Great stuff – as usual: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/no-exit/
This whole Kushner business fascinates me – especially his link to Blackstone/Schwarzman. The Blackstone CEO is a truly terrible guy, a paragon of vulgarity and moral nullity, no matter how many buildings he pays to get his name on.
Hard to argue against: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/05/europes-faustian-bargain-big-finance.html
Not entirely expectedly, we’ll be moving in the next two or three months. That means the accumulation of 17 years here in 5C will have to be winnowed and dealt with, starting with my books. So I expect my postings will be pretty irregular. With respect to the books, I’ve contacted Yale, the Strand and others are on the list. Any thoughts any reader might have regarding this particular task will be gratefully received at [email protected]
Today’s NYT has a front-page article on Trump’s golf business. Naturally, the Grey Lady omits any mention of Trump’s most “iffy” golf venture, the takeover of Ferry Point, the “municipal” (ie. built with NYC money and supposedly open to all) track hard by the Whitestone Bridge, a short stroll from some of the city’s more desperate neighborhoods, and the scene – so ’tis rumored – of all sorts of Trumpian bait-and-switch hijinks.
The following, by James Panero in the latest New Criterion, perfectly expresses my feelings:
When it comes to the life of art, there may be nothing less gala than the Met Gala, or at least what this annual boondoggle at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has become. The scandal of this year’s iteration should serve as a sobering wake-up call for the increasingly besotted priorities of too many American museums, including our greatest institutions.
If you have not heard of the Met Gala, do not worry. You were not invited. Since 1995, on the first Monday of every May, the Metropolitan has handed its keys over to Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine and the artistic director of Condé Nast. Here her purported aim has been to raise funds for the museum’s Costume Institute—I’m sorry, make that the “Anna Wintour Costume Center.” Her lording over the gala’s invite list has become notorious and the subject of a documentary called “The First Monday in May.”
Of course, the potential conflicts of interest that exist between Wintour’s commercial concerns and her museum trusteeship are blatant. The specter that she has conjured up with her gala has followed priorities far beyond fundraising and certainly beyond the realm of art. Along the way these extra-artistic interests have risen up from the Institute’s basement galleries to infect not only the museum’s spaces but also its institutional tenor, and by extension the tenor of American museums at large.
Like much else in the world of art, the Met Gala and the Costume Institute itself have become unrecognizable deformations from the Institute’s founding and the event’s inception in 1946. Consider that for nearly twenty years, from 1979 to 1995, the gala was helmed by the singular society doyenne Patricia Buckley. During this time the Institute mounted exhibitions such as “Fashions of the Hapsburg Era” (1979–1980), “Victorian Dress 1837–1877” (1988–1989), and “The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire” (1989–1990). The historical programming more than fit, so to speak, the seriousness of the institution that presented it.
The Wintour era has wrought, by contrast, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” and “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” Even beyond its superficial, contemporary turn, Wintour’s Costume Institute has exposed the museum to the predations of celebrity culture. Worse still, the museum as a whole, a once-protected precinct of our cultural inheritance, has learned to revel in Hollywood’s demotic attention. “The Met is a place that you consider very very correct, very formal,” the fashion editor André Leon Talley explains in the Wintour documentary. “Anna has taken that out of the mix.”
The 2017 Met Gala became the apotheosis of this transformation. With the pop singer Katy Perry serving as the year’s honorary hostess, the hordes of bold-faced names, amply stocked with Jenners and Kardashians, marched up the museum’s Fifth Avenue steps and made a public mockery of the institution. “The celebrities were like animals . . . acting like they were at the Playboy Mansion!” one informant explained to Radar maga- 56 Art The New Criterion June 2017 zine. “Some didn’t even know it was a museum. They thought it was an event space with old stuff brought in to make it look like Egypt!” Many of the attendees, clearly uncertain of their surroundings, came to loiter in the museum restrooms. Here they sprawled out across the floors, spilled drinks, smoked cigarettes, and took “selfie” shots in the mirrors, which they disseminated through social media.
Some may perceive such spectacle as a tolerable distraction—even a welcome frivolity for an overly stuffy and off-putting institution. I fear the pantomime is far more anti-civilizational. It is a takeover—a commercial-grade, mass-culture affront to an institution held in disdain. Guarded by a phalanx of bodyguards, these latter-day vandals take barbarous license amidst the greatest artifacts of history. They smoke. They fornicate. They sprawl across the floors in mockery of the art around them, merely to focus on themselves. And all the while they record their debauchery on social media for millions of fanatics to emulate their cultural annihilation.
There have been many cringe-worthy moments during the reign of Thomas Campbell, the disgraced director of the Metropolitan Museum who departs this month. Perhaps the curator once dubbed “Tapestry Tom” thought he could take a major carpet ride to new money and popular adulation. Instead he opened the floodgates and drowned his institution in ridicule and debt while forsaking his scholars and curators. There should have been only one response for any proper museum steward to this year’s Met Gala: to sweep the trash out of the galleries, and to keep Wintour’s damage deposit with the suggestion never to return. Short of that, Anna Wintour’s Met Gala should be interred alongside Tom Campbell’s ignominious career.
I think this makes a lot of sense. This business of shrieking at/about Trump for anything is counterproductive. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/opinion/sunday/the-dumb-politics-of-elite-condescension.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0
By now readers know how I feel about my alma mater and its present governance. If graduate workers (most presumably working as instructors, researchers for the tenured gentry and section leaders) are treated as indentured labor, they have a right to complain. https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/just-the-beginning-yale/?utm_source=MASTER+LIST+5%2F23%2F17&utm_campaign=1224304aa6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_01_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b822eb7b82-1224304aa6-399160097&mc_cid=1224304aa6&mc_eid=8f020a290a
This is important, should be read and reflected upon. Quite apart from the foreground issue – Trump vs. CIA etc. – there’s something else at work here: a rising rejection by thoughtful people of knee-jerk Trump hatred (see above): https://harpers.org/archive/2017/06/security-breach/ Personally, I can’t stand complete irrationality, no matter on which side of the aisle one finds it.
This sort of thing gets one a seat at top tables at PEN galas. As far as I can see, that is its only use: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/awakening-from-trump-nightmare-by-bernard-henri-levy-2017-05?utm_source=Project+Syndicate+Newsletter&utm_campaign=7ad4f0b43f-sunday_newsletter_28_5_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73bad5b7d8-7ad4f0b43f-93490385
Among all the Jared Kushner fuss, leave us not forget that he is universally credited with “brokering” the $110 billion arms sale to the Saudis. Isn’t it conceivable that Riyadh paid the Trump “senior advisor” a commission under the table? I think we should be told. How smart is Kushner anyway? Around the Observer, during the time (2006-2009) my tenure overlapped with his ownership, I never heard anyone utter a single syllable in praise – or amazement – of our new proprietor’s intellectual capacity. As regards the “Russia connection,” I think we need to separate any collusion pre-election and afterward. Only the former concerns me.
The 6PM news, is a veritable feast of quotidian toxicty – a Navy Seal dead in NY Harbor; a woman slashed in Grand Central; eight people shot to death in Mississippi a nightclub shooting in Paterson; four men shot on the sidewalk in Chelsea and so and so on, including te information that my daughter’s estranged husband is golfing with Giuliani. This all poisons the spirit, and “quite o’ercrows my spirit,” as it did Hamlet’s, I am going to make myself a strong drink. More tomorrow. Maybe.
Well…one last nosegay for the pillow. https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-history-will-repay-your-love-1495755666
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
And let’s start off with Kunstler, who takes – as do I – a skeptical view of the motives and likely efficacy of what he terms “the so-called “Resistance.” http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-so-called-resistance/ And from this Kunstler column may I quote an “advertisement” – if you will – for Fixers. It was to illuminate precisely this failure that I wrote the novel, to lift the lid off Obama’s Pandora’s Box of duplicity and broken commitments: Here’s Kunstler: “The best opportunity to accomplish that would have been the early months of Mr. Obama’s turn in the White House, the dark time of the previous financial crash when the damage was fresh and obvious. But the former president blew that under the influence of high priests Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.” The use of creative imagination to suggest how how and why said opportunity came to be “blown” is what my novel is about.
If Dante’s Hell had a tenth circle, this would be it: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/28/business/corporate-profit-margins-airlines.html?_r=2