Patterico's Pontifications


Artist Monkeys Around With Banana, Sells For $120,000

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

When an artist runs out of ideas but knows that the privileged beau monde still need to feel like the world looks at them as uniquely original and are willing to pay whatever it takes to make that happen. Or maybe it’s something more simple, like, there really is a sucker born every minute:

A banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 at Miami’s Art Basel this week — it may be the most talked-about artwork at this year’s event. Two of the three editions have been sold, according to Perrotin, the contemporary art gallery behind the work. The last one is expected to go for $150,000.

The controversial piece, called “The Comedian,” was created by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist who had also entertained art lovers from around the globe in 2017 with his “America” 18-carat-gold toilet. However, the $6-million throne was stolen from England’s Blenheim Palace over the summer.

Emmanuel Perrotin, the gallery founder, told CBS News that Maurizio’s work is not just about objects, but about how objects move through the world.

“Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of the New York Post, his work forces us to question how value is placed on material goods,” he said.

He added that “the spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana.”

Irony all the way around:

Some critics argue this piece is a perfect representation of what the art world has become with its gaping wealth inequalities. Others, however, chose not to go as deep and appreciate the simplicity of the art piece.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Democracy Dies In Broad Daylight: Media Should Work Harder To Persuade Americans To Support Impeachment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I say let it die in broad daylight for everyone to see. Margaret Sullivan, former public editor of the New York Times and now a columnist for the Washington Post makes it clear that she supports impeachment (which is her prerogative), and is now calling on members of the media to collectively find a way to *persuade* resistant Americans to get on board the impeachment train. As if persuasion and advocacy is the job of journalists and reporters:

The diplomats have been inspiring, the legal scholars knowledgeable, the politicians predictable.

After endless on-air analysis and written reporting, pundit panels and emergency podcasts, not much has changed.

If anything, weeks into the House of Representatives’ public impeachment hearings, Americans’ positions seem to have hardened on whether President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

So, is the media coverage pointless? Are journalists merely shouting into the void?

Clearly, to Sullivan’s mind, the media should be doing something more than just reporting the news and letting Americans make up their own damn minds. They should be collectively advocating for a specific political position and pushing that onto the masses via media outlets:

[T]hat’s what the nightly newscasts on the three major broadcast networks attempt to do: boil the complex down to a few minutes.

But that audience, although still substantial — more than 20 million people on average per night — certainly doesn’t include everyone. And far too often, those broadcasts fall prey to false equivalency: This side said this, and this side said that, and we don’t want to make anyone mad, so we’ve got to cut to a commercial now.

[H]ere’s the thing: There are facts. There is truth. We do live in a country that abides by laws and a Constitution, and nobody ought to be above them.

Despite the hardened positions, some members of the public are still uncertain. Some are persuadable, and yes, it matters.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the job of American journalism in this moment to get serious about trying to reach these citizens.

Sullivan has tweeted three responses to her post. If these are representative of America at large, then, boy-howdy, we are in trouble:




(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


U.S. Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:51 am

[guest post by Dana]

What’s not to love: unemployment falls, new jobs, wage growth:

The jobs market turned in a stellar performance in November, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 266,000 and the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, according to Labor Department numbers released Friday.

Those totals easily beat the Wall Street consensus. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for solid job growth of 187,000 and saw the unemployment rate holding steady from October’s 3.6%. The decline in November’s jobless rate came amid a corresponding 0.1 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate, to 63.2%.

Stocks opened sharply higher in reaction to the better-than-expected report. Bond yields also surged.

Some details:

[J]ob gains were spread among a multitude of sectors. Health care added 45,000 positions after contributing just 12,000 in October.

Leisure and hospitality increased by 45,000 and professional and business services rose by 31,000; the two sectors respectively are up 219,000 and 278,000 over the past 12 months. Wage gains also were a touch better than expectations.

Average hourly earnings rose by 3.1% from a year ago, while the average workweek held steady at 34.4 hours.


“Today’s job report, more than any other report in recent months, squashed any lingering concerns about an imminent recession in the US economy,” said Gad Levanon, head of the Conference Board’s Labor Market Institute. “Employment growth also shows no signs of slowing further despite the historically low unemployment rate.”

PS: The Dow surged 300 points today.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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