Weekend

Required Reading

This week, the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum, a strange dog-headed spider, Fredric Jameson on Karl Ove Knausgaard, Warhol’s sexism, KitKats in Japan, and more.

US studio Allied Works has created a building to honor military veterans in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The circular structure is the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which was built on a seven-acre (three-hectare) site. More images at Dezeen (via Dezeen)

I will call Knausgaard’s kind of writing ‘itemisation’. We have, in postmodernity, given up on the attempt to ‘estrange’ our daily life and see it in new, poetic or nightmarish, ways; we have given up the analysis of it in terms of the commodity form, in a situation in which everything by now is a commodity; we have abandoned the quest for new languages to describe the stream of the self-same or new psychologies to diagnose its distressingly unoriginal reactions and psychic events. All that is left is to itemise them, to list the items that come by.

  • A photo of a Bunny Harvestman emerged on the internet this week, created by photographer and scientist Andreas Kay it clearly shows this strange dog-headed spider you can see clearly in this video:

Because Warhol’s perspective was very much informed by gay culture and his background in advertising, his art functioned as a both a reflection of his interests and a mirror to American society. “I think the portrayals of women are very problematic,” De Salvo said matter-of-factly. “There’s some flattering portraits of women, for example, Dominique De Menil, but there’s no doubt that Marilyn [Monroe] is rendered as a sort of garish and harsh looking woman. The celebrities Warhol selected reflect a very ‘50s-‘60s idea that a woman has to look a certain way.”

According to Jessica Beck, curator at the Andy Warhol Museum, and a contributor to the Whitney’s exhibition catalogue, his choice of subject matter also related to his own insecurities around self-image. (For example, Warhol famously had his nose shaved in 1957 because he was so unhappy with its shape.) “There’s a lot of gender swapping with women, female icons in particular, using them as surrogates for an idolized beauty that he aspired to have in his life.” Beck explained. “Edie Sedgwick was literally a surrogate for him at times. They went to an ICA Philadelphia opening together dressed as twins.” This interest in gender swapping continued into his later life, his drag portraits with Christopher Makos being particularly indicative of his interest in female socialites and those who had money. “There was an interest in power and glamor in his use of women. I don’t think it’s a version of sexism with Warhol,” she concluded.

This paper proposes a new category of linguistic harm: that of illocutionary frustration. I argue against Jennifer Hornsby and Rae Langton’s notion of illocutionary silencing by challenging their claim that silencing occurs when there is a lack of uptake of the speaker’s illocutionary act. I look at two scenarios that their view treats differently and argue that these scenarios warrant the same kind of analysis; Hornsby and Langton’s notion of silencing can’t capture the purported difference they want it to capture. I propose that we should look instead to standing to explain the phenomenon that illocutionary silencing intends to explain. I explicate the role of standing in terms of illocutionary frustration, then consider street harassment as an example of a linguistic interaction that is best explained by my proposed view.

The Kit Kat first came to Japan in 1973, but the first 100 percent, truly on-brand Japanese Kit Kat arrived at the turn of the millennium, when the marketing department of Nestlé Japan, the manufacturer of Kit Kats in the country, decided to experiment with new flavors, sweetness levels and types of packaging in an effort to increase sales. Strawberry! A pinkish, fruity Kit Kat would have been a gamble almost anywhere else in the world, but in Japan, strawberry-flavored sweets were established beyond the status of novelties. The strawberry Kit Kat was covered in milk chocolate tinted by the addition of a finely ground powder of dehydrated strawberry juice. It was first introduced in Hokkaido — coincidentally and serendipitously — at the start of strawberry season. Since then, the company has released almost 400 more flavors, some of them available only in particular regions of the country, which tends to encourage a sense of rareness and collectibility. Bars flavored like Okinawan sweet potatoes, the starchy, deep purple Japanese tubers, are available in Kyushu and Okinawa. The adzuki bean-sandwich bars are associated with the city of Nagoya, where the sweet, toasted snack originated in a tea shop at the turn of the 20th century and slowly made its way to cafe menus in the area. Shizuoka, where gnarly rhizomes with heart-shaped leaves have been cultivated for centuries on the Pacific Ocean, is known for its wasabi-flavored bars.

  • This is a troubling (but not surprising story) by someone who contributes to Hyperallergic, Gisele Rigatao. She discovered not all voices are equal in the world of radio:

I thought it was a good story: A Latin American artist finally being recognized in the United States 45 years after her death. I pitched the story to National Public Radio. After listening to a work sample, Tom Cole, my editor, had reservations: “I worry that show producers might not like your accent,” he wrote. 

My accent? It’s mild; Americans can tell right away that I am not a native English speaker, but foreigners can’t. I moved to the US from Brazil 20 years ago, though most people can’t tell where I’m from. I sometimes stress the wrong syllable, or pronounce vowels differently from other speakers. My son does a great imitation of how I say “blood” (it rhymes with “plod”). My partner and friends rarely correct me—they think the way I say certain words is cute. 

So when Cole raised this as a concern, I was shocked; I knew accents could be taboo for some radio people, but I thought NPR would be thrilled to have a piece about a Brazilian artist by a Brazilian journalist. Plus, I’d voiced stories for WNYC and PRI’s The World many times before. I told him I wanted to give it a try. I went ahead and reported it—I attended the press preview at MoMA and interviewed the cocurator and other sources. 

The most sensational reports, containing gruesome blow by blow accounts of Khashoggi’s murder, were attributed to unnamed Turkish sources who claimed to have heard an audio tape that the Turkish government has yet to confirm exists, weeks after the incident.

 

Curiously, none of the “revelations” came from Turkish media, as local journalists took a step back and allowed the US media to take the lead on this story.

The very first local media scoop was broken by Sabah, a Turkish daily newspaper, on 10 October, when it published the photographs and identities of the Saudi hit squad who entered the consulate. Up until then, the Turkish media was very quiet. Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak’s sensationalist reports with gruesome details came days later, in mid-October. By then, the US papers had already been talking about dismemberment.

The left is catastrophically losing the PR battle in the marketplace of ideas. Inviting someone like Steve Bannon to your conference about how to build a free and open society is a little like inviting Ronald McDonald to your convention on solving world hunger.

I’m not saying that there’s no point in talking to the far right at all. I have interviewed members of the far right in my capacity as a journalist. But academic research and investigative journalism are very different from formal public debate. Public debate — at least the way I was taught to do it at my posh school — is not about the free exchange of ideas at all. You only listen to the other guy so you can work out how to beat him, and ideally, humiliate him. I’m choosing my pronouns deliberately here. The format is fundamentally an intellectual dick-smacking contest dressed up in institutional lingerie, and while there are plenty of women out there who can unzip their enormous brains and thwack them on the table with the best of them, the formula is catastrophically macho.

Apparently fueled by anti-Semitism and the bogus narrative that outside forces are scheming to exterminate the white race, Robert Bowers murdered 11 Jewish congregants as they gathered inside their Pittsburgh synagogue, federal prosecutors allege. But despite long-running international efforts to debunk the idea of a “white genocide,” Facebook was still selling advertisers the ability to market to those with an interest in that myth just days after the bloodshed.

  • Australian photographer Leah Kennedy’s aerial images of Namibia, show the diverse beauty of Namibia in a very abstract way. More images at My Modern Met:

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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