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"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, Jun 21; 13:49 ::: John Kacere (1920 - 1999)

Painting by John Kacere
image sourced here.

American abstract and photorealist painter, best known for his depiction of women.

After starting his career as abstract painter (1950 to 1963), John moved on to a REALISTIC style. Since then, he has been regarded as a major Photo-realist or Hyper-realist.

Kacere was born in 1920 in Walker, Iowa. He showed artistic ability as a child and did his first professional sign-painting job at age 12. Attending art school in Chicago from 1938 through 1940, he studied commercial art at first. Exposure to fine art at the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums, however, inspired Kacere to shift the direction of his own work to the fine arts.

At first, Kacere was especially interested in the work of Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. He also cites Holbein and Ingres as favorite artists.

Before he entered the army, Kacere held his first one-man show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Stationed in California during the war years, he began to study the work of the European moderns: Picasso, Miro, Klee and Matisse. Upon leaving the army, Kacere studied fine arts at the University of Iowa.

He began his teaching career in 1950 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Since then he has taught at the University of Florida, Arizona State University, the Rhode Island School of Design, New York University, the University of New Mexico, and Cooper Union and the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Kacere does not consider himself a photo-realist, although his highly detailed work is sometimes called photo-or hyper-realistic. Unlike the photo-realist painters, who work from detail to detail of their canvases, Kacere works on all areas of the canvas at the same time and builds up layers of paint.

Despite criticism from feminists, some of whom have labelled his work sexist, Kacere has continued to specialize in paintings of the female body since 1963. "Woman is the source of all life, the source of regeneration," he has said. "My work praises that aspect of womanhood."

Kacere has held had many one man shows in New York City. He has also shown in Paris and Hamburg, and his work has been enthusiastically received in Europe. --http://www.picassomio.com/JohnKacere/en [Jun 2005]

John Kacere Google gallery

see also: pin-up - nude - erotic art - women - painting

2005, Jun 21; 13:49 ::: Bomb culture (1968) - Jeff Nuttall

Bomb culture (1968) - Jeff Nuttall [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
image sourced here.

Jeff Nuttall (July 8, 1933 – January 4, 2004) was an English poet, publisher, actor, painter, sculptor, jazz trumpeter, anarchist sympathiser and social commentator who was a key part of the British 1960s counter-culture.

Nuttall was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire, and grew up in Herefordshire. He studied painting in the years after the Second World War and began publishing poetry in the early 1960s. Together with Bob Cobbing, he founded the influential Writers Forum Press and writers workshop. He also associated with many of the American beat generation writers, especially William Burroughs. His 1968 book Bomb Culture was one of the key texts of the countercultural revolution of the time, a work which drew the links between the emergence of alternatives to mainstream societal norms and the threatening backdrop of potential nuclear cataclysm. Nuttall was one of the pioneers of the happening in Britain.

Nuttall served as Chairman of the National Poetry Society from 1975 to 1976, a period when the Society briefly served as a home for the British Poetry Revival. He was poetry critic for a number of national newspapers and was the Poetry Society nominee for Poet Laureate but was overlooked in favour of Ted Hughes.

Nuttall worked as an art teacher. In his later life he appeared in several films and on TV. His Selected Poems was published in 2003. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Nuttall [Jun 2005]

see also: 1968 - anarchism - counterculture - happening - 1960s - International Times (magazine) - poetry

2005, Jun 21; 12:34 ::: Native Son (1940) - Richard A. Wright

Native Son (1940) - Richard A. Wright [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

First sentence: "Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng! An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room..." (more)

Native Son is a novel published in 1940 and written by Richard Wright. It tells the story of Bigger Thomas, an African-American struggling for acceptance in Chicago of the 1930s. His life, however, is doomed from the outset: after Bigger accidentally kills a white woman, he runs from the police, kills his girlfriend and is then caught and put on trial.

Semi-autobiographical in tone, the story is a powerful statement about the inevitable fate of African-Americans as a result of racial inequality and social injustice. As Bigger's lawyer points out, there is no escape from this destiny for his client or any other black American, since they are the necessary product of the society that raised them.

The book was an immediate best-seller, selling 250,000 hardcover copies in its initial run. The book was also one of the earliest successful attempts to explain the racial divide in America in terms of the social conditions imposed on African-Americans by the dominant white society.

It has been filmed twice ; once in the 1950s and again in the 1980s. Neither version is considered to have been an artistic success, despite Wright's involvement in the earlier version.

Native Son has led James Baldwin to write his famous book with essays Notes of a Native Son (1955). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Son [Jun 2005]

Fictional character as representative
Another way of reading fictional characters symbolically is to understand each character as a representative of a certain group of people. For example, Bigger Thomas of Native Son by Richard Wright is often seen as representative of young black men in the 1930s, doomed to a life of poverty and exploitation. Dagny Taggart and other characters from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand are seen as representative of American's hard-nosed, hard-working class.

Many practitioners of cultural criticism and feminist criticism focus their analysis of characters on cultural stereotypes. In particular, they consider the ways in which authors rely on and/or work against stereotypes when they create their characters. Such critics, for example, would read Native Son in relation to racist stereotypes of African American men as sexually violent (especially against white women). In reading Bigger Thomas' character, one could ask in what ways Richard Wright relied on these stereotypes to create a violent African-American male character and in what ways he fought against it by making that character the protagonist of the novel rather than an anonymous villain.

Often, readings that focus on stereotypes demand that we focus our attention on seemingly unimportant characters, such as the ubiquitous sambo characters in early cinema. Minor characters, or stock characters, are often the focus of this kind of analysis since they tend to rely more heavily on stereotypes than more central characters. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_character#Character_as_representative [Jun 2005]

see also: 1940 - novel - African-American - fiction - character - stereotype

2005, Jun 21; 12:34 ::: Cultural criticism

A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis. Cultural criticism is normally understood to deal with some fundamental perceived problems, rather than minor improvements: it is asserted that things are heading in the wrong direction, or that values are wrongly placed.

A cultural critic therefore stands, in relation to intellectual or artistic life, or certain social arrangements or educational practices, roughly where a prophet would in respect of religious life. Cultural critics came to the fore in the nineteenth century. Matthew Arnold is a leading example of a cultural critic of the Victorian age; in him there is also a concern for religion. John Ruskin was another — because of an equation made between ugliness of material surroundings and an impoverished life, aesthetes and others might be considered implicitly to be engaging in cultural criticism, but the actual articulation is what makes a critic.

In the twentieth century Irving Babbitt on the right, and Walter Benjamin on the left, might be considered major cultural critics. The field of play has changed considerably, in that the humanities have broadened to include cultural studies of all kinds. A cultural critic might still be distinguished by being firmly judgemental, rather than concentrating on the role of objective scholar. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_critic [Jun 2005]

see also: cultural criticism - culture - criticism - radical

2005, Jun 21; 12:34 ::: Steven Shaviro

Steven Shaviro is a cultural critic. His most widely read book is "Doom Patrols", a "theoretical fiction" that outlines the state of postmodernism during the early 90's using poetic language, personal anecdotes, and creative prose. Additionally, Shaviro has written several books about cinema theory, questioning the application of the tropes of Lacan and Zizek which have become ubiquitous in contemporary academic film theory. He lives in Detroit with his wife and daughter and teaches English literature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Shaviro [Jun 2005]

http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/ Pinocchio Theory, Steven Shaviro's blog

see also: cultural criticism - postmodernism - Steven Shaviro - Jacques Lacan - Slavoj Žižek

2005, Jun 21; 11:57 ::: Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk (1994) - Ted Polhemus

Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk (1994) - Ted Polhemus [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Polhemus provides an informative, concise, lively rundown of all its major substyles, from those of zooties and hip cats to those of New Age travelers and acid jazz fans. They're all here, fully illustrated and, best of all, fun. So set aside personal prejudices, pretend you're from another planet, and marvel at the human ability to express individuality. --via Amazon.com

This is an up-beat look at street fashion from 1940 to today, celebrating some 40 different styletribes, which will accompany a major exhibition on Streetstyle at the Victoria and Albert Museum in November 1994. We see how the styletribes interweave and evolve - the American Modernists of the early 1950s living on in the English Mods of the early 1960s, who became the Hard Mods, then the Skinheads, then the Ois!; while the 1950s Folkies became first the 1970s Hippies and then the New Age Travellers of the 1980s and 1990s. But for today's fashion-conscious young people, this is not all ancient history: Streetstyle offers the 1990s fashion world a supermarket of styles from which to pick and mix. Anyone is free to be part Beatnik, part Raver, or part Punk, part Grunge; Goths one day and Indie Kids the next. More than 200 illustrations, including 100 in colour, document the styles and their wearers - on the street, but also on the high-fashion catwalk, to which streetstyle has made an enormous, if perhaps unwilling, contribution. Ted Polhemus's many books include "Fashion and Anti Fashion", "Popstyles", "Social Aspects of the Human Body", "Bodystyles" and "Rituals of Love". He is the external curator of the Streetstyle exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. --via Amazon.de

see also: style - clothing - fashion

2005, Jun 21; 11:45 ::: List of commercial failures

Edsel advertisement

A commercial failure is a product that does not reach expectations of success, failing to come even close. A major flop goes one step further and is recognized for its almost complete lack of success.

Most of the items listed below are ones that had high expectations, large amounts of money or widespread publicity, but fell far short of success. Obviously, due to the subjective nature of "success" and "meeting expectations", there can be disagreement about what constitutes a "major flop". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercial_failures [Jun 2005]

see also: commercial - failure

2005, Jun 21; 11:15 ::: Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Geodesic Dome City (1968) - Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster Fuller had an ambitious idea to place a geodesic dome two miles in diameter and one mile high at its centre over New York City (image above). The most important reason for the dome as far as he was concerned was that it would alter the weather over the city.

The dome would be enormous and inside the dome would be warmer that outside. It would never rain or snow.

Fuller was the first person to coin the phrase 'Spaceship Earth'. He strongly believed that the creative abilities of mankind was unlimited and that the use and development of technology and design-led solutions would create a positive future.

The image of the geodesic dome is as futuristic a design in our modern society as it was when Fuller first created it. The concept of the geodesic dome is used in films and computer games today. --http://www.design-technology.org/page1.htm [Jun 2005]

Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, and inventor. He was also a professor at Southern Illinois University and a prolific writer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller [Jun 2005]

Buckminster Fuller Google gallery

see also: vision - architecture - 1968

2005, Jun 21; 11:04 ::: Visionary

Narrowly, a visionary is one who experiences a supernatural vision or apparition.

By extension, visionary came to mean also a person with a clear, distinctive and specific (in some details) vision of the future, usually connected with advances in technology or political arrangements. Examples would be Buckminster Fuller in architecture, and some of the pioneers of personal computing. A visionary may function as a secular prophet, emphasising communication and a figurehead role, rather than implementation.

Visionary art is defined as a category of primitive art (i.e. art of those not formally trained). Artists may produce art categorised as 'visionary' for its luminous content, without being primitives in any sense (e.g. Samuel Palmer). An artist celebrated for his visionary, religious take on ordinary life is Stanley Spencer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visionary [Jun 2005]

see also: vision - art

2005, Jun 21; 10:52 ::: Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757 - 1826)

Le Dieu Priape (ca. 1779 - 1795) - Jean-Jacques Lequeu
image sourced here.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu’s name has come to be linked with those of Étienne-Louis Boullée and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, at least since the publication of Emil Kaufmann’s 1933 book Von Ledoux bis Le Corbusier. The three were all architectural visionaries, who sketched fanciful and often extravagantly unconstructable buildings, and all were active at the advent of the French revolution. Unlike his two contemporaries, however, Lequeu (1757-1825) never belonged to the architectural establishment. He worked as a draughtsman at Rouen, and later, from 1779, in Paris, variously at the Cadastre (Land Registry), the Ecole Polytechnique, and the Interior Ministry. --http://www.spamula.net/blog/archives/000575.html [Jun 2005]

Jean-Jacques Lequeu Google gallery

see also: architecture - vision

2005, Jun 20; 22:22 ::: Awe

The Alps, photo Jan Chciuk-Celt

A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon. --AHD

see also: aestethics - sublime

2005, Jun 20; 21:36 ::: Originality index

Ready-Made (1917) - Marcel Duchamp

art - aura - authenticity - avant-garde - contemporary - copy - copyright - creativity - dervative - difference - duplication - early - eccentric - experimental - individual - fame - fiction - genius - genre - greatness - innovation - mainstream (relation to) - modern - new - outsider - personality - plagiarism - precursor - proto- - reproduction - source - technique - translation - unique - unusual

Originality refers to something being new or novel. It is not received from others nor copied from the creations of others. The word is often applied in an admiring fashion to the creations of artists, writers and thinkers. Originality is highly regarded in most western cultures. Conversely, some eastern cultures abhorred originality.

In United States patent law, only original inventions are subject to protection - with the caveat that an invention may be original if a previous inventor had developed the same thing but not made it public, or had developed it in another country and not introduced it into the U.S. In addition to being original, inventions submitted for a patent must also be useful and nonobvious.

In United Kingdom intellectual property law, a derived work can demonstrate originality, and must do so if it is to respect copyright. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Originality [Jun 2005]

see also: originality

2005, Jun 20; 20:35 ::: Authenticity (philosophy)

[A]uthenticity has been associated with various human activities. For Sartre, Jazz music was a representation of freedom; this may have been in part because Jazz was associated with African-American culture, and was thus in opposition to Western culture generally, which Sartre considered hopelessly inauthentic. Theodor Adorno, however, another writer and philosopher concerned with the notion of authenticity, despised Jazz music because he saw it as a false representation that could give the appearance of authenticity but that was as much bound up in concerns with appearance and audience as many other forms of art. Heidegger in his later life associated authenticity with non-technological modes of existence, seeing technology as distorting a more "authentic" relationship with the natural world.

Most writers on inauthenticity in the twentieth century considered the predominant cultural norms to be inauthentic; not only because they were seen as forced on people, but also because, in themselves, they required people to behave inauthentically towards their own desires, obscuring true reasons for acting. Advertising, in as much as it attempted to give people a reason for doing something that they did not already possess, was a "textbook" example of how Western culture distorted the individual for external reasons. Race relations are seen as another limit on authenticity, as they demand that the self engage with others on the basis of external attributes. An early example of the connection between inauthenticity and capitalism was made by Karl Marx, whose notion of "alienation" can be linked to the later discourse on the nature of inauthenticity.

Hence those concerned with living authentically have often led unusual lives that opposed cultural norms; the rise of the counter-culture in the 1960s in Europe and America was seen by many as a new opportunity to live an authentic existence. Many, however, have pointed out that just because one lives unusually, one is not necessarily in an authentic state of being. The connection of the violation of cultural norms to authenticity, however, is strong and real, and continues today: among artists who explicitly violate the conventions of their profession, for example. The connection of inauthenticity to capitalism is contained in the notion of "selling out," used to describe an artist whose work has become inauthentic after achieving commercial success and thus becoming to an extent integrated into an inauthentic system. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authenticity_%28philosophy%29#Views_of_authenticity [Jun 2005]

see also: alienation - authenticity - capitalism - commercial - convention - counter-culture - need - reality - truth

2005, Jun 20; 20:14 ::: Need

Needs refer to things that people "must" have. They are often contrasted with wants, which are more discretionary.

The most widely known academic model of needs was proposed by Abraham Maslow. In it, he proposed that people have a hierarchy of needs, which range from security to self actualization. However, while this model is intuitively appealing, it has not been supported by evidence. See: Clayton Alderfer.

The academic study of needs was at its zenith in the 1950's, but receives scant attention today. One exception is Richard Sennett's work on the importance of respect. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need [Jun 2005]

Emotional appeals of advertising
Emotional appeals are the consumers' psychological and/or social needs for purchasing a certain product or service. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_appeals [Jun 2005]

see also: authentic - appeal - attraction - desire - emotion - need - instinct - will

2005, Jun 20; 19:49 ::: Internet democracy

Internet democracy is a derivative term for e-democracy (electronic democracy), especially related to projects and concepts centered on using the Internet (and not other electronic communications technologies like short message services or teletext) for deliberative and participatory aims. Concrete implementations of Internet democracy projects include electronic town hall meetings or citizen consultations, the use of discussion boards on party or candidate websites and the virtualization of traditional political institutions or mechanisms like party conventions, protest marches or petitions.

While some see Internet democracy in its different flavors as the next step towards "real democracy," and as the tool that finally helps to eliminate the distance constraints in direct democracy and increase the degree of interaction between politicians and the public, others compare it with similar hypes which came with every new medium, especially radio broadcasting (Bertolt Brecht's utopia), cable television (teledemocracy) and VCRs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_democracy [Jun 2005]

In sociology, politics, ethics, law, economics, business, management, etc., transparency is the opposite of privacy; an activity is transparent if all information about it is freely available. Thus when courts of law admit the public, when fluctuating prices in financial markets are published in newspapers, those processes are transparent; when military authorities classify their plans as secret, transparency is absent. This can be seen as either positive or negative; positive, because it can increase national security, negative, because it can lead to secrecy and even a military dictatorship.

Some organisations and networks, for example, Wikipedia, the GNU/Linux community and Indymedia, insist that not only the ordinary information of interest to the community is made freely available, but that all (or nearly all) meta-levels of organising and decision-making are themselves also published. This is known as radical transparency. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_%28humanities%29 [Jun 2005]

Radical transparency
Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly.

All draft documents, all arguments for and against a proposal, the decisions about the decision making process itself, and all final decisions, are made publicly and remain publicly archived.

The only exceptions to full transparency include data related to personal security or passwords or keys necessary for physical access required to carry out publicly negotiated decisions. Any technical actions which are perceived to be controversial or political are considered to lack legitimacy until a clear, radically transparent decision has been made concerning them. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_transparency [Jun 2005]

see also: internet - politics - transparency

2005, Jun 20; 18:32 ::: On patrons and sponsors

Generally, patronage is the act of supporting or favoring some person, group, or institution. A patronage system has different characteristics depending on the area in which it is practiced. Generally it can be described as a system where someone in a powerful position (the Patron) offers handouts in return for support.

Classical musicians worked primarily under the patronage system: royalty or the church provided resources for composers. That is, patrons operated as sponsors. This kind of system continues across many fields of the arts. Though the nature of the sponsors has changed, the term patronage has a more neutral connotation than in politics. It may simply refer to direct support (often financial) of an artist, for example by grants. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patron#The_Arts [Jun 2005]

To sponsor something is to support an event, activity, person or organization by providing money or other resources in exchange for something, usually advertising or publicity, and always access to an audience. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sponsor [Jun 2005]

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The National Endowment for the Arts is a United States federally funded program that offers support and funding for projects that exhibit artistic excellence. It was created by the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government.

Between 1965 and 2003, the agency has made more than 119,000 grants. Congress granted the NEA annual funding between $160 and $180 million from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. However, in 1996, Congress slashed NEA funding to $99.5 million as a result of increasing pressure from conservative groups such as the American Family Association, who have criticized the agency for using tax dollars to fund artists such as Robert Clark Young, Andres Serrano, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Since 1996, the NEA has rebounded somewhat with a 2004 budget of $121 million. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Endowment_for_the_Arts [2004]

see also: advertising - audience - art - business - commercial - economy - NEA - product - producer - public

2005, Jun 20; 18:26 ::: Venus in Exile : The Rejection of Beauty in Twentieth-Century Art (2001) - Wendy Steiner

Venus in Exile : The Rejection of Beauty in Twentieth-Century Art (2001) - Wendy Steiner [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"In the twentieth century, the avant-garde declared a clean break with history, but their hostility to the female subject and the beauty she symbolized had..." (more)

From Publishers Weekly
With The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism, University of Pennsylvania English professor Steiner weighed in on the NEA funding controversies and Rushdie fatwa, finding our age literal-minded about how artistic images function in society. Scandal was named a New York Times Best Book for 1996. In this follow-up, Steiner posits that, unlike in previous eras, female beauty is no longer "the central aim of art." Whizzing through literature, visual arts, architecture, etc., Steiner muses on this theme in eight sections with titles like "The Infamous Promiscuity of Things and of Women" and "The Bride of Frankenstein: At Home with the Outsider." (She skirts topics like film and dance since beautiful women are still at the center of things there.) One obvious problem with such an all-embracing study is any author's human limits of expertise, but Steiner's judgments throughout seem to have been made in haste and ignorance. She lumps together painters (Gustave Moreau, Alphonse Mucha, Pierre Bonnard, Norman Rockwell) and writers (Penelope Fitzgerald, Andrei Makine, Philip Roth ) who have little in common apart from having once been thought "too pretty" and now acceptable, or else those who are "pointing us back toward beauty." Steiner thinks art should create a "win-win situation," where through "communication" and "mutuality" one begins to understand the "value" of "feminine" "beauty," but her engagement with the juggernaut of these terms, and of gender and representation in general, can be murky and baffling. ("[A] true prostitute's effects are indifferent to class, like the diseases she spreads," Steiner writes, unreflectively.) For Steiner, the art of the 20th century, "an art of garbage, babble, obscenity," is emblematized by Mapplethorpe's "classicistic renderings of gay sadomasochism." In trying to deal with all the arts, Steiner is illuminating on none of them. --via Amazon.com

see also: aesthetics - art - beauty - Venus - modernism

2005, Jun 20; 17:47 ::: The Mechanical Bride : Folklore of Industrial Man (1951) - Marshall McLuhan

The Mechanical Bride : Folklore of Industrial Man (1951) - Marshall McLuhan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Here is the devastating book which first established Marshall McLuhan's reputation as the foremost (and the wittiest) critic of modern mass communications.

This is vintage McLuhan — so aptly illustrated by dozens of examples from ads, comic strips, columnists, etc., that those who have been stung by McLuhan have been hard put for rebuttals.

Here is how sex sells industrial hardware ... how Orphan Annie keeps the world on track ... how an Arabian Nights wonderland of mass entertainment and suggestion makes information irrelevant, and sends us to bed at night too dazed to question wether we're happy.

The 50th anniversary edition of The Mechanical Bride, first published in 1951, contains surprisingly topical themes forseen by the author at mid-century. --http://www.gingkopress.com/_cata/_mclu/mecbrid1.htm [Jun 2005]

Few people know that Marshall McLuhan's first book, published in 1951, is completely devoted to the phenomenon of advertising. Although popular in the 1960s, The Mechanical Bride is difficult to obtain nowadays, in contrast to the Mythologies Roland Barthes wrote five years later. On the back cover of the 1973 Granada edition of Mythologies a blurb actually cites Barthes as the McLuhan of signs. ...and like McLuhan's most engaging book, The Mechanical Bride, Barthes' Mythologies has its penetrating gusto. (Sunday Times).

Since McLuhan has been promoted to patron saint of Wired magazine, it would be fitting for the West Coast New-Edge firms to see to it that the complete works plus a critical study edition roll off the presses on the double. If McLuhan is so worshipped these days, it must be worth something; the digicash should be forked over. No cheap cd-rom indulgences, please, but a first real Gutenberg edition of his complete works. After which, as far as I'm concerned, McLuhan can sink into digitality forever.

The Mechanical Bride consists of sixty separate commentaries on magazine advertisements which McLuhan tore out in the late 40s and classified to the best of his abilities. --http://www.mediamatic.net/article-200.5845.html [Jun 2005]

see also: advertising - art - creativity - Marshall McLuhan - 1951 - media theory

2005, Jun 20; 15:47 ::: Agalmatophilia

Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner (1982) - Ridley Scott

Pygmalion and Galatea (c. 1890) - Jean-Léon Gérôme

Agalmatophilia is an uncommon sexual fetish or paraphilia, also known as Pygmalionism after the Greek myth of Pygmalion.

In its most literal sense the term means sexual attraction to statues. This may also be extended to mannequins and/or dolls.

In a broader sense the term may refer to sexual fantasies about oneself and/or others being transformed into, or simply rendered as motionless as, a statue, mannequin or doll. Such fantasies may of course be extended to roleplaying.

There is a broad crossover between agalmatophilia and robot fetishism or ASFR (alt.sex.fetish.robots).

In the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, agalmatophilia became a national political issue in April 2005 after the Kingdom's biggest Islamist opposition party, Al Wefaq Islamic Action, launched a campaign to demand lingerie mannequins in shop windows be 'covered up'. Al Wefaq Councillor Majeed Karimi told the English language newspaper, the Gulf Daily News: "What people don't understand is that modern mannequins look too real and are exciting to young men, who crowd around shop windows. I have received various complaints from people who say they feel aroused by these mannequins." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agalmatophilia [Jun 2005]

see also: paraphilia - sexual objectification - body - nude

2005, Jun 20; 15:17 ::: Conservative gender roles

Many cultures have attitudes towards women which place them at a considerable disadvantage to men.

In some societies, women's lives are effectively controlled by their husband, family or tribe. In the most extreme forms of these views, women can be victims of honor killings if they do not conform, or even do not appear to conform, to these constraints, or women can be literally regarded as property.

Milder version of these attitudes are still prevalent to some degree in most cultures in the world, where the stereotype is still that of a nuclear family consisting of a married couple where the man goes out to work and earns money, and the woman stays at home and raises the children. This stereotype is increasingly not the common case in most wealthy countries, with both families with dual incomes and single mothers being very common. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_gender_roles [Jun 2005]

see also: stereotype - gender

2005, Jun 20; 14:46 ::: Collective Invention (1934) - René Magritte

Collective Invention (1934) - René Magritte

see also: René Magritte - 1934 - hybrid

2005, Jun 20; 14:04 ::: Dressed men/nude women trope

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe/"The Lunch on the Grass" (1863) - Edouard Manet

Phryné before the Areopagus () - Jean-Léon Gérôme

Attempting the Impossible (1928) - René Magritte

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - Stanley Kubrick [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: Alain Robbe-Grillet - René Magritte - Edouard Manet - Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - Jean-Léon Gérôme - dressed - nude - trope

2005, Jun 20; 14:04 ::: Whore (1991) - Ken Russell

Whore (1991) - Ken Russell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A late gem by Ken Russell. Ken experiments with actress Theresa Russell talking directly to the camera.

She is sick of passing her money to her pimp, and the film develops through flashbacks. There are strong links to Crimes of Passion, and some scenes are repeats of the earlier film, but whereas Crimes of Passion looked at sexuality, Whore is another rite of passage film as the whore develops her independence. This coupled with Theresa speaking straight to the camera make it almost a one-woman film. The mixture of whore and mother is also more convincing than China Blue's dual life.

Although the film is Russell's third American film (Altered States and Crimes of Passion went before) it was originally firmly set in Britain, based on a play by David Hines. The play, about a prostitute around the London King Cross area, was a monologue which led to Ken Russell's direct-to-camera approach.

The censored title is If You Can't Say It, Just See It. --http://www.iainfisher.com/russell/russ25.html [Jun 2005]

see also: Ken Russell - whore - 1991

2005, Jun 20; 13:24 ::: List of stock characters

A * Absent-minded professor * Action hero * Anti-hero * Archmage B * Bimbo * Boy genius C * Child (archetype) * Comic relief * Competent Man * Contender * Court jester D * Damsel in distress * Dark Lord * Dumb blonde E * Elderly Martial Arts Master * En travesti * Evil clown * Evil genius * Evil twin F * Femme fatale * Fop G * Gag character * [Genius ] * Generic character * Grotesque * Gunslinger H * Henchman * Hero * Hooker with a heart of gold I * Igor * Ingenue (stock character) J * Jokester L * Lipstick lesbian M * Mad scientist * Magical Negro * Miles Gloriosus * Miser N * Nine Worthies * Noble savage O * Outlaw P * Paladin * Pantomime dame * Prince Charming R * Rake * Redshirt (science fiction) S * Sidekick * Spoiled brat * Superhero * Supervillain T * Tough guy * Town drunk * Trickster V * Valley girl * Villain W * Whiz kid * Wise Old Man --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Stock_characters [Jun 2005]

see also: stock - character

2005, Jun 20; 13:08 ::: Bad Girls of Pulp Fiction (2002) - Thomas Campbell, Nancy Armstrong, Jason Rekulak

Bad Girls of Pulp Fiction (2002) - Thomas Campbell, Nancy Armstrong, Jason Rekulak [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: bad girl - pulp - fiction

2005, Jun 20; 12:23 ::: Centre Pompidou

Renzo Piano (1937- ) et Richard Rogers (1933- ) Centre Pompidou (1977) Musée National d'Art moderne Paris

The Centre Georges Pompidou (constructed 1971 – 1977) is a building in the Beaubourg area of Paris, near Les Halles and the Marais. Designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, it houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a vast public library, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne. Some of the art movements represented are Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. The museum has 50,000 works of art (including painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography), of which 1,500 to 2,000 are on public display.

The building structure is very distinctive: it has been described by critics as "an oil refinery in the centre of the city". The coloured external piping is the special feature of the building. Air conditioning ducts are blue, water pipes are green and electricity lines are yellow. Escalators are red. White ducts are ventilation shafts for the underground areas. Even the steel beams that make up the Pompidou Centre's framework are on the outside.

The intention of the architects was to place the various service elements (electricity, water etc.) outside of the building's framework and therefore turn the building "inside out". The arrangement also allows an uncluttered internal space for the dispay of art works, drawing on ideas promulgated by Cedric Price's Fun Palace project (1964).

The Centre is named after Georges Pompidou, who was president of France from 1969 to 1974, and was opened on January 31, 1977.

Organisationally it is linked to IRCAM.

The Place Georges Pomidou in front of the museum is noted for the presence of street performers such as mimes and jugglers. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_Pompidou [Jun 2005]

see also: architecture - Paris - 1977

2005, Jun 20; 11:46 ::: The first book shop in the Times Square area

The "Main Stem" in the 50s. Note the two near-nude statues flanking the giant signage for Bond Clothes (upper center).
image sourced here.

The first book shop in the Times Square area was Concord, which opened in 1933, next to the Paramount Theater on Broadway. Allan J. Wilson (not the original owner) shepherded this well-respected place (in 1965, the New York Times did it the honor of a eulogy) through most of World War II, the gray flannel suit era, and the heady de-censorship period of the early 1960s. Allan was able to carry the first legal editions of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer, Fanny Hill, and, earlier, the books of the “pinko” Citadel Press, which featured socialist analysis of American politics. Concord was one of the first shops to feature publishers’ remainders. Movie and theater patrons, and office workers, had visited steadily until paperback book stores drew them into their nets. --accessed and copied from http://home.earthlink.net/%7Ejgertzma/BkshopsofTimesSq/index.html [Jun 2004]

It was understandable why general interest bookstores were part of Times Square, with its proximity to bus terminals, subways, counter restaurants, bars, hotels, and round the clock “grinder” movies. Passersby wanted “how-to” and civil service preparation manuals, horoscope pamphlets, joke books, romances, war stories, westerns, and scandal and gossip items, as well as sexually oriented materials of many varieties. Erotica could be furtively scanned by readers whose body language indicated that they liked the anonymity the bookshops provided. On the streets outside, sexual adventurousness was part of the vibrant atmosphere. In the midtown night clubs, theatrical agents introduced wealthy men, often garment center executives, to glamorous dates with whom they visited swank East Side apartments to enjoy “sex circuses.” That cost a bundle. Men and women of modest means had to substitute the disreputable, more heavily policed entertainments of the bright light zone. Since the Crash, prostitutes had strolled the area, and a gay subculture had existed in rooming houses which had once been expensive homes. Booksellers learned to cater to the compulsions of the Johns and the “inverts.” Their stores were another phase, like the night clubs and prurient movies, of the “commercialization of sex” and the “eroticization of leisure time” which mark the business of popular culture in the 20th century. --http://home.earthlink.net/%7Ejgertzma/BkshopsofTimesSq/index.html [Jun 2005]

But soon other shops supplemented how-to books, astrology, and adventure fiction with above and under the counter erotica. Many, as did the back date magazine places--which were sure bets for racy photos and "art studies" photo books--stayed open until the wee hours. ?

White-collar and office workers, whose needs had been shaped and sanctioned by many showcases of mass spectating, and especially by the commercialization of sex on Times Square signage, store windows, movie marquees, and newsstands, were especially entertained by the erotic.

Men, and their dates, browsed in more privacy than the street could offer in any book store in which they could find a variety of prurient titillation. Where but in the prime entertainment zone of the country’s largest city could book publishers, distributors and sellers who served the general public learn in more detail about the ingenuity with which sex was insinuated into the “staggering machine of desire” which drove the economy? And where else could bookmen get better acquainted with the boundaries beyond which sex became illicit, and therefore more dangerous, and more lucrative to exploit?

These tourist book and magazine stores met the general-interest needs of the enormous crowds at the Main Stem. The hoi polloi wanted entertaining and practical books to read: historical novels, “how-to” (dance, hypnotize, play the stock market, win at the gambling tables, improve your vocabulary), civil service preparation manuals, horoscope pamphlets, joke books, romances, war stories, biographies of contemporary politicians and film stars, science fiction, speculations on alien life forms and their visits to earth past and present, westerns, and scandal and gossip items. A standard item was the “Dream Book” for policy players, a long-popular astrology booklet which attached number combinations to items in one’s dreams. For over a century, dreamers–and day dreamers–had played numbers and hoped to win the day’s jackpot). The general bookstores, often by retailing Max Padell’s items, provided these various steady sellers.

Examples were one of the two Broadway Book Shops (at 1543; the other was across the street), Midtown Books (Ben Friedman, 1105 6th), G & A Books (251 W 42nd), Harmony (112 W 49th), Abbey Books (259 W 42nd, later a pioneer in peep booths with film loops), Publisher’s Outlet (Edward [“Eddie”] Mishkin, at 254 W 42nd, was a partner of Finkelstein), Peerless (38 W 42), and Bob’s Bargain Books. The latter, near the corner of 6th Ave and 42nd, was special. --http://home.earthlink.net/~jgertzma/BkshopsofTimesSq/tourist.html [Jun 2005]

see also: Jay Gertzman - sex shop - Times square area

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