tom moody

Archive for September, 2017

spidey

spidey

- tom moody

September 30th, 2017 at 6:04 am

travel writing

from "My Trip on Greyhound," an email to friends, in progress:

FirstGroup plc, a Brit company that owns bus companies in the UK, US and Canada, bought Greyhound in 2007 and runs it pretty smoothly. Buses have wi-fi and electrical outlets. The old network of bus stations (some of which appear to date back to the '40s) still exists; most stations had food and were kept reasonably clean (only a few nightmare toilets).

Drivers adhere to timetables and exert calm leadership. In addition to scheduled stops, they pull over at gas stations occasionally and allow people to get off the buses for smokes, stretches, and food.

I like seeing America from a bus window. When you fly you have no sense of the scale, and the changes happening in "bus-over country." Diverse bioregions gradually shift before your eyes (mountains to forest to prairie to cityscapes). Suburban sprawl is everywhere but area franchises such as Buc-ee's come and go among the ubiquitous Dollar Generals. The infrastructure of electronic control is increasingly obvious: it's one thing to see a few cell towers in your town, it's another to see hundreds of them spread throughout cities, exurbs, and farmland.

In keeping with that mechanized hell, almost everyone on the bus had a "device" and spent their time buried in it. Some played games with obnoxious noises; some watched movies and TV; but mostly it was that inevitable Facebook scroll-down through horizontal bands of messages or posts or whatever.

- tom moody

September 30th, 2017 at 6:03 am

Posted in general

gallery

barf_gallery550w

acrylic on canvas, polaroid, scanner, GNU image manipulation program

- tom moody

September 30th, 2017 at 5:35 am

hitler on art

From William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990 edition), pp. 243-4:

The Germany which had given the world a Duerer and a Cranach had not been pre-eminent in the fine arts in modern times, though German expressionism in painting and the Munich Bauhaus architecture were interesting and original movements and German artists had participated in all the twentieth-century evolutions and eruptions represented by impressionism, cubism and Dadaism.
To Hitler, who considered himself a genuine artist despite his early failures as one in Vienna, all modern art was degenerate and senseless. In Mein Kampf he had delivered a long tirade on the subject, and one of his first acts after coming to power was to “cleanse” Germany of its “decadent” art and to attempt to substitute a new “Germanic” art. Some 6,500 modern paintings—not only the works of Germans such as Kokoschka and Grosz but those of Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso and many others—were removed from German museums.
What was to replace them was shown in the summer of 1937 when Hitler formally opened the “House of German Art” in Munich in a drab, pseudoclassic building which he had helped design and which he described as “unparalleled and inimitable” in its architecture. In this first exhibition of Nazi art were crammed some nine hundred works, selected from fifteen thousand submitted, of the worst junk this writer has ever seen in any country. Hitler himself made the final selection and, according to some of the party comrades who were with him at the time, had become so incensed at some of the paintings accepted by the Nazi jury presided over by Adolf Ziegler, a mediocre painter who was president of the Reich Chamber of Art, that he had not only ordered them thrown out but had kicked holes with his jack boot through several of them. “I was always determined,” he said in a long speech inaugurating the exhibition, “if fate ever gave us power, not to discuss these matters [of artistic judgment] but to make decisions.” And he had made them.
In his speech -- it was delivered on July 18, 1937 -- he laid down the Nazi line for “German art”:

Works of art that cannot be understood but need a swollen set of instructions to prove their right to exist and find their way to neurotics who are receptive to such stupid or insolent nonsense will no longer openly reach the German nation. Let no one have illusions! National Socialism has set out to purge the German Reich and our people of all those influences threatening its existence and character… With the opening of this exhibition has come the end of artistic lunacy and with it the artistic pollution of our people…

And yet some Germans at least, especially in the art center of Germany which Munich was, preferred to be artistically polluted. In another part of the city in a ramshackle gallery that had to be reached through a narrow stairway was an exhibition of “degenerate art” which Dr. Goebbels had organized to show the people what Hitler was rescuing them from. It contained a splendid selection of modern paintings—Kokoschka, Chagall and expressionist and impressionist works. The day I visited it, after panting through the sprawling House of German Art, it was crammed, with a long line forming down the creaking stairs and out into the street. In fact, the crowds besieging it became so great that Dr. Goebbels, incensed and embarrassed, soon closed it.

- tom moody

September 30th, 2017 at 5:35 am

Posted in books, theory

color study (brown) (threshold)

color_study_brownflip

- tom moody

September 28th, 2017 at 7:56 am

Posted in animations - tm

the pivot to jpegs

The ideal online world is slow, contemplative, ad-free, and revenue-neutral. You read a text and think about it; you look at a picture and save it to your drive for future study; you click a link and music plays; you watch a TV episode, mull it over, and perhaps watch another episode tomorrow.

In the real online world you receive content from "platforms" chock full of ads and interactive bells and whistles. For information, instruction, and entertainment, you watch videos. You are encouraged to "binge."

If you inhabit anything close to the "ideal" scenario above, this Columbia Journalism Review article The Secret Cost of Pivoting to Video may seem like pure babble: 1200 words of intense jargon and industryspeak, meaningful only in the context of a few nanoseconds of history. Nevertheless it's worth a read. Apparently a significant number of online publishers fired writers and switched to video because Facebook lured them with the promise of ad dollars. They lost money because (i) Facebook was "likely" pulling a "bait and switch" to get them to pay to search-optimize their own product (an accusation carefully hedged by CJR) and (ii) many of the publishers lacked the skills to make "good" videos (defined by CJR as "addictive, bright, and fast"). Fascinating. Or not.

Meanwhile, in the slow lane, bloggers are giving themselves extended unpaid vacations and pivoting to jpegs.

- tom moody

September 28th, 2017 at 7:52 am

color study (brown)

color_study_brownflip

ink and Prismacolor on paper; polaroid; scanner; GNU image manipulation program

- tom moody

September 27th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

cannibalized parts (wallpaper)

cannibalized_parts_flip

acrylic on canvas, polaroid, scanner, GNU image manipulation program

- tom moody

September 27th, 2017 at 3:46 pm

cage (red room)

collage_97_flips_square

ink, acrylic, photocopies, collage on paper; digital photo; GNU image manipulation program

- tom moody

September 26th, 2017 at 7:26 am

angela nagle, simon reynolds on rightwing transgression (but what about bullying by the left?)

My years on dump.fm (from which I'm still recovering) saw a constant meme-play tug-of-war between left and right attitudes. Which was better, to shock the left or to be the left?

That question comes up (not in those exact words) in Simon Reynolds' post today discussing Angela Nagle's book Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right (alt-right is a Clinton term but we'll let it go since everyone seems to think they know what it means). (FYI, Nagle discusses ideas similar to those in her book in a recent Baffler essay.)

Reynolds notes that Nagle references his 1995 book The Sex Revolts (co-authored with Joy Press). Here's what he has to say today about that book and how it relates to the current situation:

Nagle references The Sex Revolts a couple of times during her thesis. That book is a bit of an orphan in the oeuvre, indeed there have been quite long periods when I've completely forgotten that Joy and I ever wrote it. While I can't quite reconstruct the head that came up with the over-arching thesis on which the thing is scaffolded and which I'm not certain stands up anymore (that was the peak / swan-song of my infatuation with French theory), whenever I've looked back at a specific portion or patch of it - the stuff on grunge, or Siouxsie, or the whole section on psychedelia - it still seems on the money.

Probably the sharpest part is the stuff that relates to Nagle's book, which is the early chapter dissecting the masculinism of all the immediate precursors to rock rebellion - the Beats, the Angry Young Men, James Dean, Ken Kesey, et al - during which we bring up "Momism", a concept coined by Philip Wiley in his 1942 book Generation of Vipers. Wylie identified a form of new American decadence in the growth of consumerism, mass media entertainment like radio, and suburbia, which he linked to matriarchy and domesticity: American virility, the frontier style of rugged martial masculinity on which the nation was founded, was being smothered by over-mothering, comfort and niceness. The Sex Revolts mentions Robert Bly's Iron Man as a modern-day, therapeutically tinged and New Age-y resurgence of the Momism critique, a sort of Jung Thug manifesto. But, published in 1995, our book was a year too early for Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club: angry young men reacting against metrosexual consumerism and sensitivity, a creeping decadence weakening from within.

Fight Club was the book that coined the term "snowflake," and the novel has proved to be a prophetic parable. The ugly contorted face of anti-Momism today is the paranoid impatience with political correctness, safe spaces, trigger warning -- the new proprieties that are felt as intolerable constraints, restrictions on the male right to spite. Underlying it all is the crisis of masculinity that doesn't know what its for anymore, in a demilitarized and post-industrial era. Hence the fixation on guns, on rapacious extraction industries like coal and the removal of protections for Mother Earth, on macho posturing foreign policy - surrogates and displacements for an eroding and increasingly irrelevant style of manhood.

Left-bullying has also grown increasingly macho -- from the virtual stoning of Ryder Ripps a couple of years ago to the nazi-punching video craze -- but it will be a while before a book is written about that. It's too complicated. Angela Nagle sort-of-covers it in Kill the Normies: as Reynolds notes, its thesis "asserts that there is a commonality of psychology in the desire-to-shock, whether manifested on the far right or far left of the political-cultural spectrum." But the nazi-punchers and the Ripps mobbers aren't out to shock. They think they are noble. The shock Nagle is talking about is old-left transgression against the Man -- beatniks not bathing, etc. -- which morphed in the late '70s punk era into "Nuke the Whales" events, the patrician humor of P. J. O'Rourke and other affronts to left-wing pieties. 4Chan is a slightly nastier version of that. (The first time I heard the phrase "politically correct" was in the late '80s. Reverend Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius used it to describe "off limits" humor as dictated by the left -- yet being from Dallas he hated right-wing sanctimony just as much or more.)

- tom moody

September 21st, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Posted in around the web, books