Saturday, September 10, 2005

Earth's Tigers and The Inky Finger of Classic Art

Minature donkey named Tiger courtesy of K&K ranch

I finally feel back in the saddle with this potpourri of the topical, trivial, and artistic.

1) More than half a century after honing a cheap version of the ballpoint pen, Bic, the French firm which built an empire out of making things to be thrown away, said on Thursday it had sold its 100 billionth -- 100,000,000,000th --- disposable ballpoint. The Biro, as some call it, is an everyday marvel that remade the world. Hail and gratias to Baron Marcel Bich!

2) The postscript of an outrage never receives as much play as the initial accusations, so I will tell you that the lovely couple who tried to defraud Wendy's with an acquaintance's finger pled guilty to conspracy and grand theft.

3) In other fraudulent food news, a Chinese restaurant charging steeply for entrees containing endangered Siberian tigers is busted for actually serving donkey meat spiked with tiger urine. The urine's got all the mojo anyway.

4) For those offended by the mere suggestion that women and men differ, or for those who consider what used to be considered classic is simply overhyped irrelevance, it must be discouraging to see this report about a popular teacher successfully using classical literature to expose young men to historical ideals and the critical masculine virtue of self-mastery. (hat tip: Power Line)

5) We've just discovered that Earth's core rotates faster than its surface. Thinking of the planet with a solid core, fluid layers, and solid surface reminds me of luscious chocolate enrobing a gooey center suspending a delicious treat in the center. Geology is so scrumptious. What does it mean? Well, once again, the planet is different than we thought, and we'll have to adapt our theories to fit the new evidence. That's why I so disdain inflexible mindsets among people who claim to be scientists. Secondly and quite practically, the pattern of future earthquakes may become more predictable.

6) I know I've been grousing recently about the assumptive homogeneity of opinion among denizens of my new home town. But I do understand the lure of the warm bath of consensus. I guiltily felt it myself reading the following Times excerpt from Brit Clive Owens (hat tip: Roger L.Simon)

The melancholy truth is that 95 per cent of the arts “community” is so committed to its party line that the notion that others might hold a different view on the great issues of the day barely registers. I can’t think of a sweeter irony than the fact that people who devote so much energy to condemning the conformism and dogmatism of Middle America often turn out to be the most conformist and dogmatic folk of them all. There’s a school of thought that George W. Bush has been a blessing for artists, shaking them out of their inertia and forcing them to confront daily realities. Sadly, the opposite is the case. What looks like radicalism is actually the most tired form of complacency. If I didn’t know better, or if I were Sam Shepard, I’d say it’s all a CIA conspiracy to neuter the arts —and the Left in general.

Art always suffers under uniformity, don't let the kids wearing Soviet-bloc logos fool you. Art must represent a unique perspective to last beyond its era as anything but time capsule fodder. I promise to applaud beauty and wicked cleverness in whatever form it comes, but the last decade or two (even three) of ham-handed, message-anchored "art" has become far mustier and duller for me than the antiquities which now refresh with their lasting vigor and glorious grace.

P.S. It's my bday. Mark my words. It's going to be a great year.

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