by Jerome du Bois
In today's Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green takes apart Dodie Kazanjian's profile of Elizabeth Peyton in the October Vogue.
It sounded familiar to me. I did this earlier, and better, without the gushing and irrelevant photos. Let's see . . . ah, here it is, back on September 28, I posted a long piece called "Anti-Bush Art is Puerile." Part of it covered the special portfolio in Artforum that included Peyton's Kerry portrait.
Excerpt begins here:
. . . Then comes Elizabeth Peyton's hilariously devotional high-school portrait of John Kerry (online), which should be signed in the lower right corner, "All my love, Johnny." I'm going to dote on her a bit, since she's the artist of the moment -- and we can only hope that moment will be brief. Remember as you read: she is 39 years old.
The October Vogue, in Dodie Kazanjian's profile, contains a gold mine of Peyton's juvenile, narcissistic thoughts, and accurate descriptions of her work:
I myself have heard her work described as lightweight, "pretty," and as saccharine-sweet as the gushings of an obsessive teenage girl -- another symptom of the youth culture that disfigures our time. . . . Whether what she does can be called portraiture is debatable. . .
By general agreement, a great portrait shows us profound truths about both the sitter and the artist, and Peyton's don't do that. In one sense, they are all self-portraits -- dealized images that reflect her feelings about the people she chooses to paint. She seems to love every one of her subjects -- "That's why I paint them," she says. "I could never do the Windsors, for example, because there's something so evil about them." [But not Kerry the Dismemberer?]
. . . "Gavin [Brown] seemed to understand that it wasn't just painting I was interested in, it was more a sense of my time and history and the power of art, and what it could do to inspire other people and culture. . . ."
[On Kurt Cobain and his suicide]: " . . . I heard his voice on the acoustic album that was put out about six months after he commited suicide, and I thought, Oh, my God, I can't believe this man was alive at the same time I was. I was so moved that this person had existed and made what he'd made. He was the first person kind of my age, who was American, that I really, really identified with and wanted to paint."
What's constant in all these images [portraits] is not accurate likeness, or even personality, but a kind of obsessive, fanlike identification. Each of her pictures is like an act of love.
It's all about her. And of course the most MOR fashion designer around, Marc Jacobs -- he of the cashmere yawn -- is wild about her stuff.
"It's women like Elizabeth who inspire me," Jacobs told me, "women who are alive today and play a creative role in the world."
Finally -- she's taking landscape classes, and her next portrait subject will be Abraham Lincoln:
"I made some paintings of him the other day," she tells me. "I discovered he looks a lot like Cameron Diaz."
. . . I am usually not at a loss for words, but I flounder as I struggle to find some common ground between Ms. Peyton's tweenie planet and mine, good old Earth.
Excerpt ends. You be the judge, reader.
(The anti-Bush art piece, by the way, was a two-parter, but after the election, the second part seemed blessedly irrelevant.)
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
by Jerome du Bois
Learn from this. -- The Captain, Saving Private Ryan, dying words.
. . . you have to accept death to defeat evil. -- Mike, below.
This is why:
In Fallujah, the enemy had a military-type planning system going on. Some of the fighters were wearing body armor and kevlars, just like we do. Soldiers took fire from heavy machine guns (.50 cal) and came across the dead bodies of fighters from Chechnya, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, and so on...no, this was not just a city of pissed off Iraqis, mad at the Coalition for forcing Saddam out of power. It was a city full of people from all over the Middle East whose sole mission in life was to kill Americans. Problem for them is that they were in the wrong city in November 2004. . . .
. . . Anyone back home who thinks the world is a safe place needs to come here for a day and learn real fast that there are an awful lot of people out there who hate Americans so much that they risk their lives to try to kill us. We cannot live peacefully back at home right now unless we continue to stay on the offensive against our enemies and fight them in their backyards. Remember, radical Arabs started this war . . . and they continue to fight it, proving to America over and over that they need to be fought.
I am hopeful that most Americans understand that you have to accept death to defeat evil; all of us soldiers accepted that the day we signed up.There are some things worth fighting and dying for, and making the world and especially America, a safer place, is one of them. For every Mom out there that you read about who turns into a peace protestor when her son is killed in action, there are 99 Moms you don't hear about who are proud and believe in this mission even more.
From 2Slick's Forum. 2Slick is a 31-year-old male Black Hawk Pilot. He started his blog in September 2004. And I love his tagline:
A place where nothing is safe from the truth . . .
Please, go read all of Mike's letter.
by Jerome du Bois
From this morning's New York Times:
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore was stabbed to death on a city street last night by a self-styled "aesthetic militant," according to a note stuck into his chest with the murder weapon, a barbecue skewer.
The note went on to demand the revocation -- "in the name of Truthful Art" -- of all of Moore's awards, "especially the ones from Cannes, otherwise Quentin Tarantino is next."
By morning, sixteen private jets from Hollywood dotted the airports around the city, and fifty-eight producers, actors and directors converged at the Paramount to prepare for a spontaneous outpouring of grief.
Tarantino, his hotel door flanked by bodyguards wearing all black and derby hats, remained in his room, reportedly festooned with crossed bandoleros. Reached for comment, spokesperson Rob Reiner expressed outrage: "This is terrible, horrible, disgusting. He was a great man, and a brave one."
And he added, "I've never heard of anything like this before."
Okay, I made it all up, but this Nov. 24th post by Roger Simon --
Meanwhile, have a look at this piece in the WSJ, which confirms what I've been saying on this blog for some time regarding the strange silence of Hollywood on the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.
-- reminded me of something Greg Allen, of greg.org, said in a comment to me about three weeks ago, when I started writing about Theo van Gogh. (The article Mr. Simon refers to is the excellent one by Bridget Johnson, "Look Who's Not Talking.")
I had slammed Mr. Allen for writing a facetious post about van Gogh's murder, and he came at me with his nose in the air. You can go read it here if you want, but the part I want to repeat concerns a list of people I included in my post:
. . . here's a short list of so-called luminaries who have as yet not weighed in -- had nothing to say -- about Mr. van Gogh's death: Doug Aitken, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Barney, Bjork, David Geffen, Jeaneane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Sherry Lansing, Penny Marshall, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Kurt Russell, Julian Schnabel, Steven Speilberg, Oliver Stone, Susan Sarandon, Lars von Trier, and John Waters.
This is Mr. Allen's comment on my list:
Do you not see that the specific list of people you're so quick to condemn are possibly only imporant to YOU? I mean, come on, Matthew Barney?? Who could possibly care what he thinks about Islamicist hate crimes in Amsterdam? Or, taking a purely pragmatic view, what possible purpose besides your own would be served by his statement of outrage over a prima facie violation of individual rights?
Do you not see that the specific list of people you're so quick to condemn are possibly only imporant to YOU?
No, I don't see that. I think they're important to a lot of people, especially those who hire them. And Roger Simon thinks they're important, too, and I respect him. He's paid dues, he's got a broken heart. Yours is stone.
I mean, come on, Matthew Barney?? Who could possibly care what he thinks about Islamicist hate crimes in Amsterdam?
Why didn't you pick Doug Aitken, who is even more "obscure" than Barney? Barney is platinum in Europe, he knows many people in the art and film world there, and his raised voice would resonate.
Or, taking a purely pragmatic view, what possible purpose besides your own would be served by his statement of outrage over a prima facie violation of individual rights?
Another stupid question. My voice is one. The twenty-one people on my list are megaphones, reaching thousands. It appears that you personally feel powerless, otherwise you would know: Everybody counts. Every voice matters, even your wavering one.
Another commenter, another "nobody," on that posting asked, "What can I say?" I told her she's not nobody and that every voice counts.
And where is your common sense, Mr. Allen? You know damned well if Steven Speilberg or Tim Robbins organized a foundation or a prize or any kind of enduring memorial for Theo van Gogh, it would be nationwide -- worldwide -- news.
Mr. Allen takes me to task for ignoring his posts about van Gogh:
Frankly, your willful distortions of my posts--and there continue to be multiple posts about Van Gogh, the content and context of which should make it obvious to anyone that, yes, I'm pissed about and opposed to militant fundamentalist terrorism...I can't even believe I need to write that, it's so self-evident--just to polish your own armor of indignation pisses me off, too.
Horse manure. Go read his posts, if you want, which are short and innocuous, and most of them were posted after the above little snitfit.
Where are your backbones, people? And how dare you keep silent, as Holland and Europe begin to stink of the abbatoir?
Because Islam loves blood, and wants more.
and the "I SLAM ISLAM" sidebar on the right.
The Oracle Board: Thirty-Six Triplets, (2001-2002). 36" x 36". Vintage metallic handmade wallpaper mounted on board on masonite, with brass channels, brass foil and acrylic paint.
by Jerome du Bois
This is part of my ongoing series "Not Only Words." I had two rules for this one: I wanted to use one shape, and the maxims could be no more than three words.
The result is a fragment of our infinite mindscape created from one trapezoid (and its mirror).
In this image, most of these exhortations, claims, aphorisms, and verbal rockets can easily be read, but here is the list anyway, from top to bottom, left to right:
All Wars Crimes -- Pain Is Real -- Don't Throw Shade -- Pilot Or Pivot --Don't Jump Salty -- Judge The Judge
Phi Over Pi -- Clown Before Clone -- Hold Your Applause -- Hide Your Dials -- No Good Purity -- Kill The King
Just Show Up -- Show Your Work -- Invest In Black -- Never Write Bullshit -- Woman Bears Worlds -- Face Down Fascist
Show Your Hand -- Show Your Face -- Shoot Through Tears -- Every Word Flesh -- Curb Your God -- Liberty Is Woman
Will Trumps Instinct -- Switch To Twisted -- Count On Zero -- Burn Your Shame -- Pop Your Collar -- Swallow The Dark
Chance No Memory -- Blame Fair Game -- Four Letters Rule -- Clean Your Ideas -- Words Are Swords -- Corners Are Crossroads
You can find another example in this series here. It's called ISCILLATION.
And another example here, which I posted almost exactly a year ago, called IT WAS WORTH IT.
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
by Jerome du Bois
The first spoken sentence of the movie Schindler's List is a one-word question from a German official to a Jewish internee: "Name?" Thus began the process of the attempted obliteration of the owner of that name, and his name itself, and all that came after him, and their names as well. (Much of this done with cruel irony: "Leave your luggage on the platform. Clearly label it.") All the names were wiped out, in the movie at least, except those names and people preserved on Itzhak Stern's list. Names are important, every leaf, twig, and branch of our gigantic tree.
One of our long-term, room-sized installation projects consists mainly, right now, of working drawings, background research, gathering names, filling files. But I just came across an entry at Frontpage (hat tip:The Big Trunk at Powerline) that shines a fine pure light on the core of the piece. It's a micro-story of how the Romanian Secret Police, guided by Moscow, seeded the Islamic world in the Seventies with millions of copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The man who testifies to this -- Ion Mihai Pacepa -- should know: he ran the RSP at the time. But before we get to that, let me frame the example with some background.
Our installation, which focuses on anti-Semitism / Jew-hatred, will be called Strangers To Reason -- The Poison Flower -- Culprits of the Protocols. It's the last part which concerns us here.
Culprits is the key word: we want to name the actual individuals, the culpable ones, not institutions or vague movements, who hold the blame for publishing or in any way promoting The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous Czarist fabrication which will be one hundred years old next year, and still going strong.
Doubt it? One need only consult, today, November 17, 2004, this entry from Robert Spencer's Dhimmi Watch, titled "Denmark's Sheikh Al-Taleqani: Europeans Are Empty And Need Islam; I Recommend Reading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion":
Nabil Shaker Al-Taleqani: There is a fundamental point, Mr. 'Issam. There is a fundamental point. Go back to the book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. We must return to the 24 protocols, to these secret documents. When we turn the pages of these protocols, we see there are some people who pretend to be Muslims, but are actually Jews, and they are the ones who began to distort Islam. These people are behind this media, which is entirely against Islam and the Muslims.
So there's another name for our list: Nabil Shaker Al-Taleqani. Remember, this evil sonofabitch is in Denmark, not Morocco.
Our list includes the famous names, of course -- Henry Ford, Louis Farrakhan -- but also the more important obscure ones:
-- Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, Czarist Police Chief in Paris. Between 1895-1899, he and his crew concoct the Protocols by plagarizing two French novels. The result is sent on to Moscow.
-- Boris Brasol, 1918, a Russian monarchist emigré who works at the US War Department. Dr. Harris Houghton also works there. His administrative assistant, Natalie DeBogory, another Russian emigré, introduces both Brasol and his copy of Sergei Nilus's translation to Houghton. With Houghton's backing, Brasol and DeBogory create the first English translation of the Protocols, in June 1918.
-- Louis Ray Beam, Jr., ca. 1984. A neo-Nazi, Beam created the Aryan Nations Electronic Bulletin Board Systems. A kind of twisted communication genius, he is (now was) a pioneer of white-supremacist leaderless resistance, adopted by both Timothy McVeigh and al Qaeda.
-- Don Black, 1995, creates Storm Front, the first Internet Hate Site.
-- Muhammad Sudhi, 2001, famous Egyptian actor, conceives and stars in a 30-part TV adaptation of the Protocols. Sudhi plays 14 characters in the series, but there's still room for a cast of 400. The show is produced by Saudi Arabia and broadcast during Ramadan every year since 2001.
Before jumping to Pacepa's story and my closing comments, a word about the infection metaphor. Pancepa says,
According to KGB theorists, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hate.
Long before germ theory, the idea of people (Jews) as a living disease was widespread. Invisible tiny imps or spirits somehow invaded the evil one's victim. It could be any Jew, you see? And that is why names are important: specific individuals, not some mass-mind-plague or meme-infection, spread the insidious lies of the Protocols.
From an interview in Frontpage magazine online by Jamie Glazov with Walter Lacquer, Robert Leiken, and former Romanian Communist intelligence officer Ion Mihai Pacepa. Pacepa explains:
History always repeats itself, and if you can live two lives, you have an even greater chance of seeing that repetition with your own eyes. During the last six years of my other life, as a Romanian intelligence general, the main task of the Soviet bloc espionage community was to transform Yasser Arafat’s war against Israel and its main supporter, the United States, into an armed doctrine of the whole Islamic world. America was our main enemy, and a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on it than could a mere one million. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep. Our task was to convert its historical hatred of the Jews into a new hatred of the United States, by portraying this land of freedom as an “imperial Zionist country” financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious “Council of the Elders of Zion,” the Kremlin’s epithet for the US Congress.
According to KGB theorists, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hate. Islamic cultures had a taste for nationalism, jingoism and victimology. Their illiterate, oppressed mobs could be whipped up to a fever pitch. Terrorism and violence against America would flow naturally from their religious fervor. We had only to keep repeating, over and over, that the United States was a “Zionist country” bankrolled by rich Jews. Islam was obsessed with preventing the infidel’s occupation of its territory, and it would be highly receptive to our dogma that American imperialism wanted to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom.
Before I left Romania for good, in 1978, the Soviet bloc intelligence community flooded the Islamic world with Arabic translations of an old Russian, forged, anti-Semitic tract entitled Protocols of the Elders of Zion, along with “documentary” materials, also in Arabic, “proving” that the United States was a Zionist country governed by Jewish money, whose aim was to extend its domination over the rest of the world. We also infiltrated the Islamic world with thousands of Soviet bloc Islamic citizens recruited as intelligence agents and tasked to implant there a rabid, demented hatred for American Zionism. They were to portray everybody and everything in America as being subordinated to Jewish interests: the leaders, the government, the political parties, the most prominent personalities—and even American history. Most of these agents were religious servants, engineers, medical doctors or teachers, and they had excellent credibility.
Although we now live in an age of technology, we still do not have an instrument that can scientifically measure the results of a sustained influence operation. Nevertheless, it is safe to presume that over the course of the further twenty-plus years—until the Soviet Union buckled—the combination between spreading hundreds of thousands of Protocols within the Islamic world and portraying the United States there as a criminal Zionist instrument should have left some trace. The hijacked airplane was launched into the world of contemporary terrorism by the KGB and its puppet Yasser Arafat, and it is significant that this became the weapon of choice for September 11, 2001.
The culprits of the Protocols planted the seeds, and the poison flowers grew, and spawned millions of strangers to reason.
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
[RABYZ: Raging Adult Baby Zombies]
by Jerome du Bois
For a few days after I posted my angry note about our encounter with Ernest McIntyre, our sitemeter went steadily up, and I couldn't figure out why. It was a local story, but a necessary corrective in the only venue available to me right now, a modest, if acidulous, call for civilized behavior. (And Google is powerful, as Ernest has found out.) There aren't any other worthwhile local blogs which overlap with what we do. (Artists' websites don't count.) None of the usual people who pick up my stuff referred to the story on their blog. (Though Val Prieto checked into the comments, fists ready. My man.) And I couldn't imagine Ernest McIntyre telling all his friends to be sure to read about me calling him a toad and other terrible things, but maybe he did: he's a man without boundaries. So, where . . . ?
But now I think I've found the source of that temporary surge, in what I had discarded as a moribund forum thread at our enemies Artlink, called "A Threat From The Tears of Things." (Look it up yourselves.)
In September I wrote that we would be out in the downtown galleries in October, and that we were prepared to defend ourselves. I also said that Artlink as presently constituted must be reformed, and that we were going to burn their kites. Later, I wrote why we had changed our minds. By this time, the thread was going over on Artlink. I found out about it, posted a little note about them being behind the times, and left -- but why should I expect them to really read our blog anyway? (We thought the locals just dropped in to see their names in "print.") And when we changed our minds back and decided to return to criticizing the downtown scene and its people, why would we bother to alert them? Always keep 'em guessing; never let them see you coming.
In a year and a half, with comments open, we never got a single constructive conversation going with anyone. We are polemical, sure, but reasonable, and no one stood up to refute a single charge, or pick a specific relevant question to answer -- one of our questions. Nope. It was always a bunch of whining about how we didn't give them a chance, didn't understand them, were not supposed to say negative things, and/or that the "art community" needed all the support it could get. Their pathetic need for acceptance was palpable. And, they nagged us, why were we so angry, anyway? so bitter?
So we said get lost and closed most comments and went on to post a bunch of other things, and I didn't think about that thread for two months . . . until recently.
Yesterday I went back and opened that little envelope and, whaddaya know, they've trashed us several times since mid-October -- and, sure enough, several nasty comments followed my post about our recent disagreeable encounter. The commenters are pretty much pissants (with one exception: Jason Nye, who should have his own blog), and I'll be fisking them below, but here I would like to give the reason I would bother.
As with the recent post on Isaac Fortoul, examining what these people say -- and, more importantly, what they leave out -- provides a crude but useful MRI brainscan of a mindset programmed for pettiness, of willful blind spots, and of the intellectual vacuity at Artlink (not to mention the vicious vengefulness of specific persons), and among some of the local artists.
I opened every one of those damned little envelopes, not just the thread about us, but the entries about us glowed green with envy and jealousy -- at our style, at my wife's confidence and beauty, at our humor, and our very life force, or vis viva. And, as I said, what they leave out speaks volumes about their interests and priorities.
Come take a look.
On October 20, someone named "kira," who copped a Cirque de Soleil puppetmaster motif for their avatar, wrote this on the Tears Artlink thread [sic throughout]:
Wow, Jerome and Catherine must be very, very cool! You should see the list of some of the books in their 'personal' library! They even know about sage and stuff. they are so cool, that I wonder why they even bother with the very imperfect, mortals that populate the downtown art scene. I would certainly think that people who wear such dandy designer clothing and own such an extensive collection of cool books would surely be traveling in crowds less plebian and threadbare as the folks in downtown Phoenix. Surely, Jerome and Catherine can find a clique worthy of their many accomplishments and worldly sophistication. Others, who have nothing to do but nurture their sensuality and cast barbed remarks at those less fortunate.
Too bad they are not charming; that may have redeemed them from merely being a petty couple with a large vocabulary.
She was responding to our spoof "The Inglis Proclamation," wherein we attempt to cure the possession of the downtown Phoenix art scene by Satan. Personally, I thought the car-roof-mounted sage censer was patentable, but Catherine talked me out of it.
Seriously, though, readers should easily detect the whining insecurity in kira's message. (We're supposed to charm the petty princess, y'see -- and talk plain. Don't intimidate her walnut brain.) She thinks having a personal library is so unusual she puts scare quotes around it. "Imperfect mortals . . . plebian and threadbare . . . those less fortunate."
kira, why betray so much? Our very presence is a rebuke to you and yours. And I doubt this is the first of our posts you have read. Yet what you choose to write about -- well, that's a tell.
On November 9, after our "Toad" posting, someone anonymous Artlinker (it's epidemic over there) posted this:
These idiots are at it again. In their newest essay, Mr.D, who's only purpose in life is to market his wife and her penchant for trendy clothing, pretends he does not recognize someone he knew way back when BUT expects this same person to recognize the fact that he has a new wife who is different from his last one. Mr. D seems angry that his acquaintance from back in the day was not impressed with Ms. Senior Rodeo Drive. Mr. D appears to be a bitter middle aged man who has not succeeded in his aspirations and so, in his mid life, tries to hearten himself with sparkly bolero jackets and vitiolic attacks. How sad.
I'll be showing you sad, zombie -- I'll show your true black rebarb soul -- soon as I get your dingleberry buddy "anonymous" in on the conversation. Posted three hours later by, presumably, some other zombie:
Yeah, I thught that was wierd. he is really *interested* in how his wife looks and what she's wearing. That, and right-wing politics. I enjoy checking their site every week or so like a kind of online reality show. I like how he attacked this poor guy from his past just for trying to talk to him.
maybe we have an update on the forum every so often with an entry for the "Jerome Chronicles" with a synopsis on who Jerome's mad at and why, and his latest description of his wife's clothing?
[Before going on, a side note: the above missive ended with one of those annoying happyface emoticon mutations, which festoon the entire discussion forum like so many baby candies scattered underfoot in a nursery. You can pick from a cute little line in the comment section. Really, how does one have a serious discussion with this infantile detritus littering the hypertext? They sabotage any seriousness at the outset.]
These last two entries seemed to have spurred our recent sitemeter spike. Just a couple of telling quotes:
pretends he does not recognize someone he knew way back when
I like how he attacked this poor guy from his past just for trying to talk to him.
I didn't pretend, as I made clear. I knew this guy from his present public status, not from any way our paths may have crossed in the past. I made that clear to him, and he made it clear he wasn't going to stop it. But I did not attack him there and then. I kept my counsel, my cool, and my civilized manners.
Now, you two zombies, listen up: I will not have my wife disrespected. I see you, I see into you, because we've gotten this message from you Artlink sons and daughters of bitches before: She has to take what you dish out. Follow the scenario these two shitbirds want: this snuffling Erniegrub gets to come up on us and dig into my past, possibly embarrassing both my wife and myself, but we have to take it. This stranger's need trumps my wife's dignity. You see the black souls of these people? You think we haven't seen into your decadent and resurgent misogyny? Even the women down there have embraced the moniker "girl" as an honorific instead of the humiliating badge it is. They and their men have done a devastating dumbing-down job on themselves. And we've called the alarm on that one, before, too.
Readers, consider the foci of the attention of these Artlink people, some of whose IP addresses we have recorded. If you go down the list of postings between the middle of October and the tenth of November (some of which link to earlier pieces), these artists, college graduates, vital young people, waves of the future, have nothing to say about what we say -- and show -- about:
beautiful flower arrangements
Theo van Gogh's murder
political cowardice in political art
Jeff Falk's terrible StopNLook
Leanos & Esser controversy (though someone copped a block of my stuff for another thread)
Ryan McNamara's whining
our accusations of drug abuse downtown
but most of all, nobody cares, comments, or even questions that certain Artlink members have physically attacked us, and threatened us verbally with mutilation and death.
That ain't gonna happen. They have their priorities, we have ours. Staying alive and well is number one. I don't even shake hands anymore.
For those who think we're paranoid: It didn't happen to you, did it? The general public seems to underestimate the instability of the loony left, which spawned so many of this downtown art crowd. Locally, the Hamberger School ground them out by the dozens. Their brains have had the logical connections cooked out by deconstruction and the existential resentment of their teachers; all that's left is appetite, a sense of entitlement, and a zombie's emotional emptiness. When any or all of these are thwarted, their rage kicks in.
Back to the list. None of these issues matter to these losers, nothing breaks through their self-involvement, until we, especially Catherine, step out onto the stage, so to speak -- something we rarely do. (Wearing our hearts on our sleeves is another matter.)
And I realized that it's her bearing that grates at them -- her calm, confident, even triumphant manner -- her bounteous cloud of hair -- her obvious slimness -- her mastery of fashion -- her charm and intelligence -- her abundant talent at anything she puts her hand to -- from traditional material work, to digital net art, to installation art, to making haute couture, to digital photography, to flower arranging, to upcoming works that will blow everyone away -- it's her life force, her vis viva, and maybe even our obvious love for one another, that they hate so much.
They want her down. Black hearts, it will never happen.
So hate all you want. We know you. And we've got a hell of lot more than sage to burn.
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
by Jerome du Bois
Yasser Arafat has been in Hell for little more than a day -- specifically, the River of Burning Blood -- and the pain is still instantly surprising, relentless, and excruciating, with the River erupting from time to time in lava-like explosions, cascading down to cover the damned souls crowding the river in scalding gore. There is barely time to gasp before what seems like hot lead splatters over them all, and all thought is obliterated.
Between his screams he sometimes sees, falling through the smoky ceiling above, Fallujah fighters and other Islamicist terrorists, plummeting like burning logs into the smoldering river. He screams and cries, his tears instantly turning to corrosive acid on his cheeks, floundering helplessly in the boiling river, no escape from the pain, the forlorn cries of "don't make waves, don't make waves" just part of the cacophony of screams in this dolorous cavern.
But now Arafat feels some respite, some lessening of the torture, so that he can at least focus before him. And he beholds what seems a small golden swirl, high in the dank, fetid air above and before him; a growing golden swirl or vortex that blows the horrible stench of Hell away, and creates a bell-like silence.
The vortex grows and swells toward Yasser Arafat like a horizontal tornado or golden horn of plenty until, just ten feet above his writhing soul, it fixes itself, suspended before him, and opens upon a golden staircase which recedes in a graceful curve up out of sight. Impossibly, the scent of gardenia and roses cascades out over the River of Blood. Even the screaming souls give momentary pause, sniffing the air.
Arafat, transfixed, his nostrils dilating wildly to breathe in anything sweet, or pure, or of the Earth, suddenly chokes as he sees someone descending the stairs toward him.
Theo van Gogh comes floating almost weightlessly down the stairs, barefoot, clad in white linen trousers and t-shirt, suspenders holding his pants against his vast expanse, his hair tousled, a fresh cigarette jutting from the corner of his mouth. The smell of the tobacco is the worst temptation to Arafat.
Theo van Gogh stops at the foot of the stairs, which open up in a golden fan so he can pace back and forth. Theo looks into the distance, and points with his cigarette.
"Uday and Qusay," he says, though everyone is unrecognizable, moaning and exclaiming, arms flailing, torsos twisting, legs churning, blistered, scabbed, skin peeling in sheets, covered with blood and gore and phosphorescent offal. He steps back as five more terrorists plunge into the river, spattering boiling wet matter everywhere.
"It's not going to be in Jerusalem," Theo tells Arafat. "Not now, not ever, though some of your clowns brought in some dirt from the Holy City to pack around your worthless ass. Big deal. And it won't be the family plot in Gaza, either. They don't want to plow through the foot-high trash, and the piss-smell is worse than your breath -- when you were alive. So it's going to be Ramallah -- back to the Compound! talk about irony! -- after they clean up the blasted cars and concrete rubble and twisted steel which is your only legacy, besides thousands of innocent dead, of course. Those poor souls -- they're scattered; most of them are up here in Heaven with me."
"What -- how -- you -- here?" Arafat manages to gasp.
"The Divine owed me a favor, and this is what I asked for: just a few minutes of mercy for you. That's right, Arafat: when I leave, total Hell returns. This rose smell, the gardenias, the silence, the tobacco -- this is all of Heaven you will ever know."
Theo paused as six more Fallujah terrorists plunged down, creating a horrendous round of screaming. He shook his head and spread his arms to indicate the impressive length and broad breadth of the River of Burning Blood.
"Your work. Here they are, in this special place. You've twisted so many souls for nothing, and for gold, you murderous shit-for-brains, and now you get to spend eternity in Hell with all of them."
He takes a long drag on his cigarette, holds the ember up to his generous lips, and blows on it until it glows.
"One more thing," he says. "Heaven really is Heaven. It's good. None of the misogynistic crap you and Mohammed yakked on about -- 72 stupids is what he was! Heaven is good -- I don't know any other way to say it, and I sure am wasting my breath on you, but I had to tell you: that door was closed to you from the beginning."
He fixes Arafat with a fixed but furious gaze.
"I was done too soon, and you stayed far too long. I'll be talking to the Divine about that justice."
And he carefully leaned forward and flicked his burning cigarette off the putrescent purple bulbous blister that was Yasser Arafat's nose.
He stepped back, and the vortex rolled up like a golden carpet and disappeared. As Arafat looked forlornly on, the pain returning in hayfork stabs and sandstorm flayings, and scalding, spattering waves and shingle-like pricks, Theo's cigarette hissed and sank into the crimson gore of the River of Blood.
by Jerome du Bois
Today's Phoenix New Times provides us a valuable peek into the thudding vapidity, and tuneless mediocrity, that passes for thought among some Phoenix artists and art critics. In a piece called "Golden Boy," Benjamin Leatherman interviewed Isaac Fortoul, 25, who just opened Stay Gold gallery in the heart of Roosevelt Row, and transcribed without comment the marvelous wisdom, the pearls that poured from Fortoul's mouth:
His brand of art: I'm primarily a painter, but I also like dabbling in different mediums and styles. Like, next month I might do a film, or photography, or sculpture. I enjoy all art, and I don't like to be pigeonholed into one thing.
Everything he touches turns to gold, doncha see, and stays that way, because he's an Artist.
Themes:I try to find beauty in everyday things, walking down the street and observing what's going on. One piece I did, it was just a pair of dragonfly wings. People might say, "It's just wings," but I find beauty in the color combinations, the geometry of the wings, and how they were formed.
Oh, Pidgeonholehead, I know what you mean! but I've never never never heard it expressed quite that way before! Like with rainbows, right? and oil slicks, and the reflections in a fly's eye! Or the softness of a baby's skin . . . Oh, I could go on --
Graphic design: I've done flier design for music artists in Japan, logos and stuff for nonprofit and environmental organizations in Colombia. In New York, I've done corporate identity stuff. I've even done porn sites.
And when he opens up his gallery, what is the sign in the window? He taped the cardboard stencils for the letters S-T-A-Y-G-O-L-D to the inside glass. Look at the top picture in the article. And while you're there, and we're on graphic design, note what image choices the pros at New Times made to illustrate the article: two photos of Fortoul, a restaurant logo he didn't design, a picture of his boots, the cover of The Outsiders, and finally one of the artist's paintings, which is faithful to the predominant sketchy cartoon surrealism rut these artists seem stuck in. One example of his so-called work. (Oh, and thanks, twit, for making money by contributing to the continuing degradation of women. You fit right in down there.)
Getting paints: We'll trade paints, share paints, some paints are donated. If you gotta buy some at Home Depot, little schemes like getting paint mixed and telling them it wasn't the right color, returning it, and then when they put it on the marketing rack, buy it for half the price, stuff like that.
Somebody call Phil Jones or Greg Sale -- I know, the Governor! -- and get this guy a grant. You know he could stretch the money, since he has no problem stretching ethics.
Stay Gold: Gabriel [his brother] came up with it. It comes from The Outsiders. It means to stay young, stay fresh, stay creative, stay true to yourself, keep it real, for the rest of your life if you can. When you're young, you're gold.
No, Fortoul, you're neither. You want to be a boy, a kid. Young men and women, right now, some of them seven years younger than you, are showing real gold on the battlefields of our war. There's real gold in my father's medals. Nobody, not the strongest artist, can rob gold of its meaning, much less a little tin pygmy like you. You may be true to yourself, which I have no doubt and which is a horror, but you're not young, fresh, real, or creative. You're a cookie cutter shaped like a zero.
Multiple Mr. Pyrite above by a couple of hundred, and you've tapped the shallow, hollow core of the downtown Phoenix art scene: Stay Bored.
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
Here's another shot of the same arrangement.
"Nobody wants to shoot the village idiot." -- Theodore van Gogh, filmmaker, shot dead at 47.
"If someone puts a bullet through your brain, I'll complain." -- Cole Porter
by Jerome du Bois
[comments are open for awhile]
Popular media blogger Greg Allen of greg.org was so shocked, and so driven to righteous anger, by the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh last week, that he made a funny post about it with a really droll title:
Wait, I Thought Nobody WATCHED Short Films . . .
You see, because the Islamist fundamentalist asshole who shot, stabbed, and slit the throat of Mr. van Gogh -- and then used his knife to stick a five-page letter to the dead man's chest -- must have seen the 11-minute television film Submission, made with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Get it? Because he thought nobody . . . Yeah, I'm laughing, too. Then Allen, without blinking an eye, twists the poisoned knife in the increasingly popular way: van Gogh asked for it.
Seriously, what is up with these people? I can't believe anyone not related to the filmmakers actually watches a short film, much less gets mad enough to kill over one.
[There was that one time when MVRDV got death threats over their short animated film, Pig City... And the guy who got them in that trouble, Pim Fortuyn, did get assassinated himself...]
Of course, if you make a movie with verses from the Koran painted on nude women's bodies, which are visible through a translucent chador, I guess you might piss some of the wrong people off. So is it the offended militant Muslims who are crazy, or the Dutch?
He can't make up his mind. This is a guy who, as a member of the so-called creative class, creates movies, and he can't tell the difference between freedom of expression and ghastly, grisly murder. I'm glad his crew lost the election, because he's a coward who doesn't want to piss off some of "the wrong people." Me, I want to piss them off so bad they'll drown in uric acid.
I've been blogging around, curious to see which art and culture bloggers took note of that bloody event. Answer: not any. Really. Ten pages deep into Google . . . nada. ArtsJournal mentions the murder, but Terry Teachout, Tyler Green, a lot of the cute-name ones, Dan of Iconoduel, don't bother. Some of the liberal blogs were busy blaming the election on the gay-bashers, or otherwise crying in their lattes.
Over on Franklin Einspruch's blog, when I brought up Mr. van Gogh, I got into it with both he and the commenters, as I often do, but this time I noticed some things different. For example, people who always comment, no matter what the subject, were simply silent. They bugged out, laying low. And the ones who commented either would not use Mr. van Gogh's name or seemed hesitant to talk about Islam at all. (DeKooning! Now there's a subject! And, even on the subjects of abortion and misogyny, Mr. Einspruch does not use the word "woman." You can look it up.) A similar desultory unraveling appeared in a previous thread about Derrida and anti-Semitism.
On Election Day I posted "Seven Statements For Muslims," prompted partly by Mr. van Gogh's murder. (Earlier, after Nicholas Berg's beheading, I posted "Islam Is Anathema Now.") The next day, Re-Election Day, Mr. Einspruch sent me an email which read, in part:
. . . observe that the middle of the country voted Bush in over "moral issues and the war in Iraq," according to news accounts. The Islamic world has two great distractions that it uses to keep from dealing with its real problems: demonized versions of America and the Jews. Now America has two great distractions as well: demonized versions of Islam and abortion. We are becoming like them.
Maybe you, man; not me.
Observe, first, the neat symmetry of the false comparison. The first part of the argument is correct -- just read MEMRI for five minutes -- and lays the basis for the claim of legitimacy for the second part, which, in the specific cases I mentioned in my posts on Islam, is false on its face. I don't demonize, I report the facts and the news. Einspruch doesn't bother to challenge a single sentence I've written. And abortion is just a false placeholder; in other comments on his blog he drags out the now-discredited gay-basher vote.
Next observe the insult to American intelligence: distracted, foaming at the mouth with Islamic hatred while marching outside abortion clinics, we're simply too stupid to ponder, balance, weigh, or juggle anything else, such as our "real problems," the list of which Mr. Einspruch in his brooding wisdom will unveil on a day and time of his choosing.
Finally, since when is the war in Iraq separate from a moral issue?
While we're waiting, here's a short list of so-called luminaries who have as yet not weighed in -- had nothing to say -- about Mr. van Gogh's death: Doug Aitken, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Barney, Bjork, David Geffen, Jeaneane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Sherry Lansing, Penny Marshall, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Kurt Russell, Julian Schnabel, Steven Speilberg, Oliver Stone, Susan Sarandon, Lars von Trier, and John Waters.
They don't complain.
[The title of this piece comes from a sign held up before Muslims during a recent Dutch protest against Islamic extremism. On the other hand, there's this dhimmitude.]
[Update: Got an email from Franklin Einspruch before I opened the comments, so I've posted it there. I've said it before, I'll say it again: he makes me mad, but he's a mensch.]
Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.
No dhimmis here. Ever.
by Jerome du Bois
Today we vote, and the war against Islamofascism is the central issue, and blogs everywhere will speculate about this and that, and what it all means.
A few hours ago, a Dutch filmmaker named Theo Van Gogh -- yes, of that family -- was stabbed and shot to death by a Muslim man for making a ten-minute film about Islamic domestic violence against women, with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The message is clear that in Europe, Muslims will kill you for criticizing them.
I'm about to start criticizing Muslims, including American Muslims, right now. (Reminder to locals: I'm lethally armed, and I don't call cops.)
"Questions for Muslims" appear on any number of websites, some sponsored by, for example, evangelical Christians -- 60 Questions Muslims Don't Like To Be Asked!" -- and also Muslims, including the curious Before the Wedding: 150 Questions for Muslims To Ask Before Getting Married. And then there are the invaluable illuminators Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, ex-Muslims like Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and bloggers like Charles Johnson constantly peppering Muslims with questions.
I don't want to ask any Muslims any questions. Their arrogant sense of superior spiritual sanctimony makes me nauseous, and I work to advance their humility. I think it's time non-Muslims simply made statements to Muslims. Here are some of mine:
1. The Jews are not a question mark. (Thought experiment: Imagine a history of the world without any contributions by Muslims. Now imagine the same without Jews.)
2. Women are equal to men. They are not property or chattel or anything less than any man, and indeed superior to any man who thinks women should be anything less than any man.
3. The Qu'ran was not orally or mentally channelled inerrantly to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel. It is a palimpsest, edited, abridged, and extended over many years. This is just historical fact, attested to by the Hijazi Ultraviolets.
4. Allah isn't alone. He shares the world with all the gods in Mecca's cave, and Yahweh, Shiva, Chango, and many more.
5. I don't trust your words. You have a practice called Taqiyya: "Muslims hold that the Islamic version of dissimulation is applied only externally with the tongue and not internally (on the heart, spirit, and soul). In other words, a Muslim is allowed to say untruths to a non-Muslim if in their heart they still respect the truths that they externally deny." (Definition from fact-index.com.) And you want us to trust Muslims? No. Because of taqiyya, I cannot believe a single thing any Muslim says.
6. There is nothing spiritual or mystical about the Arabic language. It may not even be of Arabian origin; evidence suggests it originated in the Levant. So chanting anything in Arabic, or writing it down, is no different than chanting or writing in English or German or Spanish or Esperanto.
7. There will be no more one-way tolerance. "One man, one vote, once" don't go here. Submission is not in our law, our tradition, our Constitution, or our blood, habibi.
Enough for now, except to repeat the original line: No dhimmis here. Ever.
As far as I'm concerned, Islam is anti-life.