Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Thirst for Bytes

Argh argh argh. Doing phone support for my mother (and other people I know) on computer things really sucks - apparently her PC is fairly hosed in that Windows won't finish booting up, and given that it's one of her larger means of socialisation and she doesn't know squat about technology, ... I really hate that. It's sad that computers are so complicated - I wish I could just install some AtEase-equivalent for Windows (I imagine AtEase doesn't even exist anymore) on a locked down system there that would not give her the ability to do anything even slightly dangerous (like installing any software). Whatever happened to all these plans for appliance/network computers?

Some time ago, I mentioned Pollock, a film covering Jackson Pollock through the time of being "discovered" until his death. I think I mentioned the discussion boards on Pollock in passing - their comments range from insightful to stupid, with some amusing content as well. The more amusing ones ignore the film and focus on judging the person (reminding me of a comment on a Billy Bragg song I saw sometime back where some yahoo libertarian decided to use it as a jumping off point to talk about his philosophy, ignoring the song entirely - ego, always the ego..). To preserve a representative comment for discussion:

  • There are many good artists out there who are never given the credit they have earned, and no doubt, some of them are just as original and as brilliant as Jackson Pollock was thought to be. It doesn't give them the right to behave in the way he was portrayed as behaving throughout this movie. Was it an accurate portrayal or just the usual stereotyping of the crazy, self-absorbed, ego maniacal genius? Who knows. But if it was more or less true, then Pollock was someone I'm glad I never met. In fact, I'm embarrassed for all artists that some of us use the immense pressures we sometimes face as an excuse to act out so despicably. Little whiners like Sean Penn seem to think it makes them interesting, which it most certainly shouldn't. Poor little genius, he didn't get recognition right away. Awww, isn't that sad. And poor little genius, he had to stomach all those phonies at first condemning him and then oooing and aaahing over his efforts when they understood so little about it and him. Yeah, my heart bleeds. At least they admired what you created and made you a rich man for it. You should have counted your blessings instead of squandering them. When the clown really lost my guarded sympathy was the way he treated that good woman who really went to bat for him and basically took care of him as if she were his nanny instead of his wife. Ending up a thoroughly unrepentant drunk again, he gets himself a delectable little number who seems to be a pretty nice girl, herself, and the hell with what his long-suffering wife thinks about it. He gets bombed, as per usual, and attempts to expiate his sense of guilt and shame by taking her out for what he apparently intended to be their last ride, killing himself and her friend, but sparing HER life, at least. No wonder most people think artists are insane. Was Pollock really that much of a jerk? It's too bad he is thought to have been a genius. I'd call him more of a spoiled brat who thought only of himself.

Ignoring the troll-esque flavour of the writing, is it appropriate? I think it serves a social value to discuss the value-significance of events around us, both to keep values as part of an open social dialogue and to have good conversation, although in the case of art of this sort, I think we don't have the ability to easily judge the person because the portrayal had to provide so much otherwise missing flavour for the man. This relegates judging Jackson Pollock (man) by Pollock (film) more of a theoretical than actual exercise, but then most historical people who we're inclined to judge are in a similar boat, and sometimes we can tell enough by historical fact of certain choices people made that we can place upper or lower bounds for how we think of them (if we need a holistic judgement, anyhow). I'd rather have general discussion of the man happen someplace other than a discussion board for the film, but keeping too strictly on-topic prevents some conversations from easily happening. It also seems fair to me to respond to the film through a review if it was used to glorify someone particularly problematic (especially as that may begin to have societal-steering effects), but such things should ideally be done in a more direct, self-aware way than the above.

What is it with the style in that review anyhow? I would guess it's designed for maximal catharsis - it seems like it would be an emotional release to phrase things that way, at least partly because the words are designed to be like waving a red flag in front of anyone who might disagree with him (or maybe even people who agree). It gets increasingly surreal when two people, both with that style, start digging into each other over some disagreement..

Today's been a much lazier day than I'd expected. Pretty much nothing's getting done, and I'm ok with that.


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