Saturday, May 23, 2015

repeats. the lot of it.

for various reasons.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Corbusier and modernism: the contradictions of a pharaonic organicism; authoritarian technocratic not democratic.

"Plato, we know, looked back with nostalgia at the immobile schemata of Egyptian art."

"A religion is a form of utopia: when it disappears, alternative utopias appear" Emmanuel Todd

"Charlie’s approach to politics contributed to a confusion of the mundane world of political discourse with the sphere of ultimate values."

The idealism and authoritarianism,or moralizing Puritanism of Plato and John Rawls.

Not for the first time in France; the revolution [sic] will be carved in stone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In the great portrait of Innocent X, in Rome, the sitter is looking to his right and up, meeting the painter's gaze and ours. We like Velazquez are standing.This seems to make the Pope uncomfortible, but he holds his tongue.

Velazquez at The Grand Palais.
My original reason for the trip.

"So, too, our Collegiate Gothic, which may be seen in its most resolutely picturesque (and expensive) phase at Yale, is more relentlessly Gothic than Chartres, whose builders didn't even know they were Gothic and missed so many chances for quaint effect."

Velazquez knew at some level that he was an avatar of bourgeoise democracy, and so did his greatest patrons. That's how it fucking works.

Brian Leiter (see various) is concerned over the harm of hate speech but opposes trigger warnings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Saturday, May 16, 2015
Remembering and relearning Yvonne Rainer's Trio A
It began as one man performing what I recognized as bits of Trio A, but then he stopped and gave a lecture monologue about the piece and its history and how dance is notated, handed down, and not, and that he was trying to remember bits he'd lost. He asked advice from a friend in the audience and from someone else who it became clear later was a plant. After dancing together with the third dancer for a few minutes, consulting back and forth, the first dancer left (his friend had drifted back into the audience) and the one remaining switched the topic from Ranier to Trisha Brown. The first dancer was British and it was unclear what relation he had to Rainer. The third was American and she was a former member or perhaps still working with Trisha Brown's company.

It was all very nicely done.

A former Balanchine dancer.

More confirmation of the obvious: art museums not as art museums but as theaters.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In Europe with a phone. This is the best I'm gonna do for awhile.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

You can't understand the complexity of Athenian art, dynamic/naturalistic and hieratic, until you see it, and the best of it. Its closest parallels in Asia don't match it. Nothing in Europe matches in since.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Holbein, Bellini, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Mantegna, Piero. The National Gallery, London.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Underground/Overground: The Changing Politics of UK Music-Writing: 1968-85

A two-day conference bringing together writers, editors and readers of the underground and trade music presses of the 1970s with academics and other media commentators, to discuss the emergence and evolution of this counter cultural voice and its wider legacy, good and ill, from the 80s to the present day.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

A long time.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

"A religion is a form of utopia: when it disappears, alternative utopias appear" Emmanuel Todd

"Charlie’s approach to politics contributed to a confusion of the mundane world of political discourse with the sphere of ultimate values." Arthur Goldhammer

Goldhammer The first paragraphs and last.
There is, of course, no justification for the murder of political cartoonists. Nothing I say should be construed as in any way mitigating the horror of the Jan. 7 attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine by two gunmen affiliated with Al-Qaeda in Yemen. In no way do I excuse the crime or accuse the victims of somehow bringing it on themselves. This should go without saying, but as I have learned from the reactions to what I previously published on this matter, it bears repeating, and even then there are some for whom it will not be enough. I should stipulate at the outset that I believe the editors and cartoonists at the satirical magazine exemplified all the courage with which they are credited by PEN America, whose decision to honor the magazine with its Freedom of Expression Courage Award has sparked controversy and led 145 writers to support a boycott of its annual gala. Charlie’s staffers knew that, by taking the course they did, they might be subject to physical harm.

I do not in any way contest the magazine’s right to blaspheme, offend or denounce. I regard some restrictions on free speech under French law (e.g., lese majesty — a protester was arrested a few years ago for wearing a “Fuck Sarkozy” T-shirt — and prohibiting Holocaust denial and apology for terrorism) as undue limitations on political expression. In this respect, I am more of a free-speech absolutist than many in France today.

The possession of a right does not, however, make it imperative to exercise that right. The confrontation between cartoonists and jihadists began when a Danish editor raised the question whether editorial cartoonists might be exercising self-censorship with respect to Islam. He regarded such self-censorship, if it existed, as a potential threat to free speech rights. I do not deny that such a potential threat might exist, but I question whether it was or is a clear and present danger to free speech rights in the West today. Calling self-restraint self-censorship seems to me to foreclose thoughtful response by applying a pejorative label. When communities with very different sensibilities regarding religion must live together, there is potential virtue to self-restraint, which may connote many things, including respect for the other, a desire to avoid conflict on matters where rational discourse will be difficult to achieve and a commitment to avoid inflaming tensions. Discretion is a social virtue, and frankly speaking one’s mind on all occasions can be a form of misanthropy or aggression, as Molière reminds us. ...

Charlie’s approach to politics contributed to a confusion of the mundane world of political discourse with the sphere of ultimate values. However laudable the magazine’s intentions, I believe that such confusion has proved politically unavailing. I would therefore advocate a change of tactics. Honor the dead, by all means, and defend what is defensible. But there is nothing dishonorable about asking whether other forms of engagement might not offer a greater likelihood of success. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

"All lives matter"

"All lives matter"
"Some of my best friends are Jews"
The problems of Charlie Hebdo in two stock phrases, one new, one old.

Writing and rewriting...
I've been sloppy with Hebdo, not always and not so much here, but often enough.

Max Fisher, on the attack in Texas.
But this was not principally a free speech event; it was an anti-Muslim hate event. Pamela Geller is not principally a free speech advocate; her activism has rather focused on curbing the rights, including the speech rights, of Muslims in the United States. The Garland event's most famous attendee and keynote speaker, the Dutch far-right political leader Geert Wilders, has taken similar positions, for example calling for banning the Koran
There is of course zero — zero — justification for the two attackers, who shot a security guard in the ankle (read more on the attackers here) before they were killed. No amount of hate speech justifies a violent retaliation, nor does it explain why these two men turned to violence. 
But before we elevate Geller and the event's attendees to free speech heroes akin to the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, we should understand what the event was really intended to support: hatred and marginalization of Muslims. 
The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo are not heroes. The Jyllands-Posten cartoons were anti-Muslim as much as cartoons of the Pope are anti-Catholic, but only a fool sees European Muslims as the equivalent of European Catholics. No Jew would accept claims of the equivalence in Europe of Christians and Jews, and anyone else who would is suspect. Siné admitted being anti-Semitic once and then apologized. The second time he refused. He'd never said he changed his mind.

Pedants argue that double standards shouldn't exist, or absurdly that they don't. After the Holocaust and the founding of Israel European Jews and their descendants live fantasies no other minorities enjoy. They identify as white* and their ethnic nationalism is described by whites and by themselves as liberal.  No one in polite society questions if, "Jewish lives matter", is lacking in universalism. The question now in Europe is whether the double standard extended out of guilt to Jews and assumed by Jews regarding Europeans should cover Muslims and other non-whites as well.

The invention of an oxymoron.
French rationalism and political idiocy.
TPM (my highlighting)
One of the writers for satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the target of a deadly attack in January, said that the magazine's cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad are different from the contest to draw Muhammed in Texas over the weekend.

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a Charlie Hebdo film critic, told PBS' Charle Rose that there's "absolutely no comparison possible" between the Charlie Hebdo attack and the shooting outside of the Muhammed cartoon contest held near Dallas by anti-Islam group American Freedom Defense Initiative.

"To be honest, I can’t imagine the kind of comparison you can make between the Charlie Hebdo attack January 7 and this event," Thoret told Rose when asked for his reaction to the Texas attack.

Thoret said the contest in Texas was part of a "very harsh movement against Islamization of the U.S."

He said that at Charlie Hebdo, the writers and cartoonists were "criticizing" religion, "not Muslim people in particular."
We're back to Aquinas and the doctrine of double effect. But it doesn't matter what Thoret thinks; it matters what Muslims think.

*See also Jason Stanley, and again in the previous post. In the introduction to his new book he refers as he has in the past to Judaism almost exclusively as a faith. It's as if he's never looked in the mirror.

Credit where credit is due: Arthur Goldhammer in AJA
Charlie’s approach to politics contributed to a confusion of the mundane world of political discourse with the sphere of ultimate values.