Category Archives: Arts and Entertainment

Progressives go after art eventually too

From Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye at New Republic:

Is Dana Schutz allowed to paint Emmett Till in his coffin? Dana Schutz is a successful artist: Her painting Open Casket is part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, a show whose mission is to indicate the country’s cultural temperature. The painting depicts the dead body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was brutally murdered. The piece has become the focus of controversy in recent days; the artist and writer Hannah Black has called for its removal and destruction. She and many others have pointed out that black suffering is not a material that white artists can just make use of, like oil paint or videotape—an argument made in many debates over cultural appropriation. But the case of Emmett Till contains an extra layer of difficulty. His mother, Mamie Till Mobley, dealt with her loss by controlling the postmortem narrative and the image of her son in death. “I know that his life can’t be returned but I hope that his death will certainly start a movement in these United States,” she once said. It is a matter of both appropriation and of the history of American visual politics.

An artist who wishes to work with such a charged subject needs to approach with unmitigated rigor in order to succeed. In her body of work, Schutz does not demonstrate a rigorous sensibility. In her statements about the piece, she does not show any understanding that her own expression echoes Carolyn Bryant’s expression, and erases the story of the victim and his family. When Hannah Black and her co-signers call for the destruction of this painting, try not to interpret them as book-burners doing the work of censorship. Instead, hear their open letter as a call for silence inside a church. How will you hear the dead boy’s voice, if you keep speaking over him? More.

Reality check: It’s horrible, self-indulgent modern art, a sort of miscarriage of the mind. That would be enough reason to place it gently in the rain overnight in the garden.

All such work is an appropriation of an honourable name, art.

But we mask the problem if we make it about individual grief, grievance, and entitlement. The progressive encourages us to do that, of course, because he then gets to bully and censor others, and impose his tastes. He prevents—with lots of collusion—a discussion of the actual problem: The vacuum he himself creates and maintains.

It will be fun watching upper middle class progressives cave in the face of progressive demands for the removal or destruction of the old masterpieces as well. There again, they can find common cause with Islamists. Which should be some comfort to them.

As for the grievance group, they are book-burners calling for silence. For anyone except them.

See also: Why free speech infringes on “liberty” It is easy for the naturalist (man is just an animal) to dispense with liberty of the mind because he does not accept the existence of the mind.


“Mad Men” trolls HBD Chick: Clan War in Connecticut: Campbells vs MacDonalds

Clan War in Connecticut: L to R: Mr. MacDonald, Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Campbell

HBD Chick points out a bizarre stand-alone scene in one of the last episodes of Mad Men (April 26, 2015, scripted by Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy) that sounds like Weiner is trolling HBD Chick’s intellectual obsession with clannishness…

…Ad man Pete Campbell punches the headmaster of the Greenwich Country Day School (current maximum tuition $37,600) for refusing admission to his little daughter.

Initially, Headmaster MacDonald claimed it was because Campbell’s four-year-old daughter scored poorly on the Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Man IQ admission test…

…But then we find out that this school discrimination incident is actually just an extension of a Highlander clan war going back at least to the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 in which Campbell clan soldiers under orders of the new King William of England took advantage of the hospitality of the MacDonald clan to breach the truce…

It took much longer for clans and tribe to die out in the ‘Celtic fringe.’  They were gone in southern England by the 13th century.

The Highlands and Ireland continued with clans for considerably longer (the word ‘clan’ is rare borrowing from Gaelic to English).

But clans have still completely fallen from popular memory, and thus we are baffled by the behaviour of Middle Easterners, who remain in tribes and clans to this day.


Greenfield: Good Riddance to Letterman

David Letterman’s departure isn’t the end of an era. The era of late night talk shows ended a while back.

In Johnny Carson’s final week in the nineties, he played to an audience of twenty million. Lately, Letterman has been lucky to get 2 million. His final shows have played to around 5 million viewers…

…The Late Show isn’t a beloved American institution. It was created by Letterman’s inflated sense of entitlement. It failed in its purpose, as Letterman lost to Leno, and it won’t outlive Letterman by long.

The tributes to Letterman carry heavy doses of media self-importance and self-pity. And these days the two are one and the same. The media isn’t really nostalgic for Letterman’s smarmy laugh; it’s mourning the loss of a time when limited options maintained captive audiences for every fellow media dork awarded a big three network microphone and its incredible power of nationwide prime time airtime…


Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart Defends Racism

…According to Stewart criticizing Obama = racism. Honoring your religious conscience = racism. Fox News daring to exist = racism. Questioning fabricated racism = racism. Per Stewart, pretty much any act of defiance towards the State (most especially being a Tea Partier) must be condemned, ridiculed, mocked BLASTED ANNIHILATED DESTROYED DEMOLISHED as bigotry…


Steyn: There’s Noah Business Like Shoah Business

On Monday, when Trevor Noah landed the gig as Jon Stewart’s replacement, Salon’s headline writers assured us:

Right-Wing Rage At ‘The Daily Show’ Is About To Get Very, Very Ugly

That’s because Trevor Noah is a mixed-race South African, and everyone knows right-wingers are ugly racists consumed with rage over miscegenation. As it turned out, there was not a peep from rage-consumed righties, perhaps because they don’t watch “The Daily Show” and had never heard of Trevor Noah, or perhaps because they were preoccupied with inconsequential foot-of-page-37 news stories like the nuclearization of Iran.

So instead by Tuesday morning it was the left that was all in a lather – or as those self-same Salon headline writers put it a mere 24 hours after their previous headline:

Did Trevor Noah’s Twitter History Just Kill ‘The Daily Show’?

That’s because the lefties were all mad about the oddly misogynist and anti-Semitic Twitter feed of Mr Noah, full of jests about porking fat chicks and running over a Jewish kid in his German car – which is certainly a strange choice of joke for a 21st century comic…

h/t Marvin


Relax! Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — It was a flood of messages from concerned friends abroad that alerted the president of Tunisia’s Star Wars fan club that the sets of his beloved film were under attack by militants — at least according to exaggerated reports in the foreign press.

In a country still reeling from a terrorist attack last week on a museum that killed 21 people, a misleading report from CNN that said the iconic sets were a “way station” for the radical Islamic State group infiltrating from Libya soon went viral. The report suggested that the sets were vulnerable after recent arrests and discoveries of weapons caches near the town of Tatouine, which lent its name to Luke Skywalker’s home planet.

Tunisian officials on Thursday made clear there was nothing to worry about.

“This information is false and without foundation and doesn’t reflect the reality,” said Mohammed Sayem, a member of the tourism commission in the western city of Tozeur.

Col. Mokhtar Hammami of the National Guard told The Associated Press he has 1,500 men, including special forces, canine units and bomb control experts under his command patrolling the area…

Islamic State and Star Wars — what a combo!


I’m a transgender woman – why shouldn’t I play Hamlet?

Emma Frankland’s Language is at Camden People’s theatre. She is the author of the piece. Photograph: Rosie Powell Photography

ps11This MIGHT be her too. From the Twitter account of an Emma Frankland: whose bio says: “Vintage lingerie blogger and seller of the cutest, most adorable vintage fashions, both online and at UK vintage fairs. See my blog.” Her blog is here.

I am a theatre-maker and performer. I am also a transgender woman with a classical acting training and background. Shakespeare played with gender all the time, but is there any chance of me being cast in a male or a female role in the future in a Shakespeare play, or any other production?

Last month, I was at the Marlborough theatre in Brighton, where I have been in residence as a guest artist of Pink Fringe: I’ve been provided with a bedroom, space to make a mess, and production and emotional support.

On my last night there was an event to celebrate the publishing of a new book – Brighton Trans*formed, which documents and interviews a group of transgender people from the city. Despite the warm crowd, many of those who shared their thoughts were visibly nervous. This was not a platform for professional speakers (though several of those who spoke were) but a community event. When asked why she had chosen to participate, one of the women said “If you are a trans woman then walking down the street becomes a political act. If you are given a platform to speak then I think as a trans person you must”…


Blast from the past II: Russian Red Army Chorus to play in Istanbul

The Russian Red Army Chorus will be in Istanbul for a performance on June 13, and it is also set to include surprise Turkish songs in its set-list.

The world’s largest army chorus has been taking the stage in the world’s most prestigious venues over the last few years, performing a wide repertoire of Russian folk songs, classical works, Mozart and Verdi operas, to pop classics such as “Sex Bomb” and “Hey Jude,” as well as well- known Russian songs Katyusha, Kalinka, Kernina and Ave Maria.

Founded to boost the morale of soldiers and the public during wartime in 1939, the chorus is also known as one of the world’s biggest live family shows.

Made up of selected Russian artists, including orchestral and ballet performers, it has so far appeared in more than 50 countries and performed to more than 20 million people.

David Foster, Roger Waters, Jean-Jacques Goldman and Steve Barakatt are among those who they have worked with.


Blast from the past: Ottoman detective drama treading new path in Turkey

“Filinta,” a pioneering Turkish detective TV drama which is being shot in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, is attracting a following at home and beginning to win new fans further afield, such as the Middle East.

A Hollywood-style high-budget production with action scenes, “Filinta” is the “first Ottoman detective show” in Turkish television’s history. The drama is being shot at the Seka film set, where copies of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu, İstiklal Avenue and Pera area have been created.

The producer of the drama, Serdar Öğretici, said they were shooting an Ottoman detective drama for the first time in the history of television, adding that the cost was high when compared to other TV dramas.

He said they knew the risks of undertaking such a project, while adding that good things could not be done without taking risks. “TRT [Turkish state television] trusted me and supported such a project. We started to produce a different and international project. So far, so good. It was an adventurous job and we succeeded at it.”

The drama has posted higher-than-expected ratings, as well as favorable reviews, Öğretici said, adding that the series needed to be watched from start to finish in order to understand all the events…


Mozart on Muslim sex slavery

Steve Sailer has a post on viewing a new performance of Mozart’s  comic opera The Abduction from the Seraglio (Die Entführung aus dem Serail).

Wikipedia notes:

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (K. 384; The Abduction from the Seraglio; also known as Il Seraglio) is an opera Singspiel in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German libretto is by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner with adaptations by Gottlieb Stephanie. The plot concerns the attempt of the hero Belmonte, assisted by his servant Pedrillo, to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the seraglio of Pasha Selim. The work premiered on 16 July 1782 at the Vienna Burgtheater, with the composer conducting.

A seraglio is a harem. It is a comic opera with a happy ending and much silliness. It is only owing to the Mozart’s music that it is still performed at all.

But as Steve notes, it does involve Islam. From his post:

It was another delirious production by Pacific Opera Project. It’s awfully expensive to put on a grandly Orientalist version of “Abduction” like in Amadeus, so POP went instead to some local cultural history for the production’s low budget style, as exemplified by this famous fight scene at Vasquez Rocks, which POP reproduced faithfully on stage in the middle of Mozart’s opera:

Brian Cheney sang Belmonte as Captain James T. Belmonte beaming down to the Klingon harem on a rescue mission that gave him plenty of time for William Shatner’s self-infatuated Italian tenor-style mugging.

And setting “Abduction from the Seraglio” in the Star Trek universe gets around the whole Orientalism / Islamophobia angle that killjoys have been harping about since wealthy Episcopalian opera critic Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism.

Whether they did this owing to Islam or just to try to be cool and hip is not clear to me. I checked around and found it on YouTube. Here are the videos of both the Star Trek version and the original. If you watch the first few minutes of the original, you can clearly see the Islamic costumes.

Steve thinks it is related to Islam, but I am not completely convinced. There could be an element of trying to attract new young customers. Check his post and form your own opinion.


Two gangs of women fight in cinema at Fifty Shades of Grey showing

Police were called to the Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane (pictured) on Saturday after witnesses said a group of women had got drunk before attacking a man who asked them to be quiet

A screening of hit-film Fifty Shades of Grey turned ugly when two gangs of women clashed in the cinema aisles.

The screaming match took place at Barnsley’s Parkway cinema during the Valentine’s Day showing of E.L. James’ raunchy blockbuster.

The row became so heated it drowned out the closing soundtrack of the movie – which meant many disgruntled cinema-goers missed the climax.

One said: ‘There was a group of women, I won’t call them ladies, who were talking loudly and laughing all the way through the film…

On the same night, police arrested three women at a screening of the film in Glasgow after reports a man was glassed.

Officers were called to the city’s Grosvenor cinema after reports a group of ‘drunk and rowdy’ women had turned violent.

Witnesses said movie-goers were vomiting in the aisles of the cinema – where alcoholic drinks are served – before the alleged attack.

Just a guess: does this film attract aggressive women?


Salon at it again: “American Sniper’s” Muslim problem: How Clint Eastwood embraces Chris Kyle’s toxic ideas

The film neither endorses nor repudiates its subject’s racism. The result is a slick, dangerous work of propaganda

Three weeks into American Sniper’s record-breaking release, you likely already have an opinion on the film, even if you haven’t seen it. In a tweet, comedian Seth Rogen famously compared it to “the movie that’s showing in the third act ofInglourious Basterds,” whereas documentarian Michael Moore called it a “mess of a film.” The debate has largely focused on the portrayal of Chris Kyle, American Sniper’s protagonist. Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall depict him as an “anguished soul” (in the words of author Max Blumenthal), torn between saving his country and the weight of deciding who deserves to die.

But the real-life Kyle was anything but tortured and morally conflicted. The Guardian’s Lindy West (also a contributor at the Daily Dot) reminds us that Kyle was “a racist who took pleasure in dehumanizing and killing brown people.” Kyle’s only regret was that he didn’t kill more…


British actor Benedict Cumberbatch issues grovelling apology after calling black people ‘colored’

Cumberbatch, who is nominated for an Oscar, starred alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized after describing black people as ‘colored’ on US television, saying he is ‘an idiot’ and is ‘devastated to have caused offense’.

The 38-year-old Sherlock star was widely condemned after using the racial term during a debate on the lack of diversity on British screens on the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley last Wednesday.

But on Monday night, he issued an apology for his ‘incorrect’ and ‘offensive’ use of the phrase, saying: ‘I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology.

‘I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done’…

I do not understand why it is even an “offence” in the first place.


US: Muslim who threatened jihad on “South Park,” sues over prayer ban

Mohammed dressed as a bear after threats were received from Zachary Chesser. Source.

unnamed-3The would-be jihadist who was convicted of threatening the creators of “South Park” over an episode featuring the Prophet Muhammad dressed in a bear suit is suing federal prison officials for limiting his ability to “fulfill Islam’s religious obligations,” The Smoking Gun has learned.

A civil complaint filed last month, Zachary Chesser, 25, alleges that Bureau of Prison regulations limiting religious gatherings are a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevent him from fully exercising his beliefs.

Chesser, a Muslim convert, contends that Islam “obligates and encourages” various congregate activities, including five daily prayers, religious classes, and celebrations. However, he notes, the BoP “only permits such activity once per week”…