June 24, 2012

Brand New Day

by Catherine King and Jerome du Bois

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. --Winston Churchill

Over three long years we've been gone from this blog. We've shed many tears, and many things. But we have returned, ready to pick up right where we left off, confronting Trashy Culture head on. Watch your back, schadenfreude.

Perseverance is an act of faith, and we've got plenty of both.

Upcoming postings:

A pro-life piece by Catherine King. We are Roman Catholic converts, but emphatically not the social justice kind. Just to be clear up front.

An investigative piece on the Cult of Death.

A piece on the hypocrisy and viciousness of ethnic racism, and the self-loathing and fear of real life that lie behind the masks of "immutable" racial identity. Written by Jerome du Bois.

As far as our own art, Catherine has been working on a major collage for the last two tortuous years. In the meantime, the reader can examine close-ups of the banner above in more detail at this link. And over on the right there you can link to much more of her stunning work besides.

And yes, we're still working on the Cuban novel.

* * * * *

This is Jerome (but Catherine's here, too, of course): Linking my way back through the archives, I'm proud of the several ways we consistently stood up for the individual --unique and nonfungible, each and every one-- for human dignity, and the ordinary heroism of facing each day honestly. We examined reverse racism, the social justice dispositions, the academic con game, sophomoric art and stunted artists; we confronted Islam head on, and will continue that practice. The same with illegal immigration, in spades. We championed patriotism. We questioned taxpayer support for dubious aesthetic programs and persons; and we blogged against Barack and Michelle Obama. Bluntly, we were Tea Party before there was such a profound movement, and we're glad to join up again.

Here's a typical summary of our aesthetic position:

These "curators" never get tired of trotting out the limited elliptical vocabulary of the social justice dispositions --issues of identity, commentary on X, assigned powers, broader examination, continuing concerns-- but if you examine the output of all forty-eight artists, as I have, all you find is cartoon surrealism, pop-culture appropriation, and nihilistic collage, and an abiding contempt for humanity. In this exhibition you will find no nobility, no beauty, no mystery, no wonder, no tenderness, no psychological complexity, only cookie-cutter stereotypes spoon-fed to these fools by their charlatan teachers. If you can get away with it, it's a lot easier than dealing with reality.

I also want to emphasize that our paramount aesthetic principle is originality, the striving to wrestle something new and strong into the world. To settle for nothing less. To constantly challenge oneself. These days originality is an orphan, and when Trashy Culture with its fascistic conformity can't ignore it, the shining original idea or object finds itself ridiculed and viciously attacked.

Thirdly, our paramount political principle is adherence to classical American ideas and values. Here let me reintroduce Catherine King's poetic dream from July 10, 2004, which unfurls in part like this:

(Catherine writes) America the Beautiful -- that was the name of my installation for "Democracy in America." It would be a diorama inside of a room-sized tableau.

Lying there in the blackness I could see it:

You look into a studio apartment with one wall removed for viewing. On the wall facing you, the tiny apartment has a window onto the surrounding city. This is the diorama -- a three-dimensional street scene behind the window glass.

The street has the look and feel of a funky neighborhood in a Southwestern city. On the opposite side of the street is a graceless stripmall. There are storefronts for a charter high school, with an inspirational mural across the front, a mom-and-pop computer repair shop, a little mail store/copy shop, and a Sally's Beauty Supply.

The figures of the people walking past the window, or lingering on the sidewalk, will be about the size of those that Jon Haddock and his friends made for 98-107, but modelled far better. Also on the sidewalk are newspaper dispensers for New Times, PennySaver, and Auto Trader. A Mexican immigrant wheels by with his shiny white ice cream cart. In the street, Fed Ex and UPS trucks rush by each other in passing lanes.

Seated cross-legged on the floor of the studio-sized tableau room, a life-size woman works from the light of the window. She is American Woman and she is bright red -- on account of her blood, her passion. It has nothing to do with skin color.

American Woman is in the middle of working on some complex, Do-It-Yourself project. Spread around her on the floor are a cell phone, note pads, city maps, phone books and Idiots-Guides-To-Many-Things. One can see that this woman is truly connected to the world outside her humble abode.

The tiny apartment is uniquely, but cheaply decorated. It's fascinating, really. American Woman has created a beautiful environment from readily available materials. She would never save and wait forever to spend a lot of money on fancy digs. Life is to be grasped right now. Today is what matters.

American Woman is a freelance artist, stylist, designer. She sits there designing her business card. Let's see . . . Graphic Artist, no, Graphic Designer, no, Graphic Stylist, no, Style Consultant, no, Design Consultant, yes, that's it! This American Woman is preparing to take her talent outside and drum up some work while she improves the environment. When she looks out her window, she can imagine her handiwork all over her neighborhood -- posters, logos, signs, newspaper covers. Signs of dynamic, ongoing progress. America the Beautiful -- she helps make it so.

I was so excited, it was all I could do to keep from waking up Jerome to describe it. Instead, I stumbled in the dark to the computer and began inputting my vision . . . (end of excerpt)

We believe in America and American Exceptionalism, and we believe America will show Barack Obama the door this year. Just to clear that up.

Time to start stirring through the Trash, then.

I was musing on writing an update of one of our earliest postings, Read It And Sleep: Local Artists Talk About . . . What? June 21, 2003 (!) After all, The Phoenix New Times has helpfully compiled their Big Brain/100 Creatives list the last few years, handy in their archives.

So I blogged, logged, and slogged through the artists --only the artists, not the musicians and chefs, the gallerists and thrift-shop entrepreneurs. Nothing has changed. These are Big Brains? I remembered a couplet I first ran across in William Peter Blatty's Legion, spoken by the neurosurgeon Amfortas:

If the mass of the brain were the mass of the mind, the bear would be shooting at my behind.

Even the food truck people were more interesting. So I decided not to introduce a soporific as part of our first return posting. But one odious entry stuck in my head, so I'm going to probe it briefly, using my long tongs for sure, because it neatly captures the utter lack of moral boundaries and adult judgment at that salacious rag; illuminates the every-brat-is-a-genius corruption Catherine had to suffer through as a middle-school public teacher; and points to the current epidemic of parental failure as well.

Number 79 of the 100 Creatives for 2012 is eleven years old. Read it and weep, and then come back.

Two points: (1) The poor little fool has no talent (so watch out, Hector Ruiz, here comes a new contender). When I was eleven, my friends and I used to sit around our living rooms, copying Big Daddy Ed Roth designs and decals; superheroes; and our own monsters, with slathering tongues and saber teeth. But the important point is that we labored to make them real, with shading and modeling and close attention to anatomy, even flaming eyeballs. But this kid? Look at those infantile outlines. They are completely unoriginal, slavishly copying what her parents and other enablers wanted to see. Nobody told her to move on, move up, challenge herself. Nobody told her, "You're not special." And teacher after teacher --maybe with parents breathing down their necks-- signed off with As all the way up to what, now? fifth grade? Sheesh. They're not doing the kid any favors, but she's more than willing to believe their fawning lies. Catherine says, "Thank God I no longer have to be subjected to the bullying of spoiled brats, browbeating teachers, and overbearing administrators --all so nobody hurts the feelings of some kid who has no talent whatsoever. I have suffered for the authority to judge her work, and the freedom to speak the truth about it."

(2) Her parents, and everyone else who signed off on her appearance in this awful tabloid, don't mind that she's going to shop it around --already has, of course, since this was months ago-- to all her little friends, so each of them can examine the decadent and pornographic content --articles, slideshows, and advertisements alike-- that make up this pulpy embarrassment to humanity, a venue where the pallid phrase "sex-positive" cloaks its true, vicious meaning: "All women are whores." Catherine points out, "Doesn't Amy Silverman have daughters? What the hell is wrong with her?"

Catherine has noticed that Number 79 draws little monsters, because that's the self-image she and all her friends embody: they are little monsters, and unless some adult somewhere reins them in, soon they will seek out and torture the next Karen Klein, with relish and without remorse. Glenn Beck said of those lousy punks, "They're dead inside." No, it's worse --the worm of evil thrives within them.

Catherine adds: About the huge donations to the shocked and suffering Mrs. Klein, I believe the majority of parent donors have given out of guilt because they know for a fact their own children have been guilty of just such behavior --maybe even more than once-- and they didn't do a damned thing about it.

Money won't mend Karen Klein's broken heart. What would begin her healing would be for all those guilty parents to stand up and admit they have helped create these little monsters. Mrs. Klein needs to witness stand-up admissions of remorse-- for these people, the so-called children included, to rise above themselves, to step up to being better people.

Jerome again: Enough said, except to anticipate two objections. This isn't schadenfreude. We don't enjoy disclosing these truths; consider them necessary educational correctives to all guilty parties involved. Second, if we've hurt this kid's feelings, tough shit.

* * * * *

As a coda, we asked ourselves to pick five pieces out of over eight hundred to share with new and former readers alike. First, five from Catherine King:

Beverly McIver: An Unbecoming Portrait. August 25, 2003.

Just 'Fro Stories: How SMoCA and New Times Jump Right in Da Guilted Frame; or, Don't Blame Your Bad Black Hair Days on My White Skin. December 12, 2003.

This Little Light: My Encounter With A Flame-Snuffer. June 1, 2003.

America the Beautiful: American Woman. July 10, 2004.

Introducing the House of Not for Sale: THREE FLAGS

And five from Jerome du Bois:

A Little Chin Music About Music. December 10, 2007.

The Q in Question. April 21, 2008.

Obsession and Wordplay. October 2, 2006.

¿Quien Eres? Five Answers. July 2, 2007.

Twenty-First-Century Courtly Follies. April 26, 2008.

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Posted by Jerome at June 24, 2012 09:00 PM | TrackBack