Michael H Goldhaber on Mon, 7 May 2012 15:32:24 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Why I say the things I say

Brian, Keith ,et al.,

It seems to me that Conard's text presents those on the left with a rare opportunity --though not enough of one by itself to turn the situation entirely around. I haven't read his book, but maybe it would be worth it, for it's clear enough from the quotes that the book is taken by the right to be a highly intelligent precis for inequality, yet it's riven with quite obvious stupidities. Clearly exposing those stupidities in various debate-like fora might be a valuable undertaking. (Romney has done quite a good job all by himself in revealing the the hollowness of the claims that the wealthy should be let alone to run things, but evidently Conard does it even better. 

Here's a quote from Peter Schjeldahl in the current New Yorker: "a dealer at the Art Show instructed me that today's 'haut bourgeois life-style' comes with an 'obligation to collect.' He added, 'People need to not not collect.' that sounded funny and I laughed. He scowled: dead serious." Of course, that's nothing new, except perhaps in scale, which is one reason that the children of the rich have long been heavily represented among art-history majors and many of them have used their inheritances not to invest in support of innovation as Conard supposes  but rather to collect for themselves. Likewise, the Koch brother who gives funds to get the New York State Theater renamed after himself and to re-do the steps of the Met, etc., is far less socially minded than even Carnegie at the end of his life, and more simply making the appropriate and acceptable mark for himself among his charity-ball going peers and near peers. 

(Conard  excoriates Buffett for giving  his money away, instead, presumably, of passing it on to his children who would invest in better things than the board of the Gates Foundation would, but why that should be so is hard to fathom as the example of selfish and idiosyncratic art collecting suggests. Why it would be even better used if taken up in taxes to be democratically spent is one point that has to be argued.) 

In general, the extremes of capital and inequality now, open the whole system for critique in more obvious ways that at any recent time, and finding astute ways to make that critique is a worthwhile endeavor. 


On May 6, 2012, at 5:33 PM, John Hopkins wrote:

> jep... it's a circus ... & ur in the center ring ... or maybe not ... wait, where's the tent?
>> This whole chain is increasingly silly. Because while Brian and others
>> complain about things like...
> well if you want real silliness, just wait until the energy sources that have been driving the gravy-train for the last 120 years that cumulatively brought us to the situation where each and every one of us presently is embedded -- govt, elites, proles, academics, farmers, 'sustainability' engineers, media artists, social activists, writers, etc -- just wait until the nipple that supplies the suckle that structures each and every one of those social situations runs dry. the ensuing silliness will make any social designation other than 'might makes right' a quaint and extremely romantic vision that will rapidly be lost to transitory meat-space memory...

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