RIP today to two remarkable figures on the world stage: trailblazer for democracy Kim Jong Il and repressive lunatic shitbag dictator Vaclav Havel…wait a minute, I got that backwards, didn’t I? I have an atrocious memory for world leaders…which one was the Czech guy again? ‘Cause he was the cool one, I think, right? Think, dammit, think…
Okay…start again… RIP to trailblazer for democracy Vaclav Havel, and to famously cantankerous Vanity Fair columnist Kim Jong Il. I think I’ve got that right. I think. I’ll double check that later.
I don’t usually post anything en route to home, but there is a couple making out rather heavily - specifically, his-hand-under-her-coat heavily - on the sparsely populated A train from Far Rockaway. They just stopped as some dude on a cellphone came in and sat down across from them.
I had the pleasure of attending an amazing concert at Symphony Space featuring everyone from Pete Seeger (and his grandson Tao) to Arlo Guthrie to Loudon Wainwright III to Suzanne Vega to Dammit Who Am I Leaving Out? It was a fantastic show, and I was unaware when I came that the show would be transforming into an Occupy Wall Street march to Columbus Circle. It did, and it was a blast.
Click above for NY1 coverage with shots of last night. I’m in there too - behind and to the right of Arlo’s head, in the white shirt and corduroy jacket.
A while ago I thought about repurposing misprinted currency by circulating it at a discount (a wonky $1 bill for 65 cents, let’s say). Now I thought about what we could do with products that are found unsafe for public use and have to be pulled off the market: repurpose them as modern art!
Consider Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, which he mounted upside down on top of a wooden stool. The combination of these two items renders them functionally useless: the bicycle wheel can’t move anything because it’s mounted upside down, and the stool can’t be sat upon because a bicycle wheel is mounted on top of the seat. This combination divorces both of these parts from their intended purposes.
Now, apply that concept to a My Little Pony containing lead paint. The toy is intended to be enjoyed by a young child, but it literally poisons anyone who handles it (particularly a child, whose constitution remains fragile and whose wont is to place things in his or her mouth). By virtue of its composition, the item removes itself from its culturally assumed purpose as an object of play, and forces the viewer to recontextualize any and all preconceptions of what defines a “toy.”
What about something bigger and more dangerous, like a car with faulty brakes or an easily ignited fuel tank? Well, consider the work of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, whose massive kinetic sculptures were specifically designed to tear themselves apart while operating. These self-destructive machines symbolize the temporal nature of life and reality, wherein the art exists not in the object itself but in the performance, and the entire spectacle both defines the piece and leads inevitably to its downfall. A rogue Toyota careening into a cliffside, or a Ford Pinto exploding into flames, demonstrates this role as an ode to impermanence and oblivion.
- reprinted from Talking Out Your Ass Quarterly, Fall 2011.
This morning, I was reading about the NY-9 congressional race to replace Anthony Weiner’s old seat. The thing is, I was reading it, as I often read the news, on my iPhone, in the bathroom, while on the toilet. I mean, a lot of people read in the bathroom, but reading this specific story, with what I was specifically doing, with my iPhone right where it was, made me feel a little weird.
I felt so weird that I started talking about it to a friend - well, not so much a “friend” as a random stranger I found on Twitter - and, well, damned if I didn’t hit the Camera app by mistake…
Aaaaanyway…long story short, I may have to leave Congress.
“I am appalled by what’s going on in the educational system in this country. To focus only on math and reading and to have rewards to schools based on scores, which unfortunately are changed because people from the top administrators down are too afraid of losing jobs or grants, is really very sad. The whole educational system has to be changed. We have to introduce the subjects that made a mind well-rounded, and if we do not emphasize the more creative aspects of being an educated human being this whole country is going to fail in time.”—
Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called ‘Ageing Gracefully’ I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ‘It…
I am turning 25 on Friday, and this guy turns 82 today. I don’t care how old you are, this is brilliant advice to go by.