Sunday, June 07, 2015

In which the pond, courtesy the Bolter's army, revisits the concept of decadent art ...

(Above: from the pond's Bolter X-files, click to enlarge).

While trawling through the Bolter's cesspit of fear and loathing the other day - see the post below for the reason why - the pond came across the marvellous cultural artefact above.

Now the pond has nothing against culture vultures, and indeed rather fancies itself in that field, though the pond can reduce film buffs to tears by marvelling at the sight of the container ship's large propellor rearing up out of the tsunami in 3-D in San Andreas, or discerning in the Rock a new kind of theatrical Sarah Bernhardt. There aren't many good comedies doing the rounds these days, and the American flag in the final reel was the capper for a great post-ironic, post-hipster show.

Of course the pond does have limits. There was Michael Mann's dreadful film Blackhat, which provided endless travelling shots along wires as a metaphor for moving data. That movie broke down for the pond when one of the characters felt the need to explain to the audience a simple digital matter which would have needed no explanation if the film hadn't been aimed at an American audience dumbed down by fundamentalist Christians and the GOP.

The same thing happened quite recently in a pond viewing of Sam Esmail's Mr. Robot - please don't ask how - which was moving along in brooding style in great New York locations, until one of the characters, allegedly involved in computer security, was forced to ask for an explanation of what a root kit was. She was later moved aside from an investigation by an allegedly nasty heavyweight, and the film's hero gets indignant at her treatment and takes out the heavy.

But she should have been sacked. Anyone who can't remember the great Sony rootkit scandal of 2005-07  - which saw the pond ban all Sony products from the house - has no business being in the computer security game.

Sadly geeks just want to be loved and featured in dramas, which is why some are still sticking with the second series of Silicon Valley. Now even though the pond regularly sights a Hooli T-shirt around the house, and the first series delivered all sorts of insider jokes, the pond is inclined to think the second series is a bust, with new characters introduced regularly in lieu of decent character-driven jokes for the leads ...

But stay, this has taken the pond away from contemplating the Bolter ... yet in their own way, the lost and tortured geeks dreaming of revolution in Mr. Robot provide a clue to the Bolter's tortured soul.

The Bolter too is an outsider, now at war with his own kind, his News Corp reptile kith and kin, his kissing cousins, which is why the pond often thinks of the Bolter as the villain in a tragedy - brooding, malignant, bitter, and always angry at the world and his situation in it. An Iago or a Scarpia or, if you will, a Lady Macbeth ... though we haven't reached the final act when he realises there's blood on his hands.

The pond often fancies the Bolter sitting with a glass of red wine - a decent drop, not some wretched river land grape - listening to a decent opera - did the pond mention it had recently acquired the Maria Callas collection? - and brooding about the perfidy of the world, the indecency of blacks and Adam Goodes, and so on and so endlessly forth, before getting up the next day to bestow on the world a torrent of invective and hate. (Which is perhaps why the pond celebrates useful torrents).

Aesthetics can help balance things - as the Godwin's swear jar needs a top-up, it's right to note that Hitler fancied himself as a painter and as a man with impeccable taste and a desire to re-make the world with great architecture.

The Bolter has some of these patrician qualities. He wants to lure his punters towards the light, and towards his glowing, impeccable taste.

He was at it again today:

Now the pond doesn't mean to malign the artists caught up in the Bolter's fantasy world - Jeffrey Smart is one of the pond's favourite painters - but what's really tragic is the way the Bolter's regular punters responded to his efforts.

You see, when you feed your punters relentless doses of anger, bile, hatred and bitterness, it's a bit of a stretch for some of them to get modern art, or twentieth century art, or come to think of it any art at all.

Oh there were a few positive comments, but most of them were from the well-known school of blinkered Aussie bigots:

Since getting a look at your type of ‘ART’, Andrew, i’m finding the hardware brochures pushed into my letterbox ever so more fascinating. Thanks.

Whoever has that much money for this crap deserves to be robbed.

If this had a name tag of Sally Smith from Grade 5 in Albury Primary School...would you bloody well know the difference??? Art is perhaps THE most over rated and confected thing on earth.

Is is some sort of mass hypnotism,we are supposed to like the picture with the ridiculous blue feet? I can’t help but wonder what A. Bolt sees in that.

Sorry Andrew, I’m on your wavelength 99% of the time Andrew, but your choice of Art is a different kettle of fish!!

And so on and on, and then there was an extended rant from a ratbag who clearly suffered from the delusional notion that they knew something about art - he even had the moniker Davide because adding the 'e' recalls to mind the grand tradition - and 'Davide' abused the Bolter thusly:

Your choice this time fails to impress just as it has failed to impress many times previously. Sadly, you needed to have had a good basic art education but missed out badly somewhere along the track.

And where does this good basic art education get you?

I would be interested to see in the future if any of the Boyds, Storriers and Smarts will reach anything like the prices that an original Tretchikoff gets these days at auction. I do not know of a single person who even would want a reproduction of one hanging up in their home. That is always an indicator in a way as to whether an artist hits the spot or not.

Which is why this is one of the great twentieth century art works:

The pond could go on, but enough already, because now the tragedy of the Bolter is easy to see.

A writer who specialises in narrow-minded bigotry and hate is sure to attract correspondents who respond in kind, with their own brand of narrow-minded, frequently parochial, often mind-numbingly stupid bigotry.

Does the head that wears the Bolter's crown ever stir uneasily at the pack of ratbags that follow the head's hate speech? The ones always ready to talk of decadent, worthless, useless art, as they did in the good old days?

Possibly, but the pond suspects that the patrician Bolter refuses to read a lot of his comments. Too much bile, too much hate, being reflected back at him. Even Disney knew the result:

But  as in all good tragedies, the villain carries on, relentlessly in pursuit of the main prize, no matter the consequences or the fall-out.

To go any further would require the pond to be a good dramatist, or an expert psychiatrist, and so instead we'll just celebrate the way there are some interesting writers at work in the country, even if you have get behind a paywall to read them:

But of course there's always something funny, even as the country drifts towards a kind of Opus Dei McCarthyist fascism, facilitated by the Liberal softies like Turnbull and Bishop and the fearful quislings of the Labor party ...

As the gulags form, and the hard line mindless gauleiters of the Dutton kind do their thing, and the bigoted Bolter army march in unison, attacking unnatural, decadent art, as they did in Germany in the 1930s, naturally even genteel cartoonists turn their minds towards imagery of old ...

Take it away David Rowe in your weekend cartoon, and, as always more Rowe here.


  1. Worth reading - what the region thinks of Australia's refugee policy.

  2. 'Root kit'?

    Maybe George Pell's frock?

  3. I suspect that many of the Bolter's regular readers know that a good portrait is one where the eyes follow you around the room....


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