Not crazy about Stephen Harper. Plodding, industrial age mentality that will pay the piper if the commodities rally, if and when collapses. Though to be fair, conservatism in Canada is equivalent to Obama; the same budget busting and expansive approach to public financing under the banner of fiscal responsibility. A maple leaf and a beaver. Well, we did have Glenn Gould.
Canadians still don’t trust Harper after all these years of minor scandals and nuisance hardcore political maneuvering at the fringes of acceptable ethics. Still, the political memes are in pretty bad taste, especially the one that puts the P.M. in the context of Manet’s Olympia and all the narrative baggage that the iconic painting brought to bear on bourgeois morality of the time.
Donald Kuspit: It turns the spectator into a voyeur — Manet’s Olympia certainly does this — which is to devalue looking. It is this devaluation which makes all kitsch art evil….Let’s go back to Manet’s Olympia, the painting with which it all began, and still the most subtly perverse — which also means anti-bourgeois, for bourgeois sex is presumably normal sex, that is, never ventures beyond the missionary position — to grasp what’s at stake in perversion, and that perverse deviation from traditional art called modern art. Why was the work so offensive — so shocking to the bourgeois, or, as I would rather say, emotionally terrorizing? Manet himself was bourgeois, and knew the bourgeois had a perverse underside — knew that the bourgeois male could only satisfy his sexual curiosity, that is, the full range of his sexual impulses, with a prostitute. (Apparently Manet himself was a customer, and caught the syphilis from which he died from a prostitute.) Olympia is a prostitute, and Manet’s paintings of her suggest the two sides of perversion — perversion as an attitude and perversion as a practice….
So, the memes are so kitschy, they feed the evil they are so supposedly confronting and exposing, reinforcing the gag of which their own satire is a complicit form of acceptance. The conformist rebel, especially when the jibes are coming from the Sovereignty movement, the kind of narrow, reactionary tribalism, nativism and yes, conservatism which so many hide under while claiming fights for liberty and freedom.
…The emotionally unsettling point of Manet’s Olympia is that she’s available to turn whatever perverse trick her male customer is willing to pay for — all the “sensational” perverse tricks, as the big bouquet of different flowers he sent her suggests. She’s an instrument of pleasure — any kind of pleasure — and her famous stare is less confrontational than matter of fact (one only has to compare her blank face with Mona Lisa’s subtle smile to get the point), like her body, passively available for any and every kind sexual activity. That’s one aspect of her perversity. The other has to do with her profound indifference, an indication of her emotional banality, not to say emptiness. One can’t imagine what her inner life might be, or even if she has any. She’s turned off completely. She’s not even trying to attune to her customer. She’s there only to satisfy his sexual needs, whatever they may be. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit6-10-02.asp