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Ruth King

Another Big Lie of the Contemporary Art World Revealed Richard Bledscoe

Make some effort to try to understand the works, you bumpkins


“So why are people put off by conceptual art? Often it’s because the artist or gallery hasn’t taken any steps to explain the concepts behind the work. Most visitors to galleries would happily make some effort to try to understand the works but are often only provided with a convoluted press release that includes a line about the work speaking for itself — when it clearly doesn’t.

“For these reasons many visitors will often not engage with the works and be snootily labelled by art world insiders as ‘not getting it’.”

In case you haven’t followed the stultifying degeneration of the contemporary art scene, you might not know Conceptual Art has been the Next Big Thing for about 50 years now. In Conceptual Art, the idea is now an “artist” only needs to have an idea. The actual object can be made by someone else, or be an already existing common object put into a new artistic context, or maybe even not be made at all, but only exist as a documented thought. If a new tangible object is produced, it’s likely been farmed out to anonymous technicians who have actual skills. But it’s the name brand artist who takes the credit and the big money. The lack of actual ability and accomplishment is disguised by lots of pseudo-intellectual academic jargon, designed to obscure rather than illuminate.

Writer Tom Wolfe, in his classic take down of the art world, The Painted Word, had these pretenders pegged back in 1975:

“…there, at last, it was! No more realism, no more representation objects, no more lines, colors, forms, and contours, no more pigments, no more brushstrokes. …Art made its final flight, climbed higher and higher in an ever-decreasing tighter-turning spiral until… it disappeared up its own fundamental aperture…”

Khan gives the game away in his article, but does not seem to realize it:

“After all, the godfather of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp’s concepts weren’t particularly complex. By placing a urinal in a gallery he was questioning how you define what art is, and whether the artist and the setting give weight to an artwork. Philosophical questions which are still relevant today.”

What Marcel Duchamp did-besides probably stealing the credit for his most infamous work from a mentally ill woman artist– was twist art from a vibrant, visceral experience into an ironic elitist assertion. The date of R. Mutt’s toilet in the gallery was 1917. It’s literally been a hundred years, and the establishment art world is all in on simply creating variations on the same old tired shock tactics.

Conceptual superstar Damien Hirst

This is different because it’s a toilet and a dead animal

Khan nails it when he says Duchamp (or whoever it really was) was not complex. Where he gets it so wrong is assuming that words can be used to justify the inadequate offerings of our corrupted cultural institutions.

Khan obviously believes art needs an enlightened priest caste to transmogrify and translate art for the ignorant peasants. It’s an arrogant assumption very prevalent inside the art world bubble. The Postmodern creative class blames the audience instead of looking at their own failures to communicate and connect.

Art does have a philosophical element to it-but it is so much more than that. And words can never act as a substitute for a visual experience which moves and inspires. Ultimately art is a mysterious, timeless expression that cannot be reduced to language. If we could say it, we wouldn’t have to show it to you.

The art world rebels the Stuckists know the truth. At the core of their principled stand for an art of the people, by the people, for the people, they state a truth we can hold to be self evident:

“Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.”

-The Stuckist Manifesto

The Anti-Trump Bourbons: Learning and Forgetting Nothing in Time for 2020 By Victor Davis Hanson

Just seven months into Donald Trump’s administration we are already bombarded with political angling and speculations about the 2020 presidential race. No one knows in the next three years what can happen to a volatile Trump presidency or his psychotic enemies, but for now such pronouncements of doom seem amnesiac if not absurd. https://amgreatness.com/2017/08/14/anti-trump-bourbons-learning-forgetting-nothing-time-2020/

Things are supposedly not going well politically with Donald Trump lately, after a series of administration firings, internecine White House warring, and controversial tweets. A Gallup Poll has him at only a 34 percent positive rating, and losing some support even among Republicans (down to 79 percent)—although contrarily a recent Rasmussen survey shows him improving to the mid-forties in popularity. Nonetheless, we are warned that even if Trump is lucky enough not to be impeached, if he is not removed under the 25th Amendment or the Emoluments Clause, if he does not resign in shame, even if he has the stamina to continue under such chaos, even if he seeks reelection and thus even more punishment, he simply cannot win in 2020.

In answer to such assumed expertise, one could answer with Talleyrand’s purported quip about our modern-day Bourbons that “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

Namely, Trump’s enraged critics still do not grasp that he is a reflection of, not a catalyst for, widespread anger and unhappiness with globalization, interventionist foreign policy, Orwellian political correctness, identity politics, tribalism, open borders, and a Deep State that lectures and condemns but never lives the consequences of its own sermonizing.

In particular, the current conundrum and prognostications ignore several constants.

Do Americans Really Believe that Pollsters and the Media Have Reformed?

One, despite the recent Gallup poll, most polls still show Trump’s at about a 40 percent approval rating—nearly the same level of support as shortly before the November 2016 election. That purported dismal level of support is pronounced to be near fatal, when in fact it is not.

Since a) pollsters likely have not much changed their methodology since 2016, and since b) it is fair so assume that the media and those who poll for them continue to despise Trump, and since c) Trump’s exasperating eccentricities continue to make his supporters cautious about voicing their support (even to anonymous pollsters and political surveyors), we can conclude that his actual support could be about 45-47 percent—or close to the percentage of the popular vote he won in 2016.

Given that Trump’s base in the key swing states of the Midwest (the so-called Democratic “blue wall”) has not weakened, there is no real reason yet to think Trump could not win the Electoral College again in 2020 in the same fashion as 2016. In 2004 and 2012, we were told respectively that an unpopular George W. Bush and a sinking Barack Obama might lose reelection; instead they both were re-elected largely with the same election calculus and an even stronger base of support that carried them to victory four years earlier.

Do Americans Really Believe the Messenger Nullifies the Message?

As in 2016, many of those who voted for Trump would prefer that he curb his tweets, clean up his language, sleep eight instead of five hours, and follow all the conventional-wisdom admonitions offered about his misbehavior. But that said, nearly half of the country is probably still willing to overlook his eccentricities for several reasons.

Trump now has a presidential record of eight months. Despite the media’s neglect of it, one can sense changes by just getting out and traveling the country. Even in rural central California, one can feel that it really is true that there is a 76 percent drop in illegal immigration, and immigration law is being taken seriously as never before.

What Do We Say About Decent Men Who Died for a Wicked Cause? By David P. Goldman

Southern slaveholders were rapists. We know this because only 73% of the DNA of African-Americans is African; the rest is Caucasian with a small fraction of Native American. Most of the admixture of DNA, a McGill University study concludes, occurred before the Civil War, that is, when slaveholders and their white employees could use female slaves at will. Keep that in mind the next time Foghorn Leghorn sounds off about the honor of Southern womanhood. To own slaves is wicked; to rape female slaves and sell one’s children by them is disgusting in the extreme. Yet that is what the Old South did, and the DNA evidence proves it.

This simple fact bears on the problem of Confederate monuments, which is far from simple.

Nonetheless “Gone With the Wind” remains the highest-grossing Hollywood film of all time (in inflation-adjusted dollars). Why do Americans wallow in nostalgia for the antebellum South? Partly for the same reason we like gangsters: We like the idea of getting something for nothing. We’ve always had a split personality, part Yankee farmer and part riverboat gambler. But part of our sympathy for the South, I think, stems from our horror at the scale of butchery required to win the war. Full disclosure: I’ve never been able to watch GWTW, except in brief segments. I wanted Scarlett O’Hara to pick cotton until her hands fell off.

Why hasn’t Hollywood ever made a film about Sherman’s march through Georgia? This is my favorite moment in American history. He killed very few people (and almost no civilians) but he burnt plantation houses and humiliated the South. As Machiavelli wrote, a man will forgive the murder of his father before the loss of his inheritance. Not Grant, who killed off Lee’s army, but rather Sherman–who kept casualties low but the flames high–is hated in the South. That shows what the South really was fighting for, just like their song says: “We are a band of brothers/Native to the soil/Fighting for the property/We gained by honest toil.” Sherman might be our greatest military commander of all time, yet we do not celebrate his achievements.

The wound that the Civil War left in the white South has never healed. Fully 28% of military-age Southern men died in the Civil War, comparable to the German death toll in World War II. The Germans were the better soldiers, with a killing efficiency 20%-30% higher than their British and American enemies, and the Confederates were the better soldiers in the Civil War, defeated by superior Northern numbers and industrial capacity–at least until Sherman’s Westerners arrived in Georgia. The fact that the Southerners were brave and capable soldiers is not by itself a cause for celebration.

I can accept the idea that Robert E. Lee was a decent man. Decent men fought for causes even more wicked than the Confederacy. Would the Germans erect a monument to Field Marshal Rommel, a professional soldier murdered by Hitler? Of course not. They are left to mourn their dead in private. America had a different sort of dilemma. We fought the Civil War to preserve the Union, including a South that was only sorry that it lost. In the interests of unity we tolerated (and even promoted) the myth of Southern gallantry, the Lost Cause, and all the other baloney that went into D.W. Griffiths’ “The Birth of a Nation” and GWTW. We allowed the defeated South to console itself with the myth that it fought for “states’ rights” or whatever rather than to preserve a vile system of economic (and sometimes sexual) exploitation. Meanwhile the freed slaves had a very bad century between Appomattox and the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Don’t expect them to look with understanding on the supposed symbols of “Southern heritage.”

A firsthand account of diversity craziness at Clemson University By Clayton Warnke

Across American campuses, there is an assault on students’ First Amendment rights. Such assaults are excused in the name of inclusion and diversity, but students who call for more diversity often fail to see the irony in demanding criminal prosecution for those spreading “hate speech.” From Title IX policies that deny the accused due process to “bias response teams” who punish those who offend, the desire of universities to achieve what they believe to be “diversity” has, actually, all but killed ideological diversity.

Take my university, Clemson. Bananas were hung on a banner located on a historical site for slaves, which mobilized a large group of students to protest and call on the administration to make changes. Clemson’s administration had already launched many oddly structured attempts at diversity and inclusion, some of which have landed it in the national spotlight, like the university’s Title IX training for incoming freshmen. As a freshman, I was asked questions about my sex life in great detail, expected to specify the type of sex, with whom, and how many times a week via an online module. Although this information would not be made public, the university would have a record of it. At the time, I had no idea what the Title IX training aimed to achieve or why it was fundamentally wrong, but it was. This training was a complete and total invasion of personal privacy, and the university has no business asking such questions. This mandatory training, which was part of freshman orientation, is a massive invasion into students’ privacy, done under the guise of bringing the school into compliance with federal guidelines.

The political correctness overreach didn’t stop there. Clemson also has a Bias Incident Response Protocol (BIRP) and an intense sexual harassment policy. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) labels schools using a red, yellow, and green light grading scale, with the green light corresponding to the best case in terms of First Amendment protections and red the worst. FIRE has labeled BIRP and the Clemson’s sexual harassment policy as yellow- and red-light policies, respectively. According to FIRE, BIRP does not clearly define parameters of harassment in line with the definition that has come down from prior court rulings, so the clause is left open to interpretation. As a result, easily offended students report others – sometimes getting them punished – via the protocol.

Student groups such as See the Stripes, a group focused on diversity and social justice, have now begun to call for radical changes that would undermine the rights of students to free expression and ideological exploration – not only infringing on their rights, but also destroying the purpose of the institution itself. These groups now demand safe spaces that exclude white people and males. Furthermore, they assert that hiring and admissions decisions should be made on the basis of race and gender, not merit.

Jihad at Chautauqua By Tabitha Korol

Chautauqua Institution, originally a cultural center, is now a disseminator of Islamic messaging to reach out to uninformed Christians and Jews programmed to accept multiculturalism. Featured speaker Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic Center for Middle East Policy, is part of the worldwide movement financed by oil money.

In a lecture on August 9 at the Institution’s center at Chautauqua, N.Y., he spoke of American anxiety, incongruously blaming occasions such as buying jam at the grocers, where, alas, so many choices will cause regret that one hasn’t purchased the best option. He sees no beauty in the many fruits, flavors, or quality, or why, if one manufacturer makes jam and employs and pays a decent wage to improve life for himself and his neighbors, another cannot do the same in another locality.

Blind to possibilities, Hamid is instead guided by Islamic rules, allowing only one jam, or having one of his housebound wives make it. He prefers that leadership dictate one’s lifestyle by force; create one nation, the Ummah; one law, sharia; and one goal, world domination.

Where democratic nations have excelled in science and technology, medical advances, improvements in agriculture and water technology so that humanity may flourish, the Islamic culture is based on shame and honor, along with a high illiteracy rate to impede progress. Their greatness will come when all vestiges of advanced societies are destroyed.

Hamid described the universal condition as a “struggle,” but he meant “jihad,” as struggle is rarely part of the Western vernacular. Hamid is a moderate, unweaponed jihadi, hoping to conquer by message, to convince his conditioned audience that his culture is superior, and particularly to reach those who have chosen the altar of liberalism over Judaism and Christianity, from which derived those freedoms, morals, and ethics imperative to happiness and peace. Judaism and Christianity do not struggle for meaning; struggle is a proclivity of all forms of fascism, because authoritarianism provides no contentment.

The divisiveness that Hamid sees in America comes not from democracy, but from those who seek its destruction. Our laws provide respect for human rights, religious freedom, worker rights, a secure peace by combating international terrorism, stability, prosperity, open markets and economic development, improvement in the global environment and human health, and the enemy hopes to use our laws to defeat us. Arab-American author Nonie Darwish penned a warning: “America must protect its democracy, culture, and sovereignty from nations with aspirations of conquering us from within.”

We need only look to the Islamic Middle East to see Hamid’s “rich tapestry of traditions and contentment” — the rampant violence that has now created a “lost generation” of Middle East men — 30,000 suicides, 35,000 deaths from interpersonal violence, a ten-fold increase of fatalities from HIV/AIDS in 25 years (a side effect of FGM on women), and 144,000 deaths from wars in 22 Islamic nations.

Stanford University course to study ‘abolishing whiteness’ Matthew Stein

Stanford University is slated to offer a class this fall called “White Identity Politics,” during which students will “survey the field of whiteness studies” and discuss the “possibilities of … abolishing whiteness,” according to the course description.https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/35419/

Citing pundits who say “the 2016 Presidential election marks the rise of white identity politics in the United States,” the upper-level anthropology seminar will draw “from the field of whiteness studies and from contemporary writings that push whiteness studies in new directions.”

Questions to be posed throughout the semester include: “Does white identity politics exist?” and “How is a concept like white identity to be understood in relation to white nationalism, white supremacy, white privilege, and whiteness?”

“Students will consider the perils and possibilities of different political practices,” according to the course description, “including abolishing whiteness or coming to terms with white identity.”

The course will be taught by instructor John Patrick Moran. Reached by e-mail, Moran declined to comment, instead directing The College Fix to Stanford communication’s office.

Ernest Miranda, a spokesman for Stanford, told The Fix via e-mail that “‘abolishing whiteness’ is a concept put forward in the 1990s by a number of white historians. Their belief was that if other white people would, like them, stop identifying politically as white, it would help end inequalities.”

Miranda added that “abolishing whiteness” is “among the past and current concepts that will be considered” in the “White Identity Politics” course. The Fix requested a copy of the syllabus, but Miranda declined, saying “we do not share our course materials.”

Reached by e-mail, Stanford Professor Tomás Jiménez, who told The Fix that he sponsored astudent-led class at Stanford on whiteness last semester, said via e-mail that whiteness is “the set of behaviors and outlooks associated with the racial category, white.”

“Just about any social category and subcategory has a ‘…ness’ to it. So, liberals and conservatives; men and women; Wisconsinites and New Yorkers are all social categories, and adding ‘ness’ to any of them is shorthand for the behaviors and outlooks associated with that category,” said Jiménez, an associate professor of sociology and comparative studies in race and ethnicity.

Professors Told to Treat Microaggressions Like Assaults By Tom Knighton

Ah, the beauty of a microaggression. If you’re not overly familiar with the term, a microaggression is when you say something that’s not outright racist or sexist but still upsets the recipient of the said comment nonetheless.

Some examples of microaggressions include asking someone’s ethnicity in any non-approved manner and mistakenly thinking someone of a given race can speak a particular non-English language because of his or her ethnic heritage.

Now, to be clear, some so-called microaggressions are understandably an issue, but not because of bigotry. Some people just say stupid stuff that comes out very differently than how it was intended.

However, as The College Fix reports, some professors are being urged to treat that poor wording just the same as a punch to the face.

Professors attending a recent academic conference were advised to treat racial microaggressions in the classroom like actual assaults, according to attendees’ tweets.

The advice was doled out at a panel workshop at the annual Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference, held in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The workshop at which the comments were made focused on ways to make theater for students of color a “safe space,” according to the conference’s program.

“A panel discussion exploring an adaption of the ‘Safe Spaces’ LQBTQ training model and applying it to faculty training for all theatre students of color,” the program states.

“Treating racism in our classrooms as we would an assault removes the burden from the victim and begins to create safe space,” one scholar in attendance, Professor Shawna Mefferd Kelty of SUNY Plattsburgh, tweeted out.

The problem, however, is that once again, the left is equating words with actual violence.

The Ivy League Has Lost Sight of What Really Matters Somewhere along the line, our most prestigious universities abandoned their mission in favor of manufacturing cookie-cutter adults. By Noah Weinrich

Editor’s Note: This Piece was originally published by Acculturated. It is reprinted here with permission.

Earlier this summer, I attended a two-week summer philosophy course that included many students from Ivy League universities. It didn’t take long for me to realize that although these students were brilliant, they seemed to be receiving an education that was harming them.

I learned that Ivy League schools have lost sight of what matters in education. Instead of focusing on truth, learning, and the higher things in life, our elite colleges have turned into pressure cookers designed to churn out the ideal professional. Instead of providing a challenging, rigorous education, our higher institutions of learning are content to indoctrinate their students before shipping them off to Silicon Valley or Wall Street, diploma in hand, to make their millions. That’s not what college is meant to be.

When our group of college seniors, which included students from Cornell and Stanford Universities, among other elite colleges, visited the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., this point was driven home. Viewing a particular piece of art, I made an offhand comment about Plato’s cave. The two students with me looked puzzled: “What’s Plato’s cave?”

Not everyone needs to know what Plato’s cave is, of course, but I was stunned that two elite students, hand-picked for a summer program that focused on philosophy, had never heard of one of the foundational ideas of Western civilization. My peers at Hillsdale College, a place not ranked among the nation’s elite colleges, read portions of Plato’s Republic during their freshman year, and even if they are not experts in philosophy, they can at least recognize an allusion to Plato. If “elite” students don’t understand history, philosophy, or literature, what are they learning?

Many of them are well versed in the contemporary grievance industry and can speak fluently on politically correct subjects such as “intersectionality.” Of course this is not universally true, but in the absence of real core curricula at many elite colleges, much falls through the gaping cracks.

By contrast, at many non–Ivy League liberal-arts colleges, communities of learning are intact. Students take small classes, work their way through a comprehensive core curriculum, and love learning and challenging ideas. But at the Ivies, I get the impression from my peers that accomplishments and skill and résumé-building often matter more than pursuing truth and risking failure in the process.

Chemical-Bomb Plot Inspired by Islamic State: Indonesian Police Five arrested over alleged plan to build complex bombs that would escalate capacity of local militants By Anita Rachman

JAKARTA—Indonesian police are investigating an alleged terror plot by Islamic State supporters suspected of attempting to build chemical bombs for attacks at the presidential palace and other targets.

Five people have been arrested, police said, just ahead of Thursday’s planned celebrations for the anniversary of Indonesia’s independence. Police said the attacks were to be carried out by the end of this month, but didn’t say whether they were planned to disrupt the events specifically.

The use of chemicals as a terror agent would mark an escalation in the capacity of Indonesia’s militants, who have been unable to build sophisticated explosive devices in recent years. Police said the type of device planned was more complex than the pressure-cooker bombs typically used.

“We found chemicals and written documents detailing instructions on how to create chemical bombs,” said Yusri Yunus, spokesman for the police in West Java. The arrests were made Tuesday in Bandung, about 90 miles southeast of Jakarta.

Police didn’t say how close the suspects were to completing a device to disperse chemicals, nor did they identify the type of chemicals found. Mr. Yunus said the smoke from one substance “could burn the skin.”

Among those arrested were a husband and wife, police said, but the identities of the suspects haven’t been disclosed and it is not known if they have legal representation.

About 5,000 police and military personnel will be deployed at sensitive locations in Jakarta during Thursday’s celebrations, police said. Such holiday deployments are customary in Indonesia. In May, a pair of terror-related blasts killed three police officers who were stationed at a bus terminal ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We stay alert during the National Day celebrations,” said Prabowo Argo Yuwono, spokesman for the Jakarta police. CONTINUE AT SITE

Hurrah for the ACLU In Charlottesville, a principled stand for the speech rights of even odious speakers.By William McGurn

It’s not every day this columnist finds himself on the same side as WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald and the American Civil Liberties Union.

That’s especially true for the ACLU, because these days it has too often let progressive politics trump its founding mission of protecting core civil liberties such as speech and due process. All the more reason, however, to applaud the ACLU for the principled—and unpopular—stand it took in Charlottesville, Va., for free speech.

In two tweets put out just hours after James Alex Fields drove his Dodge Challenger into the crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many others, the ACLU’s national office explained its work in Charlottesville this way. “The First Amendment is a critical part of our democracy,” it said, “and it protects vile, hateful, and ignorant speech. For this reason, the ACLU of Virginia defended the white supremacists’ right to march.”

This, of course, hasn’t tempered the outrage on Twitter , where the attacks on the ACLU are mostly variations of “How could you?” Or in the New York Times , where a Princeton prof complained that the ACLU goes out of its way “to defend the rights of provocative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter to speak on campuses but has been virtually silent on cases involving leftist or progressive faculty members who face suspension for provocative comments.” On Monday Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe piled on, suggesting the violence was the ACLU’s fault.

The unkindest cut came from within, when a board member of the ACLU’s Virginia chapter resigned in protest of . . . well . . . the ACLU. “I won’t be a fig leaf for Nazis,” declared Waldo Jaquith.

Plainly Mr. Jaquith, when he joined the ACLU, somehow hadn’t noticed that way back in 1977 the organization had defended a similarly provocative plan by Nazis to hold a march in Skokie, a Chicago suburb where Jewish Holocaust survivors constituted a high percentage of the population. In the end the ACLU prevailed at the Supreme Court but lost many donors and members in the process. (Ironically, the Nazis never did march in Skokie.) CONTINUE AT SITE