If you’ve been reading my “Cultural Divide” contributions over the past several months, you’ve gathered that I go to great lengths to try to deliver evenhanded criticism. So much so that a few have accused me of being an apologist for everything from hunting to performance art. My on-the-one-hand-on-the-otherness isn’t a righteous stance of journalistic integrity but rather a reflection of a sincere belief that the terms of cultural difference in America stem from very basic misunderstandings about the structural composition of various cultures, which if inventoried, might bridge the widening divide.
An example: Many of my culturally agnostic New York friends adamantly oppose organized religion, yet they remain open to the most phantasmatic, shamanistic, quasi-religious conceptualism in the high cultural milieu. A Lutheran service severely disturbs their enlightened senses of rational propriety, but they’re more than happy to attempt the leap of faith needed to appreciate Richard Tuttle, Robert Wilson or Trisha Brown. Likewise, most of the parishioners at a Lutheran church in Wisconsin gladly throw their worldly faith behind a 2000 year-old fairy tale about a prophet conceived without intercourse, yet they walk into a contemporary art museum and feel a Duchampian readymade or a Specific Object by Donald Judd is part of a conspiracy dreamed up by cabals of elitist charlatans from Vassar trying to control their minds.
The two scenarios sound pretty similar to me.
The Lutheran church isn’t as religious as many would have it.
The High Art world isn’t as secular as many would have it.
Religion is culture. Culture is religion.
But none of that is my point. My point is that even though most of a particular culture’s eccentricities or attitudes can be written off to relativity, some can’t.
My wife told me last week that I came down a little hard on the tapas bar in northern Wisconsin that served jalapeno poppers and truffled popcorn. She said it was a little snotty of me and that in the process I tipped my hand a little. Sometimes a guy has to pass some judgment.
On the flip side, for the past week New York Public Radio has been running a series of commercials whose appalling arrogance makes me embarrassed to have participated in their pledge drive. It’s the kind of navel-gazing, self-satisfied righteousness that turns people off to New Yorkers and their near monopoly on advanced culture. New Yorkers have taken the blind patronage by the rest of America for granted. Sold out Broadway theaters and stuffed contemporary art centers aren’t a right, though. If New York dismisses everyone whose dinner conversations aren’t about Philip Glass, people may stop making the trip. Instead of traveling to New York for its wealth of culture, they’ll stay home and invent their own, spreading praise amongst themselves. Ever wonder why NASCAR is the most popular sport in America?
As a cultural producer I’m not ready to completely alienate the 20 percent of the country who hasn’t defected to NASCAR and Captain America. We, at least I, need the 60 million Americans who might rather go to a Dodgers game, but still begrudgingly visit LACMA like a good boy eating his Brussels sprouts.
So here it goes: 15-yard penalty on New York Public Radio for Unnecessary Smugness.
(The spots are read by Stanley Tucci)
“There are people who need you to explain things to them. They don’t understand about things like food co-ops and sleep deprivation in children.”
“There are people who count on you to be witty, at least smart. They don’t know what to think about Goldman Sachs or fracking in the Catskills. They expect you to tell them. And if you let them down, who knows what will happen to the world…or at least New York, which for some people is the world. You owe it to them to listen to WNYC all the time, so please don’t do a half-assed job, that’s not like you. WNYC. Never turn it off.”
This week: One of our favorite artists, Jason Lazarus is a slightly odd interview where we talk in a cave surrounded by SAIC students.
You can read more about Jason in a interview he gave to Caroline Picard in January.
From everyone here at Bad at Sports we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you are enjoying the warmth and food that comes with your friends, family or significant other. We are continuously thankful for you, the art work we all love and the culture that gets us excited each and every morning which is only there due to the non stop diligence of everyone involved.
Now that you are most likely full of tryptophan, sleepy and in need of a good film to watch may we offer the latest Charles Bronson film for your enjoyment…..
Happy Thanksgiving and here’s to many more.
The trick in life is to enjoy the simple things, be they moments with friends, great meals or even “double complete all-the-way rainbows” right in your own backyard.
Paul a self described Photographer, Multi Media Artist, Mixed Martial Artist, Farmer, Mountian man living just outside Yosemite National Park had just that moment and recorded it and his reaction to it for the internet. The first video below is his recording and the second below that is a remix turning it into a viable song. Enjoy.
Countless people, tons of money, hours of training and years of therapy go into keeping organizations from being perceived of doing the very things they are, in fact, doing. Things everyone knows they are doing but as most people learned as kids there is a big difference between knowing something to be true and proving something to be true.
What if though, companies owned up to what they were doing and PR wasn’t pushed to spin? What if Letterman said he doesn’t care what you think of his sex life, either tune in and laugh or go to the other chin. If Facebook & Google reminded everyone that they are a company that makes it’s only source of revenue off of pimping your private information, its free remember? If Steve Jobs just finished the sentence he has been trying to say to consumers for years which is “I make the products I want and you will either like the simple walled garden I cultivate or go screw off, I owe you nothing. If I listened to you Apple would be smaller then Palm”.
Alas those days will never come since there are countless skilled and paid professionals who work very hard at refracting the actions of their organization in such a way that it is almost impossible for the average person to feel confident that anything specific is, in fact, happening. It’s a necessary evil that has a role until there are people that realize they shouldn’t just say whatever they might think in front of a Rolling Stone reporter, or that people really do start quiting jobs to spend more time with their family.
Till that day comes though, enjoy these films lol.