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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Culture News: An Art Bombing, a Most Beautiful Piece of Music, (Not) Clearing Spinoza's Name, and Amazon's Customer Problem

Posted by , , , and on Tue, May 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Remembering Jerry: Seattle Repertory Theatre has announced a celebration of the life of Jerry Manning, the artistic director who passed away suddenly last month. From the announcement: "A Celebration of Life to honor Jerry and his incredible legacy will be held June 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle Repertory Theatre. House opens at 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the Manning family encourages donations to the Rep to help sustain the art that made Jerry so very happy."

Amazon's Hachette Job Continues: Amazon's battle with Hachette continues. Adam Lashinsky at CNN explains why this demonstrates Amazon's intrinsic ickiness. Things might be getting serious, though: You can't buy J.K. Rowling's new book on Amazon right now. Over the weekend, local bookseller Third Place Books published a blog post explaining why you should buy books from independent booksellers and not the Great Walmart in the Sky.

The Art Bombing at the Guggenheim: Construction hasn't started yet on the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi, but plans are already finalized and a group of activists under the name G.U.L.F. want to make sure working conditions for those who build it won't be as abhorrent as they were when NYU was "overseeing" the construction of its U.A.E. campus. Those conditions were revealed in a New York Times piece last Monday, and Hrag Vartanian at Hyperallergic has the full story of Saturday's protest in New York, with many photographs of the scene and multiple interviews with participants from students to professors to a minister. Activists stormed the house of culture and bombed the Futurist exhibition by putting prints of their own on the walls while the attempted unfurling of a huge mylar banner on the ground floor provided a distraction. YouTube video.

Generation Vex: Douglas Coupland, the writer/artist who coined the term Generation X, has a survey exhibition opening at Vancouver Art Gallery this week. It includes a huge outdoor sculpture molded from his head, and people are supposed to chew gum and stick it on. But another Vancouver artist who recently created a large head and asked visitors to stick gum on it—that head was shown in three places in Vancouver—is vexed about similarities (and differences, given Coupland's beacoup bucks and fame). As some other Vancouver artists are pointing out on Facebook, this isn’t the first time Coupland has been accused of strange tactics in developing and crediting his works. We sent an email asking for Coupland’s response today.

Ann Hornaday Is a Shithead: Two days after the misogyny-fueled mass killings at UCSB, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday published a column about the tragedy and its woman-hating instigator Elliot Rodger that included this paragraph:

How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?

Yesterday, Neighbors star and perennial Apatow comedy shlub Seth Rogen took to Twitter to blast Hornaday for her idiocy. "I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed," tweeted Rogen @AnnHornaday. "[H]ow dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage?" Judd Apatow also shot some words Hornaday's way. Finally, Hornaday responded with an explanatory video, which none of us can bear to click on, because she's so obviously an attention-seeking hack. But if you want to, it's here.

Let Spinoza Remain a Heretic: Steven Nadler, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains why he and other scholars think the rabbis of Amsterdam's Jewish community should not reverse their 1656 excommunication of the heretical philosopher. "Those of us on the advisory committee agreed, to some extent, that it would be good in terms of public relations for the Jewish community in Amsterdam if the ban against Spinoza were lifted," he writes. "On this way of thinking, just as the Catholic Church in 1992 did a fine thing in conceding, after a 13-year investigation, that Galileo was right and that the church was wrong in punishing him, so the Amsterdam Jewish community in reversing course could put itself on the right side of history. But we also agreed that there were several considerations that seemed to outweigh those of good P.R... Moreover, if we were to ask Spinoza, 'Would you like the ban lifted?' I am certain that his answer would be, 'I could not care less.' It is clear that he did not have any interest in being reintegrated into Judaism, much less into the particular Portuguese community that banned him. You might even say that to want to reintegrate Spinoza into Jewish life by lifting the ban would be to misunderstand what Spinoza stood for."

A Beautiful Noise: Mudede thinks it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music in the Western canon. It is Maurice Ravel's "String Quartet in F major." You have to listen to the whole thing. The opening movement is a dazzling feast of melodies, and the other movements explore, in different directions and with different emotional registers, new and unexpected ways to revisit these these gorgeous melodies. Music is nothing without a great melody, and simplicity is the natural state of a melody.


Comments (16) RSS

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I'm not sure why but this goes along with it:…
Posted by Weekilter on May 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
I love how this post calls Anna Hornaday a shithead for making a connection between frat-bro movies and misogyny, while the previous post cites a study that finds that "Rape culture is pervasive and persistent" in pop culture and linked to "lower intentions to adhere to decisions about sexual consent." Hm.

I don't agree 100% with Hornaday's offending paragraph (christ, it's one fucking paragraph in a long, interesting piece! That hardly makes her a "shithead" or an "attention-seeking hack," —at least you didn't call her an attention whore), but Rogen and Apatow's "not meeee!" tantrum is childish. Apatow movies represent shameful examples of women and embarrassing stereotypical male/female dynamic. So a woman called him out. How is that worse than calling out Maxim and Men's Health in the previous post?
Posted by mitten on May 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this

I try and get e-books from KCLS but the lending time is too short (two or three weeks and no renewal). I like to have about ten books open at a time, and I will sprint few a through chapters and then let it rest until I pick up reading sometimes weeks or months later. I can't really do that unless I buy the book. I mostly shop in the $3.99 or less section of Amazon. If you know of another source, with similar prices, and an e-Ink reader (my preferred device), I'd be happy to try.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 27, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
@2, blaming Judd Apatow movies for this is like blaming serial killers on Dungeons and Dragons and heavy metal music.

You really do have to be a pretty big shithead. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 27, 2014 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Geraldo Riviera 5
@4 did you even read her piece? She didn't blame anyone. What mitten said was right on. If you think our culture had nothing to do with shithead Rodger's sense of reality, you are a bloody shithead.

Now blow me up Tom.
Posted by Geraldo Riviera on May 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM · Report this
Very few chauvinist pigs (to use a very old phrase) actually kill people. The ones who do are insane. The insanity is the reason; the chauvinism is just a co-occurring disorder. And this guy killed 3 men, not just women.
Posted by sarah70 on May 27, 2014 at 10:26 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 7
I'm with @2 & 5. There was no doubt a billion other films/actors she could've used to illustrate her point, but in this case the "calling out" of Apatow certainly seemed to be her casually citing one readily accessible and current example of a phenomenon that seems to excessively permeate modern day entertainment. Seems to me she was simply pointing out the misogynistic bent of current cinema and how that can have effects and tangential impact beyond what might be readily apparent. It was an op-ed, and struck me as feminist and progressive; to label her a shithead based on this seems pretty excessive itself.
Posted by mikethehammer on May 27, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
@5, is the blurb taken out of context? Is she playing Devil's Advocate? Is she giving a synopsis of the latest Chick Tract?
Posted by GermanSausage on May 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 9
Spinoza made The Slog. Flabbergasted.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 28, 2014 at 12:06 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 10
Males are told their whole lives that if they are not constantly getting laid they are failures, and fratbro glorifying movies are part of that cultural message.

Slog often posts about how cultural items such as Maxim or other frat-bro movies uphold rape/misogynist culture, but when it is a male who is fucked up by their messages, it is not an issue that can even be discussed?

Hypocrisy I say, rank hypocrisy!
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 28, 2014 at 5:05 AM · Report this
Posted by sandi k on May 28, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Oh fucking christ people! @2, 5, 10 - This fucker did not kill anyone because of fucking Judd Appatow movies and even hinting that those movies and these killings are linked is mind numbingly fucking stupid. We actually know a LOT about this guys influences, so we don't need to go making things up. He was a vocal member of some extreme misogynist online communities. He was also mentally ill, having multiple therapists. co-opting this tragedy as a chance to take a cheap shot at some actor or filmmaker you don't like is just fucking sad. Also, he STABBED 3 asian dudes to death, but who fucking cares about them, amiright? Must have been because of Big Trouble in Little in China.
Posted by longball on May 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
alpha unicorn 13
By calling Ann Hornaday a shithead, "The Stranger" reveals its own misogyny.
Posted by alpha unicorn on May 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Agree with @alpha unicorn here. Can we debate this subject without any lock step, especially in our beloved local progressive paper?

I have a problem pulling art and artists into the debate myself. That said, Hollywood has an obvious part to play here. An industry dominated men in every conceivable way bears some responsibility for a social fabric dominated by media. Can we say it any clearer?

In case readers don't know this, a similar killing took place in the same town, Isla Vista, by another affluent director's son a few years ago. Understanding the boundaries of fantasy and reality and let me say it, greed, has to be in the discussion.

Posted by Ann-Marie Stillion on May 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM · Report this
sameorsimilar 15
Or maybe the shooter was just a crazy person? If he wrote a 180 page manifesto on why unicorns shitting rainbows made him kill those people, would we now be calling him a unicorn hater? Would we be having this conversation? Violence and sexism exist, even more so than racism, but the UCSB shooter was CRAZY! All these mass killings are done by people with diagnose-able mental illnesses. Can we please talk about treating mental illness?
Posted by sameorsimilar on May 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM · Report this
So interesting that "none of us" at The Stranger can bear to click on Ann Hornaday's video after you all seem to have agreed to call her names--"shithead" and "attention-seeking hack." Hornaday had the courage to speak her piece in her own voice, at least, whereas you guys ("guys" used generically, of course) went after her in a ganglike manner. Too bad.
Posted by Kathleen Atkins on May 29, 2014 at 2:32 PM · Report this

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