Friday, January 16, 2004
Jetty or Jetsam?Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970), a 1,500-foot coiling jet of basalt jutting into the Great Salt Lake, is now fully exposed due to a drought begun in 1999, according to the NYT. What people are seeing is an earthwork that's long been exposed to the nation's saltiest body of water for over 30 years.
Smithson's piece in better times.
Smithson's piece—any earthwork or public outdoor sculpture or garden, really—causes an impasse for curators, as the article describes:
"The spiral is not as dramatic as when it was first built," said Michael Govan, the director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York City, which owns the work. "The `Jetty' is being submerged in a sea of salt."Preservation schools-of-thought and methodologies for these nontraditional media are more archaeological than art historical—erosion's what you get when you abandon the museum space, I guess. These days, out of foresight or self-aggrandizement, artists working unstable media or environments will usually note broad provisios for the upkeep of the work. In this case, I would say that the kind of work it would take to properly preserve the Spiral Jetty would be too intrusive and would alter the art—and if you're of that mind, too, archaeology will horrify you.
OK, that link probably won't horrify anyone. I was mildly shocked though.
posted by kriston at 1:36 PM........
Poll DancingJosh Marshall plucks numbers from the latest Zogby poll: Kerry 24%, Dean 19%, Gephardt 19%, and Edwards 17%. Even John Kerry's saying holy shit—he's leading for the first time (that I can recall) in Iowa.
And from the Political Wire, California of all places is showing a much tighter race than I'd have expected: A Field Poll shows Dean leading Clark 25% to 20%, with Lieberman trailing at 12% and everyone else in single digits. California seems like the right kind of place to test whether or not the Clark Republicans hypothesis has potential.
In other polls, Mega Man 3 is catching up to Megan Man 2, 28% to 34%—must be the power-slide. Cleanliness (13%) is dropping as Dirty Dishes increases steadily (20%); Mayo (46%) routed Miracle Whip (17%) in a lunchtime caucus blowout; and productivity is in total free-fall mode (<1%).
This font's about 25% less than the above font.
posted by kriston at 12:39 PM........
Bears RepeatingFrom Crooked Timber:
Chris Brooke reports that BBC Radio 3 are to broadcast a performance of John Cage’s 4’ 33” this evening. At the time of the Mike Batt copyright row I recounted on my old blog that I had attended a school performance of 4’ 33”. We all sat completely silent. No-one coughed, no-one shuffled. At the end of the 4 minutes and 33 seconds the pianist turned and berated us for giving such a poor rendition of the Cage’s work. He explained that “the point” of the work is to attend to the sounds produced by a restless and impatient audience and that, by sitting so quietly, we had sabotaged the “performance”. What he didn’t know was that a week earlier, rowdy behaviour by boys during a lecture from an explorer recently returned from the Hindu Kush had been savagely punished by the headmaster — several boys were caned — as a result, none of us had dared to make a sound for fear of further beatings.I don't really have anything to add to that except that, as I see it, if 4'33" provoked some kind of anxious, situational silence rather than the normal, noisy kind, then the piece is just finding new "interpretation" in a new context. A little bit dim for the pianist to demand a certain type of silence perforated by certain kinds of nervous noise.
When I was in high school I took sax/oboe lessons from a man who was very interested in aleatoric music—once he performed a bassoon piece involving a stethoscope stuck in a goldfish bowl, with goldfish. Mostly I was into ska.
posted by kriston at 11:34 AM........
Superbowl Foul PlayHalfway through reading Atrios's post about how CBS is refusing to air MoveOn's anti-Bush ad in next year's Super Bowl, I was crying foul. I watched Super Bowl XXXVII very carefully, you see, since it was the one in which Tampa Bay creamed the Raiders, and I remember a host of anti-drug/anti-teen ads. (There were two, actually; CBS says its policy has always been that it will not run "issue ads.")
As I continued clicking around... it occurred to me that CBS didn't air last year's awesome SB, so I guess CBS can claim consistency. There you have it.
Frankly, though, I don't want to see issue ads of any kind during the Super Bowl, unless they feature Wesley Clark laying a giant sack on Tom DeLay.
posted by kriston at 9:58 AM........
BAGHDAD, Jan. 15 -- For the past four decades, Iraqi women have enjoyed some of the most modern legal protections in the Muslim world, under a civil code that prohibits marriage below the age of 18, arbitrary divorce and male favoritism in child custody and property inheritance disputes.Either the IGC is not the puppet government they're purported to be, or we're allowing this to happen—either way, if Bremer or the IGC thinks it can appease the conservative, fundamentalist vipers' nest without eventually being bitten, they're making a mistake. Pragmatically it's a fumble for anyone who doesn't want to see Ayatollah Sistani or some other Shi'ite transform the nation into a theocracy. For Iraqi women, it's a travesty. These fundamentalist decisions take too long to revoke once they're in play.
I'm of the mind that democracy can prove itself even in a society just emerging from decades of Ba'athist rule, but democracy takes serious institution-building. If liberal democracy is a latent idea in men it's pretty deeply buried, and I don't see what the US can do now to ensure that Iraqis don't put their vote toward darker impulses. That the IGC would endorse sharia under any threat means that the democracy project is on the brink of failure.
UPDATE: Balasubramani attempted to leave this link in comments but with no luck. Click away—a quite vitriolic post about the news from an Iraqi woman.
Though when was it not?
posted by kriston at 8:00 AM........
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Enough on Our Plate IITompaine.com is handing out State of the Union scorecards, which includes the major points that you might say have our plate plenty filled at the moment. A more concise listing of the considerations, courtesy of Daily Kos:
Health Care 44 million Americans, 15 percent of population, including 8.5 million children, don't have health insurance.All of which, for one, are excellent Democratic talking points, but also go to show that we don't need billion-dollar programs to go back to the moon, and billion-dollar-plus programs to subsidize dating or homosexuality-supression or whatever that program's purported purpose is.
By that scorecard, I don't know, it's hard to see how Bush can still garner support from traditional Republicans.
posted by kriston at 4:07 PM........
A Waffling Defense—Just What the Doctor OrderedI always see Caitlan Flannigan's name pop up whenever something comes along that in some way, shape, or form, provides an angle for flouting feminism. A new book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, for example, which she reviews in this month's Atlantic Monthly. In her review, Flannigan predictably upbraids what you might call traditional liberal feminism in favor of something simpler, something more morally rooted, a more intuitively 'correct' notion. Sure does irritate me. You can read the article yourself, but basically Flannigan acknowledges that Dr. Laura—with her stay-at-home husband, breadwinner status, sexually liberal history, and childern whose surnames are her maiden name—is an irritating hypocrite, her one-size-fits-all answers to heterosexuality's myriad problems sure sound good.
I think Flannigan's position is more inexplicable than Dr. Laura. Such a curious leaning to me, to hold respect for feminism, but to hold it in high regard only on paper—to believe that as far as real life is concerned they had it right in the 50s. And what's to be gained from going to such contortions for Dr. Laura is beyond me—certainly makes me doubt her conviction when she proclaims her commitment to liberal values.
"Who's the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?" - Obi-wan Kenobi
posted by kriston at 3:41 PM........
Zis Means War'Ere in lovely Pari', we 'ave enough ef zee cafes, non? We do not need ze stinky Starbucks in ze City of Light, zat swill zat Howard Deeen eez so found of. Zis constitutes zee act of war, Americains! We will not forgive zis, President Boosh!
And, ef course, we surrendair.
posted by kriston at 2:28 PM........
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
"Enough on Our Plate"Quick: I'd like for every Texan that I know to call his or her parents and ask them about Bush's Luna/Mars combo. That's what mine had to say about the matter—what with Iraq still a mess, Osama still loose, and the deficit skyrocketing, we have "enough on our plate." From my informal polling of the people who birthed me, both Lone Star Republicans, that's the CW. Sure, northeastern readers, you can ask your folks too, but we already know how you spend-spend-spend liberals will react to Bush's calls for... uh, spending, spending, spending.
I'm thinking that not only will some of your folks say the same thing, but that they'll say the exact same thing. "Enough on our plate" would be a smart soundbyte, Mr. Clark.
posted by kriston at 1:17 PM........
Mac Users of the World, Unite and Take OverThe winning MoveOn ad is sharp. Check it out. Five'll get you ten it was done on a Mac.
UPDATE: This one's good, too (fast, slow), though I see W. as a two-percenter.
Not even one fascist in the whole spot!
posted by kriston at 12:58 PM........
Cannot... Resist... Miss TyraDamnit, Al Sharpton was partying just a couple of blocks from my house and I was somewhere else, being sucked into the gaping maw that is reality television. Damn you, Top Model! I could've walked over to Republic Gardens and tipped my hat to the Reverend.
Rev. Sharpton was celebrating his good showing in DC's primary—he picked up 30-odd percent, placing him second to Dean's 40-odd percent. Too bad that this primary effort, intended solely for the promotion of DC's non-represented status, didn't garner a larger turnout... but that's a nationwide trend, as our non-voting congressional representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, explains. (She also says that it was a complete accident that the ballot didn't allow for write-in candidates; too bad, since many people debated between staying home and voting for a candidate that they don't support.) It was difficult for me to get terrifically excited about the non-binding primary, since 1) a Party caucus will choose DC's delegates in February, and 2) I'll be taking advantage of my TX DL to vote for Clark in the Lone Star State, as it looks as if it could come down to a Dean/Clark showdown for Texas's many delegates.
UPDATE: Kos reports on the DC primary and even has the figure for the turnout: 15%. Even though his refrain sounds as unenthusiastic as mine (well, he called it a "glorified straw poll," which is more aggressively put), if he doesn't live in Guam, the American Samoa, or Washington, DC, then of course he doesn't get it—because he has congressional representation. Read about how as recently as September, 2003, the District was not permitted to use local funds (not federal!) to lobby for congressional voting rights, and then you see that the 'taxation without representation' chorus is not a static complaint.
And there's no doubt in my mind that the Reverend landed himself a chili half-smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl after Republic Gardens. If you don't get the Ben's endorsement, you don't stand a chance.
posted by kriston at 12:32 PM........
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Does Anyone Even Care Anymore?From this week's New Yorker, according to the magazine's press release:
After [Ken] Auletta observed an Oval Office interview Bush gave to a British tabloid, he spoke with the President about a mutual friend, Tom Bernstein, a former co-owner, with Bush, of the Texas Rangers. Bernstein, a proponent of human rights, has often been criticized by liberal friends, for supporting the President. "Bernie is great," Bush said, and then added, "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have." [emphasis added]I'm telling you, I only wandered over to the NY site to see when my subscription would kick in, and if this one doesn't come in the mail I'll hit the newsstand. I may have to see that one in print to believe it.
MORE: Atrios is wallowing in the absurdity, as usual.
Sounds like they also have a nice piece featuring Bush/Cheney administration quotes on their feelings about the press. Beautimous!
posted by kriston at 12:40 PM........
Have a Halal Jolly ChristmasLongtime readers know that here at G.p, we definitely hold great veneration for Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Sistani and his sex column/website, as we've noted in the past. What we didn't know was that Sistani takes time out of his day to answer your queries about topics other than fundamentalist concerns (like anal intercourse)—and that he answers quickly. Reader and Austinite Raymond (otherwise known as Kashid Ahmad Saleh) emails me his interchange with Sistani about Christmas trees.
For those of you who don't read, uh, blue ink, the response was translated:
In the name of the most HighThat sound like a clash of civilizations to you? Highest possible honors to Raymond for finally healing this international, interreligious rift.
And all apologies to any Muslim readers, if I have any, because I'm pretty sure I've offended you. Blame Ray.
posted by kriston at 12:22 PM........
Wave of ConsternationNick Confessore and The Poor Man anticipate a wave of indignation from the right over the purportedly secret documents Paul O'Neil presented on 60 Minutes and that whole thing with Valerie Plame. Two items: 1) Investigate O'Neil, fine, whatever—I'll call this bluff. Dana Milbank reports today in the WaPo that O'Neil plainly asked for the documents from the Treasury Department's chief legal counsel, so he at least thinks he's clean. If the White House is giving out stuff it shouldn't be, that ought to stop. But the WH might consider pursuing Valerie Plame's case first and with the same vigor. And add Bob Woodward to the queue, whose pro-Bush book cited plenty of similar WH material from what people are saying. 2) To clarify, a wave of indignation is wholly different from either a wave of gentrification, which is edging steadily closer to my home in DC, or a wave of mutilation, which I hope is nowhere near me, but if it is, it's probably in the crackhouse at the end of my block. (There or upstairs, with the new neighbors, who are a lost cast of extras from the Bladerunner/Mad Max Julie Andrews musical that was not to be. ...eh, it's complicated.) The Wave, on the other hand, is what I'll be doing in support of Tony Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts this weekend.
For the rest of January, though, the Bucs are still the reigning champs.
posted by kriston at 10:38 AM........
...Though He Can Probably Import Some Mexicans SoonI think the Democratic contenders and also-rans may be stretching a bit to attack Dean, such as on his minority-appointment record:
One day after Al Sharpton chided the front-runner during a debate for governing Vermont with an all-white Cabinet, Dean told reporters: "I'm not the least bit ashamed of or defensive about my civil rights record. I was taken aback by the reverend's attack, and I should have perhaps been a little quicker on my feet. But we made every effort we could and by and large were successful."Before you digest those numbers, lemme point out that those 8,500 Green Mountain minorities are the total minority population, not the number of minorities with JDs. The Vermont Bar Association doesn't list its racial make-up stats, but were I being paid to do this I imagine it would take me all of two seconds to find out that their minority membership is far fewer than 8,500 members.
Sharpton does a great job of bringing to light police brutality and other topics that are central to minority communities. If he's playing "the race card" against Dean is irrelevant—Sharpton hasn't done his homework, and his superficial criticism is exactly that, and it blows that he's willing to dole out copious ammo to any idiot looking for a reason to disparage 'identity' politics.
Like FoxNEWS, who've said all along that Sharpton and Moseley-Braun are there to submit the Democratic Party to a "pander-fest."
posted by kriston at 10:17 AM........
President Bush Volunteers Paul O'Neil for Mission to MarsJust glancing through today's WaPo piece on Treasury secretary-cum-squealer Paul O'Neil—which is chock full of absorbing soundbytes—it occurred to me that George Tenet has probably the most secure job in the world. They can never fire the head of the CIA if even the receipts guy is able to produce quotes and documents explicitly telling that Cheney and Rove wanted a war in Iraq even before September 11th.
Think about what O'Neil has to say, then glance at Slate's batch of prominent thinkers—of whom I'm familiar with Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Christopher Hitchens, Fred Kaplan, Kenneth M. Pollack, and Fareed Zakaria—discussing whether or not, with the benefit of hindsight, supporting the war in Iraq was worth it. (We're not talking about Charles Krauthammer, here. This list features some of the most prominent liberal hawks you could find preceding the Iraq war. Moreover many of them are prominent experts on the subject of Ba'athist Iraq and all of them are expert thinkers, so with great interest I'll allow them this bit of useless navel-gazing.) In contrast to what O'Neil has to say about the Bush administration and what through so many sources we've come to intuit about its processes, the Slate bunch reveals complex forethought—and it seems that those guys were probably never talking to anyone but themselves. They might as well be bloggers for all that their expertise contributed to the argument for/against war, and the same could be said for moderate experts working within the Bush administration: Christine Whitman (sacked from the EPA), Colin Powell, O'Neil.
So what happened to expertise and complexity—when did all these politicians start running the government?
I feel like there's something relevant about knowing the good being a base for doing the good here, but college was too long ago.
posted by kriston at 9:01 AM........
What a Market Wants, What a Market NeedsFollowing up that last post with a bit more on localism, I remembered I read a relevant WaPo article on Mary Catherine ("M.C.") Sneed:
Few in this [Mary J. Blige concert] crowd know how much this 52-year-old white woman's opinion matters: She controls what many of them hear when they turn on their radios.What struck me about the article is that it's not at all difficult for even a large radio corporation to find a city's pulse, and in most communications companies—advertising, television, PR (I imagine)—that's crucial, not in a moral-obligation sense but in a financial sense. Clear Channel owns so much of the dial that they don't have to worry nearly as much as the smaller-share companies about artists or finding a successful mix for a particular market, not to mention providing access points for local artists. All of those things are very good and potentially profitable for communications companies (and execs such as MC Sneed), but Clear Channel has obtained so much market share that their range of interests probably does not often intersect the range of interests of its smaller competitors.
Green Lanter could put a right end to that.
posted by kriston at 8:44 AM........
Anyone, Kill the Radio StarCharles Kuffner and DIY Media are writing about the FCC's "Localism Task Force," whose solemn duty it is to track the current of broadcast localism now that Clear Channel has all but succeeded in decimating, locust-like, every vestige of localism left in the nation. One of the first tour dates for the FCC's LTF will be close-to-home San Antone, and—guess what?—anticipating the LTF stop in late January, Clear Channel is instituting a local advisory panel now. If it takes the eminent threat of regulation commissioners to set up an interface between the company that owns the city's airwaves and the city itself, well...
...hmm, I actually don't know how to end that sentence. Is it at all possible for me to be funny? Suffice it to say I hate Clear Channel.
The LTF should recruit Green Lantern or something, then we'd see some localism in a hurry.
posted by kriston at 8:21 AM........
Monday, January 12, 2004