Big names from British art have been at the inaugural Art Party Conference, an alternative political party conference that saw delegates chew
over the state of culture in the UK and throw missiles at a likeness of Education Secretary Michael Gove, as reported by the BBC:
“Where are we going?” called the artist Bob and Roberta Smith. “Scarborough!” came the enthusiastic reply from a couple of hundred artists, students and art teachers. They were in Scarborough already, in fact, marching along on the beach with colourful placards. “What are we going to do when we get there?” called Smith, who is one man but uses both names Bob and Roberta.
“Breakfast!” shouted a voice. “Party!” replied another. The mob had not got the hang of the response Smith has been training them to shout: “To better advocate the arts to government!” They were on their way to the first Art Party Conference, an artists’ alternative to the annual political party conferences that always used to be held in such seaside resorts. An adapted coconut shy has busts of Michael Gove instead of coconuts Organised by artists, the event had an appropriate air of anarchy and oddness, but with serious intent and indignation at its heart. It was, the venerable sculptor Richard Wentworth remarked, like “a cross between a Navajo gathering and an Irish horse fair”. In the main hall, a Salvador Dali impersonator acted as the compere as figures from the arts world mounted a kind of pulpit to deliver short sermons on the state of the arts.
Continue reading “England’s politics: The Art Party”
Class in Britain used to be a relatively simple matter, or at least it used to be treated that way. It came in three flavors — upper, middle and working — and people supposedly knew by some mysterious native sixth sense exactly where they stood, reports today’s New York Times “As the very tall John Cleese declared to the less-tall Ronnie Corbett in the famous 1966 satirical television sketch meant to illustrate class attitudes in Britain — or, possibly, attitudes toward class attitudes — “I look down on him, because I am upper class.
“It is not as easy as all that, obviously. The 2010 election was enlivened at one point by a perfectly serious discussion of whether David Cameron, now the prime minister, counted as upper upper-middle class, or lower upper-middle class. But on Wednesday, along came the BBC, muddying the waters with a whole new set of definitions.
“Having commissioned what it called The Great British Class Survey, an online questionnaire filled out by more than 161,000 people, the BBC concluded that in today’s complicated world, there are now seven different social classes. (“As if three weren’t annoying enough,” a woman named Laura Phelps said on Twitter.) These range from the “elite” at the top, distinguished by money, connections and rarefied cultural interests, to the “precariat” at the bottom, characterized by lack of money, lack of connections and unrarefied cultural interests. Continue reading “Class more than upstairs/downstairs”
“Once, as a reporter, I covered wars, conflicts, civil wars, and even a genocide in places like Vietnam, Angola, Eritrea, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, keeping away from official briefings and listening to the people who were living the war,.” writes Victoria Brittain in a recent edition of Le Monde. “In the years since the Bush administration launched its Global War on Terror, I’ve done the same thing without ever leaving home.
“In the last decade, I didn’t travel to distant refugee camps in Pakistan or destroyed villages in Afghanistan, nor did I spend time in besieged cities like Iraq’s Fallujah or Libya’s Misrata. I stayed in Great Britain. There, my government, in close conjunction with Washington, was pursuing its own version of what, whether anyone cared to say it or not, was essentially a war against Islam. Somehow, by a series of chance events, I found myself inside it, spending time with families transformed into enemies. Continue reading “How one war on terror turned against women”
A large study suggests that people with serious attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are less likely to commit crimes when taking medication. It is widely known within psychiatry that ADHD symptoms can include difficulties with impulse control, which in some cases can lead to law breaking
As reported in today’s New York Times, “The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, examined records of 25,000 people in Sweden to see if those with A.D.H.D. had fewer criminal convictions when taking medication than when they were not. Of 8,000 people whose medication use fluctuated over a three-year period, men were 32 percent less likely and women were 41 percent Continue reading “Medications help prevent those with ADHD from law breaking”