Category Archive '#MeToo'

07 Aug 2018

Fifth Annual David Foster Douchebag Conference Marred By SJWs on the Warpath

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I cannot stand the scribblings of the pretentious, sanctimonious, vulgar voice of the hipster generation, David Foster Wallace, so I was naturally amused to read of the hilarious tumult surrounding the holding of the 5th Annual DFW Conference.

DFW was duly pious about the fate of the humble lobster, but he was also a bad boyfriend and a lech and even his suicide in 2008 will not protect him from the rage of the #MeToo Feminists.

The Outline gravely wrestles with all the intense moral issues here.

First, the flyers were defaced. Hung in the hallways of Illinois State University’s English department, the message was inked identically on each one: NAH I DON’T LIKE PREDATORS, above the clip-art lobster and below the promise of pizza.

This was mid-October 2017 — post-Weinstein, pre-C.K. The flyers announced an info session for a committee to plan and execute the school’s 5th-annual David Foster Wallace Conference. Wallace taught at ISU for nearly a decade; he wrote almost all his major works there, including the 1996 behemoth Infinite Jest. He also liked to sleep with his students, was abusive to his girlfriend at the time, the writer Mary Karr (whom he’d tried to push from a moving car not long before moving to Illinois in the summer of 1993, and also once hurled a coffee table at), committed statutory rape while away on book tour (or at least told a friend he did), and wrote to his friend Jonathan Franzen to say that he sometimes thought he was “put on earth to put his penis in as many vaginas as possible.”

This stuff had been public knowledge for years (all of the above is drawn from D.T. Max’s 2012 Wallace biography, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story). But with Weinstein looped on cable news, Wallace’s past behavior seemed freshly reprehensible, and more people were willing to speak out against a school-sanctioned celebration of his work.

Ryan Edel, the conference’s chairman, took the flyers down and tried to forget about them. Edel, a big, soft-voiced Chicagoan with thick glasses and a graying beard, spent five years as a military linguist before going to ISU to get his Ph.D in 2011. As a general rule, conference chairs are experts in their field: authors of monographs, anthology intros, controversial journal articles. Edel, in contrast, had barely heard of Wallace when he took on the job in 2016. He just hadn’t realized that his more-or-less provincial university hosted a conference of international significance.

His ignorance of Wallace, who died by suicide in 2008, extended to the writer’s personal life. Edel had heard hints of bad behavior, and received at least one strongly worded letter from a member of the ISU community calling him out for “honoring someone who had taken advantage of women, particularly students,” as he described it. But stacked against all the deification of Wallace as a world-historical genius/saint, this stuff had failed to fully dent his consciousness. Now, he couldn’t post to the conference’s Facebook page without being asked point-blank how he justified celebrating an abuser. Maybe the monocled bone-bags over in Updike Studies would scoff at a question like that, and start pompously discoursing on the need to situate writers in their original context. But Edel started personally answering every angry Facebook comment, unambiguously condemning Wallace’s behavior in self-searching mini-essays that could run to five or six hundred words.

RTWT

21 Apr 2018

The Female Nude: Problematic in the Age of #MeToo

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Eric Fischl, Bad Boy, 1981 and spectator.

The Cut reports that “Paintings of naked women, usually by clothed men, are suddenly sitting very uncomfortably on gallery walls.”

Male artists wonder whether they can work with the female form, while the world questions what their intentions were in the first place. …

The western art canon is in no small part a parade of famous female nudes, from Praxiteles’s Aphrodite of Knidos from the fourth century B.C. to Manet’s 19th-century prostitutes (notably the recumbent, unamused Olympia) to John Currin’s Playboy-meets-Fragonard women — and almost all of them have been made by white male artists. …

The question of the moment has become: Is it still an artistically justifiable pursuit for a man to paint a naked woman?

To answer this question, I reached out to a number of prominent male artists known for doing just that (as well as for painting nude men). But most of them — including Currin, Carroll Dunham, Jeff Koons, and the young Mexican-American painter Alex Becerra (some of whose nudes are drawn from escort ads) — declined to talk about their work’s relationship to the current social climate. Presumably, they worried about unintentionally saying the wrong thing that would then echo endlessly across social media, damaging their reputations. For emerging artists, there is the fear of a possibly career-derailing gestalt fail. “I’ve been in conversations with other [male artists], and they were just like, ‘I quit working with the figure. I’m only doing abstract work, because I don’t want to touch it,’ ” says Marty Schnapf while walking me through his recent solo show “Fissures in the Fold” at Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles. He thinks we could be living through “a new Victorian age” — or at least that’s his explanation for the mixed responses he’s received for his gender-confusing neo-Cubist nudes, which play out sexualized fantasies in hotel rooms and surrealist swimming-pool dreamscapes, and evoke Joan Semmel’s erotic works from the 1970s. …

In New York, there was the viral petition asking that the Metropolitan Museum remove or contextualize the Balthus painting Thérèse Dreaming, depicting an adolescent girl leg up, her eyes closed: “The Met is, perhaps unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children.” While the museum didn’t acquiesce, Balthus’s reputation was already on the decline. Industry experts reminded me that, whereas in the boundary-pushing ’70s, a Balthus was considered to add a sophisticatedly perverse note to one’s collection, in recent years, he’s regarded as a little skeevy.

RTWT

And we used to think the Victorians were annoyingly moralistic!

04 Feb 2018

Uma Is an Awful Driver

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Maureen Dowd serves up Uma Thurman’s #MeToo testimonial.

We learn from all this that Uma is a true New Yorker, unable to drive, and scared out of her wits at the prospect of managing Maxwell Smart’s joke sports car, the Kharmann Ghia! Watch Uma go all over the road before she crashes it.

Uma plays a superwoman assassin in “Kill Bill,” but, alas! we learn here that she’s a hypochondriac (“my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees.”) and a whiner. (“As she sits by the fire on a second night when we talk until 3 a.m., tears begin to fall down her cheeks. She brushes them away.”)

Maureen Dowd clearly sat up and listened to Uma’s BS until 4 A.M. You know what that means don’t you?


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