14 December 2022

Nondenial Link Sausage Platter

The word of the week for much of the "real news" is Glomar; even identifying which item(s) that concerns would be implying the existence of, well, something.

  • Being rather officially — officiously? — an Old Guy for a while now, I sort of applaud recognition of Old Guys. Only sort of, though, because there's more than a bit to be said for a fresh perspective (written while he could still be trusted — that is, before he was over 30).
  • Just ask Mr Jones: It had to be snakes because that's what museum culture demands. It's about reputation and exclusivity, not about "preserving culture" or "public access." Let's take, say, some random piece from the Elgin marbles or Benin bronzes, and ask the simple and obvious question: How much does a nonspecialist actually learn about the "art" when it has been so thoroughly removed from its context as to be in a curated museum exhibit in the first place, with photography for later study prohibited after standing in line for hours to see a travelling exhibit? In fact, isn't the museum context itself imperialistically imposing different meanings on the art, so that we facetiously wonder about condos made of stone-ah looking at The Original ten thousand kilometers from its creation?

    And in a broader sense, lurking underneath, "replication of the past" is the unacknowledged problem here. Museum visitors are unable to rearrange, fondle, re-position the exhibits — for good reason, given their fragility (which is another issue entirely). Presuming the museums are telling the truth about their mission being exposing the public to these great works despite the lack of context (a circumstance that resembles all too well the "see it only on the big screen in a theater (crowded in with the hoi polloi)" problem with film), wouldn't society as a whole — culture as a whole — be far better off focusing on extremely high quality, indistinguishable-to-the-casual-visitor reproductions of Museum Stuff, instead of restricting access to Stuff that's in the public domain? Naturally, this gets ickier (aesthetically, morally, ethically, legally) regarding three-dimensional pieces, especially when the underlying physical material may have additional "meaning" to impart. My point, however, is that nobody is even having the argument, which is the sort of passive-aggressive response one would expect from a version of "polite society" that cannot see the equality of value in any other society.

  • This leads into rather disturbing questions — broader than just author compensation (and it's unwelcome, but well worth considering, exactly what's left for everyone else) — about who may, or may aspire to, "make a living" in the arts. And every time these questions are raised, they end up getting thoroughly Balkanized, setting performers against craftspeople against logistics to the benefit of only those who already had the money/prestige/control. That's what is lurking in the shadows here: That, due to the perceived need for enterprises in the arts and other forms of entertainment to maintain purely-numerically-comparable financial returns to more "traditional" investments, cost-cutting/suppression isn't just allowed — it's a good thing. When, that is, it isn't about paying to distract from the source of the wealth in the first place. I'll go mutter about "the cost of everything and the value of nothing" somewhere else, since tax returns aren't generally due at this time of the year…
  • For the next course on this platter of dubious sausages, bite into something organic — which, since I don't ordinarily eat rocks, I do every day. Or I suppose I could just bathe these sausages in benzene, which is also organic (and occurs in nature).
  • That one was far more appetizing than the power games behind renaming orthodoxy-enforcing "conservative" legal handwaving theories for better marketability. The faint whiff of aromatic hydrocarbons in the preceding sausage has nothing on a forced diet consisting of nothing but theocracy terpenes.
  • At least Oregon's governor has some sense of morals. We did this (judicially) a little over four years ago. You're next, Governor Newsom, to establish a true coastal "blue wall" that recognizes that we can't do to our own citizens what we prohibit our armed forces from doing to furriners (§ 2.11) in furtherance of the national interest. I'd ordinarily refrain from pointing out that this particular prohibition was signed by one of your less-qualified predecessors in the office you now hold… but (a) it was, as so much of his "revolution," derived directly from someone else to whom he was personally opposed and gave no credit, and (b) refraining from snark wouldn't be any fun. I suggest that tinkering with the machinery of death has only gotten more — not less — futile in the last three decades… especially when the context is so, so often property crimes.