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Opponents of hate were granted a rare moment of levity yesterday, when the first draft of far-right British pundit Milo Yiannopoulos’s scuttled book for an imprint of Simon & Schuster was made public, complete with his editor’s notes and pages-long sections crossed out. The manuscript is among the court documents filed by attorneys for Simon & Schuster, which Yiannopoulos sued after the publisher canceled his book deal. (The manuscript, in the form of a PDF file, is available for download from the New York State court website.)
The 264-page tome-to-be, “Dangerous,” predictably devotes plenty of space to attacking women, Muslims, Black Lives Matter activists, Democrats, Republicans, the media, and others. However, it is mercifully punctuated throughout with dismissive comments by Yiannopoulos’s editor, Threshold Editions vice president Mitchell Ivers, including “Unclear, unfunny, delete,” “This is lazy,” “‘Foibles’ wrong word,” and “This is a stupid way to end a terrible chapter.” For anyone who despises misogyny, racism, and terrible writing, it is a very gratifying document.
In the manuscript, Yiannopoulos also discusses several recent controversies in the art world, only two of which relate to the 2016 US presidential election. Unsurprisingly, the Twinks 4 Trump exhibition, in which he participated about a month before the election, comes up twice. (The fact that its curator, Lucian Wintrich, cited a Hyperallergic article in a fundraising presentation, does not.)
Beginning at the end of page 139, he describes his performance art piece in glowing terms:
I bathed in freezing cold pig’s blood for 45 minutes, surrounded by images of innocent Americans slain by terrorists and illegal aliens. Now there was a genuinely subversive piece of art: gay men celebrating the orange Antichrist! Could you imagine if Madonna or Paris Hilton released a video with a bunch of underage boys in MAGA hats? No of course you can’t, because the only people pushing the envelop (sic) in art these days are Republicans.
The entire paragraph has been crossed out by Ivers, who also comments: “Off the point here.”
Indeed, 20 pages later Yiannopoulos makes the opposite claim, alleging that Democrats have a monopoly on the field of culture and Republicans need to make better art. He writes:
As well as being fired from his job at a New York ad agency after “Twinks for Trump,” Wintrich also faced expulsion from a Pierogi art gallery and legal threats from the venue owner when he attempted to host his pro-Trump art show at the gallery. Thanks to conservative complacency, the art world today is a one-party state.
Yiannopoulos also cites the absurd “spirit cooking” scandal involving Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and performance artist Marina Abramović. In another completely crossed-out paragraph, he writes:
Speaking of witchcraft, the Clintons have turned into such villains that the demons summoned through their ‘spirit cooking’ sessions take notes on them. It’s like a masterclass in demonic behavior. The demons wonder how she has done it all in one human lifetime. If you want a great example of media bias, imagine if the Trump campaign was participating in satanic rituals involving blood and semen.
To which Ivers replied in a comment: “This entire paragraph is just repeating Fake News. There was NO blood. NO semen and there was NO Satanism. Delete.”
But perhaps the most surprising passage in the “Dangerous” manuscript related to art comes in the “Rebel Artists” section, where Yiannopoulos devotes two paragraphs to the “Kimono Wednesdays” controversy at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the summer of 2015. Framing it as proof of the left’s reactionary and prohibitive attitude toward cultural appropriation, he writes:
One particularly amusing example of a “cultural appropriation” panic occurred in July 2015, when Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts announced “Kimono Wednesdays,” in which visitors were encouraged to pose in Kimonos next to Claude Monet’s painting 1876 “La Japonaise,” which depicts the artist’s wife in a similar outfit. Local leftists found the prospect of whiteys dressing up in oriental outfits outrageous, and promptly conducted a sit-in at the museum.
But, hilariously, the (mostly white, college-age) protesters soon found themselves joined by counter-protesters who, by contrast, were actually Japanese. According to the Boston Globe, the counter-protesters carried signs welcoming others to share in Japanese culture. Among the counter-protesters was Etsuko Yashiro, a 53-year-old Japanese emigrant who helps organize Boston’s Japan Festival. Yashiro told the Globe that she was “disappointed with the other side, and reportedly blamed the incident on the protesters’ youth. Other local Japanese residents were similarly befuddled. The Deputy Consul General of Japan in Boston, Jiro Usui, told the Globe “We actually do not quite understand what their point of protest is.” You and me both, Jiro.
Ivers crossed out the entire passage and commented: “This section is superfluous.” We completely agree.
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The intentionality of Booker’s abstraction gives me the impetus to discuss something about the current zeitgeist that’s been on my mind for a while.
The Morgan Library & Museum Presents Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South
This exhibition celebrates the Morgan’s recent acquisition of drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.
After years in the making, New Time opens at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
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The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.