Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Yeehaw Center For Fancy Learnin'

This title has nothing to do with this short essay. I just came up with it and it tickled me. So currently I am writing up art grant proposals. What a fucking pain in the ass. As someone who has always abhorred paperwork, you can imagine what a fun time I'm having. But, it's a necessity because getting into art shows is becoming increasingly difficult. Way too much content out there.

A lot of the stuff I see the students making at the college is a good example. There is some cool stuff being made, but, as Theodore Sturgeon once said "90% is crap". Someone once responded that, well that means 10% is sublime. Nope. Maybe 1% is sublime, and that would be only with a fat-tailed Pareto distribution. Following a Gaussian distribution would put sublimity at .01%.

So, a lot of the stuff I see getting cranked out here are just really horribly awkward things - shambling grotesques that should never have been summoned into existence. They really should be destroyed by fire. The destruction of some of them requires using all four classical elements.

I, of course, am in no position to say anything in the way that be viewed as ridicule.

The reasons are twofold. 1) is that a lot of my stuff is without a doubt crappy (see the 90% rule above), and 2) as an educator, I am kind of ethically bound to find a more diplomatic and constructive route to critique the stuff. In fact, rarely  - unlike the naked brutality of graduate-and-above level critiques - is anything ever made fun of... at least not in front of the student.

There's actually a third reason. I've mentioned before that I am autistic. It's not an excuse for anything. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. After all, I've had a good 56 years to come up with coping strategies, and I'm still around and semi-successful at navigating our weird society.

But as someone who does not instinctively and effortlessly pick up on social cues, I've had more than my fair share of ridicule. I'm not saying this to garner sympathy, I'm just stating it as a matter of course. What I am saying is that I can understand and empathize with how ridicule goes down.

(Actually, one of my past coping strategies for ridicule is straight out of the Untouchables, Sean Connery's Malone: "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way!" You give me a shot to the jaw, I'll try to send you into orbit. I'm getting much better at that, though, and especially in the last ten years. I've to learned to shrug it off and ignore belligerent assholes. Besides, I've found out that sometimes that belligerency is supposed to be in good humor).

So anyway, I try to be a nice guy, because 1) As an educator, I'm paid to be nice, and 2) I'd like to be treated the same way, so you try to lead by example. Hmm. Got to work on that behind the back thing now, but that's also part of our weird society.


  1. While reading your opening lines of this essay, I thought 'bummer' need to be nice...then of course you went to nice so I like where your essay ended...Thank you (but I knew you would get there eventually)...