Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fake Art

My apologies for making you read this but you will probably have seen it on the intertubes by the time you read me anyway.

Though a good friend of mine calls it "daring and relevant" I call it what it plainly is:


First of all, as I am also an educator, what professor would allow a student to so thoroughly wreck her body? As any ad will tell you, hormone drugs are bad, bad, bad for you -- they increase your risk of cancer, make you ill, etc. etc. -- would you allow a student to give herself radiation treatments and then film the growths? I didn't think so.

Secondly, and most importantly, when did bullshit like this become something resembling "art"? We in the West have confused "shocking" with "artistic" for the last 100 years or so -- perhaps that's because we've also confused "carpet bombing of civilians" with "proper way to wage war" -- hell, I don't know.

Perhaps as I poet I should eat alphabet soup, force myself to throw it up, and play poetry boggle with the results. Or better, feed it to my two daughters, make them throw up and write haiku about how industrialized food destroys our lives.

Now, I am not against shock and surprise in art -- it should challenge our beliefs -- for God's sake, I write against the status quo all the damn time. But this "shock" isn't artistic because it's not

"Wow, that's shocking -- I hadn't ever thought of that -- now I have to re-examine my values"


"Wow, that's shocking -- it's gross and why would you do that to yourself?"

The first can often be art, the second can rarely be.

Note: I am unconcerned whether or not she made the whole thing up (i.e. just used her menses and not abortions/miscarriages) -- though the latter is admittedly more repugnant, the whole idea of this as "art" is fundamentally flawed.

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