Trust Everything - The Blog

A Full-Length Summer 

I love summer. I love warm, humid nights and the sound of life chirping and croaking and buzzing. I love not being cold and all tensed up all the time. I really don't understand why humans even settled in cold regions. We're warm-blooded — we're supposed to be warm. After all, every cradle of civilization was located in a warm climate, and for a very good reason: so we could have kick-ass tans. But I also love summer because it's my birthday season. In fact, my birthday is coming on fast — July 3, to be precise. I'm still trying to decide how old I'm going to be this year. I'm also still trying to decide what I'm going to be when I grow up, but that's still a ways away. When I was a teenager I thought I was going to either die young or live forever. So far it looks like I'm going to live forever, which is why I'm playing it safe and flossing regularly. So if you're trying to think of a good gift for me, something that lasts forever would be a good choice — maybe something made out of plastic — like a grocery bag — filled with candy corn. That always lasts forever.

Even knowing that it won't be endless, this summer I'm particularly energized. Since my last release (Trust Everything) earlier this year, I've been writing new material, experimenting, producing a video (It's A Revolution), and updating my secret underground studio in preparation for my next sessions, which I'm all set to begin. Which explains not only why I've been neglecting my blog, but also why I'm feeling energized. And while I was very pleased with the outcome of Trust Everything, there was a lot of learning involved with the process that kept my progress in check, as well as a bit of hesitance in attempting some things I wasn't sure I could pull off. I'm looking forward to having a much more liberated experience — and I expect a lot more fun.

One thing I've also decided for certain: I'm going to produce a full-length album vs. an EP and release a couple of choice singles as I go. At the time I was recording Trust Everything, there seemed to be a shifting of thought out there that suggested that the full-length CD was inclined to eventual irrelevance. The thought was that it might be more realistic to put out shorter compilations more often, and I went along with it. Yet artists are still producing full-length CDs — it hasn't really changed. I think they still matter and still get more attention than EPs — though either will last forever since few people actually buy physical CDs anymore. Actually, when you think of it in the context of progress, Thomas Edison probably wasted his time inventing the phonograph. He should have just invented the MP3 instead — what a stumble bum.

Yes, the end of summer will be a bummer, but I plan to make good use of it, riding it out in a nice cool studio with a grocery bag full of candy corn. Look for a new Lord Jim single to be released in late August and full-length CD by the time I've lost my kick-ass tan and completely forgotten how it felt to be warm.

Verse in Blood Translated 

Although I do have an announcement to make, I can't in good conscience whip off a blog entry about it without first paying respect to the subject matter. Gruesome and awkward as it may be, we have thousands of Americans who are stranded in foreign lands on a mission to which we here in the States pay no attention. Of course, we are dealing with some very important issues, such as birth certificates and royal weddings, so it's almost forgivable, but think: When was the last time you saw a photo of an injured or killed American soldier? Why is that? First, let's do what any good investigator does first: Follow the money. War is BIG business — very big business here. There's the manufacture of weapons, medical supplies, construction equipment and supplies, clothing and gear, processed food, fuel, security — yes, that's a lot of business — a lot of money.

Consider this in pondering the reasons Obama could not, and Congress would not, stop the war(s) immediately. It's not discussed, nor will it be as long as the corporate interests are invested in this venture and remain in control of the media streams. With the U.S. economy as shaky as it is, imagine the effect of interrupting the hugely productive commerce of war. There are very large business interests behind the push to keep the war going — to keep the Federal dollars flowing into their pockets — and it would be politically unfortunate to subtract that activity from the economy.

There are many reasons for war, but only one really, really good reason — one that makes all the messiness of death worth it: Money. Whether you are making weapons or jets or financing the debt, it's a great business. Yet, who would be honest and tell the soldiers and their families this? How can anyone look them in the eye and tell them the real reason that their loved one is either not coming home with a limb or normal brain function, or not coming home at all, has more to do with stockholders than any altruistic ideal. How cruel would that truth be — that it's all about money? Too cruel for most of us, so we have our heroes and our patriotic illusions, but mostly we Americans just want to be left alone so we can have our couch and our TV and our cars and snacks and not have to think about all that complicated, unsettling stuff. It's bad enough we have to sell our time for chump change while the politicians lie and sell out our liberties, but please, please just leave me to my little comfortable world —- a world that I can believe in — just let me have that.

That's an easy sport in America, when war is far away, but for those who have been invaded and violated in the name of our "principles", the reality of war is immediate and they are not so easily deluded. The invaders are killers and thieves, and no matter how compassionate the actual troops on the ground may behave, the victims see the larger machinery at work — what it takes, what it destroys, what it promises, what it kills. Surely, no god who was great could permit such a beast to be unleashed without some justification — some greater reason — perhaps a calling to rise up against evil in His name. That would certainly be easier to believe than the idea that it was actually all about money. Were that monster to visit us here in our American cocoon, who among us wouldn't vow their life to resist by whatever means necessary?

"Verse in Blood" is a song I wrote that assumes two different perspectives of war and explores how the ideals of honor and country are exploited to feed the unceasing profit appetite of the War Machine — how faith and religion and God are naively pitted against such forces — and how the American citizenry of over-fed, misinformed consumers unwittingly authorize this criminal cycle to exist in perpetuity. In most ways, this war and the motives are no different than any of the other many wars fought throughout history. It's the same movie, different actors, better props and special effects, but it's all about the same things that war has always been about — sadly. And by these forces, by our weaknesses, we are all made into fools.

As somber an introduction as it is, I felt the gravity of the topic justified something more than a flippant promo pitch. With that said, I've posted my new MP3 video of "Verse in Blood", which you can watch here on YouTube. It's a powerful song, certain to make you hate war all over again. So if you're wondering what the hell we're doing in Afghanistan (and elsewhere), watch and listen, share it with someone you like — or just "Like It", and then kick something.

The Time for Revolution Is Now! 

Don't smash anything just yet, but the long-awaited "It's a Revolution" video has released! And it kicks ass. It's a high-energy visual montage of revolution and protest throughout history, across continents — all kinds of causes, all manner of expression. Entertaining and inspiring, it shows the depth of human emotion when it comes to rising up for one's beliefs in the face of authority and humankind's drive for liberty and self-determination. And it kicks ass. Watch it now on the Lord Jim website or on YouTube. And in case you haven't already, download Lord Jim's debut EP, Trust Everything, which includes the track, "It's A Revolution" — or just download a single. Have a listen, watch the video and scratch something on my Graffiti Wall or send me feedback noise on the Forum page if you like it — or just "Like It". Look for other Lord Jim video tracks to be posted on YouTube soon, and expect a new Lord Jim single this summer and a new album release in the Fall of 2011. Here comes the new age!

Just a Dash of Salt 

I'd mentioned in my Fan News Flash that I was working on a video for "It's A Revolution", which was due to be completed in March. Yes, that was the March that just marched past us. Fortunately, all deadlines are artificial — except for death, of course. I've been locked away in my secret underground hideout for the past few weeks, though, working on the video and thought I'd issue a brief update on the progress. It's going great. Okay, I'll elaborate. It has been a grueling research effort, as well as an exciting project. I'll not spoil it with detail, but I will give you the gist: It's a visual documentary of revolution throughout history, across continents — all kinds of causes, all manner of expression. In addition to being very entertaining, it shows the depth of human emotion when it comes to rising up for one's beliefs in the face of authority and humankind's drive for liberty and self-determination. It's truly inspiring, and I intend to dedicate it to all people everywhere engaged in their own struggles against tyranny, oppression, and corporate manipulation. Look for it to release on UTube, as well as the Lord Jim website in the next few days. Adios.

The Art of Sellout: A Traveler's Diary 

I recently met up with some friends I hadn't seen in several years, and as usually happens once you get past the superficial topics and settle into a groove, there followed a discussion about occupational fortunes: So how's work going? What are you doing these days? When we'd last seen each other, I was still in advertising as a graphic designer. Since then, however, much had changed — I'd progressed to Creative Director at a small agency, bailed out, started my own design firm, and abandoned the profession in disgust. In describing the sequence of events, it was difficult to avoid the ugly realities of the occupation that drove my decision-making process. Though, perhaps with a bit too much enthusiasm and colorful detail. Oops.

Speaking truth to the indoctrinated has its consequences. Much like the blissfully unaware occupants of The Matrix, many people are unable to see the larger reality we occupy here in the Capitalistic dream world. The unnatural seamlessly blends into the landscape, quietly shape-shifts like shadows, and is simply accepted as is. I forget this sometimes, and in this case, I later learned that the impression I left on my friends was that I'd become embittered with life. They were concerned. How unfortunate, especially since I have, in fact, never felt more optimistic since I eschewed that soul-killing occupation and returned to the pursuit of my music. And how sadly odd as well. After some thought, it was I who felt concern for them.

It has been famously said that the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world that he didn't exist. Likewise, the greatest trick the corporate deities ever pulled off was convincing us all that we should be grateful for the privilege to serve them. The spell the corporate sorcerers have cast upon us with the magic of advertising has truly pervaded our every waking thought — our every slumbering dream, as omnipotent as body odor. Whatever space our eyes and ears may occupy, we're thoroughly pitched and manipulated by way of every form of digestible media, through product placements in movies and television, in cleverly crafted corporate "news" stories, and by way of social leveraging through the indoctrination of "friends" and "followers" as mercenary foot soldiers. Look for the Man Behind the Curtain and there is no one — for it is everyone, we like the curtain as much as the show. After all, how many people do you know who watch the Superbowl for the commercials? You hear them exclaim: "Hey,the ads are better than the actual game!" Right. And who noticed the blind curve that was the landmark between the time we stopped referring to ourselves as people and began calling ourselves "consumers"?

As I'd mentioned (with a slight nervous twitch), I used to work in advertising. It wasn't a giant, high-profile international firm, but it nevertheless contained ample unsavory material — enough needed to peel one's eyes back and forsake the sausage for life. Contrary to the generic presumption ("It must be fun to think up cool stuff all day!"), it is not a shining mecca for creatives, but rather a galley of would-be adventurers who set out to discover new worlds and found themselves in a dank hold chained to the oars, straining to the drumbeat of salesmen. Ramming speed. Don't mistake my metaphor — these are incredibly talented people — they are artists, unwittingly stripped of their rightful title for the cold, simple fact that the term "artist" automatically imparts something other than the mercenary nature of the mission: corporate propaganda.

There's no "Old-Timer's Day" for graphic designers. It's an endeavor particularly suited to the naive optimism and pliability of youth. The trick is to get out before it carves you out, and long before it hollows you out. The same point can be made for the many talented copy writers who must daily deliver the lethal slow poison of relentless, numbing ad blather to their unwritten novels. To be clear, advertising requires a messy process of deconstructing humanity and exploiting the worst in people — their weaknesses, fears, desires. To sell shit for someone else. It's a soul-killing sport for an actual artist. The clients I had the "privilege to serve" included some of the worst of corporate offenders: banking institutions, real estate developers, insurance companies, fast-food chains, defense industries, petroleum companies. Embittered? Really?

Its countless indirect crimes against humanity and the environment aside, the advertising system is largely, if not wholly, to blame for our culture of excess. It's all about expectations and creating an unquenchable thirst, irrespective of everything but sales. It's a system that demands compulsive worship to an infinite linear expansion of consumption — worship in the form of terminal dissatisfaction and eternal accumulation. The machinery is so insidious — so embedded in our daily experience, it is difficult anymore to distinguish it from the context of natural human activities. We are left with few places of refuge where we are free of its cold grasp: in the quiet of wilderness, in the privacy of our thoughts, and in the freedom of self-expression — perhaps not even in that for long.

For that last refuge may be crumbling as well. Consider the commoditization of music, the now ubiquitous music promos as accessories to corporate commercials (think Volkswagen, Apple, etc.), the "branding" of music — oh yes, brands such as Red Bull and Mountain Dew are now taking up where the labels have left off by acting as benevolent "sponsors" to artists. Chalk up another victory for the defiant spirit of independence. The sacred equation is being up-ended. Our only consolation may be that most of us are lousy at math. However, for artists, the problem remains: music is meant to be heard, to be shared, to be experienced. At what point does standing on principle defeat the very purpose of self-expression. Do you buy a one-way ticket on the Black Train if that's the only way from here to there? After all, what good does it do to write a song that you know no one will ever hear? A painting that will be shredded before the pigment dries? A book that will be tossed on the fire the moment the final chapter is penned?

As a similar exercise in futility, I've posed a question to myself: What if by some wild chance I should be contacted by a major corporate entity who is interested in using one of my songs in a major product campaign? (I'll pause for a moment to allow the laughter to die down.) But, what if? Faced with the proposition that with a simple nod and an illegible signature, I would receive broad and instantaneous exposure to millions of viewers — millions of listeners — what would I do? Would I walk open-armed into the grinning jaws of the beast, to be oiled and fitted into its cold precision, to graciously absolve it of all injustices in exchange for the granting of one wish? (Nobody gets three wishes.) Would that really make everything okay? In light of what I know about the sausage factory and what I fear for humanity, what would I do? To be honest, I don't know. It would challenge most every certainty I've claimed — and, in fact, I might not be able to refuse. Either way, it certainly is something to think about on the journey as I pursue my endeavors in music — or not.

Copyright Is a Waste of Time 

Before I get dog-piled with criticism and sensible legal jargon, give me some kicking space to explain and I'll bet a box of donut holes my title will make perfect sense (that's a legal term I'm sure) in the end: copyright is a waste of time. Now that there's something on the line, it gets a bit more interesting, so hang on tight. On the other hand, you may decide reading is a waste of time. Let's see.

First, it all began a few years ago when I got my mitts on a couple boxes of vintage LIFE mags, circa 1955-1962. What a time in the American century. As a reluctant advertising creative slave, I was of course entranced by the old ads — I think 90% of American culture of that time could be surmised by just skimming the magazine ads. Then, ting! I had an idea. I cut up those mags and harvested the ads to create a series of collages condemning consumerism using the very weapons used against the masses -- advertising images. When it was finished I thought it was one of my more successful projects, and when I began to put together Lord Jim and the Trust Everything album, I thought it would be great theme art. So I as the project developed, I used the art to design my web page, my CD cover — even the CD title "Trust Everything" was based on a headline snippet in the collage. It was perfect.

Just before I finalized the CD art for Trust Everything, I thought maybe I'd just have a peek at copyright law and see if I had any reason to worry about any infringement issues on the cover. I was sure at least about the "Fair Use" clause — it was "art" — and since I'd really sliced the ads to bits and pieces in the creation of a new work of art, I was in the clear, but what I wanted to know was this: IF someone should happen to recognize an illustration or photo, and IF that person could tie the image to an advertising agency, and IF that agency were still in business, and IF they wanted to make a stink about it, was I in the clear as far as the expiration date of the copyright?

For those of you who actually understand copyright law, you know by now that I am talking nonsense. All my assertions only prove that a little knowledge truly is a dangerous thing. Let's coast the rest of the way, because, after all, this is about wasting time — or not. After I'd read a little, then a little more, then more, I'd been reading about copyright law for hours and hours — mostly looking for the loophole that would allow me to use my very cool and very convenient art. I could use it if I was daring — chances are no one would challenge a little piece of clip art on a CD no one was likely to buy. Right? And, as I said, it was cool — and it's art — there's an exception for artistic expression issues, I'm sure. I hope. Oh, please, let there be.

The bottom is that if all those IFs were to converge, any defense in the name of "Fair Use" that I may have would not even be heard until I was in court. What? In the meantime, I would be busy responding to an injunction to take down my website, destroy my CDs, recall any CDs that I'd sold to date (which would have been the easiest part), and destroy any versions of the art on my hard drive or elsewhere — including the original collages framed on my wall. Well that sounds like a waste of time.

I concluded that as cool and convenient the collage art was, it would be somewhat less cool and convenient were I to face legal claims over it. In fact, after spending many hours researching the topic, reading blogs, scanning forums, and taking countless naps at the U.S. Copyright Office website, I believe the whole of copyright law can be distilled to a few basics that any artist can easily observe by asking the right, extremely simple questions.

1. Did I create it? All of it? No rip-offs? No samples? Then I'm cool.
2. Did I create it with someone else? Did we agree we that were creating it together and we're good with that? Then its ours and we're cool.
3. Did I create it using something somebody else created? Did they tell me that it was okay to do that? In writing? No? I need to get their permission — in writing. (Yes, including those really, really short samples.)
4. Okay, but what if I create it using other people's stuff, but I have no plans to make it publicly available? What about that, Mr. F-ing Know-it-All? In that case, get your hat, we're going downtown for a few questions — by the way, do you you have a lawyer?

As it turns out, I "allegedly" violated the law the moment I "allegedly" created those "alleged" collages. Because the original copyright owners of those ads had not given me permission to do that (wherever they were 60 years later). That's the letter of the law — and there are big fines — which I can't pay — naturally. There's one more question that an artist can ask of their work — I call it, cleverly enough, Item 5: Do I want to spend my time poring over copyright law, defending my art in court, and responding to injunctions? Or do I want to spend my time working on my art? My answer to that question can be seen on the Lord Jim website and CD cover. It's all newly designed art (less convenient, but still very cool) and I'm moving on to new projects. Pick your battles. Don't waste time on copyright law. Focus on your art. Register your work. Don't eat the glue stick. And stay in school.

And I think someone owes me a box of donut holes.

Official Release of Lord Jim's EP, Trust Everything 

2/26/11: This is it — the official announcement of the official release of Trust Everything.
 Lord Jim's debut EP, fully mastered and ready for FREE DOWNLOAD, is now available for your listening pleasure. The EP features the single, "It's A Revolution" — a crunchy, kickin' song for the times. Also included are Lord Jim's latest single, "Verse in Blood" — dark and cool, with a theme that will make you hate war all over again —  as well as two other tracks, "Pay or Play" and "Lost Days". Lord Jim Fans, of course, got in on the early EP release last week, and I would like to express my appreciation for their patience and support while waiting these long months for the tunes to ripen. Download the singles or the full digital EP now for FREE in advance of the compact disc release, which will be available in the coming weeks, along with a special Fans-only offer for FREE goodies (TBD). These are high-quality 256 kbps MP3 files. Download, have a listen, share, and scratch something on the Graffiti Wall or send me feedback noise on the Forum page if you like it — or just "Like It".

If you haven't already, join the Fan List and get in on exclusive Fan-only offers for FREE Lord Jim goodies. It's very easy — just an email address — and when you download Trust Everything you are automatically made a Fan. As a Fan, you'll also get FREE downloads of all new Lord Jim singles, advance alerts of future CD and video releases, and breaking news about any events, broadcasts or other Lord Jim goodies as they become available — and they will. So join the Fan List and get your FREE DOWNLOAD of the fully mastered Trust Everything digital EP — released just in time for the fall of civilization. Clear the room of any breakables and enjoy.

To the workers who are bravely protesting across the nation, I would like to first thank you for your courage and willingness to stand up against lies and corporate manipulation, and I would like to extend a dedication to all of you in support of this shared cause with the single, "It's A Revolution", available for FREE download — no strings attached. I am truly inspired by your spirit and your fight. Every revolution needs a theme song. Let this be my small contribution to the cause in thanks to all of you whom are so deserving of our gratitude and support.

News and Synths 

First, a quick update on the adventure: I've been in the studio, studiously recording my most recently posted track, "In the Name of God" -- which is actually the name of the song, not an expression of exasperation -- and I've begun the process of mastering the tracks that will appear in the debut Lord Jim CD, Trust Everything. Okay, it's actually an EP, but let's face it, you usually buy the full CD and then only listen to half the songs anyway -- so this will be the good half. I expect to be releasing in mid-December, and if you are on the exclusive Lord Jim Fan List, then you will be entitled to a FREE download of the full CD in it's finished, mastered, and ultra-cool form. So join fast!

On another more ominous note, I felt compelled to issue a warning -- not the kind of warning that involves headaches, nausea, or intestinal bleeding -- more like the watch out for anything that appears suspiciously super-normal kind of warning. I happened to catch a bit on the show 60 Minutes the other night, which, incidentally is not 60 minutes long -- I've timed it and it's way shorter, but still too long for me to watch the whole thing. You'd think that with all the time-saving devices in our lives, we'd be able to scrape up enough time to watch a 60-minute show that isn't even 60 minutes long, but really, who wants to see a bunch of old coots talk slow and interrupt perfectly good commercial air time. Moving on: They had this scientist on the show who was working on developing a fully synthetic form of life -- total "God-lab" created stuff. Funded with millions of dollars by assorted private and corporate donors, he'd grown mold in a petrie dish that was built with synthetic chromosomes, and DNA programmed to act just like mold and to self-replicate. Though I doubt that it's very hard to act like mold (yes, I'm thinking of a room mate I had), the experiment was completely successful -- and completely scary. No, I'm not afraid of mold, unless I find it in my half-eaten Jell-O pudding cup, but I am afraid of what it could lead to. Think of it, they'll be fabricating an entire synthetic race of beings that look just like us -- well, probably better in some cases -- programmed to fit into the organic population with the sole purpose of serving their corporate masters and turning us all into obedient zombies. They'd be called Pudding People! Wait a minute -- they've already done that -- and they're called the U.S. Congress. Damn, I was watching a rerun. Just the same, consider yourselves warned -- and watch your pudding.

What Would Lady Gaga Do? 

The reality has by now settled in: you are not Lady Gaga. In this internet self-marketing, social network-driven, YouTube-hyped netherworld of the music biz, what's a music artist to do in order to get some recognition? More and more I hear "experts" advise new artists to give it away for free. Yeah! Create a "buzz", man! Get it out there! Sure, it must work, because I really remember that insurance company who was handing out free pens at the fair last month. What would you give away for free to get recognized? If you said "pretty much anything", then, yes, you are desperate, your enthusiasm is ordinary, but your thinking is wrong -- and as we all know, wrong thinking is punished.

Before the punishment, though, an extremely abbreviated history of the music biz to make a point. It used to be that an artist struggled and hoped to get noticed by a producer or major label, who would then allow said party to manage all the marketing and sales stuff and pay for production for a meager percentage of the artist's earnings -- say 99%. This, of course, left the artist angry and wondering how they could have sold millions of records and yet have so little to show for their work.

Limp to the present day, the new model dictates that most artists (who are not U2) do all their own marketing and sales, pay for their own production, give away their music for free, and then hope to make it up in merchandise sales. This of course, leaves the artist angry and wondering how they could have done so much work and yet have so little to show for it.

It's easy for an internet marketing dude to say to an unknown artist, "Hey, if you want people to hear your music, just give it away for free -- then people will be listening to you, man! Hyuck! Hyuck! Cuz' after all, they're probably just gonna steal it anyway -- nobody pays for music anymore!" Yeah, that's funny. I heard that people are still shoplifting too, but I don't see Nordstrom throwing open their doors giving away the store for free. They seem to think their products have retained their value just fine, despite the mysterious disappearance of that $250 leather belt last month. Since when does an art thief determine the value of the Picasso he's lifted? That's right, cubed thinking is totally Squaresville, man, but an artist giving away his or her original creation is just wrong thinking. Period.

The world is full of knock-offs, rip-offs and half-assed efforts, all engineered with the intent to sell and realize profit potential. An artist creates something unique -- completely original -- something that can't be anticipated -- a rare thing in a mass-produced consumer-driven world. Why is that not worth something? Why, if you were the Saudi Arabia of that resource (minus that cutting off of hands thing), would you give that away for free? Why should it be expected for free? Just because downloading an MP3 is easier than trying to slip a vinyl LP under your jacket doesn't diminish the value of the creative product -- though the LP theft does earn extra points for style and level of difficulty -- and we can all use extra points.

My point is that when an artist gives away music for free, I think it makes a clear statement: "My art is not worth anything". Well, I disagree. Art has value (except for the crappy art). Creativity has value. The ability to create something original from intuition is truly rare. Getting paid for the product of that talent is right -- and we all know that right thinking is rewarded. Of course, getting rewarded is also truly rare. We can only hope to be so successful that thieves and parasites swarm over what we create, but at the very least, we need to assert that original art has value. Charge for music -- something -- even it is just an email address for your Fan List. Simple respect for your craft demands that you do.

And what about Lady Gaga? What would she do? I was getting to that. Just to preface, though, I hardly think of Lady Gaga as an artist -- she/it is more of a spectacle and fashion vehicle -- a tricked out mannequin -- an amalgam of other similar successful remote-controlled pop culture business machines -- the perfect Frankenstein. However, all flattery aside, Lady Gaga does excel in illustrating the distinction between having a mattress tied to your back and having a mattress tied to your front. It's an important distinction, especially if you're the one doing the tying. If, as an artist questioning whether I should give away my original creative efforts, I look to Lady Gaga to be my moral and capitalistic baseline -- my lowest common denominator of artistic and business ethics -- I would not ask, "What Would Lady Gaga Do?" I know what she would do. The question is, "What Would Lady Gaga Charge?" I suspect it's a number higher than zero.

PS: Lady Gaga, my offer still holds -- join my Fan List and get a FREE download. I'll be checking for you.

A Million Phonies in the Naked City 

So I got to thinking about that exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - the one where there are a naked man and woman (actual models, naked on purpose, not the accidental kind of naked) standing face to face at the entrance, prompting visitors to walk VERY closely between them as they enter. First I was thinking how great it would be to be a fat person. Then I thought about how chilly it must be to stand there - and that if they have the same luck as I have in a restaurant, then the air vent is probably blowing right on them.

And right after, I wondered whether they got undressed there or if they had to get undressed somewhere else in the building, like another floor, and what the walk through the museum might be like from there to the exhibit. Is there small talk? Or do you have to remain in character off stage. What do you wear to work for that kind of job anyway? Maybe a jumpsuit. Then I thought of something more obvious (if that's possible). What's the point?

What's the point of two naked models blocking the entrance to an exhibit? Now to be fair, there was some sport involved, because although the models stand rather close together, you're not allowed to touch them. If you do, they will sound an alert prompting the guard to eject you from the museum (it took me a few times to get the hang of the rules). It's a lot like the game, Operation. So as far as adding an element of gamesmanship to the experience, I will give credit to MOMA. But good sporting aside, what's the point?

Of course, it's "art" - it's its own point. Sure, but what was the artist was trying to achieve by paying two models to stand naked? And this brings me to what I was thinking when I got to thinking: I suppose the artist was trying to show that the naked human body makes some people feel uncomfortable. Did you know that? You'd have known if you saw the two naked people that you had to walk by at the MOMA exhibit.

Now, I know it's an important exhibit by an exceptional artist (Marina Abramović), and I am not qualified to sit in judgement of her work - but I'm being callous for a good reason: I'm trying to get beat up so I can avoid jury duty. That, and I have an objection to the careless practice of pointing at something and declaring it art. I mean, isn't art supposed to make you think?

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