In 25 words or less? You can write to me as anarcissie at gmail.com if nothing else will assuage your curious curiosity....

On This Week in Lines

@Gef the Talking Mongoose etc. -- Koons's work is about contempt -- contempt for his audience, contempt for himself, contempt for the idea of art itself. And above all, contempt for those who sell, buy, and exhibit the work. But contempt is cheap; lots of stupid people will supply you with all you want for nothing. 'As water to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.'

If there is an interesting thing about Koons's stuff, I think it's the spectacle of people worshiping its vacuity.

But imagine the hundreds or thousands of artists whose work could have been at the Whitney instead of Koons's. We won't see it because it was deemed more important to offer us crap.

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 10:35 am 0

On This Week in Lines

I used to say that beauty was in the eye of the beholder, that the value of art was entirely subjective. But then I saw Koons's work, and realized that some art can be absolutely bad, not worth the air it displaces. And if some art can be absolutely bad, maybe some other art can be absolutely good after all. So one can learn something, even from Koons's oeuvre.

Posted on August 2, 2014 at 11:09 am 2

On Ask Polly: Should I Cut My Abusive Mother Out of My Life Forever?

I had some similar problems with parents and some other near relatives. I cut them off for a time. Later, I decided to behave in a correct, civil way, rather than in either a particularly affectionate or hostile manner, as long as the other parties did not get too out of hand. That is, I would be polite and considerate as long as I was not confronted with open insults, violence, or other forms of intolerable behavior, and I would always be ready to let (most) bygones be bygones if the other parties seemed to want a fresh start. This is what I would advise for the marriage and other significant ceremonial occasions and important events. One does not have to treat a parent as a buddy or even a friend if they do not act the part, but one can still treat them with respect.

In my case things went along reasonably well for a while, and then sadly deteriorated, but I am glad that I gave a better possibility a chance while I could.

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm 2

On Ask Polly: I Want to Get Laid But I'm Afraid of Oppressing Women

@dietcock@twitter -- Indeed, I had the idea that the letter might have been carefully constructed to point out that, in terms of sexual attraction, what many women say they want, and what they actually respond to favorably, are two different things. It's filtered through contemporary gender-politics discourse, but doesn't depend on it. Something very similar could have been written in the depths of the 1950s using different symbols and markers. This seems odd, because generally women are less delusional about life situations than men. Maybe it's the hormones?

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm 0

On Ask Polly: I Had a Stillbirth and My Husband Totally Lacked Empathy

@Dave Gottwald@facebook -- I'm just going by what they told me back in the Dark Ages. In the most contemporary usage, I think you're correct; sympathy has become something they have a card for, a remote sense of pity or obligation. Hence, I suppose, the rise in the use of 'empathy' to fill the semantic gap.

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm 0

On A Photo Tour of Williamsburg's Latest Real Estate Travesty

So what, they're getting the money.

Posted on July 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm 0

On Ask Polly: I Had a Stillbirth and My Husband Totally Lacked Empathy

Empathy is knowing what others feel. Sympathy is feeling what others feel. The husband may possess empathy; he lacks sympathy. This is going to be a serious and ongoing problem in a marriage; it is not a misstep or a mistake. The friendship of the husband for a psychopath is further evidence. Unless the LW has another life and simply uses the husband for fertilization purposes, she probably needs to restructure her situation.

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm 0

On Human vs. Citi Bike: New York's Secret Struggle

You could probably make it lock with a large enough hammer.

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm 1

On Ask Polly: I Survived a Hard Life, But I Never Learned How to Be Normal

The LW sounds like an exceptional but 'normal' person who got a lot of bad breaks and overcame them, in which case she should not have any severe problems in the future.

However, she might be an Extraterrestrial. For us Extraterrestrials, being on Earth with human beings at all is kind of a tough break. One of the difficulties is never feeling at home or at ease among humans, who are oddly unevolved when in areas like tribalism, violence, willful ignorance, and so forth -- qualities appropriate for knuckle-dragging subprimates, not intelligent beings. In that case, what she must do is keep on the lookout for fellow Extraterrestrials. Many of them will have encountered similar difficulties with humans and will need her help. Others may have been more successful and will be able to be helpful and friendly without trying to take advantage or get over on anyone. For an Extraterrestrial, it is important to try to establish and preserve relationships with other Extraterrestrials because in this alien world, they are our only home.

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm 0