Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Booooo, I say. Boooooo!

Boo. So you're probably wondering what I'm booing. I'll tell you what I'm boo-ing. This. You know what? You don't even have to click on the link, I'll explain:
Pictured: the thing I'm booing.
Can you believe it? No, of course you can't because this is some bullshit. Lemme explain what we're looking at. Remember a couple of months ago when an artist called Kristen Visbal was commissioned to create the Fearless Girl statue? It's a little girl defiantly staring down that stupid Wall Street bull thing. It's kind of great, see?
...and so the pillars of heartless American capitalism
collapsed under the withering stare of this little girl.
Which, ok, no it didn't, but still, cool statue, though...
"Investing, right? So much easier than
real work, and it pays a shit-ton more!"
-Wall Street people
But it's not so great if you're Arturo di Modica, the artist who created Charging Bull. His beef (pun intended, it is after all the lowest form of humor) is that Fearless Girl co-opts the intention behind Charging Bull. That intention being 'aggressive financial optimism and prosperity' (yes, that's lazy wiki-research, but I do have a life you know). So it's a monument to how awesome Wall Street is for making rich people even richer. Awesome. But he does kind of have a point. The little girl standing up to Wall Street does change the perception.

"Hey, de Blasio's got your back!"
-Bill The Mayor de Blasio
I'm not saying I care about Charging Bull and if I were mayor of New York I'd also let 'Fearless Girl' stay right where she is. Hey speaking of:

"Men who don't like women taking up space is exactly why we need Fearless Girl."

-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio  
explaining why Fearless Girl 
 is staying right where she is

"You mean nuance? Yeah, we hate that..."
So back to the dog taking a piss. Alex Gardega, the artist who put it there for three hours this morning-huh? Yeah, it's already been removed by the artist. This whole thing is an emotional roller coaster, isn't it? Anyway Gardega is surely an misogynist prick whose Sketchy Dog, that's what it's called, is a crass, juvenile attack on feminism, right? Yes. But also no. But also, sort of. God, don't you hate it when things are more complicated than black and white?

Above: as far as Gardega's concerned,
Fearless Girl has as much to say as this guy.
Gardega said he put Sketchy Dog there partly to protest Visbal's piece's co-opting of di Modica's work. Still with me? So he was protesting the protest. Again, sort of. He's also commenting on the adoption of Fearless Girl by progressives as a symbol of feminism. The piece was, it turns out, commissioned as an advertisement for an index fund comprised of gender diverse companies and...look, I'm not a business person. Again, I'm just summing up the wikipedia article. The point is that it's basically a billboard.

A billboard inviting investors to invest in companies run by women, but still...investing and capitalism and Wall Street. You know, the people who sent the economy into a free fall and sparked the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression?
Something tells me that when we're long gone and apes inherit the Earth,
they'll point to these guys as a key factor in our civilization's downfall.
Maybe a statue of Arturo di Modica,
looking sad because Fearless Girl
messed up his Charging Bull piece?
Ok good for you Gardega. Way to stick up for the little guy...by appearing to piss all over a little girl. Like, unless he stood next to it and explained Fearless Girl's origins to passers by and that he's standing up for di Modica's artistic expression, he kinda just looks like an asshole. Like, there must have been a more effective way to get his point across. And besides, whoever put Fearless Girl there and for whatever reason, everyone associates Visbal's work with toppling the patriarchy. Is that a good thing? I dunno. But it is a thing. And not even a unique thing. You know Rosie the Riveter?

Pictured: Rosie the Riveter.
(source: pedantry)
No. None of us do. What we know is a Westinghouse ad from the 1940's that we all think of as Rosie the Riveter. The real Rosie the Riveter was invented by the government to promote women moving into the workforce during the war. There was also a kick-ass Normal Rockwell painting by that name, but exactly no one in the world gives a shit about it now because the Westinghouse ad Rosie is famous. If I have a point here, and I may have lost it some way back, it's that it seems like Gardega's piece might have missed the mark, or marks, I guess. The first mark being a commentary on an artist's right to control the context in which their work is displayed. The second mark being that despite Fearless Girl's impact as a feminist work, some dude would like us to remember that it's an ad and we're all stupid for liking it.

Alright, maybe I'm being a jerk to Gardega. I mean, who knows what his true intentions are? In fact, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his aim wasn't to piss all over feminism. Still though, he built a little yappy dog and placed it so it looks like it's taking a leak on a little girl. So you know...boooo.
"I saw a work that many women regarded as inspirational and
empowering and thought to myself, hey, you know what this needs?"
-Alex Gardega

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