April 18, 2008

The art that was obviously a hoax was a hoax.

WaPo reports:
A Yale University student's senior art project, which she said documented her bleeding during repeated self-induced abortions, sparked a protest on campus, an outcry on the Internet, and debates over morality, medicine, art and academia.

And -- the project was all faked. Senior Aliza Shvarts told Yale officials yesterday that she didn't get pregnant and didn't have abortions. But that didn't stop an outpouring of emotion as the story spread....

Within hours after the article ran yesterday in the student newspaper, blogs were full of livid reactions, including horror that so many fetuses were apparently aborted, revulsion at the graphic nature of the piece, shock that someone would risk her own health in such a way, and general disdain for art and academia.
I wish the WaPo would report that in addition to the "outcry on the Internet," there were plenty of people, including myself, who immediately spotted a hoax.
In a statement yesterday, Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said: "Ms. Shvarts . . . stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman's body."
Ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman's body... So that's what passes as insight at Yale these days? If I was going to get livid and horrified about something it would be that a great university sucks so many young women into the into the intellectual graveyard of Women's Studies. Think what these women could be studying instead of this endlessly recycled drivel. If you care about women's bodies, study science and help us with the limitations of the body. But to imagine you are helping us by restating meager platitudes is just very sad.
Shvartz, an arts major, told the Yale Daily News: "I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity. I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."
So you "believe strongly" in the boring dogma that's been circulating in the art world for decades? Do you believe anything interesting or original that might make it worth inflicting yourself on the world in the form of an artist?
"It's supposed to challenge the mythology of the body," [said classmate Juan Castillo]. "Are we only supposed to do what our bodies were 'naturally' meant to do, which is to procreate?

"I think she was definitely trying to spark conversation. In that respect, she's accomplished her goal," Castillo said. "But I don't know if she meant it to get this crazy, this out of control."
No, the conversation about whether we are only supposed to do what "our bodies were 'naturally' meant to do, which is to procreate" has been going on for a long, long time without the "spark" of a jejune art project.

The only interesting question is who was dopey enough to think this wasn't a hoax. WaPo would like us to think it was only those deranged internetters who get everything wrong. But it seems to me that a lot of the Yalies were slow on the uptake.

ADDED: The first commenter here links to this Yale Daily News item headlined "University calls art project a fiction; Shvarts '08 disputes Yale's claim." She's saying her school libeled her?
But Shvarts stood by her project, calling the University’s statement “ultimately inaccurate.”
Ultimately inaccurate? That sounds weaselly.
But Shvarts reiterated Thursday that she repeatedly use a needleless syringe to insert semen into herself.
Who's to say she didn't? Produce the sperm donor! Sue the university for libel! Let's keep thinking about Shvarts and her semen injections, because it's really enlightening on women's issues. Put her on "Oprah." This is at least as profound as the "pregnant man."
At the end of her menstrual cycle, she took abortifacient herbs to induce bleeding, she said. She said she does not know whether or not she was ever pregnant.
At the end of her menstrual cycle... she got her period!
“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, “because the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”
Uncertainties... ambiguities... that's so heavy.
This afternoon, Shvarts showed the News footage from tapes she plans to play at the exhibit. The tapes depict Shvarts — sometimes naked, sometimes clothed — alone in a shower stall bleeding into a cup.
Oh, great, homemade porn.
Yale’s statement comes after a day of widespread outrage all across the country following an article in today’s edition of the News in which Shvarts described her supposed exhibition, which she said would include the video recordings well as a preserved collection of the blood from the process, which she said she is storing in a freezer.
Right next to the Haagen Dazs vanilla raspberry swirl frozen yogurt.

IN THE COMMENTS:
titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

It would of been cool if it was true.

I would love to see an art piece of hundreds of people on toilets pinching a loaf also.

Also, pictures of the hog in different "moods" would be interesting.

8:57 AM

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

Tits bouncing in slow motion on thousands of televisions would also be something that should be explored in someone's art.

8:58 AM

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

I'm really into Avant Garde shit.

9:00 AM

ADDED: The Chronicle of Higher Education presents the issue in terms of protecting the free expression of the student:
Robert M. O'Neil, a free-speech expert at the University of Virginia, agreed that displaying the Yale student's artwork is about freedom of expression. "Art departments have always been and must remain shelters for creativity which sometimes offends and often challenges," said Mr. O'Neil, director of the university's Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. But he also acknowledged that such a message "doesn't usually go down terribly well with people in the outside world."

[T]he episode at Yale has prompted questions about what constitutes legitimate academic work and how far universities should go in giving voice or providing a platform to students who express outrageous and offensive opinions. The incident also has caused people who already are skeptical about what they see as an anything-goes attitude in higher education to feel even more alienated from the world of academe.
(The boldface is mine.)

This is framed as if the "people in the outside world" don't understand art and don't care about free speech. But that's not how I've written about the problem here. I'm big on free speech. That's why I want more speech and why I'm dishing it out in hefty portions here. I'm being "outrageous and offensive" as I try to shine some light on bad, boring, unoriginal, lame, weak and bad for women and damaging to abortion rights. I am concerned not with the strength of the academic citadel, but with its feebleness. What is this elite institution giving young people if it pads out their minds with art world and Women's Studies ideology. Where is the critical thinking? Where is the education?

(I'm saying this as someone who has put a lot of time and energy into studying and caring about feminism and who wasted my undergraduate education years frittering away my powers in the art school of a great university.)

At least the Chronicle has the sense to talk to Roger Kimball: "What does a higher education mean and what is going on in these privileged, expensive redoubts of educational endeavor?"

But why am I reading that, when Roger Kimball has a blog. Yes, he's writing about this, of course:
I know that in the universe occupied by Ivy League academics, the spectacle of a woman repeatedly inseminating herself, quaffing abortifacient drugs (“herbal” ones, though: we’re all organic environmentalists here), and they video taking the resultant mess poses a problem. I mean, in that universe there really are basic ethical standards: Thou shalt not smoke, for example. Thou shalt not support support the war in Iraq. Thou shalt not vote Republican. There really are some things that are beyond the pale.

But when it comes to “art”: oh, that’s a tricky one. Shvarts “is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art,” the Yale spokeswoman said. But doesn’t it depend on the nature of the performance?

Read the whole thing.

154 comments:

mcg said...

Shvarts disputes Yale's claim it was all a fiction.

Only, now even her description of events doesn't jibe with the original. For instance, she said she does not know whether or not she was ever pregnant. She simply consumed abortifacient herbs at the end of her menstrual cycle to induce bleeding. And whatever came out, well, that was that.

Hmm. Is the end of the cycle when the bleeding is supposed to start, or end? Is Sunday the last day of the week or the first day of the week? I am confused. Then again I'm part of the patriarchal heteronormative.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

It would of been cool if it was true.

I would love to see an art piece of hundreds of people on toilets pinching a loaf also.

Also, pictures of the hog in different "moods" would be interesting.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

Tits bouncing in slow motion on thousands of televisions would also be something that should be explored in someone's art.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

I'm really into Avant Garde shit.

MadisonMan said...

The Washington Post claims there were livid reactions on blogs, but do they quote any?

What a non-story.

vet66 said...

titus...:

Don't give those Yalie clowns any more ideas! If this art project is what passes for liberal education these days, we are in trouble.

I can only imagine some "shriek" sheik in the middle east preaching to his perpetually angry congregation the perfidy of a Yale education in the land of the Great Satan.

The Drill SGT said...

a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity.

I guess I like commodity art, made by you know: craft people like Michaelanglo, or Monet.

I think art should be beautiful, or stimulate, not be designed for maximum shock or political value.

I have known artists. I have no desire to peer into any artist's twisted deranged soul. Much less up her twisted bleeding....

Palladian said...

Political art is very embarrassing when it ages unless your politics have to do with the Medicis.

Trooper York said...

Well to be fair, Christopher Hitchens did post that it wasn't bloody likely.

Dan Collins said...

Well, I mean, at least the drivel is recycled. Waste not want not, you know.

Anthony said...

If I were her parents, I'd sue yale for a refund.

I have a cousin that actually makes good money as an artist and makes things that look like art. When Williamsburg Brooklyn (my family's ancestral home) became "artistic", he decided it was time to leave.

For the last month or so he was there, he was riding his bicycle around the neighborhood, yelling at the "artists" that their art was crap and that they should all move back to Ohio.

The "artists" in the neighborhood thought it was a very subtle nuanced piece of performance art.

As a family member, I know he was just crazy.

K T Cat said...

Yale's confusion over this event - the fact that they allowed it to happen and their art department supported it mirrors Obama's confusion about the reaction normal people have to his pastor and his idiotic statements about guns and religion.

Academia is where brains go to die.

Hogarth said...

Think what these women could be studying instead of this endlessly recycled drivel.

For their next piece of performance art, they will appear alongside Michelle Obama in a speech lamenting just how hard and unfair it is to have to pay off student loans when the best job they can get with their useless degrees is waitressing at Hooters.

pduggie said...

I have to imagine "ambiguity" is a term of art in the polartical (i just made that up) world.

Dipped if I know why exploring ambiguity is so all-fired important.

john said...

Where is Camille on this? Seems like a great opportunity for her on subjects she can write so well on.

MadisonMan said...

Academia is where brains go to die.

That's unfair to the hard sciences; real breakthroughs are made at Universities in physical and biological sciences.

Trooper York said...

For their next piece of performance art, they will appear alongside Michelle Obama in a speech lamenting just how hard and unfair it is to have to pay off student loans when the best job they can get with their useless degrees is waitressing at Hooters.

Dude if she was hot enough to work at Hooters she wouldn't of needed a turkey baster or borrowed sperm.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

OMG-my comments have been highlighted for the first time here in the many years of posting here.

I am honored. I would like to thank all who have stood by me through thick and thin, my loving understanding parents, my yoga instuctor, my dietician, my house cleaners who have made my home so clean, and most especially my rare clumbers-now they can go to bed.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

The pope has pretty hair.

Simon said...

"The only interesting question is who was dopey enough to think this wasn't a hoax." (Emphasis deleted.)

Well, no. Call me a dope if you will, but I'll defend thinking that, yes, liberal attitudes towards abortion really are debauched enough that the story was credible. It wasn't dopey to think that someone at Yale might actually be that idiotic, because attitudes like this towards abortion do exist. As you point out, Shvarts is certainly trite enough to have done this, and it just isn't that much of a leap from the comments by Marcotte that you highlighted recently to a project like this.

Furthermore, as your update points out, it isn't clear that this was a hoax. The university, in a fit of ass-covering, claimed it was a hoax; the person who actually did it says that it wasn't a hoax. Shvarts appears to stand by the essentials of the story: she continues to claim that she tried to artificially inseminate herself, and that she took abortifacients to induce miscarriage on the supposition she could be pregnant. She had no way of knowing whether she actually was pregnant, which leads us to focus on what was attempted.

Ironically enough, Schvarts is a piece of performance art. It's thought provoking, isn't it, that right now, a lot of people who are pro-life are secretly thinking that there's one person who should have been aborted.

Simon said...

Trooper York said...
"Dude if she was hot enough to work at Hooters she wouldn't of needed a turkey baster or borrowed sperm"

Dude, her picture's all over the web; she very much needs a turkey baster and borrowed sperm.

I wonder if any male's ever tried to file a Title VII claim against Hooters?

Mr. Bingley said...

Ah, the heavy toll that ennui extracts from womyn!

Smilin' Jack said...

Has there ever been a "work" of "performance art" that the world wouldn't have been better off without? For that matter, is there a university art department that the world wouldn't be better off without?

bearbee said...

....the intellectual graveyard of Women's Studies

Nice.

PatCA said...

"Do you believe anything interesting or original that might make it worth inflicting yourself on the world in the form of an artist?"

So true! I saw a kid dressed as a hippie, strumming a guitar, singing protest songs (really old ones) the other day. I wanted to shake him, "The clothes, the songs, this isn't new! It's 40 years old! Don't you have anything of your own to say?!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Think what these women could be studying instead of this endlessly recycled drivel.

The hard part is imagining what they could be studying and succeeding at; I suspect that Women's Studies is drawing the gals who don't have the intellectual chops to be ed majors. In the old days someone of Shvarts' caliber would go to college for the M.R.S. degree and if she actually learned anything it was just gravy. The saving grace of Women's Studies is that it ensures she won't be in a position to make a botch of anything important.

Nolanimrod said...

Ah, Yale. Alma Mater of the great philosopher who uttered the unforgettable "Depends upon what the meaning of 'is,' is" and the even more poignant "depends on what you mean by alone" and the non-cookie baking, non-heteronormative feminist who married him, and who dodged bullets, before she didn't dodge them.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

I hate to toot my own horn but I am definitely the most interesting poster here.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Titus if you could toot your own horn you would never have to leave the house.

Larvell said...

If you study ambiguity long enough, do you reach certitude? And if you do, aren't you just a tool of the patriarchy? I suppose the trick is not to really study ambiguity, but just kind of obliquely glance at it.

Dewave said...

Obvious hoax is obvious.

And it's obviously not art either. The boundaries of what is and is not art are rather vaguely defined and elastic, but such boundaries obviously do exist (or the term 'art' has no meaning).

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

You are right up there with me Trooper. Second by a long, curly, black, shiney, hispanic pubic hair.

MarkW said...

Has there ever been a "work" of "performance art" that the world wouldn't have been better off without?

Oh, I don't know. This was pretty cool, I thought:

http://www.maniacworld.com/frozen-in-grand-central-station.html

That's certainly no defense of Shvarts or her project, though. What's really pathetic is that I'm pretty sure that Shvarts (and probably her colleagues, too) think that she's shocked the bourgeoisie (what would the art world do without imaginary bourgeoisie to shock?), when actually she's caused people to snicker, roll their eyes, and lower their estimation of elite ivy league universities yet another little notch.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

UH OH-now that I mentioned the hispanic pube I am now horny.

Trooper York said...

Ron Jeremy was the only guy I ever saw who could toot his own horn.
Of course that was in the seventies when he didn't have a big gut. So it is technically possible, it just seems very uncomfortable.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Something I thought of immediately upon hearing about this story, hoax or not, was that this young lady is very likely mentally ill.

K T Cat said...

Why does it matter that it was a hoax? In fact, doesn't that make it even worse for both parties? In one sense, it says that Yale would have been just fine if there really had been a creation made from aborted fetuses and in another sense it's Yale and the artist playing everyone for saps.

Madisonman - fair enough about the hard sciences.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

I seriously did it with a guy once who could give himself a blow job.

I found it interesting and somewhat erotic.

Pogo said...

1. I propose a new term for useless performance art (redundant, I know) that is also repulsive or disgusting:
Schvart.

Progressive schools can thereby signal to students and donors whether their fine arts programs are composed of lowly crafts like painting the human figure with actual oils and not excrement or making a watercolor with watercolors and not bodily fluids, depicting actual or stylized parts of nature rather than random chewing gum stains on concrete.

Yale could then have its School of Shvarts, while the Milwaukee School of Art and Design can retain its Moniker, mark of craftsman shame though it may be.

2. When my daughter was very very young, she used to poop and think she had created something wonderful. Ms. Shvarts seems to have aborted her maturation beyond the toddler stage. Look, teacher, I made some blood!.

Simon said...

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...
"I seriously did it with a guy once who could give himself a blow job. I found it interesting and somewhat erotic."

Dude, that is totally schvart.

(Hey, Pogo, it works!)

Trooper York said...

You know what I was thinking about today. What if the white part of Barack Obama was scared of the black part. And when he was walking down the street, would the white part keep turning around to see what if the black part was sneaking up on him. Then he would just keep turning around in a circle. He would never get anywhere and would just get very dizzy.

Simon said...

Pogo - Isn't it just perfect that the cretin's name sounds like a portmanteau of "schlocky art"?

halojones-fan said...

Paul: "The saving grace of Women's Studies is that it ensures she won't be in a position to make a botch of anything important."

Sadly, this won't be the case. Modern corporations are so whipped that they'll hire any pair of tits that walks in the door, and if she's neatly-groomed and doesn't say anything too stupid where the public can hear then she'll vault the corporate ladder. The word of the day is More Women In Executive Positions; the unspoken word of the day is Whether They Deserve To Be There Or Not.

Here in Silicon Valley, it's common for women with less than fifteen years of professional experience to be VP's; and any woman with half a brain will be VP of several companies at once.

halojones-fan said...

""I think she was definitely trying to spark conversation. In that respect, she's accomplished her goal," Castillo said."

Yes, the last refuge of the artist who's totally screwed the pooch. "I just wanted to create conversation." That's what you do when your original work fails, and when your attempt to redefine it as satire fails. You just wanted to "get people talking".

halojones-fan said...

""I think she was definitely trying to spark conversation. In that respect, she's accomplished her goal," Castillo said."

Yes, the last refuge of the artist who's totally screwed the pooch. "I just wanted to create conversation." That's what you do when your original work fails, and when your attempt to redefine it as satire fails. You just wanted to "get people talking".

Interno said...

Given that a limited series of upside down urinals are worth $100+ million a pop, and cans of "artist poop" recently sold to a London museum for $20K (http://www.poopaltar.com/Piero_Manzoni_Artists_Shit_1961.jpg) this is very old school indeed.

What really is the politics involved though? It is exactly this: to intimidate young children who visit art museums, since their parents have bought into the idea of "high art" and will shun them if they call scribbled junk "stupid." By placing a video of this type of idiotic girl running painting a wall with pig blood smeared on her naked body next to a Rembrandt, with a similar "wall card" the entire idea of talent, genius, and the sublime are destroyed at a deeply subconscious level. The goal is the debasement and eventual destruction of Western Civilization. What they teach in art school isn't art. They teach theory. What theory? Their big bogeyman isn't men, actually, but is in fact SCIENCE. They brainwash kids, over and over, day after day, for years, that science is merely one amongst many way of "knowing" and that only power creates truth. A student who points out the fact that a benzene molecule is a perfect hexagon, which is a perfect hexagon, which is a perfect hexagon is answered back in EXTENDED MEANINGLESS BABBLE, and to get a passing grade must learn to produce such babble themselves.

Aliza Shvarts must paint with brain farts since art schools no longer teach draftsmanship or test for existing talent in the first place either, like music schools do.

rhhardin said...

Think what these women could be studying instead of this endlessly recycled drivel.

The positive side is that maxipads are really good at soaking up and holding sweat, if you use them as bike helmet forehead pads. They spent millions perfecting them, unlike the crappy sponge they slip into a bike helmet that drops sweat into your eyes whenever you go over a bump.

Yet you don't hear about this during Women's History Month.

Henry said...

Probably the saddest thing about Shvarts shocker is how banal, timid, and dated the shockery actually is:

Beginning in the 1960s and culminating in the 1970s there were several European artists who used animal and human blood in violent actions that focused on the body. The most famous of these were a circle of Viennese artists that included Hermann Nitsch, Gunter Brus, Otto Muehl, and Rudolph Schwartzkogler. These artists utilized several artistic mediums inclusive of painting, assemblage, drawing, photography, and collage. They also created and participated in what was referred to as action-happenings. However their work was fundamentally different then the American Happenings and Fluxus movements in that it was based on the tradition of Surrealism, which accounts for the overwhelming prevalence of blood and violence....The most controversial of these artists is Rudolph Schwartzkogler, who participated in Nitsch’s actions and created works that he referred to as "artistic nudes--similar to a wreckage" in which he performed self-administered mutilations.

Schwartzkogler either died by amputating his own penis or by leaping from a window in an aesthetic fit -- sources differ.

Fred Drinkwater said...

My daughter is studying neurophysiology at MIT. Also square dancing. And makes chainmaille art. The world is not doomed.

Fred Drinkwater said...

My daughter is studying neurophysiology at MIT. Also square dancing. And makes chainmaille art. The world is not doomed.

Pogo said...

Simon,
Exactly!


""I think she was definitely trying to spark conversation. In that respect, she's accomplished her goal"
Given Hillary's recurring theme about 'having a converstion about' race, health care, etc., is it possible that Clinton II is simply Shvart (revolting preformance art)?

Because Bill's already got the bodily fluid requirement covered. If so, genius, baby!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Modern corporations are so whipped that they'll hire any pair of tits that walks in the door

Well, let's not get carried away. The flip side of the feminist trade-off is that in the good old days a lot of smart women went for the M.R.S. degree as well, but now are available to any corporation that wants to stock up on tits. They may still choose a Shvarts instead, but whose fault is that?

MadisonMan said...

You just wanted to "get people talking".

Easily accomplished with a half keg.

Paddy O. said...

"she's shocked the bourgeoisie"

That's the impression they have, I think. And yet how much more bourgeois can you get than a Yale art studies major?

There is no real push for meaningful vocation or work. A life of leisure, struck into action by the perceived outrage against chosen institutionalism. She resides, thrives, wallows in Yale's history, then feels she must challenge what she has chosen, and still chooses. She can't really challenge. She won't quit Yale of course. She won't join the masses of people who respond to the confines of institutional authority by living their lives apart from it.

She is the archetype of new bourgeoisie, living a life of noisy desperation without any song of her own to sing.

Omaha1 said...

well if she doesn't make it as a successful artist maybe she can sell her frozen menstrual blood to the CIA for use in torturing Gitmo prisoners.

john said...

Fred,
That's great about your daughter, but please ask her to refrain from sending out all the chain mail. It's just aggravating.

Thank you

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"This afternoon, Shvarts showed the News footage from tapes she plans to play at the exhibit. The tapes depict Shvarts — sometimes naked, sometimes clothed — alone in a shower stall bleeding into a cup."

You've come a long way, baby!

Paddy O. said...

Bourgeois because she has no class of higher class and cannot stand out because of her name or family. She comes from middle class, desperate to stand out from among the crowds of her mom (and her "then-boyfriend"), yearning to be free with the simple artists, yet only able to express that within the confines of Yale's elitism.

She is bourgeois to the core, which is why she will graduate from Yale and likely go on into higher academia fomenting empty rebellion within the confines of a comfortable, though never extravagant, lifestyle and surrounded by approval.

Trooper York said...

Eli Sunday: Daniel, you have come here and you have brought good and wealth, but you have also brought your bad habits as a backslider. You've lusted after women, and you have abandoned your child. Your child that you raised, you have abandoned all because he was sick and you have sinned. So say it now- I am a sinner.
Plainview: I am a sinner.
Eli Sunday: Say it louder- I am a sinner!
Plainview: I am a sinner.
Eli Sunday: Louder, Daniel. I am a sinner!
Plainview: I am a sinner.
Eli Sunday: I am sorry Lord!
Plainview: I am sorry Lord.
Eli Sunday: I want the blood!
Plainview: I want the blood.
Eli Sunday: You have abandoned your child!
Plainview: I have abandoned my child.
Eli Sunday: I will never backslide!
Plainview: I will never backslide.
Eli Sunday: I was lost, but now I am found!
Plainview: I was lost but now I'm found.
Eli Sunday: I have abandoned my child!
[Plainview glares at him]
Eli Sunday: Say it... say it!
[Plainview mumbles]
Eli Sunday: Say it louder... say it louder!
Plainview: I've abandoned my child! I've abandoned my child! I've abandoned my boy!
(There Will Be Blood, 2007)

Joe said...

The world is not doomed.

But your wallet is if she's going to MIT to study square dancing.

Chip Ahoy said...

A+ *** <--- stars for nailing the hoax.

Trooper York said...

DAD:
There are Jews in the world.
There are Buddhists.
There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
There are those that follow Mohammed, but
I've never been one of them.

I'm a Roman Catholic,
And have been since before I was born,
And the one thing they say about Catholics is:
They'll take you as soon as you're warm.

You don't have to be a six-footer.
You don't have to have a great brain.
You don't have to have any clothes on. You're
A Catholic the moment Dad came,

Because

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

GIRL:
Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground.
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can't be found.

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is wanted.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.

MUM:
Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
Spill theirs just anywhere,
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care.

MEN:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
WOMEN:
If a sperm is wasted,...
CHILDREN:
...God get quite irate.

PRIEST:
Every sperm is sacred.
BRIDE and GROOM:
Every sperm is good.
NANNIES:
Every sperm is needed...
CARDINALS:
...In your neighbourhood!

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is useful.
Every sperm is fine.
FUNERAL CORTEGE:
God needs everybody's.
MOURNER #1:
Mine!
MOURNER #2:
And mine!
CORPSE:
And mine!

NUN:
Let the Pagan spill theirs
O'er mountain, hill, and plain.
HOLY STATUES:
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that's spilt in vain.

EVERYONE:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite iraaaaaate
(Monty Python and the Meaning of Life,1983)

Pogo said...

Is there any bigger waste of shelf space in a used book store than the "Women's Studies" section?

Does anyone ever buy one of these books, I mean unless required by the professor of some class? Do people randomly choose to read this stuff?

Queer studies is a similar publishing wasteland. Hey, I can see gayness in everything I look at, including INSERT REDUNDANT DISCOVERY HERE..

All this postmodern foucauldian bullshit frou frou nihilism has resulted in an era in which art has become indistinguishable from hair in the kitchen sink.

Clearly, public spending on universities needs to be rethought, and I mean cut severely.

pduggie said...

"It's thought provoking, isn't it, that right now, a lot of people who are pro-life are secretly thinking that there's one person who should have been aborted."

Just the opposite: she should be penalized NOW.

former law student said...

Great Ann. Encourage titus to make more loaf-pinching and hog posts.

MadisonMan said...

Shorter Trooper York.

paul a'barge said...

Once again I ask, don't they kick students out of school for lying?

Trooper York said...

Thanks Madison Man, I don't know how to do that imbeding stuff. Good show! Teamwork!

former law student said...

Once again I ask, don't they kick students out of school for lying?

Lying is just part of the performance art. Wheels within wheels.

Simon said...

Pogo said...
"Clearly, public spending on universities needs to be rethought, and I mean cut severely."

Yes and no. As MadisonMan pointed out earlier, you don't need to cut it - just change the way it's disbursed, make sure it's only going to courses that have some kind of societal value.

A predicate for public funding of any activity should, in my view, be the tendency for that activity to produce public utility. That's a broad mandate, but not a limitless one, and it seems to me that many university courses fall outside of it. I'm not saying there's nothing of any value in art, in literature, in women's studies, or even in queer studies. Actually, I take that back - there's nothing of any value whatsoever in "queer studies," but anyway, that's beside the point I'm making. The point is, those courses may be terrifically useful to many individuals, but I don't see - and here's an opportunity for Beth to jump in, because one imagines she has a different perspective on this - what their utility is to the public at large. What benefit is the public buying in funding these courses? If the public's being asked to pay for them, the utility vel non to the public ought to be the determining criteria for a grant.

Something Fred Thompson said while he was in the running strikes me as a notably eloquent summary of the economic conservative's view of government's fiduciary duty to efficiently allocate public resources: "a dollar belongs in the pocket of the person who earns it," Thompson said, "unless the government has a compelling reason why it can use it better."

Simon said...

former law student said...
"... performance art."

I didn't know that "performance" could bear the meaning "not."

Iapetus said...

Pogo - 'Isn't it just perfect that the cretin's name sounds like a portmanteau of "schlocky art"? '

FYI, "shvarts" is the Romanized spelling of the Yiddish word for black.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

I'm guessing she's a Hillary supporter, although her self-hatred would seem to suggest that she's an Obama Girl at heart!

Bissage said...

More reason to believe titusXXX and Maxine are the same person: (1) titusXXX has not been commenting for years but Maxine has, without ever having scored an Althouse “IN THE COMMENTS:” highlight, that I recall; (2) Maxine was similarly prone to fifth grade spelling errors; (3) Maxine used to boast that he was the most interesting commenter at Althouse; (4) Maxine used to plead for commenters to respond to him which titusXXX does from time to time and did a day or two ago; and (5) Maxine used to overwork the same tedious shtick.

Not that a new persona is the same as a hoax.

Just saying.

Peace, Bissage.

vnjagvet said...

FLS and Bissage:

Could it be that Ann was featuring Titus because his/her posting is "performance art" with significantly more humor than Shvarts.

Titus is not only not horny, but not Shvartsing.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

Bissage, I have not commented for years?

You need to catch up Mary. I didn't post for about a week because I was in Madison/Waunakee visting my family.

I am not Maxine. I am a gay male living on the other side of the country.

I am a pisces and I like chihahuas and chinese noodles.

Let's meet and have a baby now.

La, la, la, la, la

MadisonMan said...

Show me the beehive.

reader_iam said...

Somewhere or another this morning, I read a comment in which someone wrote something like: "Any chance we can reduce Schvarts' 15 minutes of fame to nanoseconds?"

That pretty much sums it up for me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

P. J. O'Rourke said it best.

When he went to college, and was a hippie, the hippies didn't wear zoot suits with chains hanging down to their ankles, and he doesn't understand why hippies now wear stuff from 40 years ago.

Kirby Olson said...

Did anybody see the film Girl, Interrupted?

It has Winona Ryder as a spacey chick who goes to an insane asylum and bonds with all the other women.

Now that asylum is called Women's Studies, and this artist would fit right in with Ryder and her pals.

Lunacy's the new norm. The big argument of the 60s and 70s was: WHO GETS TO DECIDE THE NORM?

The lunatics run the place now, and art like this is now the norm.

Someone who actually bothered to paint a cow in a field and try to make it look right?

That person would belong in a loony bin, if any loony bins still exist outside of academia (I've been in academia so long that artists like the one cited seems perfectly normal and well within established-discourse, as does all her shimmying with the administration to make sure there are no ramifications).

Her next cycle: she'll rediscover herself as an American Indian. How? You say?

Ask Ward Churchill. He's also the new norm. He's been scapegoated as if he's nuts, but he's the new norm, everywhere you go there's someone pretending to be an American Indian (you have to say native American and forget about the migration through the Aleutians). Scratch the surface of that designation, and you find people from some exurb somewhere who have simply reinvented themselves in order to ride the new institutionalized racism.

Obamanable, perhaps, but it's the new norm.

SGT Ted said...

After reading thru this, I'm gonna go with Shvarts being mentally ill.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

Currently I am eating rasberries, yogurt and granola. Hee hee.

titusisnotcurrentlyhorny said...

Nice bagpipe Sgt. Ted.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Wow.

Did she or didn't she?

She's like the David Blaine of serial abortionists.

rhhardin said...

American Indian

It's Indigenous and Cowbogenous Americans.

``It's quiet out there.''

``Yeah. Too quiet.''

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

We may all of us occasionally err and be reluctant to admit it.  I am often guilty of the Sin of Pride, and am hesitant to admit even Manifest Error.  I shall not ask You to commend my Philosophy, when I tell You that I was quite wrong to write previously to You on this Matter in the Style of an enrag'd Art Critick.  I had gone on in the best Manner of my Age about Nature & Art, &c.; and had even discover'd an Excuse for Grotesquery, but that Mrs. Shvarts had violat'd that, &c., &c.

That I should have written in my former Ghostly Capacity as Surveyor of Lunaticks has become obvious; and I beg your Leave to correct that Mistake, for You know that as the Ghost of a Gentleman dead these 250 Years and more, I have seen many a Lunatick in and out of Bedlam.

That Mrs. Shvarts has become a female Lunatick can admit of little Doubt, for she imagines that she would drive a political Point with her menstrual Blood, and that the World should reward her for pretending Abortions.

In my Day, Madam, political Ladies wore Beauty Spots on one Side or t'other, to indicate whether they were Whig or Tory; and certain boxes at the Theatre were known as proper for either Whig or Tory Ladies.  That a Woman may today be seen raving naked, casting her menstrual Blood about for Politicks, is either a Sign of the Freedoms of a Liberal Age, or a View into the Pit of Hell.

If we look away from such Scenes, and take Lunacy only as wild and irresponsible Foolishness, then Mrs. Shvarts may be said to be in its Grip; so we should perhaps take a softer & more rational Attitude than would have been the Case in darker and more Gothick Times, when she might have been burnt as a Witch.

I should propose the following mild & harmless Physick of my Day, being in some wise less harsh than Modern Physick for the same Purpose:

    1.  Give decoction of agrimony four times a day.
    2.  Or, rub the head several times a day with vinegar in which ground
         ivy leaves have been infused.

    3.  Or, take daily an ounce of distilled vinegar.
    4.  Or, boil juice of ground ivy with sweet oil and white wine into
         an ointment. Shave the head anointed therewith, and chafe it in,
         warm, every other day for three weeks; bruise also the leaves
         and bind them on the head, and give three spoonfuls of the
         juice every morning.

    5.  Or, electrify.

Only the last should alarm the Student of Madness, for 'tis a Cure that has prov'n Effacacious, but Harsh; and many Today would have it remov'd from the Practice of Physick for being worse than the Disease.  It certainly was hazardous in my Day, the discharge of Leyden Jars having been a very uncertain Operation.

We may only hope that Mrs. Shvarts may come to her Senses before Money & Fame have cement'd the Lunacy to her Brain, and she may be thus lost forever to any Useful Occupation.

Secure in the Knowledge that the Boxes at this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it) are not reserv'd for either Whig or Tory, I remain,

Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Emerson said...

I'll wager 1,000 internet monies this A. Farts person is an insufferable, unrelenting windbag of pretentiousness. That she's allowed to say anything she does or does not do is "Art" reflects poorly on Art as a skill and on anyone who takes a talentless attention whore seriously. I blame it on reality TV and incomplete potty training.

Emerson
oldpunks.com

Palladian said...

The only thing more boring and irritating than undergraduate menstrual/abortion installation/performance art is stuffy pedants blustering on about people not painting pictures of cows anymore.

Beauty and craft, neither of which is synonymous with dry 19th century academic practice that some seem to be advocating, is alive if not entirely well in this crass and ugly Age. There are great painters and sculptors working today; in fact there are great painters and sculptors working today at Yale (at least in the graduate department). But few of the people bitching about this stupid stunt ever bother to look at or talk about that work, the wonderful things outside of the glare of controversy. So it's your own fault that you don't see it. Let the menstrual fluid-soaked rags fall from your eyes and see. Whatever you're looking for, it's out there.

john said...

Palladian,

You can also turn that argument around and say that the oxygen sucking antics of her and her cohor also prevent the artists who labor and produce actual art from being recognized.

Anne said...

Re the comment ...
Tits bouncing in slow motion on thousands of televisions would also be something that should be explored in someone's art.

... I actually saw in a small NYC art gallery once a TV monitor showing repetitively a man swinging his body so his penis and balls swayed while standing on a mountaintop. This was art.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I don't know what Agrimony is, but chances are we don't have it. Can we substitute Arugula?

Eric said...

It has the smell of absolute B.S.

Also, pregnancy test kits are available in erevy drugstore without prescription. Did it never occur to her that she could test herself?

Iapetus said...

titus says, "I am not Maxine. I am a gay male "

This blog has its own Shvartser, it's the vulgar titus.

reader_iam said...

I just spent a somewhat entertaining two minutes reading the wiki discussion over whether the newly added Wikipedia article on Shvarts should be deleted.

And I somehow missed the stories last year about the art student who dressed up roadkill in children's clothes to make a statement, or, at least it didn't stick in my mind. (This "parallel" is referenced in the deletion discussion.) Does anyone here recall that one?

Cabbage said...

1. This is my favorite post of the year.

2. "Avant-garde artistes such as respondents remain entirely free to épater les bourgeois [shock the middle classes]; they are merely deprived of the additional satisfaction of having the bourgeoisie taxed to pay for it. It is preposterous to equate the denial of taxpayer subsidy with measures 'aimed at the suppression of dangerous ideas.'"
- Antonin Scalia National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley (concurring)

DADvocate said...

I've long had "ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman's body." Many of the women in my life weren't one bit happy about it either.

joncard93 said...

The irony, Interno, is that while they're undermining reason, they're lumping it all in as Science. Rigorous logic isn't even taught in schools anymore; I never took a logic class. People think that Evolution or the age of the Earth are proven "scientifically"; this is ridiculous; they're not proven with the "scientific method", they're proven with the "evidential method". There are, in fact, other ways of knowing truth than "science", and they each have strengths and weaknesses. But, the effort to undermine reason is coupled with calling all of it "scientific" and by eroding the meanings of words, have allowed exactly what you're complaining about.

Interno said...

Palladian said...

"Beauty and craft, neither of which is synonymous with dry 19th century academic practice that some seem to be advocating, is alive if not entirely well in this crass and ugly Age. There are great painters and sculptors working today...so it's your own fault that you don't see it."

Point taken. But it does not exist without "social theory" artist's statements. That's how the Art Establishment avoids real criticism. They indeed ALLOW into their fold those few natural artists who can actually make a cow in a field into a sublime statement of life on Earth, otherwise known as a gifted Landscape painting. But.

But.

The wall card always says the painting is "ironic." It never, EVER, not galleries, museums nor college group shows does the wall card ever say: THIS PAINTING IS ABOUT THE TERRIBLE BEAUTY OF NATURE.

It's ALWAYS about how a cow is a metaphor for women's breasts being milk-feeding udders.

But try and try again to find a landscape artist who REFUSES to have his wall card be full of such "statement-based theory" who still gets his painting of a cow hung.

I *do* admit though that, outside of NYC (700 galleries!) or academia, that there really *is* a true market of landscape or portrait or even weird New Age "visionary" paintings. But I do claim that not only was 1890's "academic" art not "flatly boring" but also that such good paintings of pastural scenes are not any time likely to make it into art history books.

Freeman Hunt said...

That a Woman may today be seen raving naked, casting her menstrual Blood about for Politicks, is either a Sign of the Freedoms of a Liberal Age, or a View into the Pit of Hell.

A sentence like that and the post it came from, now that's art.

amba said...

This kid is just a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of Carolee Schneemann, the Great Mother of "investigation into transgressive and denied aspects of the unconscious, nature, gender and the body" and still going. See here and here.

amba said...

E.g.:

1995 *Interior Scroll - The Cave (1993-95)
Video - color, sound. c. 12 minutes.
By C. Schneemann and Maria Beatty. In a vast underground cave, Carolee Schneemann and seven nude women perform the ritualized actions of "Interior Scroll" - reading the text as each woman slowly extracts a scroll from her vagina. The scroll embodies the primacy of an extended visual line shaped as both concept and action. The extracted text merges critical theory with the body as a source of knowledge. Beatty's camera moves from the naked group actions into close-ups of the unraveling text.

1995 Vulva's School
Video - color, sound.
A performance in which Schneemann personifies an irrepressible vulva, who engages two animal hand puppets in a clamorous deconstruction of sexual bias in French semiotics, Marxism, patriarchal religions and physical taboos.

amba said...

One more and then I'm through:

"Fresh Blood- A Dream Morphology" posited female physical exposeure the feminine as normative. In examining our most taboo viscerality I was built an ethos in which male phobias were eliding. I would invert the projects of the unsanitary leakage, abject, I could posit all the wet bloody cyclic not only in it's physicality, but in a conceptual frame of positive range so that the phobic masuline would have to shrivel and cower... the functions of my body would not be symptomatic or all that is not male."

amba said...

By the way:

We've all -- willingly! -- been attention raped.

Kirby Olson said...

The point Palladian was that this kind of thing has been bubbling along ever since Duchamp's Fountain. You have Manzoni's cans of artist's shit that are now going for 100 grand. You have Karen Finley's yams that she's shoved up her touche. And these events have caused enormous amounts of art writing, and this woman is seeking to push this discoure a bit further and get written about, and join the parade of parodic assault on the Pope and his minions in favor of the Anti-Pope, SdB.

I wasn't arguing for pastural or even pastoral painting. I was just attempting to draw a contrast between what used to be regarded as sanity and what is now regarded as sanity.

But then there are two different sanities, afloat. One is that of Women's Studies, where our body is ourselves, and men have planted flags in it, and children are a drag, and why can't I be in a history book, too -- which is an obvious kind of self-absorption but it also has a point.

The other sanity is that proclaimed more or less by the Church Catholic -- that our institutions shouldn't stray from certain basic truths (but where women are denied any right to leadership, and marriage is still restricted to the heteronormative).

The stuff coming out of the postmodern French discourse probably reminds most people of that moment in Monty Python's Holy Grail in which King Arthur and his tiny band assault a French castle and the French toss out all kinds of rubbish including cattle and pigs and hens and so on.

But there are two castles, they are both beleaguered, and it's pretty funny except that it's dreary and repetitive by now.

At any rate, it's not a hoax at all. It's another incursion in a fairly comical war of discourse which mirrors that going on at the national political level.

The woman isn't stupid (she just is on the wrong side) and it isn't a hoax (it just seems to not make any sense).

The person making this art is an intelligent person, and her work is not that of a cow, nor even is she pretending to be a cow. She's asking about rights over the body.

Let's try to function.

MadisonMan said...

What is this elite institution giving young people if it pads out their minds with art world and Women's Studies ideology.

Delightful verb choice given the story.

amba said...

Like Presidential Kneepads, she accomplished her aim,

Which was simply her 15 minutes of fame.

PatCA said...

It gets worse (or better, if you're the "artist"). The "artist's" whole awful "art" piece was funded with 9/11 Fund money--you know, a left over million here, a left over million there, all to support the arts, you know.

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/04/18/september-11th-fund-underwrote-crazy-yalies-heteronormative-rant/

GretaCargo said...

I'm all for freedom of expression and wasn't offended years ago when Yellow Christ was exhibited. What bothers me more about Shvartz's "art" is the process of its development as well as its result. It confuses what looks like serious pathological mental illness/self-surgery with art. It also offends me because of the sacrifices of those women on whose shoulders we stand who had a lot more dignity in developing those precious rights we enjoy here....and the rights to which many women in the world aspire. Aren't there more intelligent and dignified methods of communicating this message?

MadisonMan said...

PatCA: Read more carefully. The abortion "art" is not what Ms. Malkin is writing about. She's writing about that weird performance art thing -- the youtube video in yesterday's discussion. My understanding is that the 9/11 funds are used to draw people to that area of Manhattan. Maybe they should amend it so they only draw normal people.

Bissage said...

[T]itusXXX, you slipped up.

At 9:50 AM, you claimed you have been commenting at Althouse for years, which is true for Maxine but false for titusXXX.

At 12:19 PM, I noted that falsity.

At 12:42 PM, you accused me of stating that you have been absent from Althouse for years.

I did no such thing.

First, titusXXX, you fell out of character in a state of excitment (the way so many sockpuppets do) which was a damaging admission against interest.

Second, you intentionally or negligently misrepresented my words, motivated by the desire to divert attention from your admission which means you owe me an apology.

(And to think I used to like you. Bleech!)

P.S. By the way, vapid astrology stuff approximates vapid yoga stuff and vapid hair coloring and makeup stuff approximates vapid waxing, etc. stuff.

Bottom Line: [T]itusXXX and Maxine are pathetic alter egos of the same person.

Bissage said...

This is the last I’ll address the topic of Maxine/titusXXX.

What’s it to me?

Done.

Bissage said...

And now a new topic.

Regarding art, I’m with Duke Ellington.

If it sounds good, it is good.

[Removes porkchop from pocket, studiously unwraps same and begins eating lunch.]

You get the idea.

inmypajamas said...

I am a nurse practitioner in women's health, dealing daily with women's periods (or the lack thereof, and all I can say about this "art" project is, "EWWWWW."

My neice - my intelligent, creative, talented neice - is getting her PhD in Women's Studies. What a waste. What does she plan to do with this illustrious accomplishment? Teach Women's Studies, of course.

PatCA said...

Yes, Madison Man, the 9/11 funds only paid for the rant portion of the art, not the impregnating, etc.

I still think it's a ludicrous and immoral use of public funds, which should have been returned to the taxpayers.

downtownlad said...

OK Wingnuttia - Time to destroy this woman. What kind of countertops does she have? Does she eat arugula?

MadisonMan said...

I still think it's a ludicrous and immoral use of public funds, which should have been returned to the taxpayers.

I don't understand why all those New Yorkers affected by 9/11 got money in the first place (I suppose it wasn't faaaair that they got bombed and the midwest didn't), but I live in a state that routinely sees tax monies leave and never return. Unlike, say, Mississippi that gets way more money than it sends to DC.

chuck b. said...

Thank you for using the word 'jejune'.

M. Simon said...

I can see the value of Women's Studies.

In fact I'm looking for a few women who wish to be studied at this very moment for incorporation into a piece of tactile performance art.

If I can get a Grant or a few thousand of them for the project all the better.

Plus to make it ecologically sound a lot of hemp and ethanol will be involved.

I'm planning on selling the videos on the i'net.

Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
titusscored said...

Bisage you have totally confused me.

I am not a sock puppet. I am the real thing.

I have been posting here for I think a couple of years.

I don't know Maxine, never met her and am not her.

I am, though, a big fag=seriously.

titusscored said...

Bisage your research is astounding.

I don't even know where to start.

I can't start.

All I can tell you is that I made out with a Phillipino tonight while someone from Trindad Dobago blew us. It was special, and honest and I came in my hand and wiped on the flips blouse-and he noticed and bitched at me but was still willingto share a cab with me. The flips arms were huge also which helped the entire ordeal.

Omaha1 said...

Bissage, I have had the same suspicion that Titus=Maxine. Same pattern of posting – frequently off-topic, several posts in sequence, often pushing the bounds of what is appropriate or sensible. I.e., bowel function, appearance of bowel movements, semi-explicit depictions of sexual activity, obsession with personal grooming, lots of “look at me, look at me, aren’t I shocking” content. I am not sure why Althouse seems to humor this persona, which seems to me quite phony and trollish. It’s her blog, whatever. I do wonder what motivates the real person at the keyboard, people are strange. Just another variety of performance art I guess.

Ann Althouse said...

I think Titus is funny and a good writer. Unlike Maxine, whom I originally loved and who was for a time funny, he doesn't write about me and my family in a creepy way. If Titus and Maxine are in fact the same person, it's someone who knows he screwed up in one persona and is attempting a fresh start and avoiding the screw up.

Sir Archy said...

To Mrs. Hunt.

Madam,

You have my sincerest Thanks for your kind Notice of my paltry Efforts.

I may tell You that I enjoy your own most interesting Journal, and would be pleas'd to give You every Encouragement to continue to favour us with your Writings.

You may wish to know that the List of Cures for Lunacy in my Letter owe themselves to Rev. John Wesley, who was one of the most influential, and, if I may say so, Holy Men of my Age.  Their mild & perhaps efficacious Substance doubtless owes itself to Rev. Wesley's humane & practical Outlook, all inform'd, of course, by his great Spiritual insight.

Along these Lines, I beg your Leave to reply to at least one Question from another Correspondant about what is Agrimony, and whether it be available?  As you may see here, Agrimony (Agrimonia Eupatoria, Agrimonia parviflora, Agrimonia Striata, &c.), whose Common Names include Church Steeples, Cocklebur, Sticklewort, &c., is a useful Herb, related to the Rose family.  It may be procur'd at little Cost from the many Sellers of Herbs, Botanick Cures, &c., that may be met with on the Internet; as well as from such Merchants who may vend Herbal Remedies in the principal Cities.

Thanking you again for your kind Words, and extending You ev'ry Good Wish, I am,

Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Omaha1 said...

Anne, I agree that Titus can be funny sometimes, and I also liked Maxine before "she" became so creepily obsessive about your familial relationships. I still assert that the "Titus" persona, whoever he/she/it is, is subtly pressuring you to tolerate content that can be quite obscene for what was traditionally a "PG-13" or at most "R" rated blog. Still, it's your site, I won't question your authority.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

I am sorry I only seem to show up these days to comment about trolls.  Actually, I'd like to comment more on photography, but never seem to have the time when Althouse puts up good photos.  Anyway, I was doing my daily blog check, and, having noted Bissage's theory about Titus/Maxine on this thread, I thought I'd put up my two cents.

I agree with Althouse:  Whether Titus is Maxine redevivus is irrelevant, because Titus does not say the cruel, insulting and disruptive things Maxine did.  I also agree with the commenters, including Bissage, who have noted the similarities.  My own admittedly subjective view is that, while there are similarities, there is an essential difference in tone and approach.  I really can't point to anything to prove it, so take it for what it's worth.

I'm much more interested in harder evidence, such as IP addresses, or really revealing "persona slip," etc.  I will tell you that I have fairly convincing evidence based on Sitemeter research, the timing of comments being observed with multiple browsers, and a certain amount of "persona creep," that:

1.  Maxine usually originated from an IP at the UCLA Library.
2.  The computers used to originate Maxine's comments were the small laptops the library lends out.
3.  Maxine had a number of other alter egos, some of whom were obvious and amusing, and some of whom were trollish.  Maxine's comments also seem to have been written by two people.
4.  Maxine was either a stalking horse for, or identical with the Übertroll, Luckyoldson.

Luckyoldson was an easily identified real person living in Southern California, but rather a long commute away from UCLA for an ordinary student.  He almost certainly could not be associated with that institution as a student or faculty.  My suspicion is that his identity was appropriated by the person(s) doing Maxine.  This may explain his sudden and nearly complete disappearance from the internet when, perhaps, this was discovered.  This is pure speculation, so I may be completely wrong.

Maxine/Lucky was/were remarkably clever at several well-known techniques of disruption, and extremely quick verbally.  These characters, particularly Lucky, demonstrated a first-rate intelligence and maybe a professional acquaintance with psychology.  My suspicion is that they were done by one or more members of the UCLA community who disagree with Althouse politically, and were trolling her blog to disrupt and/or discredit it.

Althouse is now almost completely troll-free, whether because of her behind-the-scenes efforts, or because the Central Committee decided to call off the dogs, I can't say, and, frankly, don't care.  While it's the way it is, I'm  enjoying it.  I will say to Bissage and other critics that while Titus may be grotesque, he isn't a troll...yet.  If he slowly evolves into one, á la Maxine, well, I will be proven wrong, and will renounce any further Trollenwißenschaft.

In case you think all this trollism is paranoid time-wasting, I will agree that it is a waste of time, but it definitely isn't paranoid.  Check out this site for some very interesting information on trolls and their tactics, going back to the Usenet days. It's such a complex and tangled phenomenon, that they even include an essay by Schopenhauer!

It is weird and sad that there seem to be some very smart people who do these things.  I enjoy the fantastic level of comment and range of opinions on Althouse, and think it is completely stupid and counterproductive, no matter what your political leanings, to disrupt it.  Titus may make you reach for the Pepto-Bismol occasionally, but he doesn't make you want to smash the computer or never visit Althouse again, which are the goals of a genuine troll.

Omaha1 said...

Thank you Inspektor for your very interesting analysis. I agree that Titus is not as unpleasant or disruptive as Maxine/LOS, however he does, I reiterate, transcend the bounds of decency, or what might be perceived as such by those who hold a stereotyped opinion of “conservative right wingers”. I guess that is what I find so suspicious. Although Althouse commenters, to their credit, generally ignore Titus’ more disgusting eccentricities, I still can’t totally dismiss the feeling that we are being intentionally provoked.

Bissage said...

I see Inspektor Friedrich laid down a magnum opus while I was composing two comments about my take on titus. I’m going to post them and then read the Inspektor’s comment giving it the attention it deserves, after taking a break, which really means getting back to work as I should.

I intend not to comment again but who knows . . .

P.S. And Omaha1's comment, too!

Bissage said...

The titus character evinces a petty, boastful insouciance that betokens psychological cruelty. He is the adult version of the girl in middle school who didn’t have enough friends so she befriended the misfit and got to join a clique after she delighted in humiliating her.

Why would a fully grown man ever want to emulate such a little monster?

Because he’s gay???!!!

Fuck you, titus.

Bissage said...

Althouse, obviously you and others don’t agree and that’s fine. But I don’t see the author of titus as satirizing the sociopath. I think he’s celebrating the sociopath. I think he was literally that misfit who is now pretending he is that better-looking little monster who grew up to be fabulous.

That’s kind of sick and not all that funny, IMHO.

Omaha1 said...

Bissage, I think that you and I are on the same wavelength. It’s not that “Titus” is so bad, it’s just that the obviously phony personage goes out of its way to offend what it perceives as the typical Althouse contributor’s mindset (uptight social conservative). That is what makes me uncomfortable, not so much the content of the posts, but the provocative motivation behind them. The salutation, “fellow Republicans” is a tell, and intended as a subtle insult.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

Omaha and Bissage:  I agree that Titus is trying to be provocative, but he does it in such an obvious way that it's funny.  You really shouldn't get uptight about "fellow Republicans," because that's part of the act.  His provocations are transparent on purpose.  And I don't think there is any real cruelty in Titus, unlike Maxine, who once made what I think was one of the most cruel comments I have ever seen on the internet.  Titus plays an incompetent provocateur and a parody gay with a "fabulous" lifestyle.  He's a comic character.

The problem with this is that there is a great deal of flat out obscenity that's integral to the humor.  As I say, he often makes me reach for the Pepto-Bismol, but, frankly, Titus can be fairly amusing.  I have, however, put Althouse on the blacklist on our home computer my son uses, because I don't want a 12-year-old to see it.  All this is a little odd, as I remember Althouse asking commenters not to use the F-word, because her blog could be blocked from schools and libraries by automatic filters.  Titus is infinitely worse than the odd F-word, so does this mean that Althouse is resigned to not getting school and library traffic?  If so, can we all go back to cursing like sailors? Or is Titus's material calibrated to get through internet filters?  I haven't really looked at it from that angle, and probably should.

Another odd thing is Althouse's taste in comic characters.  There aren't too many flat-out comic characters among the regulars, Titus, blogging cockroach, and Sir Archy being the ones I can think of at the moment, and of these, the cockroach and Sir Archy are obviously the same person.  Althouse seems to appreciate Sir Archy's rather recherché humor, and at the same time promotes the most crude and grotesque stuff imaginable from Titus.  Go figure.  I think it's just part of Althouse's wide-ranging and unpredictable taste, and part of what keeps us all coming back, wondering what's next.

Bissage, I also want to say that you are one of the funniest commenters anywhere.  Whenever I see your name while scrolling though comments, everything grinds to a halt, and I always read every word.  I am seldom disappointed, and I'm sorry to see you in such a foul mood over this.  If Titus gets worse, believe me, I will screech up to the front door in my Trollbusters truck, but for the moment, can't we all just get along??

Trooper York said...

When I last spoke with the professor, she asked me what I thought of Titus and should he be banned or otherwise censored. (How pompous is that sentence, like what I think means jack). I said I thought that was a terrible idea. He is entitled to his eccentricities. Although he is kinda crude, some of us are crude too! I like crude, albeit in a more hetero mode. I don't believe in censorship. Good speech can drive out bad speech. Every once in a while a new poster will come in and start to tell everyone how they should comment and what they should say. Lucky was the prime example. Titus is in his own little world. He has a sensibility that actually rings true in a way. I always thought he was downtown lad or his id posting directly from his subconscious. Or his happy side since he normally is a miserable character. As far as the kids reading it issue, I hate to break it to you but not everything is for the childrens. Your twelve year old should be downloading porn like a normal kid. The overprotective society has gotten so onerous that these little bastards won’t go out in the street to play because they might get kidnapped. Everyone should make that choice for their own family. That’s why we live in America. Live and let live. Let your freak flag fly. Don’t tell other people what to do. If you don’t like it, change the channel or turn the page. I think Titus is a lot more fun and basically a decent and somewhat vulnerable person. Certainly far preferable to douche bags like Cyrus and Freder. But those commies are certainly entitled to their own opinions and styles no matter how retarded. That what the professor has created. A place where you can say what you want without being scrubbed out cause you don’t fit the mold. Enjoy!


And Bissage you are one funny retard

Tituswhhhhhhhhhhhhhhat said...

I have to admit I am a little shocked as well as a little weirded out regarding all this analyzing of "who is titus".

So here it is-the truth. Many of you must of not read some of my other postings but every now and then I slip something in that is deeper than much of what I write.

1) I am not Maxine
2) I have never posted under anyone elses name other than my middle name-which I did once.
3) I am originally from Waunakee Wisconsin which is about 10 miles north of Madison
4) Yes I was hated in high school. Was skinny, the town fag-etc.
5) I left Waunakee when I was 17 and moved to Boston for college
6) I lived in San Francisco in the early 90's which was a really shitty time to be there. I don't even like to visit there because the memories of being there at that time are very painful.
7) I do have a fabulous job (which I am currently on loa from).
8) I do make relatively good money
9) I do have two rare clumbers
10) And I am single and am 37 years old.

I do live a relatively fabulous life. I have fabulous friends, go to fabulous restaurants, bars, gyms, clubs, yoga studios, hair salons, clothing stores etc. And yes, all of this is to make me feel better about myself because I am insecure-but who isn't?

I work out like a demon because I was skinny, teased, and beat up while in high school-because I was gay and very scrawny and couldn't defend myself. I was like 5'10 and weighed 115 pounds-not pretty. Cue the violins.

A true story about HS. At the graduation when they called my name many of the kids starting coughing and saying the word faggot as I stood on the podium while my entire family was there. Don't Cry For Me Althousians-it only made me stronger.

Also, because I got repeatedly beat up in HS Gym Class and told them I would not return to the class. I had two options to complete my PE requirement. Either take the class with the girls or the mentally retarded kids. So I chose the mentally retarded class-the girls were judgmental and nasty and the mentally retarded kids were actually nice to me. So while the boys were on one side of the gym during PE, the girls were on another side and the mentally retarded kids and myself were in another area of the gym-that was always good for several nasty verbal assaults-but at least they couldn't touch me. Oh and I had to go see a shrink in order to get out of taking the class with boys.

To make matters worse, my father was a big jock and went to the same HS and was thought of as big hero. He was also the justice of the peace for Waunakee for many many years. He also owned a road construction company and we lived on a farm but he rented out the land for other farmers to farm. The crops were and are corn. He has about 100 acres-which is a very small farm by Wisconsin's standards. What a disappointment for him but he has learned to really respect and love me. He could never of had the balls to leave home like I did.

My sex life is true. I get validation from sex by being wanted, desired, pursued.

A long term relationship is not something I can pursue because it opens me up to being rejected and judged and then devastated.

I am a good friend, a good son, and excellent uncle and a fun and nice person. I have amazing long term friendships that I value and that are very much like family to me.

I don't post on any other sites.

I try to be nice and funny and somewhat nuts on this site. I said nuts-yum.

I try not to be abusive or mean or ugly to other commenters. I may call them bitch or Mary but that is because I am gay and those words are required.

So there you have it.

Tituswhhhhhhhhhhhhhhat said...

Also, I don't think I have ever mentioned Althouse's family in any of my postings.

That is none of my business.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

Trooper:  I basically agree, but I do have a little question.  If they can use Schopenhauer on an anti-troll site, I'm going to use Kant, and wonder if crude obscenities are now a categorical imperative around here.  If Titus can be so crude, does that mean we all now can be as crude as Titus whenever we want? Or do we have to observe the F-word ban, while Titus gets to expound on his latest bodily function?  Or is the rule what can get through an internet filter?  If that's the case, which internet filter, and do we get any guidance?

Althouse is the legal scholar, so this should be a snap.  But as one who always wants to play by the rules, I'd just like to know what they might be.  No snark or disrespect intended, just curious.

And Trooper, I hate to break it to you, but my kid has seen enough European television to be familiar with all kinds of nekkid bodies, etc., that would give the FCC here vapours.  But there's a difference between Euro-style, frank content, and detailed descriptions of Titus's bowel movements.  12-year-olds have enough of a taste for the grotesque as it is, without learning that it's OK to talk about your morning loaf.

Ann Althouse said...

Inspektor asks for a ruling. I have to say that my standard is flexible and eccentric, based on my taste. Some people win my indulgence by writing things that please me. Bad language and thread hijacking must earn their keep.

Trooper York said...

Well Inspector I hope you weren't offended by my tone. I try to keep it light. As witnessed by Titus's new post I think he is the real deal and he is who he says he is. I don't even what to talk about him like he isn't there. We should communicate with each other directly. Say what we mean and mean what we say. It's just one of my pet peeves how everything has to be "child" friendly. I try not to tell people how to raise their kids. And I also try not to tell people how to express themselves. And peasant crudity and earthiness is what has been lost in this increasingly homogenized world. When I was a kid you dealt with stuff in a much more in your face fashion. I guess as I have gotten older I have turned into Mr. Wilson screaming at Dennis to get off of his freakin' lawn. I am also not a psychologist like Trey so I try not to analyze other commenter's too much. We should all say what we want to say as long at it doesn't piss off the professor. I guess I have a lot higher tolerance level for other people’s eccentricities. Except for reader_iam. What a weirdo >-)

Trooper York said...

Well while I was composing my post,the boss has spoken. All hail the well pinched loaf!

reader_iam said...

OK: Go.

Bissage said...

(1) Inspektor, thank you very much for your kind words. They mean a lot.

(2) And yes, you’re right. I am in a “foul mood over this.” It’s not quite so bad as that scene in “The Exorcist” where Father Karras loses it and shrieks, “YOU’RE NOT MY MOTHER!!!” (Oh, those method actors.) But it’s close.

(3) Okay, that was a lie. My mood’s not at all close to that freak out. I was just kidding. Please forget I ever mentioned it. Ha!

* takes deep, cleansing breath *

(4) For a lark, I’m going to shriek that line out loud.

“YOU’RE NOT MY MOTHER!!!”

Cool.

The birds all flew away from the bird feeder just outside the open window. They were finches not larks. But it was cool, anyway. Now my throat hurts.

(5) Trooper, I can be very crude. I got called “foul-mouthed” on that recent child rape thread. I’ll not deny it.

But I have a system. Whenever I feel the urge to let fly, I first run it past Mrs. Bissage. If she laughs and says it’s okay . . . off it goes. I blame her.

(6) And thank you, Trooper. Never before have I been flattered to be called a retard. Well, there was that one time about twenty years ago. But that was one wild chick and she had a rope around my neck and I was full of methamphetamine.

(7) [T]itus said, “My sex life is true.”

And my “The Exorcist” allusion turned out to be surprisingly apropos.

Father Merrin: Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen.

And yadda, yadda, yadda. I could tell a story about a weakling childhood friend who I couldn’t protect in high school and who became such a nasty little faggot I ended up thinking he deserved what he got. The thing of it was . . . he was flouncing around on purpose as if he was exacting some sort of weird revenge. It was sick and twisted and it was painful to watch.

So what.

(8) I have never asked that titus get banned. I have asked him to expand his repertoire so he might become less tedious. And less is more, my young friend.

(9) [r]eader, I think about that song frequently. It is perfect and it accurately describes my brief (sad) time in acting class.

(10) The synergy of Althouse can be truly mind-freaking. See, e.g., (2), supra (written before reading reader’s 3:34).

(11) I should go, now. I’ll see you all in my dreams.

Bissage said...

Correction. The editor’s brackets for reader should have been “[R].”

I try to show respect to fellow Althousians by spelling their name as they prefer, what with capitalization and all. It’s a pain in the ass but I think it important to make the effort.

There you have it!

titusiscalmand relaxed said...

"And yadda, yadda, yadda. I could tell a story about a weakling childhood friend who I couldn’t protect in high school and who became such a nasty little faggot I ended up thinking he deserved what he got. The thing of it was . . . he was flouncing around on purpose as if he was exacting some sort of weird revenge. It was sick and twisted and it was painful to watch."

I don't consider myself a nasty little faggot and I don't think anyone deserves getting beat up for being a faggot or flouncing around. I also don't think of exacting some weird sort of revenge. Revenge is for angry people. I am not angry. I am a happy person, for the most part.

My recommendation to you Bissage is if you find my comments so difficult and aborrent (sp) is to ignore them. It will likely cause you much less grief and consternation. Also, you won't have to go to all the trouble in psychoanlyzing who or what I am.

Because...
I am what I am
(From La Cage-a play as well as a gay bar in Milwaukee)

titusiscalmand relaxed said...

Now Bisage hopefully where you are it is a beautiful day and you will enjoy it and have a wonderful Sunday.

Make it a super special day.

Omaha1 said...

Titus whoever-you-are-today, I accept your response as sincere, if anyone is still looking at this thread. It is possible that you really are a fabulous big fag and all of the stuff you write is true. If so, good for you! I am glad that you are happy with your lifestyle.

I would never dream of suggesting that you be banned or censored but perhaps I could make a personal request on behalf of those like myself who find some of your post content disturbing. Maybe I just don’t have as hardy a constitution as the “earthy” Trooper York but it is upsetting to me to read descriptions of what you see in the toilet, or details of your sexual adventures, i.e., “I came in my hand” and “wiped it on his shirt”. That is just way more information than most people would want to read or share with the general public, on a non-pornographic website. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I apologize for questioning your motives.

Bissage said...

I never said he got beat up.

Try reading with more accuracy.

Have a nice day!

Bissage said...

And what Omaha1 said.

Your character wants people to adore him for disturbing them.

That is wack, as they say.

May you find the "unconditional love" you think you need so badly.

tituslets all hug said...

I think we need a big group hug now.

I am not looking for adoration from other commenters though. If that was the case I would left many moons ago when I was first castigated for my posting.

I like sharing. I think describing "pinching loafs" is funny and I think the words, "I have to pinch a loaf" is funny.

As far as the sexual tales or tail I do enjoy details because sometimes they are funny to me and maybe some others, and probably offensive to many.

It is generally the details of a sexual encounter that can make it so engaging and interesting and yes funny.

What was funny about the story about wiping the stuff on the guys shirt was his reaction to me doing it. He was pissed at first but then we both laughed and kissed-now isn't that nice? Leaving details out means I am leaving details of life out.

If I said I did it last night that would be boring in my mind.

But I do write about many other things here other than pinching loafs and sex. Those must be the ones that stand out in your mind though.

Now lets all hug. I promise not to have any sperm on my hand.

Trooper York said...

Titus said....
Because...
I am what I am

Holy pinched loaf Batman, Titus is really Popeye!

Omaha1 said...

but Titus, why do we all have to know that you "did it" last night? I don't see other Althouse commenters posting "scoreboard" every day. If you can't talk about sex without the gritty details, can't you just be sensibly discreet and not mention it at all? Surely you have more substantive thoughts to share with us.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow, so here's how out of the loop I am...

(1) I just now read the rest of this thread.

(2) I totally missed the alluded to Maxine fiasco.

Oh well...

Sir Archy, you are most welcome.

ink&&ink said...

"A Yale University student's senior art project, which she said documented her bleeding during repeated self-induced abortions, sparked a protest on campus, an outcry on the Internet, and debates over morality, medicine, art and academia."

I cant believe someone would do something like that and i didnt Yale claimed it was all fiction and i would imagine so.

It would have been horrible if it was true and i would have been horrified.

I don't think any one would do this on purpose...

-Karen
Solidinkoutlet.com