Pixel Scroll 11/5/17 I’m The Pixel Of Scrolls. What Were You The Pixel Of Again?

(1) RANTS AND RAVES. Three days ago S.T. Joshi ranted about an alleged Lovecraft hater in “The Multifarious Illiteracies of Brian Keene”.

For the past two or three weeks I have been in misery. In short, I have been reading the novels of Brian Keene. Were I not driven by my sacred duty as a literary critic to assess the work of this grotesquely prolific blowhard for my treatise, 21st-Century Horror, I would have been relieved of this excruciating agony; but the job is done, as is my chapter on Keene, which can be found here.

…The only horror in Keene’s work is that there is so much of it. Since 2000, Keene has published at least forty-three novels, twelve short story collections, and sundry other material—an impressive achievement if his books were of any substance or even bare competence, but quite otherwise if, as appears to be the case, the books in question are nothing but crude and slapdash hackwork. A fair number of his books have been published by Leisure Books, a firm that habitually churns out pablum of all sorts for the great unwashed. It seems to be a match made in hell….

Today Brian Keene answered with “The Ballad of S.T. Joshi, or, Saruman and Wormtongue Meet the Great Unwashed”.

…With that being said, the probable origins of Lovecraft’s work are, in my opinion, repugnant. Lovecraft was racist and xenophobic…. These beliefs fueled his fiction, and the creation of his mythos. So much of Lovecraft’s work is driven by fear and disgust of “the other” or of genetic mutation. And in turn, so much of that work shaped and molded this field.

Despite their repugnance (or perhaps because of it) I think those origins are worth discussing. Joshi does not. He threatened to boycott a recent convention because the programming included a panel discussing the racist themes prevalent in Lovecraft’s work (and then reportedly defied his own personal boycott by signing books in the dealer’s room of that same convention). Because I wondered aloud on my podcast why he’s against discussion of such things, it further inured me as a “Lovecraft Hater”. Joshi also railed against the World Fantasy Awards discontinuing their bust of Lovecraft. When I stated on my podcast, “If I was a person of color, and I won that award — an award from my peers recognizing my work — I wouldn’t want a man who thought I was sub-human glowering down at me from my brag shelf”, this further fueled Joshi and Brock’s insistence that I am, in fact, a Lovecraft Hater.

It’s also important to note that Lovecraft’s racism is not a new topic, brought up by some supposed younger, newer generation of political Progressives or SJWs. The great Robert Bloch himself discussed Lovecraft’s racism in his seminal “Heritage of Horror” essay. Joshi doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Based on his actions, he seemingly only has a problem with people discussing it if they are women (Ellen Datlow), LGQBT (S.j. Bagley), persons of color (Daniel José Older and Nnedi Okorafor), or apolitical “white trash” Appalachians (myself). I find that interesting…

So, again, for the record, I am not a “Lovecraft Hater”. I respect the man’s work. I don’t, however, respect the man.

…Which brings us to last Friday, and the reason why so many of you are asking me, “Who is S.T. Joshi?”.

Why did Joshi turn his attention toward me? I don’t know. Maybe it was our coverage of his antics on my podcast (where he is a recurring source of amusement). Perhaps he was offended that I sandwiched him between “Lovecraft Haters” Ellen Datlow and S.j. Bagley in the inaugural chapter of History of Horror Fiction. Or maybe he was driven half-mad by Jason Brock’s incessant whining.

Regardless, I woke up at 5am Friday morning. Publisher and author Ross Lockhart had sent me the link to Joshi’s tirade overnight. I clicked the link and read Joshi’s Introduction, where he states that I am “A grotesquely prolific blowhard” and that my work left him in “excruciating agony.” This pleased me. I thought it was funny enough to craft a cover blurb out of, so I did. Then some readers asked for it on a t-shirt, so I made this. And that was pretty much it….

(2) AMBIFORCESTROUS. Continuing a thought from yesterday – this comes from Mark Hamill himself.

(3) THOR SCORE. Daniel Dern submitted his non-spoiler review of Thor: Ragnarok for today’s Scroll:

(“Non-spoiler” as in “assuming you’ve seen at least one of the trailers already, but IMHO no how-it-ends spoilers in any case)

My short-short summary: Way loads of fun! Go and enjoy.

  • Among the best snappy multi-character dialog, and lots of it.
  • Basically sticks to one plot from start to finish (unlike, say, Guardians of the Galaxy II).
  • Nice to NOT see Manhattan/NYC trashed/destroyed/etc for a change. Similarly, no S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers harmed (or even sighted) in this movie.
  • Lots of bright colors, great costumes/garb/accessories.
  • a good balance of talking, fighting/battling, and both-at-once.
  • It’s contemporary fantasy and sci-fi. Thor pilots spaceships, etc.
  • prior knowledge needed of Marvel, any of the previous movies, etc. Yeah, knowing some can’t hurt. E.g., Loki and Thor briefly mentioning the time L turned T into a frog was real — one of Walt Simonson’s great arcs (a bunch of issues) in the Thor comic series.
  • In terms of “Marvel movie big picture,” this is sequentially following the events of Avengers/Age of Ultron.
  • Best Stan Lee cameo to date, IMHO.
  • Mentions Avengers by name at times, etc., but only Hulk actually in the movie. Most of the action is off-Earth, so no need to explain why the other A’s aren’t putting in their oar, so to speak.
  • Lots of Jeff Goldblum! Lots!

Offhand I don’t have any complaints or criticisms.

(4) REVIVAL MEETING, And everything considered, this seems a good time to ponder “The Norse gods’ unlikely comeback” as Mark Peters does in the Boston Globe.

Part of why the Norse myths continue to compel so many readers, writers, and artists is their sheer entertainment value, featuring high adventure, low comedy, apocalyptic nightmares, and ample drinking. Karl E. H. Seigfried, adjunct professor and pagan chaplain at Illinois Institute of Technology and author of the Norse Mythology Blog, said by e-mail that the Norse myths resonate on three levels: dramatically, emotionally, and spiritually. Of the three, the spiritual element is often overlooked.

Underneath the troll-smiting mayhem, the Norse myths have an uplifting core, insists Seigfried, who is also a priest of Thor’s Oak Kindred in Chicago. “In contrast to the gloomy Nordic worldview often portrayed in popular culture,” he said, “the wandering god [Odin] never stops searching for knowledge and never ceases to rage against the dying of the light. The old gods may die at Ragnarök, but the myth is life-affirming. We will not live forever, but our children will survive us, and their children will survive them.”

(5) HUBBARD. Alec Nevala-Lee, “author of Astounding, a forthcoming book on the history of science fiction, digs into the writing career of L. Ron Hubbard, gaining new insights into the life of the controversial founder of dianetics and the origins and nature of Scientology itself” in “Xenu’s Paradox: The Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard and the Making of Scientology” at Longreads.

And it gets even stranger. When we turn to the stories themselves, we find that most of them have nothing in common with the tale of Xenu. In the pages of Astounding, Hubbard tended to write comic fantasies or adventures staged on a very modest scale, with situations lifted straight from the nautical or military fiction that he was publishing elsewhere. Aliens and galactic empires rarely played any significant role. When he employed these conventions, it was as a target for parody or as a kind of painted backdrop for the action. Yet when the time came to give Scientology a founding myth, he turned to space opera, referring to it explicitly in those terms, and the result didn’t look or sound much like anything he had ever written before.

(6) ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE. Fran Wilde has a tip for convention attendees, idiots, and assholes:

Other reactions:

(7) PROBLEM WITH COMPLAINT-DRIVEN CON POLICIES. A New Mexico event promoter says complaints led him to change a policy — “Comic Con ditches free passes for military, first responders”. How well do you think that worked?

An offer for local military and first responders to enjoy the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Comic Cons for free is about to end.

The promoter, Jim Burleson, said he was getting threats for giving free admission to only military, police and firemen.

Burleson took to Facebook this week with an announcement that’s angered many, saying: “This will be the last year we are offering free admission to police, military and firefighters.”

The decision stems from people — other than military and first responders — who complained about not getting a discount over the years, which, he says, led to threats.

“We actually got threatened at our Santa Fe Comic Con. Somebody threatened to call their dad who was a lawyer to prove that we were discriminating,” he said.

Now, there’s even more backlash from people who said he shouldn’t have given into the criticism, with some claiming they won’t be attending comic con anymore.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Mike Kennedy found a scientific breakthrough in Monty.
  • John King Tarpinian passes on the Star Wars nutritional advice he found in Brevity.

(9) LEAF BY TOLKIEN. Glen Dixon of the Washington Post Magazine writes about the death of the Baltimore City Paper which just folded, in “Baltimore City Paper is closing after 40 years. Will it be missed?” The following scene is inside the City Paper’s offices….

The wisdom of the crowd converged when Brandon Soderberg puzzled over the mysterious provenance of Gray Haven, the latest strain of marijuana to cross his palate. Soderberg is both the paper’s editor and one of its pot critics. He knows his weed, but he hadn’t been able to uncover the first thing about this particular variety. Perhaps the name held a clue? He read off some loopy texts from a helpful stoner friend, a Tolkien fan who said there is a place called Grey Havens in Middle-earth. The messages were pipe dreams billowing with head-spinning arcana. “I’ve read ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ” said art director Athena Towery, dryly. “I don’t think that’s in there.” The room erupted with laughter, then settled on another Tolkien work — “The Silmarillion” — as the source. Photo editor J.M. “Joe” Giordano added that the bud shares its name with a neighborhood in Dundalk, Md.

(10) SPRING AHEAD, FALL OOPS. Joe Haldeman shared this on Facebook – pretty funny, even if the joke is about the wrong time change:

Another busy night at all the British henge sites as staff work all night to move the stones forward by an hour.

(11) FEDERATION POLITICAL SCIENCE. I don’t remember if I’ve run this before but it sure is fun. And like some Tumblr posts, it needs to be read from the bottom up; the pivot is a Klingon asking the Vulcans why they let humans run the Federation; the answer includes because the last thing they did is ” getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how”

(12) CREDENTIAL RENEWED. Kim Huett advises his article “Temple of the Sphinx”, with some thoughts on the William F. Temple story, “The Smile Of the Sphinx,” is now online.

In a fit of possibly misplaced enthusiasm I have created a website in order to post my Bill Temple article online for all the world to see. Those of you already familiar with this article might like to note that it has been rewritten here and there in order to fix a few errors and to add a little more depth to the story. In regards to the latter I would like to in particular thank Rob Hansen for all his hard work on THEN as that history made my job so much easier. The website in question can be found here at the URL below. Feel free to pass the URL on if you want as I think this is a story well worth sharing. This is especially true since it allows us to increase our count of times the word “cat” has appeared on this blog.

For all this Gillings did publish one story that I find absolutely fascinating, though perhaps not for the usual reasons. The story in question is a novelette by William F. Temple, his third published story. The Smile of the Sphinx appeared in Tales of Wonder #4 (Autumn 1938). In the introduction Gillings wrote:

‘…in the light of his logical reasoning, his fanciful notion loses its air of incredibility, and you will find yourself seriously considering whether it might not easily be fact…’

The story was well regarded at the time of publication. For example noted science fiction fan of the day (and later editor of New Worlds), Ted Carnell was so taken by The Smile of the Sphinx that in Novae Terrae #28 (December 1938) he was moved to claim:

‘For just as Bill Temple’s yarn in TOW will long be remembered as the cat story…’

Now at first glance all this makes very little sense as The Smile of the Sphinx is a rather absurd tale about an intelligent race of cats from the Moon who secretly rule the Earth.

(13) CHOCOLATE EMERGENCY. Adweek shares the laughs — “Snickers Got a Whole TV Channel to Act Weird When It Was Hungry in Great Media Stunt”.

The network is called Dave, and it normally features a millennial-focused grab bag of fun-loving programs. But one day recently, at exactly 3:28 p.m. (which Snickers says is “the hungriest time of day”), Dave suddenly and inexplicably turned into Rupert—a network showing boring and nonsensical shows including chess championships, vintage film noir and an art appraisal program.

Frankly, it seemed like Dave had become PBS.

 

[Thanks to JJ, DMS, Daniel Dern, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/5/17 I’m The Pixel Of Scrolls. What Were You The Pixel Of Again?

  1. Every time I see Joshi speak out in another pseudo-political controversy, I’m happy to recall that his writing does nothing for me.

  2. (7) God, I wish he’d called that person’s bluff and told him to bring daddy on.
    The publicity would have been great and you know daddy would have read the riot act. Would you want to be the lawyer complaining about service members getting some kind of perk?

  3. (12) William F. (Bill) Temple’s own take on the writing of “The Smile of the Sphinx” is collected with his other — mostly humorous — fanzine writing from 1938 to 1960 in Temple at the Bar. This ebook, edited by Rob Hansen, was a November 2017 addition to the free downloads at the TAFF site.

    Graham Charnock will hit me if I don’t mention that this month’s other freebie from Ansible Editions is Running Amok in the Fun Factory, his anthology of favourite UK convention reports.

  4. As I’ve informed him, Kim either misread or misremembered what I wrote in THEN when he says:

    “… the party Bill wrote about in Tomorrow #7 was held the night before a London SF Convention. According to Rob Hansen’s exhaustively researched history, Then, the first London convention was held in January 1937, an event at which surprise, surprise, Eric Frank Russell was present.”

    Not so. While the first con was indeed in January 1937, it was held in Leeds. The first London con was in 1938. Although Eric Frank Russell was at the former (along with Arthur C. Clarke), he wasn’t at the latter, while Bill Temple was at the latter but not the former. Also, after the 1937 con Russell didn’t attend another until the 1957 London Worldcon, which would’ve been the only time the two could’ve met at a con.

    Hopefully, Kim will amend his piece to correct this error.

  5. (1) How dare Brian Keene be so sensible!

    (7) Had he rolled his eyes and told the idiot, by all means, call daddy, that would likely have been the end of it. Daddy is probably to smart to sue to stop such a minor and kindly benefit to military personnel and first responders.

    On the other hand, the notion that this heralds the death of conventions is at least equally over the top.

  6. 11) I like these but I’m also amused that tumblr, of all places, seems to be independently reinventing the John W Campbell story template.

  7. @Ghostbird: Good point – the tumblr thread is reminiscent of Christopher Anvil’s Pandora’s Planet stories which are from the point of view of the alien overlords trying to prevent human inventiveness from destroying everything.

  8. @Andrew

    There is/was a whole genre of these a little while ago – I saw them on tumblr but I think I remember someone saying they started on Reddit? This one (aliens vs Earth fauna) is very Christopher Anvil too, though Anvil’s hardly the only one to use the trope.

    Of course, context has an effect on how you read them. It’s unlikely any of the authors are coming from Campbell’s weird libertarian-racist-technocrat position, although I guess if it really did start on Reddit…

  9. (9)There are of course Havens in LotR, they are the title of the very last chapter, but they are Grey.

  10. (1) After an encounter with another early horror aficionado, I wonder if they all suffer from extreme touchiness and an urge toss around insults in suitably erudite ways. But then I remember that that there are exceptions, and that it just shows how much they have in common with us sf fen too, no matter how much they try to deny it.

    (7) Myself, I’m just shaking my heads over the idea of military, police, and firefighters as a privileged class to be fawned over. Give them a decent pay so they can pay their own entrance or membership fees instead.

    That said, having your decisions being driven by complaints is a poor substitute for policy and reason.

  11. I’m reminded of Stephen King casually acknowledging Lovecraft’s notorious racism in Danse Macabre, with a brief but conclusive quote.

  12. Having recently read the new variorum editions of Lovecraft, I respect Joshi’s scholarship and attention to detail in Lovecraft’s texts, but don’t think I’ll be seeking out any of his (Joshi’s) other writings or commentary.

  13. Given how rabidly Joshi is denying the misogyny and racism of Lovecraft, at this point I honestly don’t trust his scholarship that much.

  14. @Andrew: IMHO, Anvil’s work was rather lame, depending largely on stupid aliens that ordinary humans could run rings around. (Russell was also too inclined to this.) The result tends to be dull; @11 was more amusing

  15. @Chip: I liked “Pandora’s Planet” (almost four decades anyway), because it showed that the aliens, though somewhat less fluent in idea-creation than humans, were perfectly capable of coming up with a strategy that allowed them to safely incorporate humans into galactic society (and the tag at the end of the novel makes it clear that there are other aliens even more quick with crazy but convincing ideas than humans are). I might not like the book now, but at 16 or so, I thought it was great.

  16. I’ll trust Joshi’s scholarship in terms of comparing the extant drafts & revisions of Lovecraft’s stories and flagging changes, at least. Probably not so much on anything requiring more interpretation or conclusion.

  17. @Karl-Johan Norén

    (7) Myself, I’m just shaking my heads over the idea of military, police, and firefighters as a privileged class to be fawned over. Give them a decent pay so they can pay their own entrance or membership fees instead.

    I’m not sure what constitutes “decent pay” for people that have offered their lives and health in exchange for the privilege of living in peace that rest of us enjoy as the result of their sacrifice.

    That said, having your decisions being driven by complaints is a poor substitute for policy and reason.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    (9) Niggle was unavailable for comment?

    Regards,
    Dann

  18. Joshi’s behavior over the past few years has just been depressing. In a curious sense, the man has accomplished exactly what he set out to do decade ago, transform H.P. Lovecraft into a canonical literary figure (not by him exclusively, obviously, but he put a lot of work into it, and in the process produced some pretty good scholarship). Unfortunately for him, that means that a lot of people are going to write about the topic, and not in ways that Joshi is going to like. He just doesn’t seem able to handle that and the thoughtful nuance that he brought to the subject has receded (he was always a bit of an apologist, just a more interesting apologist) and he has set himself on a task of reining in just what he set out to accomplish, an impossible task that just makes him look bad.

  19. I just reread Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. When I got to where the Ward’s beloved pet cat was introduced, I needed to take a moment to face palm and cry out ““FFS, REALLY!?!”

    Because their beloved pet was a black cat they had named Nig.

    I also found it amusing how Nigger Man from The Rats in the Walls was renamed Tigger Man in the Cthulhu Gloom card game.

  20. (13) The Snickers commercials along that line are usually amusing, but surely I’m not the only one who would rather watch Rupert than Dave? Not a chess fan, but obscure art movies and art appraisals? Sure, bring it on.

  21. Sheila Strickland: surely I’m not the only one who would rather watch Rupert than Dave?

    I had the same thought. I had no idea there was an actual channel by this name. After checking out the Programming schedule, I think I would much prefer Rupert.

  22. These days, when Brian Keene blogs, it usually means some bad sh*t has gone down in the horror world. I miss his regular blogging and was glad to see he has a newsletter. (And hate typing on a phone.)

    I haven’t checked Joshi’s site yet, but the “review” sounds painful. When you start to criticize the publisher and the fans as well, something has gotten lost along the way. I didn’t like everything Leisure/Dorchester put out, but for a long time, they were the only place fans could find horror beyond the King and Koontz bestsellers. And now even they are gone.

    When my parents lived in Pennsylvania, I used to drive through a paper mill town on my way to the used bookstore and other shopping in York. I still remember getting excited when I learned that Keene had written horror novels set on a fictionalized version of that area.

  23. Sheila Strickland: surely I’m not the only one who would rather watch Rupert than Dave?

    That’s like those old Apple “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ads. I’d much rather spend time with John Hodgman than the guy who portrayed the “Mac” (someone named Justin Long, according to Google) in those ads.

  24. @Anne Marble

    Do you listen to podcasts? The Horror Show with Brian Keene is one of my favorites. He covers the important news in the horror sub-genre pretty well.

    The podcasts can get a little “blue” from time to time, but they are almost uniformly entertaining.

    Regards,
    Dann

  25. There’s a not-very-subtle line between scholarship and fanwankery, and Joshi seems to be hell-bent on crossing that line as quickly as possible.

  26. Dann said:
    Do you listen to podcasts? The Horror Show with Brian Keene is one of my favorites. He covers the important news in the horror sub-genre pretty well.

    I don’t listen to podcasts as often as I should. They require me to pay actual attention, unlike so many other shows, so that means I have to keep “rewinding” (even if that word no longer applies).

    I keep meaning to get back to A Podcast for the Curious, which started as an M. R. James podcast until they ran out of stories. Since then, they’ve covered Le Fanu, Dickens, and Defoe.

  27. I’m reminded that during the height of the Puppies, someone had an insight: when people like the Puppies or the Gamergaters say they want their subject of interest to be regarded as legitimate art, they DON’T mean they want the works to be treated like art. That is, subject to analysis, deconstruction and possibly harsh critique. Because they don’t have an informed idea of what art means; they have a naive view of art as something hung on the wall, where people stare respectfully at it, nod and say “Yes, that’s art”.

    It’s the idea of art as a status marker that makes the subject immune to criticism, rather than opening it up to a critical eye.

    Joshi, in spite of his scholarship, seems to be going down that path.

  28. @Karl-Johan Norén

    (7) Myself, I’m just shaking my heads over the idea of military, police, and firefighters as a privileged class to be fawned over. Give them a decent pay so they can pay their own entrance or membership fees instead.

    It does seem weird from the European POV. Over here, classes of people who are regularly granted reduced entrance fees are minors, students, pensioners, disabled people, unemployed people, refugees and asylum seekers, i.e. groups of people with little income. Soldiers, firefighters and police officers are not groups that are normally granted reduced entrance fees, though German rail did offer reduced fares to young men doing their compulsory military service back in the day. But then, those young men had been forcibly conscripted and often sent to barracks far from home, so it was only fair that they didn’t have to pay full price train fares to go home for the weekends.

    On the other hand, I do recall that at least one of the US based WorldCons of recent years offered cheaper memberships for military personnel, so it’s apparently a thing in the US.

    Though the people who complained about the free entry for police officers, firefighters and military personnel were just jerks. I’ll never understand why some people get angry when someone else gets a perk they don’t qualify for.

  29. Cora: I do recall that at least one of the US based WorldCons of recent years offered cheaper memberships for military personnel, so it’s apparently a thing in the US.

    I think that the rationale for free or discounted tickets for police officers, first responders, and military personnel in the U.S. is chiefly in recognition that these people regularly put their lives on the line for the rest of us, in the everyday course of their jobs. It’s not about “uniform worship”.

  30. It has been pointed out that earlier in his career, Joshi’s scholarly works acknowledged Lovecraft’s racism and misogyny.

    I suspect that the reason he is now so rabidly and irrationally defending Lovecraft against perceived “Lovecraft Haters” is because his entire career and reputation are based on HPL, and he is worried that if HPL ceases to be studied, read, and talked about (something I think to be highly unlikely in the next 100 years), that Joshi himself will cease to be a person of historical importance — that he will “cease to exist” in peoples’ memories.

    And you know, I can understand that fear, I guess, but… he needs to take a philosophical lesson from Ozymandias, and realize that what he’s doing now will not only not prevent that from happening, but will destroy whatever good in his reputation he has built over the years, and make it happen that much sooner. 😐

  31. Rose Embolism on November 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm said:
    I’m reminded that during the height of the Puppies, someone had an insight: when people like the Puppies or the Gamergaters say they want their subject of interest to be regarded as legitimate art, they DON’T mean they want the works to be treated like art. That is, subject to analysis, deconstruction and possibly harsh critique. Because they don’t have an informed idea of what art means; they have a naive view of art as something hung on the wall, where people stare respectfully at it, nod and say “Yes, that’s art”.

    So, basically, dogs playing poker on black velvet.

  32. So, basically, dogs playing poker on black velvet.

    I’d bet that the juvenile canines hate abstract/non-representational art, too. It seems to go with that side of the social spectrum.

  33. There’s an Upton Sinclair quote which seems apropos here: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    Of course, in this case, I think his blind defense of HLP against all criticism is more likely to damage his (Joshi’s) reputation (and thus his salary) than would a more nuanced approach, accepting criticism, but pointing out the good points to counterbalance.

  34. @Rose Embolism

    I’m reminded that during the height of the Puppies, someone had an insight: when people like the Puppies or the Gamergaters say they want their subject of interest to be regarded as legitimate art, they DON’T mean they want the works to be treated like art. That is, subject to analysis, deconstruction and possibly harsh critique. Because they don’t have an informed idea of what art means; they have a naive view of art as something hung on the wall, where people stare respectfully at it, nod and say “Yes, that’s art”.

    If I can be permitted to open up the lens a bit so that it isn’t just focused on Puppy related issues, part of the problem is that deconstructive interpretations are mostly applied to traditional modes of expression in a manner that appears to thematically offer preference to a leftist worldview. Conversely, art that supports the leftist worldview is rarely subjected to a comparable level of critique.

    Appreciation for representational art has been considered passé for quite some time. Instead, there has been an increased “appreciation” for art that is discordant and disjointed seemingly with the purpose of rejecting the presence of the viewer.

    A literary equivalent might be the author’s preface to “A Picture of Dorian Gray” where Oscar Wilde goes on ad nauseum rejecting the perceptions of his readers of his work. His position is a self-centered rejection of the rest of humanity.

    It’s one thing to write something with the intent of “this will blow their minds”. It is quite another to write something, presumably with the expectation of remuneration, while simultaneously dismissing the reader.

    Focusing back on Puppy related concerns, perhaps it is the constant praise for the “new” coupled with the near constant deconstruction of the old that helps to motivate their response.

    It’s the idea of art as a status marker that makes the subject immune to criticism, rather than opening it up to a critical eye.

    That’s pretty much a complementary view to the uncritical acceptance of modern art. There are times when modern/non-representational art is interesting and thought-provoking. At other times it looks like the work of inferiorly skilled kindergarteners….with appropriate apologies to 5-year-old artists around the world. Yet it seems that the reception of modern art occasionally seems as though its position as “modern” acts as a status marker that makes it immune to criticism.

    The coin….it has two sides.

    The scroll…it has two pixels.

    Regards,
    Dann

  35. Looking at numbers for Sweden, a fireman is paid 22 kSEK per month, presumably with the normal add-ons for “uncomfortable working hours” for evening / night / weekend work (so, each hour worked outside “normal working hours” (Mon-Fri, approx 8 AM to 6 PM) would be at 1.5x to 3x normal hourly rate).

    For comparison, a network engineer would be at 24 kSEK to 32 kSEK per month, and a lead developer at ~ 34 kSEK.median (with a range from 24 kSEK to 44 kSEK, and 40% in the ~24 kSEK bracket, I estimate the median to be in the middle of the 33-35.999 kSEK band).

    Over-all, not astoundingly high, or low.

  36. (7) @Karl-Johan Norén & Cora: It is a uniquely American thing, especially w/r/t the military. It looks strange from Canada, too. Although it’s also my understanding that those folks make lower wages in the US than they do in other developed nations.

    (11) You do not have to read that backwards; tumblr nesting works like any other nesting. The most nested post is the first one you read, and it’s always at the top.

    @Dann:

    part of the problem is that deconstructive interpretations are mostly applied to traditional modes of expression in a manner that appears to thematically offer preference to a leftist worldview

    This is because most art “theory” comes from a place that is about challenging and expanding traditional intellectual frameworks, assumptions, and norms, and conservativism, as a set of ideas, is literally about not doing that. It tends to come from a place that likes appeals to authority, veneration of tradition, and staying inside of lanes.

    However: representational art has been making a substantial comeback, but not in the traditional mode; it’s changed dramatically and involves a great deal lessons learned from abstract styles and modes, and conservative commentators about contemporary art like to either pretend it doesn’t exist or treat it like non-representational art because it doesn’t conform to traditional ideas about what that looks like.

    Conversely, art that supports the leftist worldview is rarely subjected to a comparable level of critique.

    It absolutely is subjected to the same level of critique, if by that you mean “critical analysis”. If by which you mean “negative statements about it” then I have no idea, because that’s not what art or literary criticism really does. That’s what reviewing does; different animal.

  37. “If I can be permitted to open up the lens a bit so that it isn’t just focused on Puppy related issues, part of the problem is that deconstructive interpretations are mostly applied to traditional modes of expression in a manner that appears to thematically offer preference to a leftist worldview. Conversely, art that supports the leftist worldview is rarely subjected to a comparable level of critique.”

    This is a joke, right? Leftists love to criticize each other.

  38. Hampus: I still wish I could find the rather lovely “Swedish communist parties family tree” poster (well, IIRC, it was a centrefold, in Expressen, late 80s) that tracked all “larger than a small number of people” communist parties in Sweden, with what party was a split from what part(y/ies), year and approximate reason.

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