Jimmy Olsen's Comments

"Ironic" was being used to mean "coincidental" at least as far back as the 1960's, by DC Comics. They would introduce these rather pointless coincidences (like the many people who know Superman whose initials are L.L.), and would frequently comment in the yellow border of the panel that what's going on here is ironic. It wasn't, but perhaps that's how a generation of comic book readers came to think this was correct usage.
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The King James Version said it was "round in compass", as I recall. But it didn't say to what precision the numbers 10 and 30 were given; if they were simply rounded off to the nearest cubit the vessel could have been circular and the measurements correct (though not exact).
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I don't think that gaffe of Bush's is a good choice to represent his extensive work in this area. As I understand it, that reporter really is a major league a**hole.
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"Said to have made use of"? Hmmm. Either there's historical evidence for the use of this device or there isn't. If there were evidence for it, I suppose they wouldn't hedge with "said to have". Too many people get their notion of the Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python ...
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To Shane's question: yes, I think it's easy to make works like the ones that pass for art in many contemporary galleries, some of which are sold for handsome sums. But I also think that what distinguishes the few of these con-artists who make big money from the many who do not is not talent, which none of them have, but simple luck. As when a flock of birds all suddenly decide to change course at the same time, and you can search a videotape frame by frame and not be able to find anything that prompted the collective decision, the art critics/gallery owners/buyers sometimes all decide for no predictable reason to celebrate an artist, and the lucky one has a chance to prosper. Even if I liked the idea of making a good living that way, I prefer a situation where I feel I have some control over my fate.

I once visited an art museum that was exhibiting chairs, mostly wooden ones, that had been destroyed in various ways in order to transform them into "art". One that I recall had simply been cut into little pieces, none bigger than a few inches, and piled into a box. I read that Britain has awarded some prestigious honor on "artworks" like a single crumpled sheet of typing paper, or a room with a light that blinks off for a moment every few seconds. The Brooklyn Museum once bought an "artwork" that consisted of 20 tons of unsold periodicals, which the artist stacked up in columns. They were annoyed that he refused to come back and remove them after the show was over.

Can you come up with subtle, moving thoughts while contemplating this stuff? Sure, so can I, and I can do the same from the shape of a cloud, or a pothole. I say this nonsense is not art. But if you want to say it is art, then okay, it's art: and in that case, art is stupid. I prefer to say art is the creation of beauty because then at least art is not stupid.
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Becki, I agree with you, and I think the pretentious elites in art, like all the elites, will not survive long into the internet age.

The test you propose, whether a person would want to have a putative piece of art in their own home, sounds to me like an excellent one. I would extend it further: if you were marooned on a desert island -- or, for whatever reason, believed that you would spend the rest of your life alone, no reason ever again to think of your position among your peers, but only of what would actually please YOU -- would you want your cave decorated with one of these minimalist pieces of art? Or with something beautiful like the "awful hotel art" that I like? (For the record, I think the postromanticism.com works are better than any hotel art I've seen.)
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Matt, Shane, and Ayde -- Art is the creation of beauty, which is much more challenging than making something that "communicates an original idea", "subtly comments", "escapes its own boundaries". A blank piece of paper? You're either trying to kid me, or you're kidding yourself.

Yes, lots of artists have managed to convince lots of customers to buy things that aren't pleasant to look at. They are con artists who've perpetrated a highly successful racket, and their ugly and pointless works will be quickly forgotten.
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Damaging something that belongs to you isn't vandalism. But buying a blank sheet of paper because someone tells you it's "art" is certainly stupidity.

I think it's sad that customers let these self-proclaimed "artists" get away with it, when there are real artists producing works that's good to look at. One site I like is postromanticism.com .
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"...was used by Gavrilo Princip to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand and precipitate World War II." You mean World War I.

"The gun that Lee Harvey Oswald [wiki] allegedly used to assassinate President John F. Kennedy..."

Good grief. "Allegedly?" The commie shot JFK, get over it.
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My objection to the "global warming" brouhaha is that the words are not used in the same way. Environmentalists use that term to encapsulate all of the following propositions:

(1) The Earth, or at least the surface of it, has been getting warmer in the past century.
(2) This warming trend will surely continue--at least, if human beings do nothing about it.
(3) If human beings do something about it, this warming trend can be diminished or delayed ...
(4) ... or perhaps even prevented altogether. Or perhaps even reversed.
(5) The continuation of the warming trend, on balance, would be bad ...
(6) ... very bad.
(7) The effort that human beings would have to make in order to lessen or delay or prevent the warming trend would be worth the cost ...
(8) ... so well worth the cost, in fact, that we would be crazy not to do it...
(9) ... and we must begin at once, because our opportunity to take action to lessen or delay or prevent global warming will soon be over.

I think it should be obvious that not all nine of these propositions is equally well-supported. I agree that there probably is a broad scientific consensus in support of (1). For (2), a little less. For (3), still less, and so forth. And when you get toward the bottom of the list, the questions are no longer scientific, but economic and political, and some involve pure guesswork about the kinds of technology that will (or won't) become available over the course of the coming century.
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Look, for a three month period the weather was warmer than usual! That proves that there's a dangerous warming trend that will last for the rest of the century!

It goes without saying that the weather we had when I was a kid was the absolutely ideal, optimum weather for the whole world. And any change would be disastrous! Change is evil!
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Profile for Jimmy Olsen

  • Member Since 2012/08/10



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