Monday, July 19, 2021

Greeks and Latino Lovers Bearing Gifts

Gospel According Shallow pools

Some are defending their intelligence and  integrity. While others are  defending their competence.”

His Instagram profile quotes Seinfeld’s George Costanza: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Photos published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday morning showed Ms Berejiklian and her high-flying barrister partner, Arthur Moses, waiting to collect their drinks outside a Sydney cafe on Sunday.

Politics aside, that’s a *** power move and it’s very Sex and the CityRemember when Charlotte dated and then married her divorce lawyer Harry? ICONIC.

Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour questioned Ms Berejiklian's trip when she has repeatedly told his electorate not to go outside unless their reason is 'absolutely essential'.

The Canterbury-Bankstown LGA is one of three government areas in Sydney's south-west where the Delta variant is spreading the most rapidly; only essential healthcare and emergency services workers can leave those regions for work.

'I don't begrudge her getting a coffee but her rules are don't leave the house unless it's absolutely essential,' he told the Today show. 

'It just send the wrong message and that's what is riling my community up'. 

Gladys Berejiklian denies breaking her own mask rules as she is seen bare-faced on a coffee run with her new lawyer boyfriend - and many Sydneysiders rush to her defence

Keeping up with the Berejiklians: Guide to love Ladies, there’s a new famous Armenian family in town with a name you can’t pronounce or spell

Medical Advisors: Mastermind” arrested for posing as doctor, “selling” vaccines

Seventy-six rediscovered pages — the holy grail of Proustianism — reveal the author’s ambivalence towards his Jewishness  ... grail

Why some people still care passionately whether St Jerome was Italian or Croatian (he was neither, actually) 

An exhibition in Split shows that being 1,600 years old does not take you out of politics

Rilke on the Relationship Between Solitude, Love, Sex, and Creativity

“There is only one solitude, and it is large and not easy to bear… People are drawn to the easy and to the easiest side of the easy. But it is clear that we must hold ourselves to the difficult.”


The Surfside condo collapse and NYC’s BQE NY Daily News

Greeks Bearing Gifts Lapham’s Quarterly. Simon Winchester.

True Bromance London Review of Books. Review of Ravi Shankar biography.

Given the number of dating apps, it is a wonder there are any single people left. Around the world, the most popular include Badoo and eharmony but those with particular requirements can find niche sites like Christian Mingle or countryside-focused Muddy Matches. Clowns alone have their choice of two tailored apps: Clown Dating and Clown Passion. Facebook is also trying to muscle its way in, on the strength of its 2.7bn user base. 

When science breaks bad: A rogues’ gallery of history’s worst scientists Ars Technica

A bird’s eye view of coal leases on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rockies The Narwhal

How hot is too hot for the human body? MIT Technology Review

Australia reports first 2021 local COVID-19 death, highest case number Reuters

Woman, 90, infected with Alpha and Beta Covid variants at the same time Guardian

Historic Warsaw store, seeking rebirth, hit by pandemic AP

*The Art Newspaper*

One complaint I have about the current “Woke” debates is that they don’t consider how diverse the intellectual playing field is.  You can learn a good deal from studying the interstices of dialogue that don’t fit into the common boxes of either pro-Woke or anti-Woke.

Along the way, I am happy to recommend The Art Newspaper (NB: non-subscribers can click through three articles a month) as an excellent periodical, both the paper and on-line editions.  It is consideredthe “journal of record for the international art world.”

To put it bluntly, the art world is torn.  In terms of demographics, the art world should lean fairly hard left, at least in the Anglo countries.  It is highly educated, cosmopolitan, wealthy, and “aware” of the world.  And many of the individuals operating in the art world do lean fairly strongly to the left.  Yet the art world itself is based on principles fairly different from Woke and often directly opposed to Woke.

First and foremost, the art world is based on ownership of property.  Most (by no means all) of those properties were created by dead white males, or perhaps by living white males.

Art markets typically are ruled by Power Laws and massive inequality, with most works going to zero value and a small percentage of the creators hitting it big.  No one in those worlds really thinks that is going to change, or should change.  Indeed, you earn status by showing how discriminating your eye is, which means by dumping on the works that aren’t going anywhere.

Textiles, which are arguably the “most female” genre in terms of their creators, are worth systematically much less in the marketplace.  Sometimes people complain about this, but they are not willing to bid up the prices commensurately.  (I am pleased to consider myself an exception in this regard — I see and indeed “exploit” massive aesthetic arbitrage opportunities here.  The same is true for some kinds of pottery as well.  Buying artworks from talented yet undervalued women creators is one of the best ways to be Woke.)

Art works do not come attached with triggers, and many of them reflect “the gaze” of dead white males, or they are soaked with violence, not usually along politically correct lines.  Women (and men) are eroticized without apology.  And they are eroticized because of the market.  “Reactionary” religions are central to many genres.

The subscribers to The Art Newspaper often are art owners, art collectors, and institutional participants in the art world, such as curators and people who work at auction houses.  They might fret over the theft of art works from poorer and typically non-white parts of the world, but actual full-scale restitution is not in fact their #1 programmatic goal.  Surprise!

So if you read The Art Newspaper, you will step into an elite world quite unlike say the world of the American Ivies.  The performative incentives here are entirely different.

In the 1990s, The Art Newspaper hardly ever ran articles with Woke themes.  Today it does a lot, yet the actual content and analysis just isn’t that Woke.  You can think of it as a respite from the Woke, though it will never criticize the Woke directly.  It tries to incorporate Woke rhetoric into an essentially non-Woke and anti-Woke set of customs and incentives and property rights.

If you look at the top five “most read” articles from this last week in early July, you will find at #2:

Why are the top jobs in Chinese museums going to white men?

Maybe you’re getting scared now, but the funny thing is the article actually addresses and answers the question.  Basically those are the individuals who have essential contacts in the outside art world and knowledge of how that world works.  At the end of the piece the article does call for more Chinese leadership talent (as we all would agree), but along the way no one is brow-beaten and there is remarkably little moralizing.  Keep in mind The Art Newspaper is being written exactly for these white men, or those who aspire to become them.

One lesson is that when no one is watching, and when actual property is at stake, the contemporary world is still remarkably sensible.

Just how politically correct do you think this articleis?

“…new book on 18th-century French art reveals discrete gradations of erotic images.”

Here is the opening passage:

Most who take an interest in 18th-century French art will know of the Goncourt brothers’ description of “the meanderings, the undulations, the pliancies of a woman’s body” in relation to Watteau, or their ecstatic response to Fragonard’s La Chemise enlevée (around 1770) depicting “a woman… on whose mouth hovers a languid smile, [trying], somewhat faintly, to retain the nightgown that has already been ravished from her body…”

I am not sure Andrea Dworkin would approve.  Still, the topic is sufficiently obscure that no one is going to get cancelled for “their ecstatic response to Fragonard.”

Every now and then, The Art Newspaper gets downright sad:

The auction house’s £17.2m [Old Masters] offering in London tonight was only 57% sold, overshadowed by the football match

Are they going to stop calling them “Old Masters”?  I don’t think so, not even if the term “Master bedroom” goes away.

The most widely read article of the week was “Archaeologists find ruins of vast Medieval Nubian cathedral in Sudan.”  Again, no need to get nervous.  They used remote sensing techniques to find the ruins.  Good article, good photo, homage to its aesthetic virtues, zero moralizing, zero politics.  Not a peep about cultural appropriation or CRT.

Lots of articles cover tax law too!  You could say they are a kind of supply-sider, albeit without the revenue maximization idea.

And the editor is a woman, Alison Cole.  She even wrote a book Italian Renaissance Courts: Art, Pleasure and Power — do you think she can be totally against those things?  22 Amazon ratings, five star average.

If you love the arts, or simply would like to step into a different intellectual world, I am happy to (strongly) recommend The Art Newspaper.  It is also full of practitioner-driven economic reasoning, and fairly objective looks at geopolitics, on top of keeping you current about art worlds.  The non-Woke lives.

OK, so what about The Woke and Non-Woke in other areas?  Classical music?  Stand-up comedy anyone?  What else?