Here's a potpourri of the things that caught my interest:
GM cancels its innovative new rear-wheel drive line due to the financial pinch from the pension and health benefits which it had to incur unprecedented debt to support last year. Great. The union members have no health copays, but the company dies. How's that good for everyone again? I'd love to have lots of hot, new American steel to choose from, but it won't happen this way. Here's the WSJ lowdown:
Here's the pharmaceutical tightrope between excessive litigation and Congressional squeamishness. People blah-blah in the coffee shops around here about "big drug companies" without knowing how time-consuming, how expensive, and how risky it is to develop new products. And now, every time a good product exhibits a new, albeit rare, side effect, it's banned from use. These uncommon, but potentially serious, effects often only show up significantly after a tremendous number of scripts have been written- like millions. That demonstrates to me not only the need for the drug but that slowing the pre-release FDA scrutiny of limited clinical results couldn't have predicted the effects. And sure, we could relabel the drug and reeducate doctors and pharmacists about the newly discovered risks and contraindications. Oh, forget it, too exhausting. Yank it off the shelves! Toss the baby and the whole bathtub all the way to New Zealand. The current FDA culture doesn't make the horizon look any brighter. Hope you're not sick.
Another WSJ piece:
I won't opine at length on this one, but the linked article states potential misdiagnosis of Persistent Vegetative State in as many as 30-40% of the cases, including misdiagnosis by "Dr. Humane Death" from the Schiavo case. The article also has several anecdotes of people who regained what even Michael Schiavo's lawyer would have to call a "quality" life after years (up to 18 in on instance) in comas and/or PVS. Encouraging if you're these people or their families, frightening and infuriating if your hopes are being starved and dehydrated to death. You decide what you think. CNS has the scoop here:
Last, and surely least, my alma mater in Chicago (where my degree means I became a "fine" artist) is hosting another questionable art show. Because one of the marquee pieces displays a gun to G.W. Bush's head times 16, the Secret Service was asking around, since it's required to investigate threats to the President. Now, it isn't red hot news that threatening the President isn't viewed lightheartedly. Neither are bomb threats at the airport. All of this is well-known, so the artist quoted can spare me the predictable talk of "Big Brother" and the "chilling effect" on artists. What I demand to know is :Who's going to spare me from bad art?!
Now that technique is viewed as "limiting", and any mope with a computer or access to a photocopier can cobble together something gradable for a studio art class, all that's left is "content." Even more sadly, most of this "social content" hasn't changed one bit from when I was in college, decades ago, I'm shocked to recall. Here's the whole sordid story. Keep in mind that many years ago, the big scandal was that an Art Institute of Chicago student painted the beloved and then recently deceased mayor, Harold Washington, in ladies' underwear. Gasp. Are you getting the yawns with this stuff? Me, too. The Chicago Sun-Times says:
In case you wondered, the loose categories for Acceptable Contemporary Art are:
1) Arranging Consumer Debris makes it Meaningful
2) Government and/or Corporations are Bad/Evil
3) Sexual Displays (giggle) can be Disruptive in Public Venues
4) Religious Offense is Way Cool as long as it defames Judeo-Christian religions
5) Physical Revulsion is the De Facto Result of Great Art
6) Viewers Need To Get Aware of (insert overheated topic here).
7) Art Viewers are The Enemy of Art and Soulless Environment Destroyers.
Okay, it's my opinion, but the art which has achieved and deserves greatness has taught us to perceive differently or- more rarely and therefore more preciously- to transcend.
Art which manifests the concept of art as propaganda is called "modern", but one of the more lasting examples (since it has value beyond mere content), Picasso's Guernica, now approaches 80-years-old. We get it, I think. Further, I'd say we all well understood visual abstraction by 1965.
So what's new, kiddies? I wish current artists would stop simply cutting paperdolls from the work of their betters.
Give me contemporary images of beauty and mystery using new materials and challenging techniques. Don't Lecture, you naif things. Think. Imagine. Create.