Saturday, August 24, 2019

Just When You Think We’ve Reached the End of Outrage

“Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another.” - Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Controversy is swirling around an art event in Grand Rapids. An art festival is bringing a Down’s syndrome drag show from Britain, called Drag Syndrome, to town. The controversy isn’t aimed at Daniel Vais the London-based group’s founder and artistic director. Nor is it aimed at DisArt, the group organizing their Grand Rapids appearance but rather at Peter Meijer, the owner of the venue who has decided he doesn’t wish to make his establishment available for this freak show.

And before you direct your outrage at me, the messenger, let me be clear: I am NOT calling the cast members freaks, any more than Peter Meijer is.  I’m calling the show that is exploiting them in pursuit of a political agenda and passing it off as “art” a freak show.

Image result for drag syndromeIf you don’t think this is P.T. Barnum-worthy freak show I can’t help you

The media and art community however sees not problem with somebody who would take a group of people born with a chromosome abnormality and further confuse them with gender issues in pursuit of “Queer Art.”. No, save the outrage for the uptight, privileged, cisgendered, patriarchy enablers who think there’s something wrong with promoting this kind of deviant art.

Before we go any further allow me to present a few facts “on background.”

1. ArtPrize

Originally held as an annual event this is an open, independently organized international art competition which began 10 years ago and now takes place for 19 days every other fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event was founded and initially funded by Rick DeVos, grandson of Amway founder and local philanthropist Rich DeVos and the son of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The New York Times described the exhibit, which is spread over dozens of venues in downtown Grand Rapids, as “one of the art world’s most peculiar and richest competitions.” That means that the grand prize winner is selected by the voting public, not a group of art elitists. “Over a three-week period, this city hosts ArtPrize, which displays entries in public spaces around town and lets viewers choose the winners of half its $500,000 purse.” Those are hefty prizes in the art world.

Because ArtPrize is still primarily funded by the DeVos family, supporters of President Trump, it has of course become political with a hefty number of entries in the last 2 competitions presenting anti-Trump, progressive pieces such as this gem:

‘Sineater’ - 2017 ArtPrize entry of Patricia Constantine, Professor of Illustration, Kendall College of Art and Design

The mixed-media painting depicts Ms. Constantine as a carnival freak suffering for the perceived misdeeds of Ms. DeVos and President Trump. But Ms. DeVos isn’t just your everyday target in Michigan: She and her family provide major financial support to the ArtPrize awards that might honor the very works that skewer her. - NYT

During the competition’s off-year a public art event called Project 1 by ArtPrize is held. The Drag Syndrome show is part of this event.

2. Peter Meijer

Mr. Meijer is the grandson of the late Grand Rapids retail giant and philanthropist, Fred Meijer, and is one of several GOP candidates running for Justin Amash’s congressional seat. Justin, as you may recall has been disinvited from membership in the Republican party for publicly calling for the impeachment of his party’s duly elected President.

3. Drag Syndrome  

Truly an act worthy of P.T. Barnum: Downs syndrome people performing as drag kings and queens. And in case you wondered, no, they didn’t come up with the concept on their own, somebody else did that for them. That would normally be a cut and dried case of exploitation:

Daniel Vais is the artistic director of Culture Device, a London-based experimental performance and dance company that works with artists who have Down syndrome…the company has put on everything from ballets to fashion shoots…In December 2017, Vais brought one of his Culture Device performers to watch a show in London that included drag queens. Vais, noting the performer’s enthusiasm for the show, asked her and the rest of the artists in Culture Device if they would be interested in performing drag some day. They jumped at the idea, Vais says.

But when the idea is conceived by someone like Vais and coaxed out of his differently abled charges, it’s “art.” The rest, as they say, is history. Video Warning: language, exploitation, perversion. Watch at your own peril. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

And now back to the controversy. Local media seems appalled that Peter Meijer’s would pull his venue for this lofty piece of performance art. They’ve published his entire letter on the subject, believing it somehow supports their outrage.

(Please note: any irony engendered by the name of the street where Mr. Meijer’s performance venue is located, and the source of the name for the business entity that owns Tanglewood -  Straight Ave LLC – is, while unfortunate, most assuredly coincidental and not intended to offend anyone.)

Cue the outrage machine. Make the one sane person in the room the object of your scorn while encouraging the lunatics who promote this sort of freak show of depravity.

The organizers are of course appalled; and disingenuous:

“Today we were informed that Peter Meijer, the owner of Tanglefoot, the venue Drag Syndrome had been guaranteed for Project 1, made a decision that the Artists of Drag Syndrome would not be allowed to perform on September 7, because they have Down syndrome.

Um, no. Not because they have Down’s syndrome. Because they are being exploited. Did you not read Mr. Meijer’s letter?

“We are deeply saddened, angered and appalled…

Well get in line mister, because so are we.

Image result for downs syndrome drag show

“For the past 50 years, in addition to the advocacy that brought the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, a cultural movement has been taking place. Artists with disabilities have been working to raise the voice, visibility and value of all Disabled people.

I completely fail to see exactly how this is raising the value of Disabled people.

Image result for downs syndrome drag show

“Exclusion is discrimination, it is self-preservation, it is exploitation for political gain. It is not protection.” according to a DisArt statement. - MLive

I have to ask, who’s zooming who here? Your exploitation for political gain is as ignoble as anyone’s. I rather think even Karl Marx would agree.

*sigh* I now know what Thomas Wolfe meant when he said you can never go home again.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Flashback Friday: Never Has So Little Been Promised For So Much

Does anyone remember Everett Dirksen?

Image result for everett dirksen

Aside from Margaret Thatcher’s comment regarding socialism’s biggest flaw, Senator Dirksen is attributed with  the world’s most famous quote with respect to government spending:

“A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.” 

Subsequently the phrase was upgraded to “a billion here, a billion there” due to inflation. Now, in one grand gesture aimed at saving the planet, Bernie Sanders has managed to raise the expression to 21st century levels of profligate spending: Sanders releases $16 trillion ‘Green New Deal’ plan, promises it will ‘pay for itself’ – like all such programs do.

“Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday released his plan for a Green New Deal – promising that the multitrillion-dollar plan to radically overhaul the economy and combat climate change will “pay for itself” over the next 15 years.”

It kind of reminds me of the Democrats’ last great spending program to cure a societal ill: LBJ’s War on Poverty.** Hey California, how’s that “war on poverty” working out for you?

Image result for homeless camps in los angelesLA

Image result for san francisco homeless campsOakland

Image result for san francisco homeless campsSan Francisco

A woman who was camping in downtown San Diego sorts through her belongings on...San Diego

Seattle? How you doing?

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Not since the Democrat’s “War on Poverty” was launched over 50 years ago has a government program promised so little for so much.

**According to the Cato Institute, since the Johnson Administration almost $15 trillion has been spent on welfare, with poverty rates being about the same as during the Johnson Administration.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Tale of the Tittlemouse

My pantry is out of control. I’ve known this for a long time but have been unable to muster up the motivation to tackle the job.

Noooooooooo! Not today!

And trust me, it’s bad:

Really bad, check out the bottom half:

Time to summon  Mrs. Tittlemouse:

Image result for funny pantry labels

But the untidiness was something dreadful—"Never did I see such a mess—smears of honey; and moss, and thistledown—and marks of big and little dirty feet—all over my nice clean house!"

As you will note I no longer have a floor in the pantry. It’s been replaced by wine, booze (for extreme emergency purposes), a case of Bundaberg gingerale (for ordinary emergencies), vinegar (pickle season), step stool (to reach above the clutter)…and that’s only what you can see. Additionally there is a rotisserie for the grill (someday we might just do a leg of lamb), a stack of free weights (for the gravalox), a mail bin (because the office has been transformed into a comfortable TV room without a desk), a light for the patio umbrella (because daylight saving time can’t last forever), 2 dozen brown paper bags from a grocery store that has been out of business for 2 or 3 years, 4 coffee cans and 3 miscellaneous liquor bottle cans (holiday issue) filled with coins weighing in at at least 500 pounds. These were intended for parking meters that around here have not accepted coins for at least 5 years. Then there’s the rack that goes with the microwave that was changed out 6 years ago. And of course there are my cookbooks, occupying half of the available real estate. Don’t even THINK about asking me to cull curate this prized collection: I already have.

Yet with all this stuff, when I went to make some cookies for an ailing relative on Monday I discovered that I had 5 kinds of crackers, 6 styles of pasta and at least half a dozen or more cans of various types of tomatoes and green chilis…but no sugar and no flour. The full extent of this creeping chaos hit me. An intervention was necessary.

As if by divine intervention I received an email from Costco that very day advising me of a special sale on these babies:

A 12 pack of various sized, stackable containers with air tight lids for only $59.99! I promptly picked up two boxes. It took me the better part of Tuesday afternoon to clean and dry the suckers. The 12 piece, (or in my case 24 piece) set is actually 24 (48) pieces because of the covers. Actually 36 (72) because each lid is also two pieces. And that’s not counting the 72 removable silicon gaskets (which are dishwasher safe) on the lids. Everything else is hand washable only.

All I managed yesterday was a complete dismantling and sorting that resulted in a very large black garbage bag stuffed full of expired foodstuffs and junk from the pre-digital Paleozoic era. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’m up to the task. Image result for mrs tittlemouse

"Will it ever be tidy again?" said poor Mrs. Tittlemouse.

Now it will have to wait as I’m leaving town for the the rest of the week to visit my sisters and sister-in-laws. All has been crammed back into the pantry as neatly as possible back and Raj has been instructed NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING while I’m gone. But I am thinking of asking him to pick up another box of those fine Oxo beauty containers. I may have replaced one addiction for another, but hope springs eternal. And visions of sugar plums still dance in my head.

Image result for organize your pantry

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to the Gulag

Here it is, the end of August already.

Labor Day is looming on the horizon, its hot breath bearing down on our necks. That means that some school districts have already restarted their indoctrination programs, and the others will do so within the next 2 weeks.

Image result for calvin hobbes summer vacation july

Feeling the intractable advance of time bearing down on my “jobs to complete this summer” list convinced me to sub out today’s post, without permission but with attribution, to Mr. Van der Leun. In his post, Back to School, Gerard turns a sympathetic eye to the plight of a 10 year as he views his life thus far: a seemingly interminable sentence of classroom drudgery and boredom interrupted only by the two-a-day recesses.

Day in day out, week in week out, year in year out … you trudge off to this room crammed to the brim with bird’s nests, flash cards, trilobites, pilgrim hats, Indian headdresses, drawings and paintings in which the proportion of the head to the body is never right, but looks for all the world like an exhibit by demented Fauvists with no drawing skills whatsoever and a very garish color sense. Twice a day, everybody in this room is let out. Is it any wonder they run screaming into the sunshine?

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The protocol is broken occasionally by holidays, extended summer vacations and snow days, if you’re lucky enough to live north of the Florida Keys, but that just makes the whole affair worse by presenting a temporary glimpse of freedom beyond the walls. As they say, read the whole thing. You’ll never wax idyllically about good old fashioned school days again. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

“We’re On a Mission From God”

Who are these women masquerading as U.S. Representatives?

Image result for ilhan omar press conference on israel aid

And who the heck is their Public Relations agent? Whoever it is, kudos, dude, you completely own the U.S. media. How else do you get the MSM to present these 2 anti-Semitic harridans as sympathetic gal-pals who only wanted to visit Israel to see gramma and work for peace in the Middle East (sans Jews of course)?

Image result for BDS

Their publicist also successfully manipulated the acquiescent MSM into suppressing the true nature of MIFTAH, the anti-Semitic Palestinian advocacy group with ties to Palestinian terrorism that organized and funded Tlaib and Ilhan’s trip. Instead, the media variously described MIFTAH as

“…an organization headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker…” (NYT),

“a nonprofit organization headed by a Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi” (WaPo) and,

“a nonprofit organization headed by a Palestinian lawmaker” (LA Times).

You need to be a first-rate PR agent to generate echo-chamber reverbs like that.

For their part, the two freshman Representatives were shocked to find out that their sponsoring organization had anti-Semitic ties. Like Obama before them, they only found out when they read about it in the newspaper:

"We're also taken aback and learned from everybody else that there were some issues regarding it…” Rashida

And the emotional press conference, complete with a few real tears, was a nice touch too. Conflating your situation with apartheid always conjures up a lot of kneejerk emotion and sympathy.

“We give Israel more than $3 billion in aid every year. This is predicated on them being an important ally in the region, and the only democracy in the Middle East. But, denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally.” - Ilhan Omar

Likewise, we pay U.S. Representatives $175,000 a year. This is predicated on them being a patriotic supporter of their country, the most powerful democracy in the world. But denying an important ally the right to exist is not consistent with being a patriot.

So please take your cynical flag-draped hijab eyes and get out of the way.

We’re going to make America Great Again.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Fake Science: No More Questions Edition

Fake Science: Where did it come from? Well as they say, follow the money:

Also contributing to the emergence of Fake Science is the use of science as a cudgel in policy wars, a primary tactic of what is known as Post-Normal Science. Think of it as sociology on steroids, identifying as science.

Image result for post normal science

And there will be no more questions because the science is settled.

Ooh ooh ooh! Do Fake News next MOTUS!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Open Thread

It’s Sunday. Ponder the irony of the natural world, via Instapundit:

A New Species of Leech Is Discovered Near Washington, D.C. 

Or if that is not your idea of reverie, might I suggest that you go fishing…

as the day is still young, but the year grows short.

Image result for first hint of fall autumn