Tag Archives: whole foods

I’m Not a Hater, I Just Fuss a Lot

Back when George W. Bush was President, I would often lament the sorry state of American politics.  Twice we had elected a man who could not form grammatically correct sentences.  We had handed over top security codes to a guy who couldn’t pronounce “nuclear.”  And yesterday, we found out that the Bushie administration had tried to yo-yo with our emotions by manipulating the terror alert system:  “Let’s bump it up to Code Orange during the holiday weekend, just to clear out traffic on the roads.  Dick Cheney has a hunting trip.”

bushSo for eight years, I stewed.  I vented.  I called G-Dubs every synonym of “idiot” in the English language.  And I widely expressed my belief that W. was possibly the worst president in the history of our country, which is saying quite a lot, given the legendary ineptitude of Warren G. Harding.

But after Obama was elected president, I figured I would have no more need to complain.  Americans had finally come around.  I was proud that we were smart enough, bold enough, and progressive enough to elect Obama.  My hating would end.

It did not.

Now that Obama is President, I am lodging my complaints at complainers: birthers, neocons, fans of FOX News, Palins, gun nuts, and insurance executives.  Instead of disaparaging the White House, I am turning around and throwing spitballs at the American public instead (except for the ones carrying assault rifles).

But really: Are we seriously that stupid to think the government will kill off the elderly through “death panels”?  That universal healthcare will necessarily lead to hospitals overrun with illegal immigrants?  That Obama’s parents decided to fly from Hawaii to Kenya, just so their baby boy could reap the rewards of Kenyan citizenship?  Come on, people!

In the end, I suppose I’ll never be at ease unless I have no one to criticize.  Now that Bush has retired to his new Texas farm life, I’ve found new targets for my parting shots.  So Glenn Beck, Whole Foods, and town-hall wingnuts, beware.  I’ll be on the attack with my socialist, Nazi-fed, Grandma-killing ideas.  And if you’re part of the birther movement, I’m calling a terr0r-alert audible: we’re moving this up to a Code Red.



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This is (Not) Art

Earth Room (1977) // Walter De Maria // 250 cubic yards of dirt, 3600 square feet, in Soho


This is Art: There is a real visceral aspect of this piece that rebels against traditional autonomous works. Here, the art is contingent on its surroundings: the architectural space determines its contours, and the horizon extends the physical parameters of the art. What was once a visual experience is now a sensory one. And by bringing nature into an artificial environment, de Maria is perhaps sending a message to be green as well.

This is Not: It’s a room full of dirt. It’s like someone decided, hey, it’d be a great idea to fill up a giant space with compost… instead of, say, food, or clothing, or people. This piece of work may have inspired the Counting Crows’ “tree museum”, but let’s be honest: 3,600 square feet in New York City is a palace… That’s enough room to house all of Goldman Sachs’ summer interns, or at least build a Whole Foods. And Whole Foods is organic, too. Can’t we just move this “earth room” to a studio on the Lower East Side?

This is Not a Pipe (1926) // Rene Magritte // Oil on canvas


This is Art: Tradition provides us with images that can be interpreted in a straightforward way: we see a pipe and we think it’s a pipe… But a picture is not a pipe. The work of art is not reality; instead, it’s just an artificial construct determined by the viewer and the creator.

This is Not: I’m pretty sure it is a pipe. The better question is, what’s in the pipe? Must be something really good if this guy still thinks it’s not a pipe. Because… it is.

Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1964) // Andy Warhol // Silkscreen ink on masonite, 20 ft x 20 ft (installation for New York’s World Fair)


This is Art: Warhol is taking the deviant as a heroic figure by elevating these men above all else. His subjects are men who have transgressed and broken societal boundaries. But by showcasing the men in this way (gazing at each other), Warhol is tying their criminality to a more subtle, perhaps homosexual subtext. The title even suggests some tongue-in-cheek irony about the desirability of the criminals.

This is Not: If this is art, then my collage of photos from college should count too. Except that I didn’t hang out with murderers and rapists — that’s a minor difference. And I’m guessing the New York World Fair wouldn’t want my crazy tailgate pictures on display… although I’m sure I’ve caught some football players gazing at each other on the sidelines.

Marriage of Reason and Squalor (1959) // Frank Stella // Enamel on canvas, roughly 8 ft x 12 ft


This is Art: As part of Frank Stella’s Black Series, the systematic pattern and austere nature of this piece sets it apart from the energy-filled abstract expressionism of Stella’s time (think Jackson Pollock). The systematic, careful approach to the painting defines the limitations in which his work can be viewed. There is a concerted effort to depart from the existing art world in flux, in favor of a sober, ascetic minimalism.

This is Not: Well, if he didn’t use a ruler, then I’m pretty impressed… I’ve got shaky hands. (Perhaps I should find comfort in Magritte’s pipe? Holler for squalor.)


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