The iron is working it's rusty magic. Naturally, the first thing I want to do with my returning energy is write a big fat RANT. I actually should do one about evolutionary psychology as the new racist/sexism apologia. But I don't have enough energy to brew up the venom that one calls for. Instead, I will talk about STUFF. I wanted to complain about the absolute mess in the progressive blogosphere with the Clinton and Obama supporters RIPPING ONE ANOTHER'S THROATS OUT. Then I came across a video presentation of a particularly awesome artist.
Kara Walker. Her artwork is, I think, amazing. It's breathtaking, to be exact. I look at it and it's like I've been kicked in the stomach. I love
art that gets a visceral reaction. ("Art that rips your fucking guts out" - direct quote from Zadie Smith's excellent On Beauty.)
An overview of her work is here.
And there are some nice in situ examples here.
Needless to say, her work gets some real reactions.
There's a nice sampling right here.
There's commentary from people who think that her work celebrates the 'nightmarish projections of the psychosis of white supremacy.' I don't really agree. I sort of get where (I think) she's coming from. My sick/healing ass often surfs the feminist blogosphere. And believe me- there is ALWAYS some faceless little internet puke spewing rabid hatred at a female blogger somewhere, screaming and ranting about how he wants to rape her and kill her for you know, writing her blog. Or ultimately- just existing. I look at Walker's silhouettes and they remind me of the 'nightmarish projections' in those little hate-rants from the trolls. It's the same weird distorted stereotypes. This weird projection of the hated woman (like the hated black person in the mind of the white supremacist in Walker's work), all twisted and almost demonic.
I think I get what she's doing. She's just putting all that bile and spew out there.
Exposing it to light. I get the urge to do the same thing myself sometimes, put on a paper mask of the whiny little raging hate troll and mirror his spew right back at him. OMG I RAPE U CUNT THAT IS UR ONLY PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD and so on. It's sort of cathartic. It's like... cramming their bile right back down their throat. It's like people who hate that way try so hard to paint their hatred on that hated other person. It's all about the black people- THEY are these twisted evil hateful demon-stereotypes. But ultimately it's all about the troll. It's all him. And honestly, though I am a middle class suburban white girl, I think it's awesome Walker is doing this. Her work is great.
I've heard comedians say that anger fuels their work. They're funny because
they're angry, and I believe that. There's raw furious hilarity in the brutal takedowns of spewing angry manchild troll du jour by better-educated, better-armed feminist bloggers. It's a really neat, gruesome energy. I'm probably twisted as fuck for liking it. But I suppose if I wasn't twisted, I wouldn't do this art stuff in the first place.
I tend to check my politics at the door when I do my stuff. It's not polemic and it's not raw fury. Honestly, I think I just lack the guts to go ahead with that approach. The world is still fucked right up about racism and sexism. The new right-wing idea is that being racist isn't racist- oh no! Calling out racism? Pointing it out? OMG U RACIST! Sort of like the persistent idea that feminists created rape and domestic violence, that these things were just magicked into reality by feminists pointing them out. Who the hell wants to engage with that kind of stupid? Not meeee.
But I'm glad someone is. Someone has to. Hateful stupid needs to be kicked in the gut until it bleeds.