coz andy warhol sez

Are free market solutions the answer to public policy problems? A very divisive question to be sure. Much appears to depend on the degree of income disparity society is willing to tolerate, the level of corporate welfare taxpayers are willing to commit, and the still to be determined impact of technological unemployment and a number of other deflationary or inflationary elements depending on the expert consulted. Though ideology remains a matter of faith to many, we are living in a society of dissent as the dominant leitmotif.

The Arab Spring focused on adolescents with an avant-garde spirit; restless, freedom hungry who were as  irreverent and rebelling as avant-garde artists like the Velvet Underground were too Vaclav Havel. The Twitter and Facebook revolutionaries as avant-gardist, cool, almost a predetermined acting out, through activism, of contempt for authority and established tradition, in an effort to discredit and replace it. Woodstock in Tahir.  The Egypt revolt, like in the Czech republic was carried out in the aegis  of a vague new order, but without clear conception of it, and ultimately somewhat unrealistic albeit the old order deserved the boot. One wonders; In the French and Russian Revolutions, an avant-garde revolution, uprising, became a totalitarian reign of  terror, an even more appalling  tyranny than what it replaced, much as  Communist tyranny was more violent than the Tzar. And Egypt? The verdict is still out…

---According to Kuspit, Warhol, is the commercial artist par excellence . Warhol blurred the line between art and business and is a key figure in the transformation of artist from critical individual to someone who rushes to become institutionalized in the commercial marketplace. If Andy Warhol had abandoned art to pursue a boardgame, which game would he have chosen? Warhol would have chosen Monopoly, that is, a game about making money (a game in which everything is for sale at some price or other). Although best known as an art critic and philosopher, Kuspit is also a poet. Rimbaud's “disordering of the senses” is a key theme of The End of Art, and one in which Rimbaud's program is portrayed as an authentic, self-exploratory act, the antithesis of which is postmodernism’s inauthentic mimicry of madness.--- Read More:

…Radical Islam has replaced communism as the existential bogeyman requiring eternal vigilance, and some vigilantes have drawn a link between the vulgar pop culture of the West and the murderous religious radicalism of the Middle East, most notoriously in conservative Dinesh D’Souza’s obscene 2007 book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. “Conservatives,” D’Souza wrote, “must stop promoting American popular culture because it is producing a blowback of Muslim rage. With a few exceptions, the right should not bother to defend American movies, music, and television. From the point of view of traditional values, they are indefensible. Moreover, why should the right stand up for the left’s debased values? Why should our people defend their America? Rather, American conservatives should join the Muslims and others in condemning the global moral degeneracy that is produced by liberal values.” …

---Kuspit traces the genealogy of the postart aesthetic from Marcel Duchamp’s announcement of an “entropic split” between intellectual expression and animal expression (which led to the reification of concept over form, and from there to a nihilistic pessimism) through Warhol’s commercialism (which blurred the line between art and business) to Hirst’s installations (which reflect postmodernism’s preoccupation with the banal objects and situations of our everyday lives). Whereas modern art consisted of revolutionary experiments motivated by a desire to express aspects of the newly-discovered “unconscious mind,” Kuspit argues, postart is shallow, unreflective banality motivated by the desire to become institutionalized; that is, part of the mainstream (along with the commercial reward that such co-opted acceptability brings). In this regard, the messianic zeal with which Van Gogh approached his work represents an ideal because it demonstrates the kind of authentic and individualistic commitment to artistic expression that today’s commercialized postartists lack. The crucifixion has become a cabaret.--- Read More: image:

…For more than a decade, the Egyptian regime had waged a brutal and eventually losing battle against a burgeoning homegrown heavy metal movement in a crackdown known as the “Satanic Panic.” As Cairo’s unofficial metal historian Sameh “Slacker” Sabry told journalist Richard Poplak in 2009, “My question to you is: Would you stop listening to the music you loved if someone was going to throw you in jail for it? If the answer is yes, then you don’t love the music enough. I have been charged for Satanism; I have been called a devil worshipper. Many times. My name has been in print—with my age, my school—I was waiting for them to come for me. I did not change. I did not hide. You want a piece of me—come get it.”…

The West seems to be willing, and finding takers in exporting its cultural detritus wherever it wants to drop a load. Or, should we infer, as Mark Achbar did in the documentary The Corporation, that there is a widening gap between institutional democratic systems of a nation state and large global economic players that avoid democratic control. The irony of communist managed capitalism outperforming neo-liberalism which is shying towards technocratic control as in Italy, a economic scenario long foreseen by Thorstein Veblen.

---Miloš Forman’s final Czechoslovakian film is an absurdist comedy about a local firemen’s ball and lottery, featuring a group of grumpy old clueless men who struggle through selecting contestants for the beauty contest so the winner can give the eighty-six-year-old former chairman a present before he dies of cancer and all the lottery gifts are stolen.--- Read More:

…It’s far too soon, as of press time for this book, to declare 2011 the most consequential year for global freedom since 1989. If that proves the case, however, we’ll have plenty of trashy Western culture to thank—not just for helping spark Václav Havel’s defiance and the replicable Charter 77 movement but also for exerting its specifically liberating influence on Arab and other still-closed societies themselves. Whether it’s post-Taliban Afghanis getting Leonardo DiCaprio haircuts and digging up banned VCRs once the mullahs were deposed, Iranian kids texting each other in English to set up trysts and/or protests, or Egyptian “Metaliens” braving possible arrest to see live sets by Hate Suffocation, citizens of unfree countries are using, adapting, and spitting back out the artifacts of surplus Western culture in ways that lead inexorably toward greater personal autonomy, outgroup bonding, reconsideration of stifling cultural traditions, and ultimately liberalization in the countries themselves. And it’s not just Western culture, either—India’s sexy/corny Bollywood industry (with its traditionalist tales and many Muslim stars) now counts the Middle East as its third-largest overseas market, with world premiers and even a proposed theme park taking shape in Dubai….

Rudolf Herz Art.---Avant-garde nihilism, whatever its creative fruits, is a sign of the adolescent's lack of realism. It is worth noting that avant-gardism has been called "creative destruction," which happens to be Schumpter's definition of capitalism. This suggests, as Adorno ironically does, that the avant-garde's so-called permanent revolution -- which means staying young forever, which is what the revolutionary face-lift attempts to accomplish -- is the capitalist motto, as Fortune magazine suggested. Thus avant-garde art is an unconscious endorsement of the capitalism that supposedly is its bourgeois enemy, a view confirmed by the bourgeoisification and commodification of avant-garde art. Such adolescent nihilism, with its regressive rebelliousness and scatological insults -- neither any longer shocking nor sensational, for profanity has become commonplace in public, even in the hallowed halls of Congress -- is still strongly in evidence in today's self-styled avant-garde artists, for example, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, the American Sensationalist cousins of the British Sensationalists. --- Read More: image:

…As Metalien historian “Slacker” Sabry tells author Richard Poplak in 2010’s The Sheikh’s Batmobile: In Pursuit of American Pop Culture in the Muslim World, “It is the same here in Egypt as it is everywhere, is it not? . . . A gathering of friends who love a small piece of culture beyond anything else. Here are young Egyptians and Saudis trying to find their identity. Through this, we assert some kind of difference from the crowd. This is

way of the Western childhood since the fifties, no? It can’t be a bad thing.”…

So, what we have it appears, is a desire for a consumerist society in these despotic countries. A shorning of the last traces of feudalism and an adoption of bourgeois values with all their contradictions. In effect, the installing of comparative preference system where goods and services become disliked eventually because too many people enjoy it and it falls short of expressing status and distinction, which is the essential component of consumerism. The Egyptian rebels and non-conformists cited above will find something new to sustain consumer behavior, a new pattern, again, not based on a set of values- the moral religious element and normative- but on comparative preference which also implies that the functioning of the system is based on dissent, the glorification of the rebel, the shallow imitative form of a Rimbaud or Baudelaire.

…No, it can’t, no matter how many times Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals try to convince you otherwise. In the late 1950s, as his career was about to go into a decade-long eclipse before he came back as a nostalgia act, Frank Sinatra spoke for record-burning Bible Belters and Stalin-friendly folkies like Pete Seeger alike when he hissed, “Rock and roll smells phony and false. It is sung, played, and written for the most part by cretinous goons.” Such dismissive critiques of rock music and other American ephemera like comic books, movies, and video games (“Step away from the video games,” counsels Barack Obama, who admits to not having played one since the days of Pong) proceed apace. Whether driven by heartfelt concern, fears of political dissent, or bald moral panic (“More often than not,” wrote Tipper Gore in 1987, “when teens gather to indulge in the occult, heavy metal is there”), agony over popular culture actually pays tribute to its potential liberatory effects, which range far beyond any particular form of entertainment….Read More:


Zizek:“Up to a point. You can have your sexual perversities, gay marriages, all that is ok. But the problem will be the control of the population. What makes me a pessimist is that I think less and less that capitalism itself can afford universal democracy. For example, when people ask why I’m against global capitalism, I say, “if you want to talk about capitalism, don’t just focus on developed countries’. Let’s talk about Congo which is a nightmare on Earth. The state does not function. But Congo is not excluded; it’s fully included in the capitalist system. This is what we should ask: ‘what is the dynamic of global capitalism so that in order for us to have good lives, some countries have to be treated like Congo.” Read More:

…The Europe of a purely technocratic union of the Brussels type, or a conservative counter-attack with stronger national identities and so on. I think that what opened up the space for this anti-immigrant populist nationalist trend is precisely that Europe was defined by those in power in too purely technocratic terms.

“Europe should not only be economy; it should also embody a certain radical emancipatory potential. As I like to say, the big choice of today is, to put it bluntly, either Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism, or what we poetically call capitalism with Asian values which means authoritarian capitalism. Frankly, I wouldn’t like to live in the world where this is the only choice. In Europe, weak as it is, maybe there is still hope that something new, some new vision of a society neither neoliberal nor authoritarian, will emerge.” ( ibid.)


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