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Re: <nettime> This artwork degrades women.
dan s wang on 19 Dec 2000 04:59:09 -0000


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Re: <nettime> This artwork degrades women.


> Dan, you are cool. Accept it. Please relax about the fact that you
> clearly have similar worries about whether or not you are *actually*
> cool to the ones I have. As an aside, I have found that the best route
> to cool is to lose any sense of what is and isn't cool; never ever do
> something just because it's cool. nover ever don't do something just
> because it is uncool. Then you become cool. But you're cool about being
> cool, so it doesn't matter. Are we cool now? Good.
>
> What I really want to say is that the 'cool, detached ironic etc' thing
> has dropped from outer space. I don't understand it. Far as I can tell,
> none of Penny, Brandt or myself are being particularly cool, detached or
> ironic here.
>
> The argument such as it is has centered around Penny's attack on
> Brandt's use of a whole range of technique - namely reflexive art. This
> is art that presents us with something that will have such an powerful
> impact - whether positive or negative - that people's reactions and
> expression of that impact can be construed as part of the original work.
>
> Whether or not Brandt's work is a 'good' example or this is moot. I
> still haven't seen it. (I don't think I want to see it.) Meanwhile,
> there is a sense in which Penny's email itself is *actually* part of the
> original, and similarly with the other responses
>
> Whether it's all a crock of crap or not, there are people now who will
> feel that bit more strongly inspired as a result to go out and try to
> actively change the world for the better. I think that's what Brandt
> wanted - I think that's what Penny misunderstood - I took an extremely
> quixotic (and occasionally childish) route to saying so.
>
> And I really pissed you off. Sorry about that.
>
>> > Note 1.
>> > pinyin has about as much to do with this email as it did with the one of
>> > which this is a parody. if you don't know what it is, you can look it up
>> > on the internet, if that kind of thing bothers you.
>>
>> If you don't consider this bothersome, well, you should:
>> you ren xiang fa tai yi ban. . .
>
> nechmad, mottek.
>
> i'll swap you translation for translation... :)
>
> seriously - did this paragraph in particular truly offend you? why? or,
> having labelled me a 'misogynist', are you now going to hate me for the
> label you have given me.

No offense taken. . . but I do believe the pinyin titling of Brandt's piece
bears consideration--given the potentially incendiary interpretations of the
work, it seems that all information from within the piece itself would be
valuable in fairly assessing the work. Penny grappled with the unknown
pinyin, you seemed to dismiss that effort.

> whatever. i'm still not a misogynist.

Never said you were. . . did not intend to even suggest that.

My point was simply to support a critique that often times is not verbalized
for fear of embarrassment. In the U.S. at least, people taking
progressive/radical stands on anything are frequently dismissed simply on
the basis of over-earnestness, being too serious, not being able to laugh,
taking things too personally, in short not being 'cool' enough--whether
that's true or not. There is an especially severe history of dissing
feminist critiques and analyses on such grounds, as if a serious woman is by
definition out of order. It's a way of discounting people through ridicule
(and silencing through fear of same), and whatever the purpose was of your
exercise in mockery (which I admit was in places entertaining), I read it as
doing something similar.

(That might be called the paralytic effect of 'coolness' as a
cultural/political weapon--neutralizes and prevents critique. The active
effect can be seen in the emerging postmodern parable/myth of the Harvard
cultural studies dissertator who goes straight from phd to marketing exec
for a TV network, arguing all the while that she's breaking new ground for
the public intellectual.)

Spotlighting and countering that dismissal was the impetus for my post--not
my being offended, and not my wanting to label anyone a misogynist, not any
intentions to hate on you personally.

Dan S. Wang

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