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2000-2010: The era of disillusionment

Every decade has a certain "mood" or atmosphere to it. The 70's and 80s were dominated by peace-loving, kitty-petting Hippies. Though, a lot of good things happened last decade, I think 2000-2010 was the era of disillusionment because of 9/11 attacks which is the biggest event of the last decade.

by Anonymousreply 2312/01/2012

The 80s were dominated by hippies? I was born in 1980 and even I know that isn't even remotely accurate.

by Anonymousreply 109/13/2012

To make a simplistic summary of decades, I'm more inclined to think of the 70's as the tail end of hippies and the start of punk, the 80's as punk and the start of disillusionment; there were various movements that were quickly assimilated and marketed in the 80's. 2000-2010 sure was bland and fake, but the seeds were sown much earlier when corporations realised that rebellion could be marketed and sanitised.

Oh, and Valerie Solanas had it right about so many hippies.

by Anonymousreply 209/13/2012

I've embraced most new technology because stasis isn't really an option, but at the same time I think the speed everything is expected to run at has led to greater disillusionment. Tech is everywhere, business has more 'team building' shit and recruitment techniques that basically mean a degree can be worthless if you don't know how to jump through hoops to be their "kind of person", there's a "premium" version of everything, and the access to so much information online means everyone can pick and choose to construct their own reality.

by Anonymousreply 309/13/2012

Don't you mean... the era of social media?

by Anonymousreply 409/13/2012

I'd say 2000-present.

And if Mitt gets elected 2000-at least 2016.

by Anonymousreply 509/13/2012

(AP) Was it only a decade ago that a blackberry was a mere summer fruit? That green was, well, a color, and reality TV was that one show sandwiched between music videos on MTV?

There were, of course, huge political and social upheavals that roiled our world in the past decade. But there were also the gradual lifestyle changes that you don't always notice when they're happening — kind of like watching a child grow older. Here's an alphabetical look at 50 things that changed our lives since the beginning of the millennium:

AIRPORTS: Remember when you didn't have to take your shoes off before getting on a plane? Remember when you could bring a bottled drink on board? Terrorism changed all that.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: From acupuncture to herbal supplements to alternative ways of treating cancer, alternative medicine became more mainstream than ever.

APPS: There's an app for that! The phrase comes from Apple iPhone advertising, but could apply to the entire decade's gadget explosion, from laptops to GPS systems (want your car to give you directions to Mom's house in Chinese, or by a Frenchwoman named Virginie? There was an app for that.)

AARP cards ... for boomers! Some prominent Americans turned 50 this decade: Madonna. Prince. Ellen DeGeneres. The Smurfs. Michael Jackson — who also died at 50. And some prominent "early boomers" turned 60: Bruce Springsteen and Meryl Streep, for example. AGING: Nobody seemed to look their age anymore: Clothes for 50-year-old women started looking more like clothes for 18-year-olds, tweens looked more like teens, long hair was popular for all ages, and in many ways women's fashion seemed to morph into one single age group.

BLOG: I blog, you blog, he blogs ... How did we spend our time before blogging? There are more than 100 million of these Web logs out there in cyberspace.

BLACKBERRIES: Considered essential by corporate CEOs and moms planning playdates. Introduced in 2002, the smartphone version is now used by more than 28 million people, according to its maker, Research In Motion Ltd.

BOOK CLUBS: Thanks in part to Oprah Winfrey, the decade saw not only a profusion in book discussion clubs but a growing reliance on them by publishers.

CABLE: Cable 24-hour news made the evening network news seem quaint, cable dramas reaped Emmys ... and at decade's end, even Oprah was making the move to cable.

CAMERAS: Remember those trips to get film developed? Nope? Even your grandmother has a digital camera, and she's probably e-mailing you photos right now or uploading them to a photo-sharing site.

CELEBRITY CULTURE: Celebrity magazines fed a growing obsession with celebrities and the everyday minutiae of their lives. By decade's end, we were still obsessed, though Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie had ceded many covers to reality stars like Jon and Kate Gosselin. Celebrity Web sites like TMZ took hold mid-decade.

CELL PHONES: Cell phones are now used by more than 85 percent of the U.S. population and for some have replaced land lines entirely. On the downside, they've made cheating on a spouse more difficult — just ask Tiger Woods.

CHEFS: Chefs are hot! The Food Network, whose viewership tripled this decade, reeled in viewers with high-voltage personalities like Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentis. Meryl Streep starred in a cinematic pean to the late Julia Child.

CONNECTIVITY: As in, we're all expected to be connected, wirelessly, all the time. Boss e-mails you on a Sunday? Better answer, unless you're off in Antarctica — you have no excuse.

by Anonymousreply 609/15/2012

COUGARS: A new TV series called "Cougar Town" focuses on a phenomenon that gained its name this decade: women dating younger men.

CROCS: Those ubiquitous plastic clogs debuted in 2002 and became the shoes you loved to hate. Kids love 'em, but there are Web groups dedicated to their destruction. Not to be deterred: First lady Michelle Obama, who wore them on vacation in 2009.

DANCING: Dancing never went out of style, but this decade saw the huge popularity of dancing contests like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing With the Stars."

DATING: Dating was transformed like everything else by Internet sites, rendering other ways of meeting people obsolete. And it wasn't just the territory of the relatively young: Seniors found love online, too.

DVRs: Suddenly, DVR-ing is a verb, and what it means is this: There's no reason to know anymore what channel your program is on, and what time.

EMBARRASSMENT ENTERTAINMENT: Embarrassment has always been part of comedy — you need only think of Don Rickles — but this is the decade of cringe-worthy Larry David in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Ricky Gervais, and of course Sacha Baron Cohen, who as Borat and Bruno shamed perhaps the entire country.

FACEBOOK: Can you believe this social networking site was once limited only to Harvard students? Now it's a time-sucking obsession for more than 300 million users globally and a whole new form of social etiquette: Who to friend on Facebook?

FAT: This was the decade that fat became the enemy of the state. New York City banned trans fats, and Alabama — second in national obesity rankings — introduced a tax on overweight state workers.

FOODIE: It's not just that guy in the White House who liked arugula — this was the decade of the foodie, when we all developed gourmet palates. Even a burger became a gourmet item — as in Daniel Boulud's truffle burger, stuffed with foie gras and short ribs.

GOING GREEN: From the kind of light bulbs we use to the kind of shopping bags we carry to the cars we drive, "going green" took hold this decade. Now, it's not strange to hear a schoolkid tell a parent to use a cloth grocery bag.

GOOGLE: This was the decade that Google became a part of our brain function. You know that guy who was in that movie — when was it? Just Google it.

GPS: We can't get lost anymore — or at least it's pretty hard, with the ubiquitous GPS systems. But you'd better type in your location carefully: One couple made a 400-mile mistake this year by typing "Carpi" rather than "Capri."

HELICOPTER PARENTING: Translation: helicopters hover, and so do many parents. After years of obsessive attention to safety and achievement of the youngest children, some said a backlash was under way.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD: An explosion in Internet use led to an overload of information about practically everything. It's at our fingertips, but is it accurate? Some call it part of a larger phenomenon, namely ...

INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Otherwise known as being able to get anything you want within an instant. Often referred to as a theme of the decade.

IPODS: An icon of the digital age, it's hard to believe this portable media player was first launched in 2001. Six years later the 100 millionth iPod was sold.

LIFE COACHES: In the aughts, there's a coach for everything! So why not life itself? Some say life coaches are merely therapists without the license or regulations.

MUSICALS: They've been around forever, but this decade musicals came back to film, starting with "Moulin Rouge" and "Chicago." But for kids, it was Disney's extremely successful "High School Musical" franchise — three movies and counting — that brought back the musical magic.

NETFLIX: The DVD by mail service, established in 1997, announced its two-billionth DVD delivery this year. For many, those discs on top of the TV are just one more thing to procrastinate over.

by Anonymousreply 709/15/2012

ORGANIC: Americans rushed to fill their grocery carts with organic food, making it big business — now a $21 billion industry, up from $3.6 billion in 1997. At decade's end, Michelle Obama planted the first White House organic vegetable garden.

PREGNANCY CHIC: If you've got it, flaunt it: That was the new ethos of the pregnancy experience, with chic clothes that emphasized the bulging belly, personal pregnancy photos, and endless coverage of celebrity pregnancies.

REALITY TV: As a nation, we became addicted to reality TV, from the feuding Gosselins of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" to "American Idol" to "Project Runway." At decade's end, the Heenes of Balloon Boy fame and the Salahis of gatecrashing fame give reality TV some unwanted attention.

RECESSION CHIC: Fashion skewed to more severe styles — and much black — as so-called "recession chic" took hold in the latter part of the decade.

RETRO CHIC: Once you forget the smoking, the racism, the sexism and the homophobia, the early '60s depicted by the AMC series "Mad Men" sure looked good. The swinging Madison Avenue ad men make neckties cool again.

SEXTING: Combine texting with a cell phone's camera function and you get this parental nightmare. A survey from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 15 percent of teens ages 12-17 with a cell phone had received sexually suggestive images or videos.

STARBUCKS: It's a cliche that there's one on every block, but sometimes it seemed like it — and millions now consider it normal to spend $4 or so on a coffee drink in the morning, perhaps a venti half-caf half-decaf vanilla latte with an extra shot.

TATTOOS: It started innocently enough — maybe a butterfly on the shoulder or a tribal symbol on the bicep. A few characters from the Chinese alphabet later it seemed any hipster who really meant it had a full sleeve of tattoos. The trend extended to middle-aged moms and even tween idol Miley Cyrus.

TEXTING: R u still rding this sty? Hope u r. This is the decade we start communicating in the shorthand of text messages. Get used to it: E-mail is so '00s.

TV SCREENS: Television screens became bigger and flatter, making some ordinary living rooms and dens the equivalent of big-studio screening rooms. At the same time, though, people were watching movies and videos on the tiniest screens imaginable — on their iPods other mobile devices.

TWEEN CULTURE: Tweens, especially girls, became an economic force to be reckoned with, buying everything from clothes to electronic devices to music to concert tickets.

TWITTER: The new social network introduced tweets, retweets, follows and trending topics — as long as it fit in 140 characters.

UGGS: Not since the Croc (see above) has functional footwear created such a frenzy. The fur-lined snowboots were everywhere, no matter the climate. Los Angelenos insisted on wearing them with shorts.

WII: In a sea of ever-more-sophisticated video games, this simple console became the decade's breakout hit by appealing to the non-gaming masses. Wiis became a center of family gaming, home fitness and even senior socializing.

WIKIPEDIA: A boon to lazy students everywhere, the open-source encyclopedia used the masses to police its entries and keep them (mostly) (sometimes) accurate.

YOGA: Madonna, Gwyneth and other bendy celebrities brought the eastern practice mainstream. By the end of the decade, even Grandma could do downward-facing dogs on her Wii Fit.

YOUTUBE: Let's end this list and go kill some time by watching ... YouTube videos! The video-sharing site was born in 2005. Political candidates in 2008 even had their on YouTube channels. The most popular video yet: "Charlie Bit My Finger," in which baby Charlie bites the finger of his brother Harry.

GOT MORE? Tweet them to us at AP—Lifestyles

by Anonymousreply 809/15/2012

Reading that list is in some ways incredible depressing. Lifestyle Coaches in particular.

Book Clubs have been around forever though. Oprah just pushed it into overdrive.

by Anonymousreply 909/15/2012

The decade 2000-2010 as the Era of Fundamentalism.

by Anonymousreply 1009/15/2012

Maybe for the US and the Middle East, r10.

by Anonymousreply 1109/15/2012


by Anonymousreply 1209/15/2012

Is it over already? How about the decade that never was..

by Anonymousreply 1309/15/2012

From a lecture I give: 70s- ME decade (people finding themselves)- hippies, cults, women's rights, gay rights, etc

80's- GIMME decade (rampant consumerism) as seen in Wall Street", "Less Than Zero", even "Scarface"

90's- NOT ME decade (highlighted by Clinton Affair)- hair splitting to avoid the truth

00's ABOUT ME decade social networking, enabling parents, changing the truth to appear better (Ryan, Romney)

by Anonymousreply 1409/15/2012

To that add: JERSEY SHORE and TEEN MOM

by Anonymousreply 1509/15/2012

You define the entire 1990s by blowjobs, R14? I mean, I do too, but I had a lot more of them back then. You must be a crappy lecturer; that was the decade we slowed down AIDS and the Internet came of age.

by Anonymousreply 1609/15/2012

In LA, last week we had an interesting bank robbery / car chase. The cops were on their tails soon after the heist, but they broke for home in South LA. Once there, they began to throw the money out of the back window of their stolen SUV, originally to throw off the cops by blocking them with the people running into the street for cash. Later we learned that they had called their friends and told then to stand outside their houses and grab the cash when they threw it.

Soon, they were throwing it at every corner, and one lady said that her neighborhood finally got its stimulus.

America after the 2000s...

by Anonymousreply 1709/15/2012

The Golden Age of Mediocrity

With so Many Artistic Geniuses Among Us, Why Is Most of Their Work so Disposable?

By Patrick J. Kiger

LA Times Magazine

Patrick J. Kiger last wrote for the magazine about the foibles of outsiders in Hollywood.

March 7, 2004

English writer W. Somerset Maugham published a 1949 essay in which he pondered whether Dostoevski or El Greco was the greater artistic genius. He reluctantly came down on the side of El Greco after deciding that 16th century Spain was a more fertile environment for the flowering of inspiration than czarist Russia. One can only speculate about the precise number of revolutions per minute that Maugham could achieve in his crypt were he somehow to gaze upon the cover of the July 24, 2003, issue of Rolling Stone magazine that proclaimed "The Genius of Eminem."

Some people today find it perplexing that the author of "Crime and Punishment" and the painter of "Adoration of the Shepherds" are being jostled for a spot among the pantheon of immortals by the composer of such couplets as "I still gotta lot of growin' up to do/ I still gotta whole lot of throwin' up to spew" and "Brain damage / I got brain damage." But hey, times have changed. And so has our culture's definition of what constitutes artistic greatness.

We ought to consider ourselves blessed. Forget about ancient Athens, China during the Tang dynasty, Florence during the Renaissance, Paris in the 1920s and Greenwich Village in the 1950s. We live in an age peopled by more artistic geniuses than in any other moment in history, though the bar is set considerably lower than in the past.

As recently as the mid-20th century, qualifying as an artistic genius meant belonging to a rarified elite—Picasso, Hemingway, Stravinsky, Pollock, Frank Lloyd Wright, Miles Davis, et al.—who created masterpieces that changed the way people thought about the world, and in the process lived existences infused with drama. But that sort of résumé is no longer necessary, thanks to the evolution of pop culture and the explosive growth of media hype.

To borrow a phrase from a visionary thinker of another era, Sly Stone, today everybody is a star. Or quite nearly everybody. Write a book that cracks the bestseller lists, act in a successful film, record a hit song that gets played on MTV, garner an invitation to appear on the cover of a major magazine, and you're pretty much a shoo-in for genius-hood.

Though we have more supposed artistic geniuses than ever, their output, oddly, is increasingly middling. What's happened in the last couple of decades is that puffery seems to have surpassed prodigy. Here's a test: Try to think of a recently produced book, movie, poem, pop song or artwork that you could imagine being appreciated 50 or 100 years from now, the way we still gravitate to "The Starry Night," "Citizen Kane" or "Kind of Blue."

Stumped? That's because we're living smack-dab in the golden age of mediocrity.

by Anonymousreply 1809/15/2012

"There was a time, especially right after World War II, when we had certain people who clearly were geniuses and became celebrities because of it—Einstein, for example," explains rock critic and cultural historian Greil Marcus, author of the book "Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century." "But eventually, the equation was flipped around. Today, anybody who's a celebrity, who attracts a large amount of attention, has to be a genius … what we're really doing is jettisoning the past. We can say, 'Sure, Dickens was a genius, but look at all the brilliant writers we have now.' That means we don't have to read him anymore. It's a way of saying that we're primary—now is what's important."

Today, the hyping of what passes for genius has become so extreme that it even offends New York-based A-list publicist Dan Klores. "I read about this musician who'd died, and there was a great outpouring of mourning about 'the passing of a genius,' " he says. "And he's done two albums! That's where we are today. We used to have three awards shows—the Emmys, the Oscars and the Tonys. Now we have, what, 50 different ones? The culture is totally dishonest. It's like there's more of everything, so there's more room for bull."

The result is a world in which you don't have to dare to be great, in which a swath of humanity, wide enough to stretch from Frank Gehry to Britney Spears, shares the lofty mantle of genius. Gehry, the architect known for playfully unconventional designs, at least approximates the old-fashioned concept of genius-hood. But Spears? The barely clad, histrionic ex-teen diva whose voice is so thin that some speculate she even lip-syncs interviews? All the same, she's also a genius, according to a concert reviewer from the New York Times, who observed in 2001 that Spears was "an artist whose genius is not for singing—indeed, this performance did not suffer at all from the music's being its least important element—but for teasing out the cravings and fears that haunt the modern world." (If that makes her sound a bit like Edvard Munch with décolletage, remember that it probably was written on deadline.)

Electronic databases readily yield a vast and ever-growing list of similar contemporary artistic giants. Type documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' name into the Nexis database, for example, and you'll find 74 articles from U.S. newspapers in which his name occurs within 15 words of the word "genius." Movie director Quentin Tarantino racks up an even more impressive 108 hits—a remarkable feat, considering that he's directed only five full-length films in his 12-year career (including the upcoming part two of "Kill Bill").

The late Kurt Cobain racks up 109 hits, an even more remarkable feat for a musician whose output consisted of three studio albums. Nevertheless, he not only beats out Gehry (65 hits), actor Johnny Depp (44) and conductor and composer André Previn (24), but totally trounces Jonathan Franzen, author of the critically acclaimed novel "The Corrections," who scored a mere 15 hits—even fewer than bodice-ripping publicity pawn Justin Timberlake (31). In fairness, such number-crunching has its limitations; Madonna's 282 hits, for example, may be padded by articles that contain phrases such as "She may not be a genius, but Madonna's not an idiot. "

by Anonymousreply 1909/15/2012

Humans have always argued about what constitutes artistic greatness, and the source of genius. The Romans believed artistic ability came from a supernatural being, the "genius," that guarded each man. The 18th century essayist Joseph Addison decided that there were two sorts of geniuses—those who'd diligently worked to learn their art, such as English poet John Milton, and the natural, untutored, compulsive virtuosity of a William Shakespeare, the sort of savant who created great art as easily as other men breathed.

More recently, developmental psychologist William Therivel, author of the three-volume treatise "The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity," has argued that genius is a combination of genetics and assistance (i.e., educational opportunities, supportive families and intellectual mentors). There's also the unexpected dash of misfortune or trauma that forces the budding wunderkind to forsake conventional beliefs, taboos and methods of problem-solving that inhibit most of us but allows him or her to see the world in a startlingly different way. The final ingredient is a social milieu in which power is divided rather than absolute, so the artist can play the iconoclast without being crushed like a bug. It results in what is called a "challenged personality," an artistically gifted person who pursues that vision with a single-minded aggressiveness that borders on antagonism.

Therivel cites Mozart, whose talented but unsuccessful musician father made sure that his son had opportunities to study in Venice and Vienna, as an example of a genius who scored high in all GAM/DP categories. In contrast, rival 18th century composer Antonio Salieri came from an apparently less talented gene pool and had fewer educational opportunities, which may be why he's remembered mostly as the jealous, vengeful schmo in the film "Amadeus."

Nevertheless, the concept of the innate, unfettered artistic genius persists, perhaps because it has given generations of writers, painters and musicians an excuse to frequent brothels, smoke opium and wreck hotel rooms in pursuit of their muse. The notion of being a human vessel for a divine gift also gave artists a bit of cover for another enduring truth—that the simplest way to become a genius is to have good PR. In truth, many of the truly great artists were not only virtuosos at their chosen means of expression, but also prodigiously adept at self-promotion.

Albrecht Dürer, who in the late 15th and early 16th centuries became one of the first great art stars of Western culture, had the audacity to paint a self-portrait in the style that artists used to portray Christ. When Oscar Wilde arrived in New York in 1882, the author of "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" informed a customs officer: "I have nothing to declare except my genius."

The truly pioneering genius of self-promotion was surrealist painter Salvador Dali. From his mid-20s to mid-30s, he created genuinely inspired paintings—"Lugubrious Game," "The Persistence of Memory" and so on—that staked his claim to greatness. He then spent the next five decades promoting himself as an eccentric genius whose waxed mustache tips picked up signals from outer space.

by Anonymousreply 2009/15/2012

In a sense, the current crop of house-brand geniuses are spawns of Dali and his Great Artist shtick. But today—with the Internet, blast faxes, hundreds of cable channels and 750-square-foot video screens that can turn anyone, regardless of talent, into a giant looming over Times Square—it's possible for would-be greatness to be hyped to an extreme that even Dali would have a hard time imagining. Given the pervasive crudeness and disdain for subtlety in postmodern society, it's now perfectly acceptable to proclaim one's genius as loudly and raucously as professional wrestlers threaten one another with mayhem. As art critic Robert Hughes puts it, "There is a kind of forcible vulgarity, as American as a meatball hero, that takes itself for genius." No wonder that when Howard Stern berates television executives for failing to appreciate the "pure genius" of his work, or Marilyn Manson issues a news release proclaiming that "I am equally the artist as much as I am a work of art," a jaded world barely thinks twice.

There was a time when such extravagant self-praise by musicians would have elicited stinging ridicule from angry young rock critics of the Lester Bangs school. These days, though, when having a star on a magazine cover is deemed crucial to newsstand success, there doesn't seem to be much danger of that happening. As Robert B. Ray, head of the University of Florida's film studies program and a singer/guitarist in the 1980s post-punk band the Vulgar Boatmen, has theorized, the aging cadre of rock reviewers tends to suffer from a malaise called "overcomprehension." That is, they effusively praise acts they don't understand, because they're afraid of knocking something that may turn out to be the next big thing.

In Hollywood, auteur theory, which views a film primarily as the work of a single artist, has helped push pretension to great extremes. "Filmmaking really is a group enterprise," explains former Premiere magazine editor and film historian Peter Biskind, author of "Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film." "To call a film 'wonderful' or 'brilliant' or some other adulatory adjective is one thing, but to say that it's a work of genius implies that it springs wholly from the mind of one person, which isn't the way it happens."

Another convenient way to establish one's credential as a genius is to attract legions of college faculty members apparently scouring for fresh scholarly subjects. Take, for example, the 1993 anthology, "The Madonna Connection: Representational Politics, Subcultural Identities, and Cultural Theory," in which scholars ponder such issues as the symbolic messages conveyed by the singer's stage costuming during her pointy bra period. One contributor notes that "Madonna, as the subject of critical analysis, seems to require the elaborate conjuncture of a whole host of grandiose themes." A 2003 doctoral thesis actually placed her cultural significance as a dancer on a par with Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham.

Technology deserves a great deal of the blame for our cultural morass. Increasingly sophisticated computers and software make it easier for authors, visual artists, movie directors and pop musicians to churn out ever greater quantities of work, while doctoring and/or blurring defects to conceal shortcomings. In a recent article in Rolling Stone, for example, rock music producer Butch Vig demonstrated how a software program called Pro Tools can fashion, from scratch, an entire 35-track pop song on a Macintosh G-4.

by Anonymousreply 2109/15/2012

Such technological advances promise not only to make recording studios obsolete, but also to enable hit-making Svengalis to transform even the most marginally talented performer into a virtuoso. The potential for producing an endless succession of totally soulless, Clear Channel-ready hits is frightening.

We might expect such de-evolution from pop culture, but the fine arts may not be a source of much consolation, because we have a seeming oversupply of creative types. The number of Americans identifying themselves as artists increased from 737,000 in 1970 to 2.2 million in 2000. The number of musicians grew from 100,000 in 1970 to 187,000 in 2001, while the number of painters and sculptors increased from 87,000 to 255,000. The number of authors quadrupled to 128,000. With more artists than ever before, presumably creating increasingly vast quantities of work, you'd think that mathematical probability would result in more works of lasting greatness. On the other hand, remember those scientists at Plymouth University in England who recently tested the old proposition that if you gave monkeys typewriters, eventually one of them would produce a play worthy of Shakespeare. As one researcher noted, "The apes turned out to be more interested in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard."

At the same time, works of supposed genius have an increasingly short shelf life. (The Washington Post writer who called Bret Easton Ellis' pornographically gory book "American Psycho" a "beautifully controlled, careful, important novel" in 1991, for example, may want to reconsider that judgment.) But as the overall artistic output itself grows less inspiring and more disposable, we may get sucked into a compensatory spiral in which the standard for artistic greatness dips lower and lower, and genius-hood is conferred so indiscriminately that the label rings hollow. It's conceivable that we may reach a point when one must actively deny being a genius in order to avoid the tag. (It bears noting that the MacArthur Foundation, which annually awards those prestigious "genius grants" to great achievers of all stripes, doesn't use the G-word in its literature; that's been a media construct.)

On the other hand, maybe mediocrity is the new genius. In 2002, for example, New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art displayed "Cloaca," a room-size mechanical installation by Belgian sculptor Wim Delvoye that was designed to emulate the human digestive system. Twice each day, at one end of the artwork, a plate of food from one of several tony Manhattan restaurants was fed into a blender and pumped through a complex tangle of pipes and vats, where it was subjected to computer-controlled doses of enzymes, acids and bacteria. A day or so later, the opposite end of the sculpture squeezed out a soft brown substance that bore a striking resemblance to human feces.

"I chose [excrement] because it is not only useless, it's also cosmopolitan, so universal," the artist told an interviewer from Wired magazine. "You could go anywhere, and it speaks to everyone." Critics hailed the work, waxing profound about "the iconography of the scatological" and the cleverness of Delvoye's symbolic statement about the insignificance of postmodern culture.

Art aficionados purchased samples of "Cloaca's" output from Delvoye's website for $1,500 per ersatz stool. In doing so, those aesthetes chose to ignore the fact that the art-is-crap motif is a bit derivative. Four decades ago, Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni peddled 30-gram cans of his excrement to collectors for a price equivalent to its weight in gold. A British museum recently bought a surviving example for $35,000. Hmmm. Here's an idea—and it's guaranteed to be pure genius. Get me those research monkeys. They may not be too adept at replicating the Bard, but they're pretty good at producing something else.

by Anonymousreply 2209/15/2012

The sixties were exploration and a struggle for a relative freedom (generally from conformity of any type imaginable). The seventies were confirmed disillusionment as all generations finally caught on that the nobility of our leaders was only in history lessons. Some held on to the hippie "style," but the communes had succumbed to personality conflicts. The eighties saw the advent of self involved pricks learning to take advantage of everyone and anyone in both business and personal life. The nineties were all about business and money as it was now pervasive to make short lived products to be thrown away and replaced. This grew the economy, paid down the debt, and used the media to train you all to think this was a good thing. But this left all of you poor bastards without enough remaining resources to last out your lives...and these people should be prosecuted for what they've done in the name of greed to your unborn or recently born children; and note: They're still trying to grow the stinking economy the same way. So yes, from 2000 to 2010, many people turned to prayer or into zombies and sheep as they had lost all hope. That's why Obama capitalizes on hope. Note I use the word "capitalizes," as there is little difference between Obama and Romney where your children are concerned. Both will have to lie to, and steal from us to maintain the illusion you all expect them to provide. The difference I do see is that Obama will be a little slower about it, and will give a fraction of our money back to us to appease us from revolution. Romney still thinks he shits vanilla ice cream, and his advisers can handle the problems (like W.)

by Anonymousreply 2312/01/2012
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