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This Week in Art Crime

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Officials from the Museum of Fine Arts are investigating after they discovered spray painted images of Homer Simpson and other graffiti on the exterior walls of the building, as well as on the base of the statue that greets visitors at the main entrance.

A groundskeeper who asked not to be identified said she was “bummed” when she walked around the art museum on Friday morning and found the graffiti, which included phrases like “tell the truth” and Homer Simpson’s face, on the outside of the Japanese Garden, the front and back entrance to the gallery, as well as on the foundation of a prominent statue, called “Appeal to the Great Spirit,” which depicts a Native American riding atop a horse that welcomes guests coming in from Huntington Avenue. The actual statue was not damaged.

“We have seen little things here and there but nothing to this extent. Behind the [Native American] statue, it’s pretty extensive,” she said, adding that she hadn’t seen anything like this happen in the fours years that she has been managing the property. “I’m bummed, and the community inside is just, like, ‘wow.’ It’s really too bad.”

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Rev. Bud Green, 49, said a group of anarchists “who do stuff like this for the thrill of it” emailed him after he posted about a pro-weed blog on the Fourth of July, asking what they could do to help his “cause.”

The California-based weed booster said he hatched the plan, but “three or four” other guys, who have backgrounds in climbing, carried out the act.

Green said he and his accomplices spoke briefly on the phone to hash out some of the details of the stunt. They decided on the Brooklyn Bridge instead of the Empire State building because security at the skyscraper was too tight, he claims.

He waited more than a week to reveal himself because the group at first planned to climb the bridge a second time and replace the white flags with ones featuring a hemp leaf, Green claims.

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Jibaozhai Museum

A museum in China has a problem. It seems to have a few fakes in its vast collection. Well, as many as 40,000. Everything it owns may be nothing more than a mass of crude forgeries.

Wei Yingjun, a consultant to the Jibaozhai Museum in Jizhou, about 150 miles south of Beijing, insists the situation is not that bad. He is “quite positive” that 80 or even more pieces out of tens of thousands in the museum are authentic.

In spite of this sterling defence, regional authorities in Hebei province have closed the museum amid a national scandal

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An Open Letter from Our Editor in Chief

Since its inception five years ago, The New Inquiry has published everything — blogs, essays, features, supplements, and magazines — for free. No paywalls, no ads, and no-string pulling benefactors. And now, we are presented with a unique opportunity that will help us continue it that way.

If we can reach $25,000 in July donations, an anonymous donor has vowed to match our efforts. This would mean a $50,000 operating budget dedicated to paying our contributors a fee more commensurate with their talents, revamping our website and magazine, and ensuring our independence to explore all projects and platforms for the benefit of our readers.

We’re approaching the finish line: With just two days remaining, we are close to goal and so grateful to our supporters. Still, we are not there yet. In these last hours, donations — $5, $10, $20, or any amount of your choice — will be doubled, but your support will echo far beyond any measure. We’re counting on you to help us prove that there’s still a place for online writing untethered to traffic-driving algorithms and audience metrics. The New Inquiry is a rare project, help us keep it a sustainable one.

Donate here. 

Sincerely yours,
Ayesha A. Siddiqi
Editor in Chief
The New Inquiry

 

Un(der)seen Cinema: Mind Control Made Easy

Art film or weaponized instructional video? Mind Control Made Easy (or how to become a cult leader), by Carey Burtt, reminds us of Foucault’s description of Anti-Oedipus in the book’s preface: the film is like an art-video anti-fascist manual, teaching you through critique and reproduction the techniques of cult think. Or maybe, like the IDF “deploying” Deleuze and Guattari to turn Palestine into a “smooth space,” you could use the movie to be the L. Ron Hubbard you want to see in the world.

 

Sunday Reading

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Jacqui Shine:

sunday-spotlightJacob Remes:

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Kitabet:

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Reclaim UC:

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/kaw·reɪdʒ/:

sunday-spotlightBint Battuta:

 

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Kerim Friedman:

sunday-spotlightAnd, poached from Corey Robin’s “A Gaza Breviary” in its entirety, because he said I could:

1. One benefit of the carnage in Gaza is that it has given people who’ve never said a word about the carnage in Syria an impetus to say a word about the carnage in Syria.

2. On Friday night, there was a fundraiser for “Friends of the IDF” at a synagogue on the Upper West Side. On Shabbat. Which means cessation, stopping.

3. “It’s all but inevitable…that civilians will die.” A law professor defends Israel’s actions in Gaza.

4. Next time someone tells you that an academic boycott is a bad idea because Israeli universities are bastions of dissent against the Israeli state, Tel Aviv University is giving students who serve in the attack on Gaza one year of free tuition.

“Tel Aviv University embraces and supports all the security forces who are working to restore quiet and security to Israel, including its students and employees called up to reserve duty,” the institution says in 24 July statement on its official website.

Meanwhile, a notice circulated at Hebrew University announces a collection for goods including hygiene products, snacks and cigarettes “for the soldiers at the front according to the demand reported by the IDF [Israeli army] units.”

The notice, signed by the university along with its academic staff committee and the official student union, says “we have opened collection centers on all four campuses.”

5. The world’s greatest expert on overdoing it says that Israel is overdoing it.

6. If only the Palestinians had revolted in April. Then everyone would be supporting this Arab Spring, amirite?

7. Fifty Israeli reservists write against the Israeli way of war:

To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

8. An oldie but a goodie. Harvard scholar Ruth Wisse writes, “Palestinian Arabs, people who breed and bleed and advertise their misery.” Not for nothing is she the “Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish and professor of comparative literature.”

9. All those liberal journos and commentators who are silent on Gaza: you can almost hear them praying for the GOP to launch a new war against Social Security so that we can all get back to business.

10. A group of Jews occupy the office of Friends of the IDF in NYC. Read a list of the Gaza dead killed by the Israelis. A counter-terror unit of the NYPD  shows up and arrests nine of these righteous men and women. There is balm in Gilead.

11. Say what you will about Mia Farrow, she’s been tweeting and retweeting messages like this: “Tell the U.S. to stop arming Israel.” And kudos to the seven other Hollywood celebrities who’ve spoken out on Gaza. Without retracting their statements, as Rihanna did.

12. James Baldwin in 1979, in response to Jimmy Carter’s firing of Andrew Young after Young met with the PLO at the UN:

But the state of Israel was not created for the salvation of the Jews; it was created for the salvation of Western interests. This is what is becoming clear (I must say it was always clear to me). The Palestinians have been paying for the British colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’ and for Europe’s guilty Christian conscience for more than thirty years.

13. The literal othering of Palestine: Washington Post subhead reads, “13 Israeli soldiers, 70 others killed.”

14. If Netanyahu really believes that Hamas’s strategy is to amass “telegenically-dead Palestinians” and display them, why is he being so obliging in his cooperation?

15. “The United Nations estimates that roughly 80 percent of the casualties are civilians, many of them children.” Let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that the Israelis aren’t targeting civilians. If you’re getting numbers like these, does it really matter?

16. Nicholas Kristof writes, “Hamas sometimes seems to have more support on certain college campuses in America or Europe than within Gaza.” In support of his claim about support for Hamas on American college campuses, Kristof links to a Washington Post article about the American Studies Association vote for BDS. In which the word Hamas appears…never. Not even in the comments. In support of his claim about European support for Hamas, Kristof links to a New York Times article about Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott of Israel. In which the word Hamas appears…never.

17. When it comes to opposing Israel, everyone always has a better tactic. So many better tactics: it’s a wonder we haven’t won yet.

18. The Senate passes a unanimous resolution—100-0—in support of Israel. (Libertarian hero of the anti-imperialist right/left Rand Paul complains that the resolution isn’t strong enough.) Next time an opponent of BDS tells you that we should be focusing instead on cutting off US aid to Israel, ask them how they plan to scale that 100% wall.

19. I get an email from some religious Zionist group called American Friends of the IDF Rabbinate asking for a donation to support “the necessary funding for the religious needs of the combat soldiers.” After all the murder and mayhem those soldiers have committed in Gaza, I can see why their “religious needs” are great.

20. It’s July 18. First tweet I read this morning is from The New Republic: “‘Israel is acting strategically, not emotionally, in Gaza,’ writes Leon Wieseltier.” Second tweet I read this morning is from Alex Kane: “Israeli military analyst: Israeli tanks ‘received an order to open fire at anything that moved.’”

21. A reporter at Vox tweets this: “Israel-Palestine conflict has killed 14 times more Palestinians than Israelis since 2000.” David Frum responds thus: “Never enough dead Jews for some.”

22. Thirty-three Israeli academics condemn the bombing of Gaza. Thirty-three. That’s why we’re not supposed to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Because of these righteous 33. The logic is almost biblical.

23. “It is not just the normal anxiety of airstrikes in a crowded city.” Imagine that phrase—the normal anxiety of airstrikes in a crowded city—applied to any urban center in the United States.

24. Gideon Levy on “our wretched Jewish state“:

The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe….The Jewish state, which Israel insists the Palestinians recognize, must first recognize itself.

25. Israeli artist Amir Schiby commemorates the Israeli killing of four Palestinian children playing on a beach in Gaza.

 

 

 

Terrifying Robot Update: Friday, July 25, 2014

Don’t worry, there’s definitely no reason to be scared about a robot hand with lightning fast reflexes it’s totally chill no one will integrate this into some kind of warrior robot or soldier robot or robot cop no no it will only be used to catch foul balls at the baseball game buy me some peanut and cracker jack I’m definitely not imagining these fingers closing around my neck

Isn’t that nice it kinda has a little happy face with those headlights and definitely it isn’t just an incredibly powerful and accurate robot jackhammer

You gotta be fucking kidding me

When people confidently announce that once robots come for our jobs, we’ll find something else to do like we always did, they are drawing from a very short history. The truth is, there’s only been one-and-a-three-quarters of a machine age—we are close to concluding the second one—we are moving into the third one.

And there is probably no fourth one.

No shit. They’re gonna kill us all.

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