Blog archive – November ’16
4 November 2016

What’s my position?

I’m thinking about The Donald. Excuse me – The President elect.

In this pursuit I’m grateful to my brother John, for getting the ball rolling by pointing me to Brendan O’Neill’s piece in the Spectator “The sneering response to Trump’s victory reveals exactly why he won”, then Cheryl Papasian who shared  Olafur Eliasson’s post ‘The World Sucks’ (- see below) from his amazing website and Declan O’Sullivan for posting ‘Garrison Keillor’s: ‘Done. Over. He’s here. Goodbye’. The Keillor piece was initially in The Washington Post, who are also looking at background to the the same broad thing as Brendan O’Neil & Garrison Keillor.

Olafur Eliasson:

I slept on the Spectator article. In a What’sApp family group (where my brother posted it last night) I answered – ‘I’m not sure whether to feel indignant, or guilty. I can’t help but feel that there’s a difference somehow between being a bit thick – but open minded. And being knowingly ill informed, but stubbornly revelling in that state. Peoples’ reactions to Rodrigo Duterte are a more extreme illustration [of the same thing]. I’m horrified when I read – like I did the other day on Facebook – someone saying he’s a great guy et cetera. I can’t imagine having any respect for someone who believes this. I’m not sure what this reaction says about me.’

I’m prejudiced against people who are knowingly uninterested in the idea of a more complex version of reality – than their position allows to enter the framework of a conversation. The key here is the knowingness. Disingenuous obstinacy is like porn – you know it when you see it – n’est-ce pas?

And, while I completely agree with the idea that the working class are entitled to feel disenfranchised, unfortunately, and completely failing to rationally value a point of view, not its provider – I think Brendan O’Neill’s argument is very limited. Because, I can’t get around the substantial confusion caused by his piece last week defending the Daily Mail & the three judges – 


Which is exactly the kind of thinking that gives the ‘low information’ type people Brendan O’Neill empathises with the shaky justification for having half baked opinions,  – mentally copied & pasted from the Daily Mail. As the judgement itself notes: “It deserves emphasis at the outset that the Court in these proceedings only dealing with a pure question in Law. Nothing we say has any bearing on the question of the merits or demerits of a withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union; nor does it have any bearing on Government policy. Because Government policy is not law.” Isn’t that clear enough?

Free speech is all very well, but shouldn’t it come with a caveat that the freedom extends to justified beliefs not ‘opinions one is entitled to’ aka simplistic lazy reduction?

Rant rant rant… I feel like Howard Beale – which I guess is how a lot of Conservative voters, Brexiters, Corbynistas & Trumpers feel. There’s a theme developing here – about being listened to.

Continuing today’s narrative of repeating my short form responses to the people who shared the various articles included here – my reply to Cheryl, also an artist, about Olafur Eliasson’s The World Sucks’ (above)  was – ‘[I] completely agree. [I] can count on one hand the number of conversations about the broad umbrella term of ‘politics’ I was aware of in two years at 2 different art colleges – and at post grad level – wtf??. And those conversations that were had (at a conference about ‘New Community Design’) caused immense bad feeling for some, courtesy of the rampant quixotic utopianism that some artists felt was a reliable substitute for pragmatic debate.’

In other words, the quantity and quality of political debate in a post grad Uni environment (that I experienced) was virtually nil. Which is odd. And I’m pleased that Olafur feels chastened, but do feel that encouraging political debate in art colleges would be more useful than soul searching.

And thinking about it some more – the indignation of the ‘low information’ people in America would be much easier to accept if it had not coalesseced around a racist, sexist, misogynistic, grossly over litigious, serial bankrupt person with an awful haircut. On the barnet alone, that’s very poor judgement. Bernie Sanders did a good line in new politics, addressing the concerns of millennials & grappling with the idea of a fair minded equitable society. What was wrong with that?

I’m still reading Garrison Keillor.

Back soon.

There’s only one thing lots of people care about. And it isn’t you.

Rather late in the day I have just ordered –


This follows reading “Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there” – in today’s Guardian. Hopefully, The Guardian’s editor Ms. Katharine Viner has read this piece too, and finally recognises Frank’s idea that ” the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station” such was the editorial of the liberal press when talking about Hillary.







Thinking in blue








New stockist –

Pleased to tell that Soap and Rocket has a new stockist in Glasgow – the Good Press bookshop.