dangerousmeta!, the original new mexican miscellany, offering eclectic linkage since 1999.

Globe and Mail.CA:

U.S. report calls for limitations on TV violence.  “In general, what the commission’s report says is that there is strong evidence that shows violent media can have an impact on children’s behaviour and there are some things that can be done about it.”  You think? It is the depiction of violence without consequences, such as people walking away from bullet wounds, that hurts children most.  In the absence of other evidence, they will end up believing what they see, in some fashion.

02/16/07 • 12:14 PM • ChildhoodEntertainmentLawPoliticsPsychology • No Comments

NY Times Art & Design:

Let’s have some fun this morning. I want you to go here, and look at the paintings.  Then read this, about the philosophy behind abstract art.  There’s an implication here that one must appreciate the purposeful choice of transcending reality, foregoing realistic detail for pure color, line, shape ... feeling and emotion.  Another says context must be known and appreciated, to appreciate abstract, and towards the end defends the medium by showing us abstract artists are usually also artists of great realistic skills.  The artist must be knowingly making a statement.

So what of this?

She has no training to speak of, and no context.  Doing a Pollock piece without his angst, should be worthless by the above measures.  Unless it’s a depiction of female toddler angst, which, given the Pollock priapic style [scroll down to Pollock’s entry], is missing something rather essential. 

What is she? An artist, a child, a good copyist?  Is her work valuable, or not?  Is the work’s value exclusive of her value, or the obverse?

I used to have a quandary I’d pose to my assistants and their friends, all from prominent art schools in Manhattan:  What of those brilliant abstracts you’d find when your film came back from the lab?  The first image from your average roll of film, usually snapped while winding the film into the camera.  Abstract, colorful (orange from processing, usually), the height of spontaneity.  Some would end up quite impressive in their uncontemplated expression.  If that image is ‘great’, does abstract need education? Technical skill? Intent?  If this random image is making a statement that was not precontemplated, is it still great abstract art?  Should we appreciate it, or should it be shuffled off to the category of ‘unintentional art’, as if to say, “it’s okay to like it, but one must be effusive only over critically approved intentional work”? 

I never got a consistent answer on this from my assistants.  Most said it was art, but less than intentional art.  Even if the result was more compelling.  Some would split hairs over who was doing the creating.  If it was an artist who was trained through art schools, it was art.  If from uneducated talents, it ‘didn’t count.’  Then I’d ask about the cave paintings at Lascaux, which everyone thought was art.  Bringing that sensibility back, then those who disagreed about uneducated talent would pull back on their opinion.  They’d all settle on the idea that education didn’t matter for that rare great natural talent, that education might ruin the gift.

We’d dive into these questions:

Is it better to feign a childlike perspective, or is it better to actually be a child, and paint what you feel?  If it’s better to be childlike, then why ‘ruin’ them with training at all?  A pretty even split of opinion, in discussion.

Are we supposed to appreciate abstract because the realist who painted it so fully traded their learned talents for childlike instinct?  Why not just celebrate children’s art?  Ah, here we got a differentiation.  A clear benefit.  An adult will pursue complex themes that are unfamiliar to a child.

What is more important, the artist, or the work?  Even split, again.  The ego of my assistants, young college students, must be factored into this.

And if you didn’t know how a particular image was created ... would it matter?  Even split, again.

I made a mistake, however.  Do you see it?  The essential relationship of artist to audience.  In talking to artists, I totally ignored the viewers of the art. The audience must perceive any given piece as being ‘art.’  And what is ‘art’, anyway?

My wife, a RISD grad, has a story she likes to tell about a class in her first year.  The instructor told the class to go out to a lumberyard, purchase a 12"x12” piece of wood, and ‘make art’.  Some sawed, some painted ... all failed.  The instructor told them that art begins in the choice ... they all chose a particular grain pattern, a color shade that appealed to them.  In judging the aesthetic of the blank piece of wood, they had already created a personal statement of ‘art.’  They should have just handed him the wood, unadulterated.

So, in viewing the original link above, let me know if you saw ‘art.’  For the record, I did.  I just thought I’d throw a snake in the grass on a calm, peaceful day of weblogging and spur a different sort of Friday thinking, when most ‘thinkers’ are probably pretty well wiped out. 

Here are some links to spur more contemplation:

Histories of Internet Art: Fictions and Factions, Net Practice, “not art.”
Derek Powazek, “Unintentional Art.”
Ironic Sans, The Art of 1010 Wins.
As the Warsaw Crow flies, Where is the Art?
Columbia Alumni Magazine, Found Art, New York, Empire City 1920–1945.
Whiimsky, Inc., The subconscious art of graffiti removal.
Princeton University, The Art of Science.
What’s Left: Proving art is in the eye of the beholder.

02/16/07 • 12:04 PM • ArtsChildhoodGeneral(4) Comments

NY Times Letter to the Editor:

The Increase in Autism.  I’ll point everyone to the “Learn the Signs, Act Early” website.

02/16/07 • 09:03 AM • ChildhoodHealthScience • No Comments

NY Times Business:

Home Prices Fall in More Than Half of Nation’s Biggest Markets. When they say “southwest” you can bet Phoenix, Arizona is their target.  My impression from the realtors I’m working with here in Santa Fe, is that sellers are getting nervous about all the bubble talk, and are being more flexible on pricing. I’d say ‘soft’ would be the best term for the local situation.

02/16/07 • 08:54 AM • EconomicsHome & Living • No Comments

NY Times World:

Pilot and Passengers Thwart Hijacker in Canary Islands. Reconnaissance, planning and execution were perfect.  Bravo, Pilot-In-Command Ahmedou Mohamed Lemine.

02/16/07 • 08:52 AM • GeneralLawTravel • No Comments

NY Times:

In Foreign Oscar Entries, the Past Masks the Present.  These all go in the Netflix queue.

02/16/07 • 08:48 AM • ArtsEntertainment1 Comment

NY Times Fashion & Style:

Should You Trust Your Makeup?  Only if you’re a corpse.

02/16/07 • 08:45 AM • ConsumptionHealthHome & Living • No Comments

SF New Mexican:

“Inhabitants of the New World had chile peppers and the makings of taco chips 6,100 years ago, according to new research that examined the bowl-scrapings of people sprinkled throughout Central America and the Amazon basin.”  Green chile, hot and historical.

02/16/07 • 08:34 AM • FoodHistoryHome & LivingSanta Fe Local • No Comments

SF New Mexican:

Public’s fury over January storm forces changes.  Wait until the fury over roads hits crescendo.  The overuse of deicers has turned our main road into gravel.

02/16/07 • 08:32 AM • Home & LivingSanta Fe Local • No Comments


Local authorities are asking for help in finding a missing young woman.  If you’re in the New Mexico area, click this and keep her in mind, put the State Police’s phone # in your cell.

02/16/07 • 07:51 AM • Home & LivingLawSanta Fe Local1 Comment

SF New Mexican:

St. John’s book sale this weekend.

02/16/07 • 07:49 AM • BooksSanta Fe Local • No Comments

Spontaneous combustion.

My battery UPS, a Cyberpower 650sl, just shut off my computer, and started doing a weak beeping.  I unplugged the computer, felt the UPS, and it was beginning to melt.  Stank to high heaven.  Yanked the UPS plug out of the wall, got the thing outside as fast as I could.  No ignition, thank goodness.  If you’ve got one of these babies, and it’s getting up there in age, be cautious.  There was no warning whatsoever.  Good thing it happened while I was home!

Now, of course, I can’t find my spare surge strips.  I’ve got extension cords going every which way around the room ...

02/15/07 • 09:10 PM • ComputingHardwarePersonal(4) Comments


Greenpeace wins nuclear power victory.  Two quotes from this one:

“... the Government failed to present clear proposals and information on key issues surrounding a new generation of nuclear power stations, such as disposal of radioactive waste and the financial costs of new build.” 

“Today’s ruling came as the operator of a nuclear plant was fined £140,000 for releasing radioactive particles into the sea and illegally dumping radioactive waste.”

02/15/07 • 05:35 PM • EnvironmentalHuman RightsLawPolitics • No Comments


Live CSS and HTML editing with Firebug.  Short video.  Go get Firebug.

02/15/07 • 04:02 PM • ComputingInternetSoftware1 Comment


China’s “last cave dwellers” refuse to leave.  Caves offer consistent temps, but don’t put your structure too near the entrance.

02/15/07 • 01:39 PM • Home & LivingHuman RightsNatureTravel • No Comments


Fukuyama, Identity and migration.  If you forgive Fukuyama his mistakes over neocon philosophy and the end of history, this article has some gems.

02/15/07 • 12:32 PM • HistoryHuman RightsPsychologyReligionScholarly • No Comments

The Economist:

The world’s first practical quantum computer is unveiled.  “The catch is that Orion is not exactly desktop friendly. It has to sit in a bath of liquid helium cooled to just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero (-273°C) in order to work.”

02/15/07 • 12:17 PM • ComputingDesignHardwareHistory • No Comments


relates personal experience with a Hyundai Santa Fe.  Previously.

02/15/07 • 11:02 AM • ConsumptionGeneralHome & LivingWeblogs • No Comments

Yahoo News/Reuters:

AIDS virus weakness detected.  “Having that site and knowing that you can make antibodies against it means that a vaccine is possible ... [snip] ... It doesn’t say we’ve gotten there. But it’s taken it off the list from an impossible dream and converted it to something that is a (mere) technical barrier.”

02/15/07 • 10:58 AM • HealthScience • No Comments

Four days

‘till Adobe Lightroom 1.0 is available.  Can’t wait.

02/15/07 • 09:54 AM • PhotographySoftware(9) Comments


Author, author! Ten times over ... Writers list their greatest reads.  “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

Later: The Complete Review has another take on the book.

02/15/07 • 09:51 AM • ArtsBooksHistory • No Comments

Chicago Tribune:

A lost art: Romance in the age of irony.  We live in an instant-gratification world; flirtation and anticipation are not just unappreciated joys, they’ve been completely forgotten.  Much great romantic poetry would never have been written, without the longing of a desirous soul.

02/15/07 • 09:45 AM • ArtsHistoryHome & LivingPsychology • No Comments

Yahoo News/Reuters:

Newsroom spending raises profits.  This is a conclusion worth studying, for ‘group’ weblog sites.

02/15/07 • 09:37 AM • NewsWeblogs • No Comments

NY Times Washington:

For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder. “It seems they can provide legal analysis and a level of detail that might not be of interest to the general public but certainly has an audience.”  And, “They’re putting in a lot more opinion and a lot more color than the traditional reporters.”

02/15/07 • 09:28 AM • LawPoliticsWeblogs • No Comments

NY Times Politics:

Rudy throws his hat in the ring.  A lot of “I guesses.”

02/15/07 • 09:24 AM • Politics • No Comments
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