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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Who’s Afraid of Modern Art: Vandalism, Video Games, and Fascism

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Whos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue was a painting by abstract painter Barnett Newman.

Its eight feet tall, and eighteen feet wide. It doesnt really exist anymore.

There are actually 4 paintings namedWhos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue.” This is

number 3. Each one is distinctive, but they share some key similarities. Namely,

The title is a reference to Edward Albees play, [Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf].

In Albees play, 4 characters turn their lives inside out over the course of 3 hours

and 68,000 words.

Newmans painting are...well theyre three colors. Really, theyre one color with some

accents.

But despite the simplicity, “Whos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue 3hung in the

Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for several years. Then, one day, it was murdered.

One day in 1986, a dude walked into the Stedelijk, right up to the painting, and just went to

goddamn town. He gashed about 50 feet out of the fabric with a box cutter. Fifty feet.

Thats like if he had just carved out the entire perimeter of the painting.

And for such an attack, he was...well he was put in jail for a while. But also he was roundly

congratulated by more than a few people. Because Red Yellow and Blue had been the subject of

a huge amount of criticism since it first arrived. Before it was slashed, it was the

reason for dozens of angry letters and phone calls to the museum. People said it made them

physically sick.

So someone finally having the balls to do something about it? To some, it made him a

local hero

This so-called vandal should be made the director of modern museums.”

He did what hundreds of thousands of us would have liked to do.”

Red Yellow and Blue 3, the painting, is dead.

But I mean...who cares? Its red, blue, and yellow. I can make those colors in microsoft

paint. This is clearly just another example of the pretentious art world deluding itself

into thinking that childish blobs of paint on a canvas are art. Right?

This is a game called 2:22 AM. Its free on itch.io, made by Alice (@alonkulous on

twitter). In a lot of ways, its incredibly simple. Almost barebones. But theres something

there. The game is very loosely a take on late-night television. You flip through different

scenes,” intercut with grainy footage of showers, or empty intersections, or dandelions,

orIt makes me feel likef

!!!!!!!!!

2:22AM remind me of Red Yellow and Blue. Because, like, what is it?

It sometimes feels like a horror game, but not in a conscious way. Its horror in the

way a nightmare can be horror, where nothing bad happens and everything seems normal but

you know somethings off. Its funny, too. Its a lot of things, but Id be

hard pressed to tell you a theme.

2:22AM isnt married to a specific story, or even a specific sequence of events. Different

playthroughs will give you different scenes with different timings.

Often, theres no way to interact with a scene. Sometimes clicking performs an action,

sometimes it doesnt. Sometimes it gives full freedom of movement. Occasionally, youll

need to accomplish a task. You might need to open a refrigerator. Or dig a grave.

And its a game thats stuck with me. It kinda lurks in the corners of my brain,

in those sorts of memories that could be from early childhood, or a book, or a waking dream

you had during a fever. 2:22AM made me uncomfortable. It made me think about all the other games

I play, how predictable they are, how I understand the rules. It made me wonder what lies beyond

the polished edges of AAA game development.

There arent a lot of places for games like 2:22AM to exist. Itch.io is a kind of haven

for these experimental titles, and because of that, itch.io is a kind of punchline for

a lot of people dismissive of non-traditional gaming experiences. Newer platforms, like

the Epic store, have promised that the titles they sell will be more strictly moderated.

Theyll only sellhigh quality experiences.” This excludes the worst of the worst, like

the rapist-glorifyingrape day.”

But who decides what lives inside or outside the realm ofhigh quality experiences?”

Where do games like 2:22AM fit in?

"We have ten or twelve pictures of art... But we don't have any penises stretched out

on the table"

Thus speaks former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, a remarkable line that I believe

should stand amongst the most famous in our nations history.

Ask not what your country can do for you, four score and seven years ago,

"We have ten or twelve pictures of art... But we don't have any penises stretched out

on the table"

Mr. Helms is not currently a North Carolina senator. Currently, hes toxifying whatever

water source hes buried closest to.

But in his time as a politician, Helms was enamored with preserving the distinction between

true art and...deviance. In that beautiful quote, he was referring specifically towards

Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe was a photographer who took intimate pictures of human subjects.

Embracing men, various acts of homosexuality and sadomasochism, nudes of all shapes and

sizes. And, in fact, a penis stretched out on a table.

Mapplethorpe was a constant source of distress for senator Helms. OlJesse talked about

Mapplethorpe, and his photographs, constantly. (and I mean who wouldnt, have you seen

this thi-) Helms saw the photography as deviant, and actively damaging to society, but he was

also pretty politically canny about his opposition. He didnt try and get the art censored directly-

just by proxy.

Helms stated target was the National Endowment for the Arts, a government program that provided

money to artists and museums around the country. He argued that, while Mapplethorpes art

may be abominable, whats even worse was that the american people were paying for it.

If it even needs to be said, the amount americans contribute towards that endowment is almost

incalculably small.But Helms was a man of principal! He may have supported foreign death

squads, but he was going to save americans from spending that fraction of a cent on something

queer, goddamnit. Its Norman Rockwell and paintings of landscapes or bust.

Helms was pretty talented at whipping people into a frenzy about this. When he talked about

Mapplethorpes deviancy, people showed up in protest at Mapplethorpes exhibits. In

fact, his attacks were so extreme and effective

that a museum in Washington withdrew their future Mapplethorpe showing.

Almost immediately, the museum then received an angry call- from Jesse Helmsoffice.

He demanded to know why they had withdrawn.

Helms wanted more than to curtail funding. He wanted those photos to be shown off.

If you truly thought the art was causing damage to society, wouldnt you try to hide it

from everyone? But he didnt want it to be hidden. He wanted public anger to encourage

displays of outrage, hugely visible protests.

Wanting it to be shown is a statement of intent. Helms didnt care about art. What he did

want was to raise big crowds ofeveryday americans,” each of them representing the

countrys anger atnon-traditional lifestyles.”

I have to conclude they really wanted that exhibition in Washington,” said the museums

director, Christina Orr-Cahal. “So it would fuel their fire.”

I remember the first time I saw them. I walked into a dimly lit room in the Tate Modern,

looked up, and saw this...colossus. And next to it was another one. The room was full of

them, actually, I was drowning between them.

It felt like

*?*?*?*?*?

Mark Rothkos work doesnt fit very well with the typical adjectives we use to describe

art. Is this beautiful? Sure, but its not beautiful. Is this complex? It is actually,

but its not how we think of complex. What is it? Its red and brown in chunky stripes

on an absolutely enormous canvas.

And yet, hooooo boy it makes me feel. Im not unique for getting this sense from Rothko,

his works hang in one of the most prestigious art museums on earth. Theres this gravity

that I, and others, feel when looking at them. Theres a presence.

But Rothkos work, despite its acclaim, is still subversive, still challenging the

ideas of whatartis, and what standards it should be held to. And because of that,

there are people who hate it too.

In 2012, a man painted his own name and a slogan in the corner of one of Rothkos

massive works, “Black and Maroon.” He tagged it. And, according to that man, he

had fairly grand motivations. He said:

Contemporary artists simply produce things which aren't creative in their essence or

spirit...Art has become a business, which appears to serve only the needs of the art

market.”

A contemporary artist frequently used as an example of the mediums creative bankruptcy

is photographer Andres Serrano. My favorite of his works, and probably his most famous,

is of a plastic crucifix submerged in his own urine. Its titledPiss Christ.”

Piss Christ was another one of Jesse Helmsprimary targets. Of Serrano, helms said: “he

is not an artist. He is a jerk. And he is taunting the American people, just as others

are, in terms of Christianity

For what its worth, Serrano says hes a lifelong catholic, that he follows Christ.

Not that it mattered to the catholic fundamentalists who attacked the photo with a hammer.

A man who could also be titledPiss Christis Paul Joseph Watson, a contributor to InfoWars.

Paul has political stances on many things [eating books]. He speaks in front of a large

map, to show his worldliness and breadth of thought.

One thing hes made abundantly clear is he has no time for modern art.

It doesnt enrich our culture. It degrades and cheapens society by exalting the vulgar,

the crass, and the scatalogical. The people promoting it are preventing us from enjoying

modern art made by people with actual talent

Paul argues that modern art is a war on objectivism.

What he keeps coming back to is there isgood art”. We should know it when we see it.

Its this guy, who makes very detailed sculptures. Its not piss christ. Its not Barnett

Newman.

And by claiming that these non-traditional works are good art, what Paul says were

really doing upsetting thenatural meritocracythat art should naturally fall into. And this

isnt just out of ignorance. Everyone that praises this art is doing so because of their

SJW-CUCK ideology, or because theyve been fooled into doubting themselves by these SJW-CUCKS.

Its all a scam, he says.

By convincing the public that these pieces are good, the artistic elite are elevating

the wrong parts of art and riding their deception all the way to the bank.

Pause

Pauls claims that we can objectively judge art often go right along with his assertions

that people creating the bad art are talentless.

(“The people promoting it are preventing us from enjoying modern art made by people

with actual talent”)

Talking aboutskillin reference to modern art isnt unique to Paul, and its

an understandable reservation to have. When looking at a monocolored canvas, its probably

occured to all of us thatI could paint that.” The easy response is that, almost

all art takes significantly more skill than it may appear to.

For instance, Rothko, king of colored rectangles, is still kind of a mystery to much of the

art world. He worked behind closed doors, carefully altering the chemistry of his paints

with egg, glue, resin, formaldehyde. His variations between gloss and matte are incredibly subtle,

and incredibly hard to replicate.

Newmann, similarly, textured his big ol canvases in ways that created a depth of color not

easily reproduced. In fact, we know how hard it is because after Whos Afraid of Red,

Yellow, and Blue 3 was carved up, therestorationefforts spectacularly failed- it seems like

itd be easy to repaint the red part of the piece, but when the man they hired did

exactly that, observers could instantly tell that something was off. Theshimmering

quality of the hue wasnt there, there was no sense of depth anymore. The restoration

tried, and failed, to recreate the delicate techniques of the original. Was it Red, Yellow,

and Blue? Sure. But it wasnt Newman.

But this whole debate, does it require skill or not, is kinda missing the point. While

Im thrilled that Paul thinks that labor is what gives something its value and should

be compensated as such, (COMMIE), reducing art to a linear connection betweenskill

and value fundamentally just turns art into a commodity. Paul talks about how powerful

the sculptures of Ron Mueck are- and I agree! Ive seen this big face, it kicks ass. Muecks

sculptures make me consider humans through a different lens than I usually do, making

me consider my place in the species and building a strange sense of solidarity with these aggressively

real-looking figures.

But if someone told me that Mueck was able to make these sculptures in minutes, that

actually they didnt take much effort at all...

I would still have those experiences! It is absolutely impressive when an artist spends

huge amounts of time perfecting an intricate style, but thats not why I experience them

how I do. Feeling art, getting the !!!! or *?*?*, thats something that happens almost

involuntarily.

Now we get into the second part of his argument. Art has to contribute to society. And whether

Paul knows it or not, hes not the first person to think of this qualification. In

fact, its very closely in alignment with a particular political ideology

SURPRISE ITS FUCKING FASCISM

Okay, a quick disclaimer before we get into this. Art is the most damn subjective thing

there is. If you dont like any of the art Ive talked about in this video, 100% fine.

If you dont like anything thats been made after the year 1800, also fine. I am

not about to tell you that not liking modern art makes you fascist.

However.

Fascism does make strong efforts to bring art under a rigidly bordered, “culturally

appropriatedefinition. Theres this pursuit, in fascism, to make everything of

an aesthetic.” That aesthetic is simultaneously mythologized, made into the history of a culture.

Once that culture is appropriately mythologized, the art that feeds back into it is seen as

contributingto the created society. When, for instance, every artist that the

dominant ideology values for the last thousand years has been a white guy (or portrayed as

such) and creates things that glorify white/colonialist ideals, theres something that starts to

feelnaturalabout that. It creates a fundamental hierarchy.

Any art that pushes back, or simply pursues a different aesthetic, isnt contributing

anything to that mythology anymore. And in fact, when the artists pushing the different

aesthetic are members of groups that have been historically oppressed by the dominant

culture, the art theyre making may feel like an attack on that mythology. Or at least,

thats how it could be framed, if one had certain political motivations.

One place you can see those political motivations is, uhh, Nazis.

Pause

On one hand, you might look at Nazis and see a surprising amount of respect for artists.

Joseph Goebbels called artists “'gottbegnadeten Sinngeber,” ora divinely gifted purveyor

of meaning.” High praise indeed. But as Barbara Fischer notes, as well as this being

characteristic of thebanal and overwrought late romanticismof the Nazis (sick burn),

purveying meaningwas only acceptable when the meaning being purveyed fed back into

the national mythology.

There is little subtlety when looking at the most valued art of the third reich. More interesting

is the fact that, as well as the galleries full of naked boys with swords, the nazis

also showed off the stuff they hated, in a gallery calledDegenerate Art

We now stand in an exhibition that contains only a fraction of what was bought

with the hard-earned savings of the German people and exhibited as art by a large

number of museums all over Germany. All around us you see the monstrous offspring

of insanity, impudence, ineptitude and sheer degeneracy. What this exhibition

offers inspires horror and disgust in us all. - Adolf Ziegler, president of the Reich Chamber

of visual arts

This gallery, full of art removed from other German museums, held such deviants as Henri

Matisse, André Derain, and Oskar Kokoschka. Gaze! If you will! Upon deviance!

If you truly thought the art was causing damage to society, wouldnt you try to hide it

from everyone? But they didnt want it to be hidden. [He wanted public anger to encourage

displays of outrage, hugely visible protests.]]

Sorry, uhh,

This kind of art, the Nazis said, would only be made by insane and degenerate artists.

Specifically, they must be mentally ill to create these kind of abstractions.

Alongside each piece in this exhibit was theextravagantprices they were bought

for, inviting mockery and anger. The gallery made familiar claims- no one, in their right

mind, would enjoy this art. Instead, the fact that these pieces were held in high regard

was indicative of the insidious plots of the left. The art held critiques of the sexual

norms and family values that were so important to Nazi notions of respectability. Modern

art, they said, was also made for theeradication of the last vestiges of racial consciousness.”

New and transgressive styles by black and Jewish artists were indicative of theirdegenerate

intellectualism.”

Eugenics, of course. Through the systematic devaluation of art.

A fun fact about Barnett Newman is hes a Jew! A less fun fact is that, for every

attack on his work because people didnt like Red, many more have been specifically

done by white supremacists.

Whos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue IV was spit on by a man who said it was aperversion

of the German flag.”

Another Newman, a sculpture calledBroken Obelisk,” was spray-painted with Swastikas

in 1979

Last year that same sculpture had white paint poured into its reflecting pool. Scattered

around the vandalism were brochures with the 4Chan-pioneered supremacist campaign, “its

okay to be white.”

Whether they know it or not, the fact that white supremacists hate Newmans art fits

right in with the message he always said he wanted to convey. In 1990, he said of his

art:

One of its implications is its assertion of freedomif [it were read] properly it

would mean the end of all state capitalism and totalitarianism. (1990)

Challenging our preconceived notions of art means challenging our preconceived notions

of institutions, of society. This kind of art doesnt fit into the cultural narrative,

and because of that, it becomes a target. And ultimately, the crime that these artists

commit is the rights biggest fear. They are upsetting the hierarchy. They are taking

themes, experiences, and emotions that dont fit into our nations narrative, and they

are expressing them in a way that is impossible to ignore.

And thus, the rejection of non-traditional forms of art so often boils down to a rejection

of oppressed people within those mediums. Nazis didnt call Kokoschka a degenerate

because of his artistic stylings, they did it because of his public anti-fascist activism.

White supremacists didnt vandalize Newmans work because of the apparent simplicity of

his art, they did it because would be deliberately obtuse, and saying that a half-decade of rape,

bomb, and death threats were because gamers were angry about journalism and a series of

video essays would be-

This is what happens when lefty sjws and cultural marxists seize control of something

and ruin it for everyone else. No wonder gamers are so terrified of them subverting the video

game industry.”

Depression Quest isnt a new sort of game. Text-based adventures have been around for

decades, and descend from tabletop games before anyone was even playing pong. But Depression

Quest is an interesting title, because it uses those implicitly understood rules of

the genre to subvert our expectations.

As you play through the life of a fairly innocuous main character struggling with depression,

options present themself at the bottom of the screen. Your significant other has invited

you to a party- what do you do?

But time and again, the most desirable option, the choice that would helpwinthe game,

is X-ed out. Its clear that the best option would simply be to go to the party and enjoy

yourself, but you cant do that. Every decision is managing compromises, doing things that

you know arent ideal but is all thats available to you at the time. And at the bottom

of the screen, where youd have your character stats, there are just three lines.

You are Depressed

You are not currently seeking a therapist

You are not currently taking medication for depression.

Its a brilliant little experiment, a game that plays with the established power-fantasies

of most roleplaying to put you in a situation where youre undercut by mental health at

almost every turn. Its a challenging game, though not in the traditional sense. There

arent game overs, per se. But in many of the situations, every option feels like a

losing one. Were hard-wired to want to succeed in games like this, and Depression

Quest makes it feel like thats just impossible sometimes.

It makes me feel like

-_-_-_-!

As nice as it would be for Depression Quests legacy to be an innovative title that played

with the tools of the medium, it wo-

You can't play what isn't a game in the first place.

Also I don't need some hipster dangerhair with histrionics to teach me about depression

Not sure if that bitch ever really had depression as much as she had batshit insanity

24/7. Not sure if wild as fuck mood swings over

every single thing counts as "having depression"

Depression question? More like narcissism quest.”

I think the worst thing about the game as that there was no option to just go ahead,

commit suicide, and end it.”

Its BEEN OVERSHADOWED by targeted harassment campaigns at its creator ever since it released.

They say there is no way that this game got coverage and praise on its own merit. Its

a textbook example of the war on objectivism. Anyone who says otherwise, says they had a

direct connection with this game, says that it helped them view their- or others- depression

in a new light, is participating in an effort to force untalented people and destructive

ideas into gaming.

This is what happens when lefty sjws and cultural marxists seize control of something

and ruin it for everyone else

Pause

Patrick Buchanan, living fossil (wait, no that saysPaleoconservative”), proclaimed

that much of modern art wasBarbarism! The Precise word!”

Buchanan was speaking alongside Jesse Helms, and was also attacking the National Endowment

for the Arts. But he cut right to what he felt was the meat if the issue.

Art like this, this barbarism, this dreck, was a direct result of theamorality and

cowardice of art critics.”

This is the heart of it, right here. This is the most naked form of attempting to control

art. And when Buchanan yelledits about ethics in video game journalism!”

(wait shit sorry, thats not right)

When Helms took the stand to sayJournos only gave Gone Home good scores because they

didnt want to be called homophobic” (wait thats not it either)

When people prescribe art to a specific set of qualities, and attack everything that lays

beyond those lines, we have to understand what theyre doing.

Those qualities, they just so happen to perfectly align with the dominant cultural ideology,

dont they? Theyre not showing respect

for

the craft, theyre not trying touphold meaning.”

Theyre enforcing a hierarchy. Theyre attempting to define a cultural narrative.

And above all else, theyre not. Talking. About. Art.

The Description of Who’s Afraid of Modern Art: Vandalism, Video Games, and Fascism