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    Is Humor Always Funny?

    Here I go again!  A kinda cool piece about the National Gallery of Art's "Sense of Humor" exhibition.  It covers a lot, though I especially liked this one from 1988:

    And there's this, a piece of a very well written text:

    [...] In his 1900 “Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic,” the French philosopher Henri Bergson pointed to three fundamental characteristics of humor: It is limited to the realm of the human; it is intellectual, meaning things are funny without reference to feelings; and it is fundamentally social and requires an audience. The second of these, that it is primarily intellectual, is perhaps the most important of his insights. Bergson says of laughter, “Indifference is its natural environment, for laughter has no greater foe than emotion.”


    People imagine satire is very leftwing, but its history is small-c conservative. That’s the tradition I’m part of

    quote from an interview with a current British Museum show curator @ The

    Ian Hislop on dissent: 'It's cathartic to say, "This is rubbish"'

    From an ‘up yours’ to ancient kings to the pussyhats worn on anti-Trump protests, an exhibition curated by the Private Eye editor celebrates resistance to authority down the ages

    It's obvious to anyone who follows the art news that The Guerrilla Girls somehow got some P.R. going to revive their career, they are allover the place all of a sudden after dropping off the radar for a couple decades. What that actually got me wondering is if they might switch their shtick to ageism, because that is what they are undoubtedly confronting now, maybe even moreso than sexism. They are not "girls" anymore, it's just kinda that simple or complicated.

    Whatever. Here's the best recent piece I read on them:

    'The art market isn’t interested in us anyway. We don’t make precious objects.'

    — Apollo Magazine (@Apollo_magazine) August 26, 2018

    I'm not sure we deserve humor anymore, but perhaps the Guerrilla girls will make masturbation funny again and revive the link between shock and value. The lineage of Louis CK (what the fuck, his French royal parents didn't know Roman numerals?) to Lenny Bruce. Samuel Pepys used to masturbate on his papers and burn them - I see Louis as taking Pepys to a larger stage, no? (too soon. or late.) I thought Kathy Griffin's bloody Trump Medusa head was great fun (except for poor classics-deprived Barron - seems living in a real live Hogswarth didn't prepare him for special fx), but even she feels 9 months of exile and rebirth isn't enough for Louis, even tho that's 3x what the Stanford rapist served. Guess the dumpster is less demanding than Central Casting. I didn't find the movie The Aristocrats terribly funny, but I wonder if it could be made at all today? How could a Phyllis Diller survive? Joan Rivers? I re-read today that Emma Stone will never act with Woody Allen again - how will she grow up, or will she be forever in LaLa,Land, this kinda good but overall lame production, a "Crazy Rich Asians" for white people? It's like the description of Oprah's audience -  a lot of head nodding in empathy/sympathy. It may be some loose kind of entertainment with a lower e but it's not a world of comedy for sure. More bread, more circuses, more punch and punchlines. In just a few short years, even Hitler's ceased to be funny. Is nothing unsacred anymore?

    Only picking out the tiny Guerrilla Girls portion of your fine rant to go further. Mho, except for their masks, they were never that funny, more like deadly serious, cause the situation was plenty grim when they started their act. (As in the kind of attitude Kathy Griffin was unfairly being blamed for, when Griffin was actually trying to go more on hah hah funny side of things via exaggeration.)

    So I am taking it off thread because their work is no longer funny, apologies to barefooted. What I see in their "Europe" theme is this: their work is less needed in the U.S. now, really.

    Most of the major museums in the U.S. with any acquisition funds have strictly gone way over to the p.c. side, seriously, not joking. Some have actual rules set by trustees that from now and for the foreseeable future acquisitions should not be works by white males but by female artists or artists of color, and one specific term being used is to prioritize "gender parity in collections." When a friend that sells historic decorative arts often to museums told me a couple years back that several were going "gender parity" I went "no way, are you shitting me?" He said: not shitting you, it's serious. I still didn't believe it. But I see now in all I read about museum world and the art market is that: it's true.

    This has directly affected the art market, anyone who watches auction prices like I do can see it: in general works by well-known female artists of any time period show incredible gains in prices over the last couple of years as compared to lifetime reccords, while the prices of classic works by males are either stagnant or even languishing below previous records.

    The big museum world and top curatorial practice has become very p.c., the Guerrilla Girls won, their work is done, the one basically admits it in the interview Käthe Kollwitz: People are totally interested. It’s just the powers that be that are stubborn in their ways, but if you go to most cultural institutions you’ll find a lot of well-meaning people who make it their mission to promote diversity

    Yes, of course the Podunk Historic House Museum is going to take a while to come on board. But the big museum world is already there, almost to a fault as the practice of many years favoring males can't be made up in a fortnight with piddling funds. It would certainly to a fault to someone like Steve Bannon, it is real and it is happening here, white male artwork need not apply at the major American museums.

    So the Girls are moving on to Europe. And that's why I mentioned that maybe ageism would be a better row to hoe.

    Well, for an ageing white dude, there's not gonna be a support group whatever I do - other classes of dinosaurs will warrant prior attention, plus this administration will do the opposite of anything for the social good, so come back next year maybe.

    I do find it funny the off-hand dismissive stuff towards whites, principally males, in trying to make the case for minority access and gender equality. I even support quotas in a number of areas, though i'm not terribly in agreement with implicitly or explicitly trashing whites for all the horrors of the world in doing it. As I recall, Idi Amin and Pol Pot and the Taliban and Somoza weren't paragons of virtue, despite their non-white street cred. Oh well, gotta run - out of tissues and gotta get to the bank...

    ok, here you go, all is not bleak, maybe things are getting more nuanced, as it looks like a few ageing white men have been included in the diversity here. Of course there's the cavaet that one cannot be sure that any of those are hetero cis gender:


    "Kaj-anne Pepper"? really?

    I'm lost - "Kaj-anne Pepper"?  Where's that in the link?  (Wherever it is or isn't, I still love it.)

    Speaking of lost, I'm still struggling to be "woke".  Cisgender?  really?


    (s)he, (f)ae, e/ey, ve, xe, ze or zie is one of the fellowship recipients of 5 awarded under "Interdisciplinary Artists".

    <sarcasm> I am so proud that the suggested new pronoun list that I link to, which I found by Googling, is from the LGBT Resource Center at my alma mater for my Master's, UW-Milwaukee! </sarcasm> Who'd thunk it that they'd be at the forefront of this linguistic fight!

    (BTW: how I could answer you: used the search function for the page on my browser, entered "pepper")

    Cisgender?  really?

    Absolutely, in the fine arts or humanities, you have to know this new lingo because everyone is already using it.

    I'm so old.  Sigh...

    eta: you put a space between cis and gender earlier... ack!  Don't confuse me further!

    here ya go, here's some cutting edge stuff on changing the language. If you feel old, well, as post modernism is history, think of how someone like Chomsky must feel. I think it actually fits your topic, as if you don't laugh, you might cry.

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