarding used on just 3 of the prisoners interrogated by us in connection with 9/11 and related attacks, which Tim declares, and I believe, was quite different from what the Japanese did in WW2.

For this you want Cheney "swinging from a rope by his snapped neck" and "shot, hung from a meathook, spat on, and pelted with stones, in that order".

I sense a disconnect here.

70.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 3:23 PM

Maybe your argumentum needs more absurdum. Clearly it's not working here.

71.

John

February 16, 2010, 3:28 PM

Tim, you say automobile "fatality rates" have remained unchanged. I can't believe that until I see substantial evidence which supports it comes before my eyes.

I have been listening to "fanatics", including one who is a good friend, say that the fetus is the same as a newborn, and even a fertilized egg is the same, even before it divides. The New Testament injunction against male masturbation could be carried into this theologically based politics by declaring all ejaculated sperm to be protected by the constitution, except there are not enough human eggs on earth to service the billion of sperm spilled every day.

Our government is based on the separation of church and state, and no amount of BS can convince me that the anti-abortionists are not attempting to subvert this principle, fervent as they might be. In fact, I have tremendous respect for the Catholic reverence for the beginning of life, and end of life too. But we have a secular government. And these beliefs are restricted to specific theologies.

200 years ago state lines were of some significance. Today they are almost without meaning, except as boundaries for local taxation levels. Thus it is incumbent upon the feds to provide much of the parenting that states once were responsible for. States cannot be left to settle abortion issues because separation of church and state is, and for that matter, always has been, a larger issue than this or that state.

And of course, individuals ARE NOT better at deciding their lives than government in all cases. My neighbor's girlfriend crossed the center line and drove his truck into an even bigger truck in the other lane. Government mandated air bags deployed and everyone walked away. One passenger, who was not wearing his government mandated seat belt, did require a trip to the ER and a few stitches and pain killers. He should have eaten his spinach like the rest of them. Both trucks were totaled.

72.

John

February 16, 2010, 3:34 PM

As I said before, ours is a secular government. What Franklin proposes to do to Cheney could only take place in a church run government, such as the Holy Roman Empire or some of the current Islamic states.

73.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 3:34 PM

By that same logic, Opie, you can't claim that they weren't hanged for waterboarding. But your version violates the sense of the passages: a group of people committed torture, including waterboarding, and we hanged some of them for doing so. I'm sure that the Japanese thought that what they were doing was both highly controlled and necessary given the circumstances of war. At least that war had been constitutionally declared by Congress, as opposed to this Orwellian perma-war initiated by Cheney and his minions.

74.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 3:38 PM

For the record, I think Cheney should be hung for treason, which is a slightly different argument than the one I've been making. I think his corpse should be hung from a meat hook because fascists make me sore. I don't have a legal justification for the latter.

75.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 3:39 PM

Franklin: "Maybe those laws are unconstitutional, and besides, responsibilities mandated by law aren't rights. That's how all liberals think, of course: that you can mandate better conditions for some allegedly disadvantaged class of people - in this case, small children - by regulating the behavior of everyone not in that class. Hence speech codes, for instance, or Affirmative Action.

Maybe they are, and when that's determined, then, after all other options are exhausted (not before any of them are, which would be more in line with American Liberalism), the Federal Government could be brought into it.
Got a better plan? Even Liberals, who think they have, have to sneak it through the back door, cloaked in the terms like 'progressive,' 'tolerant,' etc... Uh huh, sure.

"Obviously we should leave the decision to the states, and if your state allows the slaughter of children up to six years old, and you don't like it, you just move somewhere else. Too bad about those outlaw liberal lawyers preventing that from happening."

I never know what to do with facetiousness.

As for the waterboarding question, I'm working on it, and you should work on it too if you're as interested in it as you seem to be. I remember something about the Japanese killing many with their brand. The brand that has been described as employed by Americans at Guantanemo Bay falls out of the category of torture because there is no physical harm. Only fear of drowning. And, from reports I've heard, it has produced rather dramatic results.

76.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 3:48 PM

The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Waterboarding is extremely cruel and highly unusual. If you doubt it's torture, you can take it up with Christopher Hitchens, who had it done to him and determined otherwise.

77.

opie

February 16, 2010, 3:55 PM

If you read in some depth about the American waterboarding, you will see that it was done only after an extremely rigorous (you could say tortuous) process of legalization and extreme attention, worked out over time, to the precise process so that it could not be actual torture.

People agonized over this for months before it was applied to just 3 people, one of them the mastermind of the plot that murdered over 3000 innocent civilian Americans, and resulted in information what reportedly led to the prevention of a similar attack in Los Angeles.

The Japanese tortured people just for the hell of it and in a brutally extreme fashion which led to extreme suffering, physical damage, deformation and death and they did it extensively. That is also on the record.

I know I am being condescending again, but check out the details.

I will drop this if you will.

78.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 4:11 PM

That "process of legalization" was bullshit in the Frankfurtian sense, cynically contrived into existence on orders from the executive. John Yoo, the author of much of that bullshit, is of the opinion that it is legally acceptable to crush the testicles of a child in order to coerce information out of the parent. The claim that torture provided information that prevented an attack on Los Angeles comes out of that very same politicized, partisan, morally bereft Justice Department and no other source.

This is my blog, and you will drop it.

79.

opie

February 16, 2010, 4:17 PM

Can I suggest that you are displaying a typically fascist attitude?

I better not.

80.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 4:18 PM

Franklin, you may be dealing here with a certain amount of generational difference. OP is old enough -- I know we make age jokes here but this is meant sincerely -- OP is old enough to have experienced at least the tail end -- the lingering effects -- of World War II propaganda. Remember how badly we demonized the Japanese in that war -- and to a degree with their complicity. The Japanese certainly had their share of atrocities.

Of course they suffered their share, too, what with Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the firebombing of Tokyo.

Of course victims of atrocity everywhere are the same and never deserve it.

Anyway. Edging back from that and returning to my point: OP probably caught the tail end of the cruel demonizing of World War II. He's still working from a different mindset than we are.

My neighbor from across the street just died a couple of weeks ago. He was nearly 90 and fought in WWII. God help you if you mentioned Japanese cars to him because you'd get a half-hour long diatribe about how the Japs aren't even human, they're animals. Bataan Death March and so on. I don't think the old guy ever even saw combat in the Pacific (although he was stationed there). Sixty, seventy years later and he still hated the Japanese with a vehemence that was unbelievable to me.

Naturally, then, the evil Japs would inflict horrific water torture on their captives, unlike the humane and legally vetted version of water, uh, treatment we enlightened Americans would use.

Also, Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained no children. Or other non-combatants.

81.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 4:20 PM

John: "Tim, you say automobile "fatality rates" have remained unchanged. I can't believe that until I see substantial evidence which supports it comes before my eyes."

Federal Govt. stats have national traffic fatalities hovering at 40,000 annually for decades. I might mention that Ralph Nader, author of the fear mongering classic "Unsafe at Any Speed back in the mid sixties, demonizing the Corvair, and giving it human attributes like goofy Leftists now do with SUVs, was recently seen driving one of those little lawn mowers with a steering wheel at some conference.

"I have been listening to "fanatics", including one who is a good friend, say that the fetus is the same as a newborn, and even a fertilized egg is the same, even before it divides. The New Testament injunction against male masturbation could be carried into this theologically based politics by declaring all ejaculated sperm to be protected by the constitution, except there are not enough human eggs on earth to service the billion of sperm spilled every day."

I don't know about your good friend, but there are plenty of practical arguments anti abortion, and they're all over the place if you're interested. The two opposing views that the major media deals in (One of which sounds like it might be your friend's) are politicized, and, in my opinion, worthless, and kill any real discussion on the subject, and make certain the question will never be resolved. And, why would politicians want to lose a potent issue, even though it's based on false premises. Like Gun control or Campaign Finance Reform. Ain't gonna happen.

For the sake of the conversation, the best idea I've heard for beginnings of life is at the time of implantation. From that point on, I don't know what you'd call it. Pre-life? Life-before-life?

"Our government is based on the separation of church and state."

The only Constitutional provision about religion is that there is to be no State religion. The Framers understood that a nation without a morality cannot last, and that religion is based in morality which is based in practicality (I know you can come up with exceptions which prove the rule.), and the religion the Framers opted to claim as the basis of their morality is the one which does the best job of taking into consideration human nature.

Seperation of church and state was never an issue until the (You guessed it) FDR Administration supported a tortured (no pun intended) interpretation of the 1st Amendment of the Bill Of Rights. I don't believe that interpretation will stand because it's based on bad law. Like Roe V. Wade. Nothing to do with religion, though certain media pundits turn themselves inside out trying to make us think otherwise.

82.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 4:32 PM

Also, John, maybe you remember, just before and during Roe, the word 'fetus' being used by pro-abortionists as a way to dehumanize the unborn.

83.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 4:46 PM

I've enjoyed Hitchens' writing for a few years, Franklin, but that article you linked to (which I read shortly after it was published) increased my respect for him immensely. To put yourself out there for your beliefs -- and then change your mind publicly! It's just not something that ever happens.

84.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 5:09 PM

Can I suggest that you are displaying a typically fascist attitude?

Just a healthy libertarian sense of property rights.

From just a few days ago:

"The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn't merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a 'Christian nation,' they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country's roots and the intent of the founders."

In a nutshell: 'Twas not so.

85.

opie

February 16, 2010, 5:28 PM

The Times be damned. I wouldn't take them to be the authority on today's date at this point in their disgraceful history.

I have quit this discussion, OK?

Chris your insinuation is degrading and insulting.

86.

opie

February 16, 2010, 5:32 PM

And stupid.

87.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 5:38 PM

The NYT piece: rather large example of the pot calling the kettle black while pretending to be instructional about what goes on in Texas. And, for editorial slant it can't be beat. I'm not getting into why. Why not just rename the thing The New York Editorial Slant? Journal of Record. Uh huh, right.

88.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 5:52 PM

Gosh, look at those knees jerk! I thought we weren't automatically discounting news organizations, á la #48.

89.

John

February 16, 2010, 5:57 PM

What Chris really sheds light on is that we need to be careful about wars, even when our borders are invaded, as when the Japs did (Yes, I was alive during that time too). It is inevitable that the "enemy" as defined by the government will eventually be declared a friend. Someday, for instance, Iran and North Korea will be our "friends", as China is becoming and Russia has become. But this thing about old age being the direct cause of a specific viewpoint - not true.

As far as Reagan's "getting the government off our backs", what is more a violation of that principle than requiring pregnant women who do not wish to remain so to bear the child? That is "huge government".

90.

opie

February 16, 2010, 6:00 PM

Nothing to do with knee-jerk, Franklin. I read the damn rag every day. Get your terms straight.

91.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 6:08 PM

At the time my neighbor was sharing his views on the Japanese, I was the soccer coach of a Japanese boy who lives one block over. He's American, actually, but his parents are Japanese and not the most fluent of English speakers. For Christmas that year they gave me a Starbucks gift card with Ichiro Suzuki on it.

OP, one can only be degraded with one's consent.

92.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 6:10 PM

If the complaint against the story linked in #84 was its origination in the Times - and no other criticism was offered - I can only assume that I'm using the term correctly.

93.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 6:12 PM

You know, I just realized how rarely these kinds of conversations come up on Artblog. Compared to the rest of the Internet, this never happens here.

I wonder why today. Full moon? Bad mojo?

94.

opie

February 16, 2010, 6:17 PM

Don't get semantic on me. And do not ever give me motives because of my age, experience or any assumptions you make. You can take me at my word or not at all.

One thing I will say, having lived through half of the Depression and all of WW2 and the subsequent wars, and armed with a considerable variety of experience, and much as I dislike pulling rank, is that when it comes to worldly realism most of you do not know your ass from your elbow.

I am not going to defend this position. Let's just leave it be and talk about art.

95.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 6:25 PM

John: "...what is more a violation of that principle than requiring pregnant women who do not wish to remain so to bear the child?"

John, you must know it's not that simplistic. Do you really believe that a pregnancy involves only the mother? Do you really believe that a woman's decision should be based on whether she wants something?

The treatment of these questions and some others by some clever people keep us from getting any kind of clear line on the question. We haven't even begun. The wrong questions are being asked, keeping the issue politicized.

I could as easily write "Huge government" is confiscating tax dollars to pay for what is as often as not the whims of adolescents, in order to capture votes. It gets nowhere.

96.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 6:34 PM

Franklin, re #92, it seems like you want others to do your homework for you. I read the story. It's obviously slanted. I'm not asking (badgering) anybody to believe anything. If you want to believe that story, OK. But how many times and in how many different ways does an operation like the NYT have to discredit itself before we know better than to take it at face value?

97.

George R

February 16, 2010, 6:46 PM

Re: Tino Sehgal --- I went to the Guggenheim to see Tino Sehgal's effort this afternoon. Fabulous!

Peter Schjeldahl nailed it quite precisely: You will enjoy your visit to the Tino Sehgal whatchamacallit at the Guggenheim—“show” doesn’t fill the bill—or else expose yourself as a hopeless grouch.

People who haven't seen the piece should refrain from discussing it, they just look dumb or grouchy.

Also on view 4 great Brancusi sculptures and some great paintings from the permanent collection.

98.

Tom Hering

February 16, 2010, 6:52 PM

If we had more to go on than "fabulous" then those of us who can't get to NY might be able to discuss the whatchamacallit. Just like we're able to discuss other things we haven't seen in person. Like atrocities in strange countries. ;-)

99.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 6:55 PM

I have no intention of, or interest in, discussing Tino Seghal's work. Schjeldahl's coercive justification for it is another matter. Never before have I seen a writer appeal to fashion victimhood so blatantly.

100.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 7:14 PM

I wouldn't call Schjeldahl coercive here, exactly. He is, of course, being presumptuous and operating from a position of presumably unassailable with-it-ness and ostensibly superior, uh, humanism, or some comparably self-enhancing delusion. He does, after all, write for the New Yorker, which absolutely, positively must be taken at face value (just like a Pulitzer or a Nobel Peace Prize).

101.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 7:19 PM

I do suspect, however, that by "hopeless grouch" he meant "hater," but wisely opted for something less alienating and rather less juvenile. Of course, being a "hater" myself, I tend to think the worst of people like him, but never mind.

102.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 7:24 PM

And Franklin, dah-ling, fashion victimhood is utterly respectable in the very best circles. It's simply what "haters" call being fashionable, jealous losers that they are. You know, sour grapes.

103.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 7:35 PM

I wouldn't have made that connection between "grouch" and "hater." That's astute as hell of you, Jack.

104.

David

February 16, 2010, 8:18 PM

Come on. Schjeldahl was just saying check it out in his stylish way. I also have no interest what so ever. Franklin is a man of compassion, not a fascist. Cheney on the other hand had pretensions to fascism and though I'd stop short of the full Mussolini treatment (as a New England yankee and unapologetic progressive), I wouldn't at all mind seeing him hounded in his golden years by a special prosecutor for his "aid and comfort to the enemy" remarks, or anything else they could get him on.

Jerry is an unapologetic asshole, of the N.Y.C. variety, and says as much, which makes him endearing to some of us who miss N.Y. His wife is a pretty good writer. She was very thoughtful and open minded in her brief appearance on Facebook. As for the Times... Dexter Filkins, Gretchen Morgensen, Paul Krugman, just off the top of my head.

105.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 8:21 PM

I don't know the others but Paul Krugman RULES.

106.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 8:33 PM

David: "...unapologetic progressive...)"

What exactly do you mean by 'progressive.' The use of it implies that those who might not add things up the way a 'progressive' does, aren't progressive. Does the Democratic Party call itself the 'Democratic' Party for the same reason?

107.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 8:48 PM

David, let's just say your idea of stylish is not mine, but my ideas about a lot of things are hardly prevalent; if they were, this thread would have no reason for being. Schjeldahl, of course, is eminently pleased with himself and his presumed bonhomie, but neither he nor it convinces me. Your mileage, naturally, may vary.

108.

David

February 16, 2010, 8:51 PM

Tim, I'm not political enough to say I'm "a" anything. But progressive seems to describe it. I'm for compassion, fairness, common sense. I get mad as hell at people who think they are entitled to untold riches at the expense of the rest of us. Riches are fine, but entitlement, arrogance, and the seven deadly sins suck.

109.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 9:02 PM

The only real sin is lying.

110.

David

February 16, 2010, 9:04 PM

Your mileage, naturally, may vary.

Thanks for that Jack, and of course objects in rear view mirror may be larger than they appear.
I prefer Fairfield Porter (he's big in my rear view), but we take our pleasures where we find them.

111.

David

February 16, 2010, 9:11 PM

Yeah, lying is a big one for me too.

112.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 9:19 PM

I'm a big fan of Sloth, personally speaking.

113.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 9:28 PM

David: "I'm for compassion, fairness, common sense."

You probably don't mean it the way it comes across, but the way you put it makes it seem like the rest of us aren't for compassion, fairness, common sense. It's like saying "I'm for a clean environment." Who isn't for a clean environment? The legitimate argument is about how best to go about having a clean environment.

Wealth is not 'the problem.' The fact that Warren Buffet has forty jillion dollars is not stopping me from having my life. Think of how comparitively little would be left of Buffet's wealth if politicians got to 'redistribute' it. You really don't want that. And I don't believe Buffet ever felt a sense of entitlement, though I know he has Liberal leanings at times, which people who claim to know him refer to as 'guilt.'

And if you don't like entitlements, you're in the wrong place. Where on earth are there more entitlements than in the USA? Except some of us refer to most of them as what they actually are: vote-buying schemes.

114.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 9:33 PM

"Think of how comparitively little would be left of Buffet's wealth if politicians got to 'redistribute' it. You really don't want that."

What I should've said is "Think of how little would be left after politicians got through picking at it before redistribution."

115.

David

February 16, 2010, 9:58 PM

Buffet is fine. He takes a brown bag to lunch and he's generous with his wealth. the way you put it makes it seem like the rest of us aren't for compassion, fairness, common sense. - no judgement of others intended. You asked Tim what I meant if I said I was progressive, so I chose apolitical words hoping to stay out of a political conversation. I could have said mindfullness, compassion and kindness. Those are pretty good.

116.

David

February 16, 2010, 10:09 PM

For Sarah

As John Lennon said, imagine.

117.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 10:24 PM

David: "as a New England yankee and unapologetic progressive"

Sorry if I missed your meaning, but it looked as though you used 'progressive' as a noun. Like many who don't like to be called Liberals like to hide behind the word 'progressive' to make themselves seem with the program, and others not.

The Palin jab would be funny except it's misinformed.

So... You really do value John Lennon's imagination? You think he actually believed it? I'm dying to give you the answer, but it would be better if you looked into it for yourself.

118.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 10:27 PM

The Palin jab would be funny except it's misinformed.

That's okay - so's Palin.

119.

Jack

February 16, 2010, 10:29 PM

Try this for stylish (French, c. 1720s):

Portrait of a Painter (click on image as needed to enlarge)

Note especially the handling of the hands, particularly his left hand. The engraver is now quite forgotten, for practical purposes. So are the skills it took to make this. In his day, this level was the norm for French engraving, so it was considered respectable but not all that special.

120.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 10:30 PM

"That's okay - so's Palin."

Sounds like your logic, Frankiln.

121.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 10:31 PM

I mean, Farnklin.

122.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 10:31 PM

Palin: ♪ ♫ Imagine there's no liberals... ♫ ♪

123.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 10:42 PM

I think this thread just ran out of gas.

124.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 10:43 PM

She really is uninformed. She's a talking point regurgitation machine. Hey - you know how you can tell if she's lying? You can see her lips moving.

125.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 10:44 PM

Gasoline, I mean. Not the other kind of gas.

126.

Franklin

February 16, 2010, 10:50 PM

Jack, that one has a lot more personality than some of the other ones you've posted. Is that in the collection?

127.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 11:00 PM

Jack, it looks completely staged. Is that what you meant by stylish?

That kind of work can be done. Nobody wants it. Except maybe the mints, for bills. And then they pick people who can't get the art of it.

128.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 11:06 PM

Hey, Franklin, I'd compare someone (anyone) to Hitler in the hopes of ending the thread, but it wouldn't end it, just the part with useful content. Small as it might be.

129.

Tim

February 16, 2010, 11:15 PM

Chris: "Hey, Franklin, I'd compare someone (anyone) to Hitler..." Yeah, Chris, that's what you'd do.

130.

Chris Rywalt

February 16, 2010, 11:30 PM

I was really just making a joke about Godwin's Law, not seriously (or even humorously) meaning to compare anyone at all to Hitler, which is not one of those things I do.

Although, now that you mention it, "Yeah, Chris, that's what you'd do" sounds suspiciously like something Hitler would have said....

131.

Tim

February 17, 2010, 12:04 AM

Oh well, I should've known about Godwin's law.

"Although, now that you mention it, "Yeah, Chris, that's what you'd do" sounds suspiciously like something Hitler would have said...."

Right, Chris. What you have to resort to.

132.

Franklin

February 17, 2010, 7:07 AM

Right, Chris. What you have to resort to.

I can practically hear the voice of the Furher.

133.

Tim

February 17, 2010, 8:01 AM

Really, REALLY out of gas. And ideas.

134.

Franklin

February 17, 2010, 8:35 AM

Really?

135.

Jack

February 17, 2010, 8:37 AM

Re 126, it's not in my collection, if that's what you meant. It's after a portrait by the sitter's father, who was also a successful painter (the de Troy family had several painters). Self-portraits and portraits by a close relation typically come out better. The style, of course, is Louis XV with some residual Louis XIV, so it's definitely not going to look like Cezanne.

136.

Chris Rywalt

February 17, 2010, 9:57 AM

Oh, I don't think we've run out of gas until we start talking about Deitch and MOCA.

137.

Jack

February 17, 2010, 10:48 AM

The sitter in 129, Jean-François de Troy, was not a great artist but successful and influential in his time. He was quite versatile (religious, historical and mythological subjects and portraits), but is best remembered for his tableaux de modes, or pictures of fashionable life, derived from Watteau but more matter-of-fact and documentary, like this one:

The Hunt Breakfast (click image to enlarge as needed)

138.

Tim

February 17, 2010, 11:04 AM

de Troy seems to be the sum of a lot of influences. Watteau,Boucher maybe...

139.

Jack

February 17, 2010, 11:31 AM

De Troy was from the generation preceding Boucher's (24 years older). He was nearly a decade older than Boucher's teacher, Le Moyne.

140.

Chris Rywalt

February 17, 2010, 11:55 AM

That looks like one of those paintings I speed-walk past as quickly as possible when working my way through the Met.

141.

Jack

February 17, 2010, 12:48 PM

OK, Chris, so you have attention span issues and live in NJ. Tell us something we don't know.

142.

Chris Rywalt

February 17, 2010, 2:53 PM

I do have attention span issues and I do live in New Jersey. Neither of those things, however, have anything to do with why I speed-walk past those paintings.

Admirable restraint in not pointing out that there's no way on Earth I speed-walk anywhere.

My first job out of college I worked with this guy Ron, a former Special Forces guy, the kind of person who'd wear orange and hand out a particular kind of citrus fruit on St. Patrick's Day with a smile and the certain knowledge that no one would fuck with him. Great guy, really, and very funny. Big. Bigger than me. Ron could really loom.

So one day I'm talking with him about something and it's going on a little long and I say, "Listen, I've gotta run."

Ron held me in place with his eyes before I could turn and in a very quiet voice firmly told me, "You don't run. You never run."

"Okay," I replied, "I have to walk." He smiled as I left. He was exactly right.

143.

Chris Rywalt

February 17, 2010, 3:21 PM

By the way, this is explicit waxing.

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