Saturday, November 05, 2016


In an email sent last year, the Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović asked Tony Podesta, a lobbyist and art collector, if his brother John, who's now the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, would be able to attend a social gathering at her residence. Abramović wrote:
Dear Tony, I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining? All my love, Marina.
The publication of this email by WikiLeaks set off a wave of hysteria on the right. The Drudge Report headline was "WIKI WICCAN: PODESTA PRACTICES OCCULT MAGIC." John Podesta never actually went to this dinner, and Abramović says it was an ordinary dinner -- but right-wingers seized on the report, making #SpiritCooking the top trending topic on Twitter for a while, all because Abramović has, in fact, done art performances under that name that contains elements you wouldn't see at a typical dinner party:
Abramović’s mention of “Spirit Cooking” appears to refer to her 1996 artwork that consists of a book with recipes “that serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts,” according to the Museum of Modern Art’s gallery label describing it. The recipes range from the implausible to the impossible. One calls for “13,000 grams of jealousy.” Another instructs you to stand “on top of a volcano” and open your mouth “until your tongue becomes flame.” Another -- the one that seems to be generating the most interest among conspiracy theorists -- says to “mix fresh breast milk with fresh sperm milk.”
To you and me, it's obvious that this stuff isn't actually satanic, a word that's being bandied around quite a bit on the right.

It's nuts, but I get it. Abramović does use the word "spirit," and art is meant to make the viewer feel something that transcends the ordinary, and performance art often has aspects of ritual. Now imagine how all that looks to people who don't really believe that you can engage in non-Christian (or maybe non-Judeo-Christian) religious practices and still be an American. Do these people literally believe that what goes on in Abramović's performances is satanic? I imagine they think any ritual that's not (Judeo-)Christian is satanic, or at least is an open invitation to Satan. I'm sure many of them feel the same way about Buddhist and Hinduism and (obviously) Muslim religious practices.

There's another aspect to this that didn't really surface in the hysteria but is an obvious subtext -- one that a smarter racist demagogue than Donald Trump could exploit. In order to understand what I'm getting at, consider the two-minute ad Trump is putting on the air in the presidential campaign's final days, the one the campaign considers his "closing argument":

The ad's message is Trump vs. the global elites. Well, even if you were to leave Satan and the occult out of your description, that dinner party would sound awfully elitist to Trump voters. Hillary Clinton says she understands ordinary Americans, and meanwhile her campaign chair and his lobbyist brother hang out with some highfalutin European artist and God knows how many other international swells. And that artist smears body fluids and calls that art! And then she calls it cooking! When an ordinary American workingman can't afford three square meals a day!

That's what I imagine you'd hear on the campaign trail from someone like George Wallace in his prime. A few people in the mainstream media would probably even say that there was a grain of truth to that argument. But Trump's not bright enough to pull that off.


Feud Turgidson said...

What if the ritual repast promised to involve nonsense incantations & mesmerizing venomous snakes?

Just standard Americana: no problem!

Victor said...

I'm exhausted...

When I was 10, I could see that Nixon ws a lying and conniving scumbag, and wondered why adults couldn't?
Ditto, in '72!
And then we found out about Watergate.
And then, even later, about Nixon's interfering with the Vietnam War peace talks.
How many dead Americans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotions, etc., later?

In '80, Reagan was arguably the dumbest motherfucker to ever run to be POTSUS.
I was 22, and the other "grown-up's" couldn't see through him.
Iran-Contra happened, among other horrors - like tax cuts for the richest, and fucking the poor, etc...

"Papa Doc" Bush was a career political man. I could see it.
Now I'm a grown-up, and I can't convince the others about the stupidity and evil of this man.
Bush pardoned his fellow Iran-Contra conspirators as he left, so that HE wouldn't be on trial along side them.

And then, after 8 years of relative peace and prosperity, "Baby Doc" Bush ran.
He made Reagan look like Thoman fucking Jefferson!
And, at the age of 42, I wondered at the abject stupidity of the people my age, voting for this moronic asshole!
I'll spare everone the list of bad shit that he was responsible for, because, well... I'm tired.

And now, after 8 years of a rational, kind, thoughtful, smart POTUS, we have a self-proclaimed billionaire abject asshole running!
A man who is a Fascist, a demagogue, a racist, a bigot, a xenophobe, a homophobe, and a non-religious imbecile who is, nevertheless, religiously intolerant, and a complete fucking imbecile!
Man, I'm tired of knocking on doors - which I can't do anymore, anyway - and spending hours a day coaxing people on the phone to vote for the Democrat (who, as all politicians do, has her faults).

If people decide to elect t-RUMP, then, GOOD, they fucking deserve him! As for the rest of us, we're completely fucked - as are most of the people who will gladly vote for Hair Fuhrer!


If I could move to another country, I would.
But I can't, because I'm older, disabled, and poor.
So, I'm fucked!
My 84 1/2 year-old mother is fucked!!
And all of my Hillary-supportinG friend's will be fucked!!!
And so will my mother's t-RUMP supporting friends and family, be fucked!!! But, they're too juiced on fear, hatred, and bigotry to know they're being played!!!!!

I don't care anymore.
I really don't.
We, as a country, are too fucking stupid, ignorant, and bigoted, to exist any longer.

Sorry, Ben Franklin, some of us tried, but we had too many fucking stupid, ignorant, and bigoted assholes, to keep the representative democracy you and your cohorts gave us.
You risked you lives for fucking nothng...

I hope that when the time comes, that 'suicide is truly painless...'

Anonymous said...

Whoa Cowboy, hit the smoke, or the bottle. It's going to be all right. I have gone through campaigns since FDR, and have seen how bad Nixon, Reagan and Bush 1,2, were for our country. I think we're going to be ok. Take a deep breath. We need you sane and healthy.

Joey Blau said...

And what he he was athe a satanic ritual? We have no religious test for office! They are always going on about religious freedom.. anyway modern satanist are actually very progressive.

Feud Turgidson said...

Steve M., are you considering putting up a post where we can report our respective predictions for Final Jeopardy, um Tuesday's Election?

I'd like one, because not only would it predict a record outcome of 147 +/- 3 millions voting in total, I'd go on to predict HRC receiving a total of 66 +/- 3 million votes, the second highest total vote count in POTUSal voting history, with a margin of 6 +/- 2% over Trump.

I could also Dare To Go Where Eagles Won't and predict Dems will gain control of the Senate on their own at 50 Dem seats plus the VP tie-breaker, and that the first order of business in the next Congress will be to pass a new set of rules with all cloture votes having to just get to 51.

I might even predict the Ds gaining 19 seats on the Rs in the House - not enough to beat or meet the R total, but enough to allow the former Greatest Speaker Evuh to become the Greatest Shadow Speaker Evuh, but picking off opportunities among the Revoltin' Rs.

PJDurda said...

Well Feud, as they say from your lips to God's ears (if there are such things). I do hope you are correct.

Feud Turgidson said...

PJD, you'd be shocked how often the Big Kahoona checks in with me. But not nearly a majority of time: most of the time, He's drunk as a Palin & zonked out on mind-altering chemicals; no accounting for what He might do then.

Dan Kleiner said...

yeah, you need to drop that judeo-christian shit REAL quick. the repugnant gop christers have ONE use for us members of the tribe, and MOST of us KNOW it; we ALL have to die for their JESUS to come back so they can have their RAPTURE.

the ONLY reason they support ISRAEL. the ONLY reason they put up with us.
god, they HATE us for not seeing how SUPERIOR they are and embracing their 'FAITH'

fuck those evangelicals. fuck them RIGHT in the EAR.

and LEAVE us jews OUT of it.

they wanna JUSTIFY their SHIT, they can do it without US.

we REMEMBER, and MOST of us vote D.