Category Archives: Modernism

A Wednesday

Summer is moving along – three panels of the fence came down in the straight-line wind on Monday night.

Is it a Crime? – JSTOR Daily G Stein. Modernist pulp fiction. Compare reading Stein with empathic reading.

The Current “Longest Strawman Argument Article” of 2022 is… Response to The Empathy Racket – by Alice Gribbin. I’m in there with Birchler: The argument for empathy is borrowed from 1950s didactic criticism, and more than shows its prescriptive years.

It’s Art Appreciation revisited. The pathetic fallacy re-woke. It’s in line with reader response criticism, but I’m not sure it offers much that is new. It seems to turn reader response towards the normative and “utilitarian,” and away from the ideosyncratic and functional – but I wonder if that’s a good thing. But response to art as a litmus test has been used for ever.

As Gribbin writes, “… the reasoning behind the default to empathy is … shallow and deadening.” It’s an extension of the psychology reasoning – the value of the work depends on the depth of the psyche – and, as she argues, it places a normative measure on the manner of reading. But that the insistence on reading empathically is made by those who are aesthetically stunted is too harsh and narrow. Normative positions are always narrow, based on half-understood ideas. But is empathic reading a racket, noise? 0r a Ponzi scheme a grift? Might be: The position certainly can be, and has been, used that way (Richardson, and some local poets come to mind). The position is riding on the idea that Virtue is Worn on the Sleeve These Days. But it is facile and adolescent; that is, didactic. Normative. Gribbin gets a little preachy and didactic when she’s framing her argument.

The idea that the empathic reading position is aligned with self-help books is interesting and worth considering, if only to widen it a bit. It’s a narrow connection. But the narrowness of the work at MIA’s Center for Empathy and Visual Arts (CEVA) needs a good kicking because there are more salient ways of thinking about art and social crises. It is the purpose of the museum to address social ills, but how is up for financial debate.

My response: Teach modernism. Make it new.

Giacometti, Drawing

For the First Time in 15 Years, the Most Exciting New Apps I Use are Web-First

Slashdot Sentient AI. LaMDA is not sentient. And even the attempt to side-step argument by declaring belief isn’t going to change things.

Altruism – Simple as That!

  • Invisible, roll-on protection.
  • It’s altruism. Really.
  • Can I get a witness?
  • You have been protected!

How saturated in the 1950s pre-digital era this email from MnSCU is. The pitch is straight out of commercial advertising: protect your home, your family, your innocence. Protect yourself from embarrassing body odor. Even the Civil Defense left it up to the target family to build their own shelters and to take cover in defense.

But the Minnesota State Internet Guardian has you protected. Protected so well you won’t even know it. Because you’re blameless. We trust you. The only reason you would click a shifty link is accidentally. Because you don’t know any better, we monitor your every click for you.

The place for protection in 2017 is the state university. It’s not about us.  It’s you.

From:  Faculty/Staff Announcement List

Date:  December 4, 2017 at 3:20:07 PM Central Standard Time

To:  “”

Subject:  Minnesota State Internet Guardian

Who: All faculty, staff and students

What: Full implementation of Internet Guardian 

When: Tuesday, December 5

Where: BSU, NTC and Distance MN

Why: To protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations

Complete Details: Your campus will be deploying a service that is being rolled out system wide known as Minnesota State Internet Guardian.  This service will help to protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations.  The service and its deployment will mostly be invisible to you as it works at the network level.  The only way you will know that it is active is if you accidently click on a malicious link or navigate to a web page that has malicious software on it.  At that time, a web page will pop up to inform you that you have been protected.  Simple as that!

We can ask why MnSCU isn’t telling students and faculty – each time they click – that their move has been recorded, analyzed, vetted by The Guardian to be OK. Is the silence protection from ourselves? A little pop up with each click could be an affirmation: Good Choice! Gold Star!

The state educational system is extending the same parental protections it brings to the dorms to the network. But they wrestle with their parenting role. They try to cast the control as altruism – a position they are not comfortable with. They can’t hide their apprehension that our use threatens their  network. The same apprehension on the face of moms and dads and teachers in 1959 and 1962 when they sketched plans for fallout shelters and held duck and cover exercises. They were doing it for The Kids – knowing that the gestures were nothing more than altruism. We don’t need to be reminded with evert click that the protection is in marketing only.

The Civil Defense banner image is from the Civil Defense Museum. The faculty email shares the same archive. The Cold War prepared us. The same misuse of military equipment can claim guardianship.

McLuhan on Picasso Painting

sign for word

When Picasso enters the popular mind by way of McLuhan:

Picasso’s painting is always exciting because Picasso paints the path of feeling. I am speaking completely literally. Picasso paints the path of feeling.

Did you ever have a teardrop run down your face? Sometime have a teardrop run down your face and feel it run. Feel it run and then you will understand Picasso. Picasso paints a teardrop running down your face. He paints a tragic running down on the ieee , , , just as you would feel it. Then at the end of the running he paints the teardrop . . . as it feels. He paints the path of the teardrop… He paints a path of feeling . . . He paints the path of every feeling he has at the moment he is feeling. A moment later would ba too late.

It is so simple.

Picasso paints a teardrop when it is running down the face. That is all.

Of course he must paint the when. He paints it when it Is running . . . all the way. He does not paint the teardrop itself until it has stopped running. Then the teardrop hangs suspended from the when like it feels on the face.

It is not only of Picasso that I speak. There are others . . . like Miro like Chagall like Mondrian like Brancusi and Braque and Kandinsky and Klee . . . ”

from verbi-voco-visual