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On Trade School At The Whitney: Scenes From The New Barter Economy

It's easy to undermine what does not take root... but, one never knows when an idea WILL take root.

That delicate, difficult, dance in Science, where you try, try, try, and try some more. And you never know... are you stoopid? Is your life a wasted effort? Is there merit in the attempt? Should one just settle in and watch scooby doo instead of trying? Jump on the rat race and get mines and say fuck it? But, you don't, because... maybe, maybe... maybe this next try will work. There is grace and nobility and the sublime within the effort. Even if that makes you maybe stoopid. So, you miss a few scooby doos. Was that company party really worth going to anyway? I mean, really, is THAT who you want to be? Or someone snarkin' about how vapid and vain this or that effort is...

THOSE LIBERAL ELITE COLLEGES ARE SOME OF OUR BEST HOPES... There's a reason that so much resources are poured into education and it's not all B-school.

Nothing wrong with BHAGs

Posted on April 1, 2011 at 2:51 am 0

On Laurel Nakadate's PS1 Show Opens

One important difference, whether it's relevant or not, I don't know, but Ellis suffered in writing American Psycho, he bled artistically for it. It was not the work of a callous mind, but a work of artistic torture that drew deeply from the soul. So, that might be a distinction that makes a difference. Maybe not.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm 0

On Laurel Nakadate's PS1 Show Opens

I hope she does, and I did mention that, but I also hope that the "work" she's doing now does serve to impact us in a thought provoking way. I see in interviews that she is drawn to feeling uncomfortable, so maybe she's got great artistic instincts that are just a little bit hidden behind a shallow sense of self. I hope that is what prevails... and probably it will. But I still feel uncomfortable about what's being said here (in the "art") in a different way than maybe Lucian Freud. I don't trust the artist here, Nakadate, I'm not sure she's leading us down a good path, or just down her own need for attention.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm 0

On Laurel Nakadate's PS1 Show Opens

Actually, the hipster grifter was asian, true, but she is also one of the most famous icons of the hipster underbelly, a symbol that it's not all enlightened progressive emma goldman dancing (maybe minus the militanism, thanks) revolutionaries of the mind ushering in (or trying to) a better world free of unneeded intolerance that serves only to make people feel bad and instead helping us to move past our biologically-driven jungle tendencies to crush the weak. We are also biologically-driven to create and grow. Just because something is a default setting doesn't mean it's the only option. Hipsters represent a shining beacon of hope. That hey it's ok to be gay! It's ok to be poor! It's ok to be ugly, it's okay to a woman with a beard. It's ok not to fit in. We may have a biological bias towards smushing those different, but, see, we don't HAVE to go with that initial ingrained tendency to fear differences. We can celebrate them! So, on the "asian" thing, I might've also been reminded cause of looks, but, hey the hipster grifter was definitely good pervey. That's all she's got to recommend her. But Nakadate's ART is in the context of just that, art. And so, judged on those merits it doesn't to me seem "wistful" and touching and sad and the other things touted, to me it just reinforces the idea that if you are not beautiful, you are unlovable. It's not really making lemons into lemonaid, ala dan savage, it's just showing a harsh look at how these men will always have to pay for sex, and not unrelated to the fact that the only people they themselves can deem worthy of sex are so-thought/called beautiful women, not others "like them" low on the totem pole and equally "repulsive". In this case, they didn't pay cash, they paid in humiliation but it's a small price, less than money, cause they're already humiliated in the culture. We witness and are aware of their humiliation daily. Nakadate doing this is ripping us off, by "showing us this" and raising her own status in doing so. They might both be asian, and they might both be rip off artists, and they might even both be pervy chicks, but I they aren't pervy cause they're asian, they're not rip off artists cause they're asain, and I might have lumped them together cause they're asian and look like a similar type the same way blonds might, but I lumped them together BECAUSE they are both kind of scammy/scamming. YOU lumped them together in the ASIAN/SEX/pervy category. They have an identity BEYOND asian, and a WELL ESTABLISHED identity. AS SCAMMERS (not asian scammers, just, scammers) (well, one does, anyway... and I was drawing a parallel to the other). That identity supersedes their racial identity. Asianness is not the salient fact. Nor is an asian/asian-sex-girl meme. Asians can be sexy, nerdy, lusty, funny, grumpy, smart, dumb... just cause these two are both asian doesn't mean they both have to fit, confirm or not confirm, the sexy asian girl stereotype. Asians have a full identity just like muscular white guys. I just really resent that you associated what I said with an asian-sexy-girl meme, rather than these two people profited off of sex in a way ANY girl could, and they HAPPEN to be asian, but that isn't their main identity by any means. She's not famous for being asian, or an asian grifter. She's just famous for being a grifter. Nakadate's prolly only half asian, cause she looks like a brown haired caucasian girl to me.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 11:54 am 0

On Our Government-Funded Mission to Make Haiti Christian: Your Tax Dollars, Billy Graham's Son, Monsanto and Sarah Palin

Hi Abe, I hope you will promote this baddass reporting of yours. The Awl is a great tide pool of internet creativity, but there's also much bigger pools out there, and your reporting voice is very strong. I hate to ask, but Slate/Salon/Daily Beast/Huffpo...? I'd love to see this story gain some traction, and since The Awl got your piece first I'm sure it's no conflict to seed it elsewhere, too? Even Vice, basically the more the merrier, right? Thanks very much for this.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 1:40 am 0

On Laurel Nakadate's PS1 Show Opens

And just as an addendum to those who might say she is "authentic" and exploring "real feelings and experiences" I just want to say, I feel really strongly that this "moment" she experiences exists only in the context of it providing her an identity as an artist and is really very psuedo authentic and not in a self aware way. I don't think she's sharing a real moment, but has very present in her mind the "meaning" of that "moment" that she shares, and that meaning is… "I'm so great I'm an artist look at me (now I'm validated, at your expense, thanks guys! It's been real!)" I don't think she's self aware enough to realize this, I'm pretty close to positive that she's buying her own bullshit. But that doesn't mean other people should buy into it and validate it. We have such a cruel and cutthroat culture that hurts everybody and gets in the way of a healthy sense of self identity and self worth — even the so-called "winners". Our artist are needed to help us get past that stupidity, the lame social stratification that limits and injures our spirit. Not to profit from them. I'm all for exploring, and exploring issues of gender and identity and power and relationships in general. I think you do need some self awareness to do this honestly and "authentically". Maybe you don't, but it doesn't change the fact that this is mean, not "honest"… I mean, yeah, it's honest. But what does it say? Pretty (even somewhat) girls have power over socially clumsy "losers" and might deign to hang out with them but only to create their "art project"? Gee, what insight! I NEVER knew… thanks for clearing that up. Thanks for "humanizing" them and yourself-as-object. Thanks for calling attention to the dynamic so we can glean insight into it. Except that's not what you did. You just participated in it. Pretty girl… condescends to loser. Makes video of it. If I felt like she really had a shred of actual care or consideration for their victimhood their "lowly place in society" (at least on one level,as shlubs) rather than a cold intention to use them – as they might perhaps be using you – that's not like feminist, it's anti-feminist. It's making the war worse not better (between the sexes). We need more love not more callousness. This "art" to me encourages people to continue to see things in a stupid way, rather than freeing people up to better, more interesting, fresher and original ideas.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 1:09 am 2

On Laurel Nakadate's PS1 Show Opens

I actually found this upsetting enough to comment. While there may be a case for her as a provocateur, and perhaps shedding some light on obvious phenomenon, she is no Miranda July, although she may indeed be wielding her sexuality like a gun for us all to see, she's doing it in such a callow way, I can't help but think her take away is something that will not contribute to our sensitivity as humans, but rather illustrates an all too common and vulgar insensitivity and crass self promotion. Hey girl, those boys don't look like the only losers to me, and as a girl - known on occasion to be a hot one - I would like to publicly discredit all you seem to represent. Basically, like the worst of new york. Sorry if that's harsh and there may be some merit to what this girl accomplishes, but by the same token the same might be said for some really foul right wingers who show themselves up and in doing so enlighten us all. I hope your "art" matures and develops because right now... you pretty much sicken me. And not in a good, even pervy way. Almost reminded of like the hipster grifter or something, if she's been a little more savey. I just get a bad feeling about this person's vibe! Sketchy and skeevy even more than the dudes who could be considered victims of society even if they may not be super cool themselves (or might be, just not lady bait). If there was a rich dude showing desperate women in "a power exchange" would that be "art"? Even if it "made us uncomfortable to watch" or brought out many of our own feelings and thoughts to bear? Maybe it would depend on the rich dude. To which I say again, I get a bad feeling about this girl's intentions which seem to me like nyc bullshit climberistic and negative.

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 12:30 am 1