Thinking In Post-its

 

Yesterday I got incensed on the Art Creates Community thing.  It’s been appearing on more and more bumperstickers around here, and makes me roll my eyes.

I identified this with the sixties, even though – to my knowledge at least – this one is recent, simply because it seemed a characteristic of the sixties (perhaps due to the mass media of the time) to push ideas as slogans.  These slogans, everywhere from t-shirts to bumperstickers, got repeated so much (particularly at my young and unsuspecting generation) that they got accepted by the majority, totally unexamined as “everyone knows.”

You know, “Make love, not war.”  Why?  What about one prevents the other?  In most cases, people make love AND war.  If you believe the legendary works of the Greeks, people go to war because of making love – or even closer at hand, if you read a lot of WWI and WWII set or written fiction, you get the idea people went to war to impress girls.

Of course it was an excuse to stay at home and do hippie chicks, instead of obeying the draft, while managing to abrogate to yourself the mantel of virtue.  “Hey man, I chose to make love not war.”  Of course, they were actually making sex not war, and most such men – like all weasels – treated women very badly.  BUT the slogan hid a multitude of sins.

Then there’s – please gag me – “What if they gave a war and no one came?”  I swear I want to print response stickers to put underneath that say “Well then the war comes to you.”  The same with “What if schools everything they wanted, and the army had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber” – which makes me want to say “well, I hope the school enjoys having its *ss bombed.”  Or “It all ends with sending ill-equipped children to the front to die.”

The problem with post-it thinking is that it hooks into humans social nature, i.e. wanting to be in with everyone.  And while it’s easy to come up with totally ridiculous sayings that SEEM well meaning and that people put on their cars, t-shirts, websites to seem virtuous, it’s much harder to make a cogent argument in that space.  And it’s impossible to counter a slogan someone embraced to be “in” with logical thinking.

Take “No blood for oil.”  Tell someone that’s the stupidest thing you ever heard/saw and they ask you “Do you think people should die for oil?”  Well… no.  No one should die without heating too.  And no one should die in famines.

The problem is the operating word there is “should” which is the language of desire, not the language of reality, which uses “would” and “could.”

No one should die for oil – which btw, was not even close to what the war in Iraq was about, as proven by the fact being simon-pure we didn’t take the oil – but as the country shouldering world peace (I’m not going to get into a discussion on whether we should or not.  Pax Americana is a globalist project and I’m not a globalist.  OTOH I believe we should be well defended and bellicose enough no one even looks at one of our citizens crosseyed.) we have to ensure enough stability that oil isn’t used as a tool of terrorism (that works) and that the prices don’t spike so much (that works too!) that poor people at home are dying from LACK of oil.

But ignore that energy is the basis of our economy.  Ignore that oil is the main part of our economy. Think of it as shiny black liquid, and “No blood for oil” is obvious.  It’s also vapid, childish, and wrong and avoids discussions of “How were we to maintain world stability without going into the Middle East.”  Which is the entire purpose of it, because half the people the “Should” side gets to back them would get bored and wonder away when you start discussing comparative strategic advantages of going in elsewhere or of not going in and just bombing the heck out of the place, or–  They don’t want the details.  They want to sound thoughtful and caring.  “Make love, not war.”  “No blood for oil”  Look, what good people they are.  They don’t want anyone to die.  No one “Should” die.  Forget that this is impossible, and that they have the median IQ of a half brick.  They have their slogan, and it shows they’re GOOD.  And they’re willing to die for this half-baked slogan.  Because that makes them saints or something.

In that context, “Art Creates Community” is a bland and innocuous slogan.  Mostly I see it in cars when I go to art classes.

However, I’ve reached the point when, frankly, any and all postit thinking drives me batsh*t insane and makes me start jumping up and down and screaming.  (Yesterday at the con someone told me that I couldn’t be Latin – she was sure I’d grown up in the Soviet Union and she thought that was a good thing.  Children, I was so tired I skittered away from THAT fast – because you know, I’m so laid back, and cerebral.  Ah!  I’m just PRIVATE.  I don’t roam the corridors of a con screaming.  I roam the corridors in my HOUSE screaming.)

Let’s examine the slogan – it’s absolute true at face value.  There’s a community of people who form friendships and networking and interests around the museum and the art school.  So, Art Creates Community.

Only, the bumper stickers have a line under it from some government fund that underwrites them AND art.

Um…  Look, my writers’ group, when I had one, created community.  We helped each other through illnesses and financial distress.  But we had no government funding.  Did we need government funding?  Well, we subsisted ten years without it, and in that time most of us transitioned to professional status.  So…

The thing is that ANY shared interest creates community.  I have friends who know tons of people in their gun-collectors/gun-manufacturers/gun-dealers community because, well, they go to the same shows, and they get to know each other.

So, Guns Create Community (a well defended one.)  I say the city government should finance guns.  No?  Why not.  They create community.

And, as a commenter noted, churches create strong communities.  Should city government finance churches?  Why not?

ANY shared interest creates community.  Gaming Creates Community.  Should the city subsidize that?  Why not?

And don’t tell me sometimes good art needs public support.  For the love of Keemchee, the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany supported all sorts of art.  When the government supports art you get gigantic statues of Mao Tse Tung, (Or gigantic statues of Martin Luther King looking like Mao Tse Tung.)  And please, don’t bring up the Italian Renaissance.  That was different.  The patrons were individuals who just happened to be massively rich.

The best art done with government patronage was Shakespeare, and frankly those are the worst of his plays (which his having learned to write for the people first, still aren’t too bad.)

So do I think we “shouldn’t” support art?  Well, I do think a city government so far in debt that they can’t keep all the street lights on AND stop a popular inter-city bus CAN’T support art.  That is the language of reality.  It has nothing to do with should.  It has to do with could and the fact that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  You take money from one side, it’s gone.  You don’t have it for the other.

So don’t I think we SHOULD support art?  That’s neither here or there.  I am an artist myself – very beginner – as well as a writer, which some people would consider an artist.

Do I think every artist should have enough to live on and pursue his or her art?  Sure thing.  In an ideal world, in which soup rains from the sky, clothes grow on trees and a two-bedroom home sprouts after the rains like a mushroom.

But that’s not the world we live in.  A world in which if you pay for soup you can’t pay for art is the world we live in.  A world in which if the government finances art, it can’t finance lighting the streets is the world we live in.

Now, I happen to think that worrying about the daily bread and having only a little time to do art sharpens the art and gives it a human touch.  (But then, of course, too much worry can kill it.  We’re human.  It’s all imperfect.)

But even if I didn’t believe that, I still would have to say that while I think EVERYONE should have enough money to pursue whatever art or hobby they wish, I don’t think it’s possible to make it so that everyone CAN.  I also think everyone should live forever.  I don’t think everyone CAN (or anyone, right now.)  I think it SHOULD rain soup.  I don’t think the government should at great expense send helicopters overhead to dispense soup.

Art Creates Community.  Guns Create Community.  Religion Creates Community.  Make your community self sufficient.  There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch and no one SHOULD be compelled to pay for yours.

Ignore that long enough, stick to post-it thinking, and the gods of the copybook headings come to tell you that if you will have art on the streets, you can’t have lights.  And then no one can come and look at the art in the evening without being mugged.

Or… you could think past post-its.

 

143 responses to “Thinking In Post-its

  1. “Art creates community.”

    Are the cause and effect reversed?

    Because I’m under the impression that Communities create Art.

    Or is the cause something unstated, and related to both Community and Art?

    My experience is in a community of faithful believers. Certain members of that community created an informal school of art. Musicians, dramatists, sewers, painters.

    But these people cared about art that supported the ideals of the community. They didn’t care about Art as Art.

    However, the phrase “Community creates Art” is as bumper-sticker-ish as “Art creates Community.”

    And it doesn’t give artists a verbal club to bat other people over the head with.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      As Sarah said, “Shared Interest” creates community. A lot of graffiti (not by percentages, just by raw numbers) is pretty good art, but it hardly creates a sense of community. On the other hand, a flower garden in the town square that everyone takes a hand in maintaining can create a sense of community, if that’s what most of the townspeople like.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    One stupid bumper sticker said something like “the last time religion was involved in government, people got burned at the stake”. Of course, to really get religion out of government, you’d have to make sure religious people aren’t involved in government (even as voters). [Sad Smile]

    • Well, the religion currently most involved in government in this world doesn’t burn people at the stake. It does stone them to death, decree that women aren’t fully human, and automatically condemns anyone who doesn’t belong to that religion.

      The interesting thing is that with constitutional limitations on government involvement in religion and vice versa the USA has the largest number of denominations and most active religious community anywhere in the civilized world. Places where that separation isn’t present don’t have anything like the religious diversity or freedom the USA enjoys.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’ve long had the belief that State Churches/Religions are bad for the Church/Religion.

        Of course, our Libs/Progs believe that conservative Christians are worse than RIFs.

        • The largest religion in the world is state secularism. It’s been responsible for the deaths of some 100+ million people in the last century alone. Its death toll from this century could possibly out-do that figure.

          I used to have a signature element on my email (hard to do with gmail) that said: “If you can, lead. If you cannot, or will not lead, choose wisely whom you will follow, for you will be judged by their words and deeds.” We’re beginning to see the true cost of “secular humanism” in the world, and it ain’t pretty, for followers or opponents.

        • One notes that it is a widely held view among Muslim teachers that you can’t be a good Muslim outside a Muslim state. Converts in a non-Muslim state must emigrate, and even those in a state that used to be Muslim — Spain, that is — had to emigrate.

    • The last time religion was involved in government, we got rid of segregation.

      Watch those people have vapors trying to explain that that doesn’t count if you bring that up. You can even point out that Catholic legislators were excommunicated for voting for pro-segregation laws.

    • You could say that the last time someone tried to get religion OUT of society, Stalin killed 30 million people.

      • And then created a religion with himself as Himself. Sort of a modern-day version of what the Ancient Egyptians did to their leaders. (“Stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back — *and you become the abyss*….” >:) )

    • Calvin when he ran Geneva was very concerned with art, too. Had a lot of art-hostile regulations, as I recall.

      He also liked burning theologians he didn’t like with their books attached to them by a chain, which if I’d ever liked Calvin would have put me off him.

  3. “Yesterday at the con someone told me that I couldn’t be Latin – she was sure I’d grown up in the Soviet Union and she thought that was a good thing. ”

    I always miss the exciting parts …

  4. I’m so glad my daughter pointed out your blog. “Gods of the Copybook Headings” may not be known to your readers, so here is a link:
    http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Readings/gods.html

    • Fair warning Subspike, this crowd tends to Kiple on a regular basis. :)
      In fact, I’m not sure a week goes by without at least one Kipling quote or reference wandering through the threads.

      • And “Gods of the Copybook Headings” in particular. Its like our shibboleth, or something :)

        • Um, how can a poem be made with milk or cream?

          Oh, wait. That’s a syllabub. Right. It’s the wax fumes. Carry on.

          • If you don’t know how a poem can be made with milk or cream, you’ve never seen an artist at work at the self-serve frozen yogurt emporium.

            Edible art at forty-nine cents* an ounce.

            *May be thirty-nine cents or whatever the rate is; you cannot put a price on art.

          • Most of my poems are made with Diet Coke. Milk or cream would probably be healthier.

            On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

            > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “Um, how can a poem be made with milk or > cream? Oh, wait. That’s a syllabub. Right. It’s the wax fumes. Carry on.” >

    • That hasn’t been posted in at least two weeks, so it is overdue to be posted again ;)

  5. Wayne Blackburn

    I’m really glad you wrote this. It untangles a disagreement I had with someone who was trying to say that pro-gun advocates would get more people to pay attention to them if they didn’t spout such stupid sayings. When I asked for an example, she gave, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”.

    I tried to point out that that statement was a two-pronged statement intended to make people think about both sides of the issue. She responded that she was a PR person, and it just went straight to the gonads without lodging in the brain.

    Reminding me about those other slogans cleared up my thinking: She sees it like those slogans, where the Left only sees the immediate question, and doesn’t think about the second- and third-level ramifications of them. I knew it was something like that, but couldn’t put it into words until now.

    • Yah, because “Arms are for hugging” is sooo intellectual.

    • Employ the Breitbartian Counter to such arguments; rather than defend the challenged slogan, reverse and expand the debate to slogans in general: demand the person defend or renounce any and all slogans you can recall (walk out to the parking lot if necessary) or concede that slogans can be effective.

      Me, I see slogans as useful markers, like plumage or uniforms, for identifying people and avoiding the dangerously inane. Sort of like secret handshakes.

      Regrettably, the only philosophy I’ve ever seriously considered putting on a bumper sticker won’t readily fit: Eschew Philosophies Sufficiently Simplistic To Be Expressed On Bumpers.

      Mebbe I’ll just slap the TANSTAAFL sticker on, instead.

    • “She responded that she was a PR person, and it just went straight to the gonads without lodging in the brain.”

      You should have told her that while a brain shot was immediately deadly, if the person being shot had a skull to thick to penetrate, the gonads was an excellent second choice target.

  6. Wayne Blackburn

    Then there’s – please gag me…

    I thought you didn’t go in for that? :-) (runs and hides)

  7. I don’t know, I kinda liked the bumper sticker about “Free Tibet* (with any purchase of automatic weapons. See store for details.)”

    I’ll second SJ’s comment. Everything I’ve seen suggests that communities, be they of believers, hobbiests, or whatever, create art after forming a group. Or individuals create art and then find other individuals who do similar things, and behold, a quilting bee is arranged, or a plen aire painting carpool forms. In no case does art create community, unless someone means an international society of art historians/ auctioneers/ appraisers/ whatever. None of which require government support, outside of governments not blocking freedom of travel and freedom of association.

  8. Stupidity creates community also. All the idiots seem to flock together.

    The upside is more people are genuinely stupid than genuinely artistic.

  9. You know what creates Community and begins with the letter A?

    Avon creates Community.
    Amway creates Community.

    Or, employing inductive reasoning:
    Commerce creates Community.

    You know what destroys Community? Forcing others to subsidize your vices.

  10. Whenever I Visualize World Peace I see a desolate wasteland, barren and lifeless.

  11. I love aphorisms and I love subversion — particularly of the left’s memes and themes. I just wish I were more clever and composing subversive aphorisms. Like: All helicopters are black after midnight.

  12. I don’t mind government supporting art; if they could just get their minds out of my wallet when they’re thinking of ways to do it. E.g. – free (for artists AND for the rest of us) gallery space in the long hallways of the bureaus, time-limited to ensure newcomers get to play. Net effect: Community supporting art, with govt in its proper role of efficiently enabling communities. Rinse and repeat to many other common interests that are social goods, but not essential uses of public funds.

  13. Post-it thinking is the method by which the Democrat-Media Axis keeps control of their base, which is the Low Information (or Low Reasoning) Voter. Take collectivist agenda, condense it into populist talking points, distill the talking points into a slogan, sell the slogan, collect votes.

  14. My biggest objection to government supporting art? The fact that the art they support is always crap that has no artistic merit whatsoever, save for that of keeping the doyens of the art world employed, The Elite of the art world always fawn upon talentless idiots. Norman Rockwell would not make it today

    • What I was going to say!

      About the only decent government supported art project ever is the Vigelunds park (sp?) in Oslo.

      Most art supported (i.e paid for) by municipalities is vastly improved when the graffiti painters have sprayed their tags over it.

  15. I indirectly thank you for indirectly mentioning me. My ego has been tickled and I’m not sure how…must be indirectly.

    Having an artistic space, or an aesthetic space is a good idea for public areas. But for a generation most content placed there, at public expense, would better serve the public for it’s material recycling value. I’d be much more pleased to see Sarah’s books enshrined on a pedestal that the strange twists of metal they tend to place there.

    I don’t see why they don’t just provide space and let anyone place what they want, on a quarterly rotation basis.

  16. “The problem is the operating word there is “should” which is the language of desire, not the language of reality, which uses “would” and “could.”
    This reminds of something my therapist said, “When you use “should” you are ‘shouldding’ all over yourself.”

  17. Art is in the eye of the beholder. It’s the beholders that should open their wallets to support the artist. Sure, not all good art will be purchased, but my tax money won’t be supporting what I consider bad art. I’m just saying.

    FYI, I’m a writer and photographer and get a rush when I sell something. I feel I’ve accomplished something.

    • Art is in the eye of a committee of trained credentialed experts. Believing it to be in the eye of the beholder assumes that all beholders are inherently equal in spite of the clearly (self-)acknowledged superior taste and understanding of technique of the experts.

      Why, such nonsense, if allowed to perpetuate, might lead to such pandereers to poular taste as Norman Rockwell, Bob Timberlake, Frank Frazetta or Jack Kirby being hailed as artists and allowed to display their works in galleries alongside such recognized masters as Roy Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol.

      Even worse, it might lead the benighted to believe that their own ideas as to what is best for them should be attended to, rather than the superior judgement of the elite of the last century who hailed phrenology, spiritualism, eugenics and Marxism.

      • Don’t forget Tim Cox, one of the best selling Western (cowboy) painters today.

      • Too true. I can’t remember the name of the artist, but he canned his own poop and called it art. And the art community agreed with him and these cans are worth thousands of dollars. Talk about being full of it. (To his credit, I think the artist did it to show the rediculiousness of the art world.)

        • I understand that the “art” is very rare now. The artist did not process the cans correctly while canning and they had a tendency to explode.
          Eeew.

          • Hmmm, that artist was even more of a genius than I thought. Not only selling what occurs as a byproduct of living, but covering the patrons with it as an opinion of their judgement. Every congresscritter who votes tax dollars for art support ought receive a can of that art for the office.

            Heck, give ‘em a six-pack!

            Going back to the Westminster dog show now … my plan is to watch it tonight and tomorrow instead of the State of the Unioin Address. I figure if I’m spending an evening watching a self-satisfied son of a b-tch I want to see the Best in Show winner.

        • A while ago there was this story about an expensive museum exhibit installation being ruined because the cleaner took off a piece and either cleaned it or threw it into trash – I think the piece in question was something like a dirty looking wash basin, possibly with some crap inside. And an other one about a cleaner or janitor who took and washed a tray and the dirty dishes on it, except that was also supposed to be art.

          Well, let’s just say I truly do hope those cleaners did not get into any trouble for their excellent taste. Or at least got hired by some smarter employers if they lost their jobs.

          • My kids and I go through the modern art part of the Denver Art Museum and desecrate it with running commentary. I mean, there’s a bunch of twisted together kitchen implements that the museum bought for two million — thanks to the goddess Anoya (Pratchett fans will know) I have a ton of those in my drawers any given day.

            Our commentary has included admiring an in-use ashtray, pretending we thought itw as an installation, and talking about all the significance and symbolism.

            We get dirty looks and shocked ones, but also not a few smiles. The thing that bothers me is this: there are some extraordinarily beautiful and moving pieces that make use of fiber optics, high tech materials, etc, and aren’t figurative. Some can strike you as art, because they rouse emotions. BUT the museum doesn’t seem to know the difference between that and random rubbish.

            • When people ask me for directions in Denver, I tell them that if they are looking for the Denver Art Museum: Drive downtown until you see a building that looks like an art museum …. that’s the library. Next to it is a building that looks like a prison – that’s the art museum.

              The last time we enjoyed the Denver Art Museum was the John Singer Sargent exhibition … but you probably guessed that.

            • I think I would enjoy going to the art museum with your family :)

            • If I could decide what to put in museums I might go mostly by whether the piece is beautiful or not. Something which has a message, or makes some sort of statement, can make sense even if it isn’t something which pleases the eye, but those are mostly pieces which are tightly, and clearly, tied to something which has touched the lives of lots of people. Most of modern ‘message’ art is something which seems to have been made only in order to offer something which can be stamped with that idea of ‘message’, and you can imagine the creators having spend many a long afternoon in desperate search for anything they could comment on with their ‘art’ rather than having done it after being shocked or deeply moved by something they then felt the need to respond to in some way. Or just throwing junk together, or paint on a canvas or whatever and then trying to figure out something it might say…

              But beauty can always touch people, it doesn’t matter if it says something or doesn’t.

              • “Beauty is Truth/ Truth is Beauty./ That is all ye know on Earth/ And all ye need know.” Ode to a Grecian Urn. Keats.

            • I have seen hay machines out in the field that strike me as being quite beautiful modern art sculptures.

              (Sometimes kinetic ones at that.)

              [image: Inline image 1]

              On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “My kids and I go through the modern art > part of the Denver Art Museum and desecrate it with running commentary. I > mean, there’s a bunch of twisted together kitchen implements that the > museum bought for two million — thanks to the goddess Anoya (Pratchet” >

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Don’t you know that art cannot be functional? If it’s functional, it’s not art! You can’t create a thing of beauty and have it still have a purpose, that’s insane!

                  Ok, I have to stop channeling crazy Ahtistes (fake French accent), because it makes my eyes cross.

                  • Well, I may not understand Art, but I know what I like. :-)

                    On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 7:24 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                    > ** > Wayne Blackburn commented: “Don’t you know that art cannot be > functional? If it’s functional, it’s not art! You can’t create a thing of > beauty and have it still have a purpose, that’s insane! Ok, I have to stop > channeling crazy Ahtistes (fake French accent), because it makes my ” >

            • Several years ago there was a fire at an art museum in London and the glitteratti and press got all in a huff. Why? Because people panicked when they heard that there had been a fire at the Tate — until they heard it was the Tate Modern. “Oh, that’s all? What a relief” seemed to be the common response from the Brit-on-the-Street.

            • Denver has nothing on the Philly art museum. Last time I was in the modern art section, there was a string of electrical wire on the ground with light bulbs on it. I thought it was left by maintenance trying to fix something. Wasn’t till I saw the plaque that I realized it was part of the exhibit.
              My rule is, if I can do it, it ain’t art.

      • Don’t be ridiculous. Once they let Rockwell et. al. into the museum, public demand would push Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol out because the contrast would just kill them.

        Which would of course be Too Awful For Words

    • And imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery. “Pay To The Order Of …” is.

  18. And just what kind of community are they building with a foundation of “P*ss Christ” and the elephant-dung Madonna?

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I still REEAAALLLLY want to know what the reaction would be if someone did an elephant dung Obama.

      Besides the deafening cries of, “RACIST!!!”, that is.

      • Ah, Chicago, where Bill Ayers smilingly tramps on the American flag but

        Chicago Aldermen and Police Seize Portrait That Blacks Deem Offensive
        By WILLIAM E. SCHMIDT, Special to the New York Times
        Published: May 13, 1988
        Like several other aldermen here, Allan Streeter was incensed when he learned that a portrait of the late Mayor Harold Washington, depicted in frilly lingerie, was hanging among an exhibition of student works at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

        So Mr. Streeter and several other black alderman, accompanied by police officers, marched into the museum’s annex Wednesday evening and, over the protests of students who tried to block their way, took down the portrait of the city’s first black Mayor, wrapped it in brown paper and removed it from the building.

        ”I would have gone to jail to get that painting down,” Mr. Streeter said in an interview today. ”It is an insult to a great man and an affront to blacks, and there would have been trouble in this city if it stayed on exhibition.”

        ”And if someone goes to court and they put it back up, I’ll be the first one there to take it down again,” he added. ”But the next time, I’ll destroy it.” Public Apology Is Planned Over the last 24 hours the dispute on the painting has been angry and insistent, pitting blacks and others arguing in behalf of racial sensibilities and Mr. Washington’s dignity against civil libertarians and young art students defending the right of free speech and expression.

        But late today, after a four-hour meeting with black aldermen and Mayor Eugene Sawyer, officials of the school and the Art Institute said they not only would issue a public apology for exhibiting the painting of the former Mayor, but also promised to do more to increase the number of students and employees who are members of minority groups, as well as the number of blacks on the board of the institute.

        Earlier in the day officials of the art school, an adjunct of the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, promised that they would not put the painting on exhibiton again. They said the police warned them that its exhibition could ”incite a riot.”

        Anthony Jones, the president of the school, said today that ”it would be highly irresponsible for the Art Institute to reinstate the painting,” adding that its exhibition would be as inflammatory as ”shouting fire in a crowded theater.” A.C.L.U. to File a Lawsuit

        Even so, the dispute is not over. A black community group said it intended to circulate petitions pressing for the resignation of Mr. Jones. And the American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago said it would file a lawsuit against the police department on behalf of David K. Nelson, the artist, seeking damages for the unlawful seizure of the painting.

        [SNIP]

        Mr. Streeter today compared Mr. Washington to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and said he would brook nothing that would sully the late Mayor’s name or reputation.

        ”In allowing this picture to be displayed the Art Institute was not being sensitive to black people, just as it would be insensitive to white people if they were to depict Ronald Reagan the same way,” Mr. Streeter said.

        He asserted that the institute had a ”moral obligation” to ask itself, before it displays a work, ”how Jews or Croatians or Poles will respond to it.”

        The one person who has not yet been heard from in the dispute is Mr. Nelson. The artist, who is white, has not come forward to either defend himself or explain the portrait, which he entitled ”Mirth and Girth.” The work is one of six paintings he had selected for exhibition at the show, which includes the works of about 250 students at the school. School officials noted that the exhibition was not open to the public, but was intended for the students themselves. ‘A Theme of Iconoclasm’

        But Mr. Grossman, who spoke with Mr. Nelson today, said the artist’s intention was ”to pursue a theme of iconoclasm and he has carried that theme out in other works, in addition to the Harold Washington painting.”
        http://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/13/us/chicago-aldermen-and-police-seize-portrait-that-blacks-deem-offensive.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

        • I thought that was a piece of your typically incisive satire, RES! Then I clicked the link. Wow!

          So … a depiction of Jesus Christ submerged in urine and many many other such literally crap works are ART, and if we find them offensive that’s our tough luck because … it’s ART! But a painting of Harold Washington in lingerie is offensive! Maybe blasphemous! And definitely NOT art! And they have to not only apologize but promise to enroll more “minorities” in the program.

          • As much as it dismays, some things are beyond satire. One can only point out discrepancies, like: “If it were Bush claiming a right to summarily execute with drones,” or “If it were were Sarah Palin saying the First Amendment asserts our right to own guns.”

            Or, from this morning’s NY Times:

            Rising Voice of Gun Ownership Is Female
            [SNIP]
            Though they may share a fierce belief in the Second Amendment with their male counterparts, female gun owners often learn to shoot for different reasons, their interest in and proficiency with firearms not just a hobby or a means for self-defense, but a statement of independence and personal power.

            Tina Wilson-Cohen, a former Secret Service agent who founded She Can Shoot, a women’s league with 10 chapters and 3,000 members across the country, said 90 percent of women who joined did so because “they’ve been a victim at one point of their life, of stalking or date rape or domestic violence, or they have just felt so vulnerable, and they want to feel competent and like they can protect themselves.”

            Firearms also often carry a different meaning for women than for men, who grow up with Hollywood images of guns that tell them “this is what a real man looks like and that’s how a real man acts, and it’s kind of delusional, really,” Ms. Wilson-Cohen said.

            “We don’t see women acting like this,” she said. “It doesn’t have that bad-ass mentality attached to it.”

            The idea that their depiction of male gun owners derives from an invidious stereotype is probably beyond the comprehension (or contrary to the agenda of) NYT editors.

            • “Often.”
              Meaning: I heard two of the three women I know who don’t shriek and run when they see a gun store mention that they like the lack of helplessness they feel when they have a gun.

              I like the “power” from having my gun, too. The “personal power” to not be victim #2, with my little girls being 3 and 4. The “personal power” to be physically the equal of Random Drug Freak #23. Etc.

  19. But you never mentioned the one post-it/bumper sticker saying I like, “Life’s a b*tch… then you marry one.”
    /runs/

    • Not me! Dated one once. (Yes, HE was male. He was also a total b*tch.) BUT I didn’t marry him. So, there.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I knew a woman in college who proudly proclaimed to be a b*tch. She didn’t really mean it, though. She really meant something similar to what you’re pointing out when you say, “You are a bad person”.

        • Nah this particular guy fought in a woman’s way. Mind games and “mean girl” stuff… eh.

          Coff, that is. It didn’t work out.

        • Saffire’s definition of b*tch:
          Being
          In
          Total
          Control of
          Herself
          From the song “Bitch With a Bad Attitude”

          I’ll miss seeing Saffire:The Uppity Blues Women come back through. I was sad to learn that Ann Rabson passed away recently. It surprised me, as the other founding member, Gaye Adegbalola, is the elder.

          • From right to left we have Gaye, Andra Faye MacIntosh, and Ann Rabson.

            Gaye always told folks to think “I dig baloney” when they were trying to pronounce her name. ;)

  20. “I love aninmals…they’re deeeelicious!’ :-D

  21. So you need some bumper stickers that say, “Don’t Think In Post-It Notes”?

    *runs*

  22. Make love, not war, and become the b*itch of the warlike?

    Yep, I’m no good with this. Too long-winded.

  23. A few years ago I saw a notice looking for artists to work on community projects. (This was in London). I’m sorry to say I still have a lot of vestigial hippy in me so I thought this was a good idea,and I went along to the meetings.
    Most of the discussion was about how to get grants. OK, I thought, I get paid for my writing, why shouldn’t artists get paid? I couldn’t help feeling that maybe we should produce some ideas before we asked for money.
    Then I produced an idea and the strangest thing emerged: everyone except me hated the community. It was assumed that any public art would be vandalised. It was also assumed that community was full of prejudices and that rather than produce something beautiful for people to look at we should aggressively hector the community and rub up against these supposed prejudices until we provoked them to vandalise anything we produced.
    Art creates community? The people who produce such slogans don’t believe them themselves.

  24. I’ve got one that I want to make…
    “Drive like you’re still making payments.”
    I want that bumper-sticker.

    It’s a spin on the “drive like you stole it” ones– that is, recklessly– and my real prefered one is more like:
    “drive like you’re a rational being who realizes the limits of physics, the probable risks of mechanical failure or unexpected traction, laws of the road vs risks from idiots and is in an expensive vehicle that generally carries those you love more than life itself as well as your sorry corpse, you idiot. So no, I’m not taking an illegal right on red, especially not when I can’t see past the jacked-up pickup that’s entirely over the walkway. If you wanted to hurry, you horn-happy hopper, you should’ve been in the far right lane.”

  25. My pickup used to have:
    “Driver only carries $50 worth of ammunition”

  26. Driving down the road today I seen one that made me think of this post.
    “*ss, gas, or grass, nobody rides for free”

    My first thought was, I wonder how often that driver has to take a sobriety test?