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Archive for the ‘Conflicts of Interest’ Category

Wall Street has jumped the tracks. Its former liquidity is iced. The bulls have morphed into bears. The “masters of the universe” have gotten their pink slips and the rest of us are waiting for the shit to roll downhill. Oh, I’m sorry — for the shit to “trickle down.”

For a while, it looked like the big dogs — the ones with the golden parachutes — would actually get their asses kicked and their appetites curbed. Wrong! Congress (your senator, my congressman) wants to step ‘n fetch some more kibble to feed the yawning maw of corporate greed and irresponsibility.

We’ve been told the “assets” taxpayers are poised to absorb (for a cool $700 billion) should increase in value; taxpayers will get their money back, eventually. Hmmmm… when was the last time the government returned some of our money? Oh yeah, when Bush ’43 sent us $600 to shop at Walmart, so the whole country could stay afloat, so what’s happening now wouldn’t happen. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” (more…)

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Roland Emmerich. He’s the big-budget director of “Independence Day,” “Universal Soldier” and “Eight-Legged Freaks.” I came across an article on Emmerich and his design aesthetic in the New York Times’ August 7, 2008 Home section.

The Times devoted two whole pages and thirteen photos to the redesign of Emmerich’s townhouse in the “buttoned-up” Knightsbridge section of London. Apparently he redesigned the place primarily to shock his neighbors. It’s not a townhouse anymore; it’s a fun house of cultural and pop-cultural references: Mao Tse-Tung, Pope John Paul II, pseudo Renaissance paintings, Barbie dolls and Philippe Starck chairs… If it shocks the neighbors, he’s happy. Whatever…

But what about the miniaturized diorama tables in the living room? The ones that Emmerich commissioned from his movie prop department. The ones that depict, in the Times’ words, “notorious events”? (more…)

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They say that there is no bad publicity in the art world, and well here we go round the mulberry bush yet again with Bill Henson’s latest at Roslyn Oxley9 in Sydney. The truncated sound bytes we are hearing across the media waves say much less than there is to say and take us nowhere; Its art, tis not, tis, etc echoing the characters of another artist by the name of Henson, with Miss Piggy landing a good purse wallop through the moral majority and the shock jock media while Kermits’ and other Muppets mount a strident arm waving and lame high pitched art for arts sake, defense.

Now I have not followed the career of Bill Henson closely but I believe those who have the power to dispense titles or deal in superlatives have added him to the list of Australia’s greatest artists. But in my humble opinion Henson is just an artist who over the years has achieved a technical competence and a recognizable subject oeuvre that has given him an audience, some good opportunities and a fairly regular paycheck. (more…)

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Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

—The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot

– – – – – – – – – –

I recently viewed Amir Bar-Lev’s 2007 documentary, My Kid Could Paint That. It’s a compelling work that’s as painful to watch as a car wreck. It starts out as a fairly straight-forward narrative of how one anonymous little girl becomes the center of a scary media circus. However, more is afoot. Is it a story about the myth of genius? Is it a story about the meaning of abstract art? Is it a story about the role of media in the selling of art? Is it a story about art market mythology? Is it a story about parents manipulating their kid? Is it the story of a kid whose behavior changes because the camera is there? Is it a story about how the media exploits the story to create more stories? Is it a story where there is no “true” story? Is it a story about the documentarian who becomes part of the story? Is it a story about the failure of the documentary to fulfill its ethical mandate? Yes. (more…)

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“Sydney journalist Adam Jasper visited a number of Filipino prisons earlier this year, and …. says that the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre was one of the most disturbing prisons he saw, mainly because the man running it – whose family nepotistically runs Cebu province and has extensive ties to organised crime – treats the prison as his own private fiefdom and the prisoners as puppets to act out his obsession with music and dance. In comparison with inmates in other Filipino prisons, who were proud, he found the inmates at Cebu to be ‘frightened and craven’.”

Crikey, an online Australian independent news magazine.

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By now you’ve no doubt seen at least one of the 23 YouTube videos of 1,500 Filipino prisoners in orange jump suits doing precision dancing. The first video appeared back in July 17, 2007. It was a routine done to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” (more…)

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In 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan dynamited two of three giant Bamiyan Valley Buddhas in Afghanistan. Since then, the Buddha remnants at Bamiyan (also spelled Bamyan and Bamian) were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund. Many well-meaning organizations have taken an interest in the restoration of the monuments. Others, both inside and outside of Afghanistan, argue that to do so would be a double blasphemy, since any recreation would only “Disneyfy” the area and erase the evidence of distruction, which is now part of Afghanistan’s history. (more…)

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