The Week In Culture, September 15- September 22
Oh, the humanity
Never turn your back on civilization. You might miss its glories, or get bit in the ass by it. This was a week full of big ideas, and some very, very small ones. We, of course, are rooting for the big ones.
The cultural abstraction Clint Eastwood single-handedly constructed from our sad history of race during his Republican Convention empty-chair performance has stimulated a conversation far less abstract. There have been sightings of chairs being hung in effigy from trees in Virginia and Texas.
On the other hand, the long national boycott against food chain Chick-fil-A's financial support of anti-gay organizations has paid off. A Chicago LGBT rights group joined forces with a local alderman who said he wouldn't allow the chain in his ward because it was anti-gay, pushing the fast food chain to finally issue a corporate statement decrying intolerance.
The Church of Scientology is miffed about bigotry as well, but considers Vanity Fair to be the source of it. VF's October exposé alleges the church helped Tom Cruise screen potential wives after his second divorce, and is full of tawdry details about the tapes they made during those secret Hollywood auditions, which include tapes of Cruise himself.
Go, L. Ron.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking the redesign of the Tappan Zee Bridge seriously. So seriously, he is seeking the advice of famed architect Richard Meier, Thomas Campbell of the Metropolitan Museum and artist Jeff Koons. It will be interesting to hear what Citizen Koons recommendations. After all, his love of kitsch might give him special insight into our Bridge and Tunnel question. It will no doubt be an extraordinary bridge.
You can't judge a book by its cover. Take for example the textbook from the Ontario College of Art and Design, who couldn't afford the royalties for the actual images their art volume describes, so provides online links to refer to instead. Parents are annoyed: the book is $180. According to the school's dean, they should pipe down. With images the book would have been $800.
That Creative Time convened an open-air confab in Bryant Park between Trevor Paglen and Werner Herzog about the end of our planet and the implications of our debris-filled orbit is surprising enough. That the park was completely packed with a rapt audience offered rosy hopes about the inherent curiosity of humankind.
Go, New York.
And as proof that the biggest ideas are often the smallest ones, Hyperallergic reports that Izhar Gafni has designed a cardboard bike that uses approximately $10 in materials and can support 485 pounds of weight. It could readily put accessible wheels into the hands of the world.