SO MANY THINGS!!!!

I have studiously been working on a post about my on going shoe piece, applying to shows, reading/researching, teaching kids about art, and cooking, but while doing all of that, SO MANY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED THAT I JUST FREAKING CAN’T KEEP UP!

ALL THE THINGS

The next blog post I was going to write (once I finally posted the one about the shoes) was going to be about performance art and popular culture smashing into one another and making weird offspring. I was thinking about this specific topic because, A) I make performance art, B) I’m not entirely sure people understand what performance art is, and C) my Sister the Psychologist posted this about Amanda Bynes potentially being the greatest performance artist ever. That all got me thinking about Lady Gaga (never thought I’d be talking about her on my blog…), and the interpretations of her as a performance artist that were rife about 2 years ago, and then about the more recent Tilda Swinton and James Franco performance art… But before I had even had a chance to sit down and sift through my thoughts on this matter, much less properly research it (ie not just Google “Lady Gaga Performance Art” or “Tilda Swinton Sleeping” or “James Franco Performance Artist”, and copy and past the most recent link I could find… Like I might have just done….), I get an email from Hyperallergic telling me THIS HAPPENED.

If you’re like me, and didn’t have the damn Vine app (but unlike me refuse to download it, even for this epic something) here are some images of JAY-Z RAPPING AT MARINA ABRAMOVIC AT PACE GALLERY IN NYC. (I whole heartedly admit that these are not mine, I found them doing a Google image search. The first is from blouinartinfo.com, and the second from vogue.com):

jayz_picassobaby-abramovic

jayz-picasso-baby-behind-the-scenes-03_124820387319.jpg_article_gallery_slideshow_v2

Yeah, in case you missed that:

Jay-Z-Marina-Abramovic-Dance-Feature

That one’s from hipinion.com…

I haven’t even had time to process this. I feel like I need an adult or something. I’m not even sure what to say… I can’t keep up with all this arting! Hennessy Youngman help me out here! Give me sometime to think about this and do some reading and I will totally get back to you on this topic. Until then just… Um, I guess make some performance art?!

Oh! And this happened too:

Dry spell officially watered!
Dry spell officially watered!

More soon!

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“I don’t want an art that points at a thing, I want an art that is the thing.”

I’m sorry for any typos or nonsense in here today… I’m tired and in a rush, but wanted to finally post something.  Please don’t grammar Nazi me right now!

While it’s been some time since I’ve posted on here, rest assured it was an intentional silence. I needed some serious time to decompress and recover from Fountain, and to process all the millions of arts I saw while I was in Miami for Art Basel. Also I’ve been experiencing what I am going to call an existential art breakdown, so the last couple of weeks haven’t exactly been the best for me to be writing about my work, or really any art in general. I was doing a lot of thinking about it, but my thoughts have been all over the place. Also I need to put my blogging pants back on because I have to contribute to blogs for two of my classes this semester.

Now if you can stretch your minds back to the beginning of December/end of November-ish, I am sure that you will recall (or at least I’m going to pretend that you recall) that I was going back and forth about my video works (specifically Bleed), and the artifacts created therein. I was also struggling the same way with my waterlogged notebooks and the images I had created of them. Well right around the time I left for Fountain, I realized that while I really enjoyed making things, like those photographs and prints, I just didn’t give a crap about them once I was through the process of creating them. So then the entire time I was down in Miami for Fountain and Art Basel I had this thought kicking around in my head as I looked at art, trying to find some inspiration to move forward in my work. After two days or so of this, I had another realization. I hated walking through these huge fairs and seeing painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture. I was profoundly disturbed to see video art presented as paintings, in frames, hanging on walls. Photography was boring me… People, PHOTOGRAPHY was boring me. I felt no connection to, and very little interest in these objects. The work I saw that I was most compelled by were live performances or all encompassing installations. Environments and situations where I could have a reaction to the art that was happening in real time. In short, I think I hate art objects. Which would explain SO much about why I’m not satisfied by the photographic prints I create anymore, and even why much of my video work isn’t sitting particularly well with me right now. This also really goes a long way in clarifying why I liked the random detritus that comes out of my performances and videos so much more than any intentionally created objects.

So after spending a week in Miami, I came home, finished my semester, and started to freak out. I see this realization as a rather powerful indication that I need to focus, and focus hard, on my performance and installation work, however I feel extremely uncomfortable about this. It is my process to work in a very organized manner, going from point A to point B in a methodical, intentional manner… And I don’t think that approach is very appropriate for creating performances especially. When it comes to performances, it seems like no matter how hard I try, I cannot control nor plan for every aspect of what willor even might happen. And as we all know, out of control is not a place I like to be… So I find myself in this completely self-created predicament… Completely confused and flipping terrified to move forward.

Stupid art objects, ruining my groove.

Well… OK, it’s not the object’s fault. Let’s be honest here, my work has been headed in this direction for some time, and I think I’ve been fighting it with out even knowing I was doing so. But it makes me feel less like an idiot if I can blame the inanimate object. Because I spend a good portion of my time feeling like an idiot lately.

I’m coming to believe that the experience that is created via performance or installation is so much more meaningful than one created by a passive viewing of an object. Performances and installations are often interactive, requiring a much more active experience, one that won’t likely slip out of your mind so quickly as a painting on a wall. To my mind this is a much more meaningful exchange. Call me crazy (and I most like am the spitting image of the crazy artist stereo type right now) but I think an art should stick with people… Kind of bug them, or pop up in their minds every now and then as they go through their daily lives, giving them something to think about or process for a long time to come.

The only piece I’ve done since I last posted was for January First Friday at Working Method. I had the entire front gallery to myself, and after having forgotten about the fact I had the January First Friday show until a week before, had to figure out a way to use the space. Several anxiety saturated hours followed my recollection. I didn’t want to just show old work because that would be silly. But I didn’t really have any new work. So what did I do? I did a performance. I set up a “fake show” of some large photographic prints from my High Tide performance and projected the video from Breaking to Bend/Bending the Break BUT my “real” show was to act as a survey taker, asking gallery patrons to fill out a survey about the gallery and art in general.

Here it is:

Final Questionnaire

Why did I do this? Probably because I’m insane. But the answer I’m sure my committee would prefer to hear is as follows: I was thinking about how it would be so easy to just have a show of old work… Prints, or videos I could project… and how most people would know. But I would know. That got me thinking, of course about failure. If I took the easy way out and threw some crap up on the wall that I didn’t care about, or that was not my best, or was kind of old, I would be being lazy, and subsequently my show would be a failure in my view. That in turn got me thinking about how shows can be categorized as successful or failures etc which led to the re-contextualizing failure thing and blah blah blah. To give credit where credit is due though, it was my husband’s suggestion to use the survey and we fleshed it out from there.

Now what I’m doing, is taking all of the responses and quantifying them so that I can use the numbers to skew the perception of success or failure for the show/ gallery itself. I must say I’m preeeetty proud of myself, I’ve made a database and have figured out how to use that database to calculate results and create charts/graphs from. I feel very business like while I’m doing this. Too bad I can’t do this for my taxes…

 

Here are a few images from the show, but I’m waiting to get the rest from a friend who helped document. I’ll post some more later.

 

BendBreak_0002 BendBreak_0029 BendBreak_0069 BendBreak_0094 Breaking to Bend poster

I think, regardless of how much this actually fits into success/failure, it’s a project that still has some potential. For instance I could base an entire show around what type of art was highest rated, or what a specific age demographic found appealing. I could also continue to create surveys to gather data about more specific aspects of a show or a work of art… It can also become this hugely collaborative on going performance. Making art with strangers! However I’m not sure how many of my participants got it… Thats ok though!  There’s also a certain amount of absurdity in this whole thing, which is only increased by the people who don’t understand it to be a performance or art…

Now I need to go do some work! More images and new things soon, I swear!

 

PS The quote in the title is from artist Tania Bruguera.

This Will Have to Tide You All Over for Now…

Hey imaginary followers!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a post, but many things have taken place in the last few weeks that have gotten in my way.  Like WordPress crashing and my half written blog post disappearing into the digital ether…  But the bottom line is that I still don’t have a blog post ready for you, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to write a good one…  So in the mean time I present to you a pictoral version of my last two weeks.  Feel free to write your own captions or stories to go along.  It might be funnier/more interesting this way!

monica cook

Ellen Mueller

I swear I’ll get a real post out about what’s going on in the studio pictures as well as my most recent performance… It just won’t happen til the beginning of next week.  There is SO much going on right now!

Most of the images are mine, or are borrowed from the web.  Paintings from Monica Cook, performance stills from Ellen Mueller (except the ones of me…those are mine, fair and square).  Books from respective authors/publishing companies.  Fountain logo property of Fountain Art Fair, Working Method Contemporary logo property of Working Method Contemporary Gallery.  Did I miss anything?  I hope not.  If I did I’m sorry, and IT DOES NOT BELONG TO ME, IT BELONGS TO YOU.

Looming Deadline: Impending Anxiety Attack

In a little over a week I am supposed to be doing a performance here in town.  I voluntarily opted to do this, thinking that it would be a great motivator to flesh out some ideas and get the ball rolling for the semester.  And then I decided to double it up with a required performance for my Performance History and Practice course, still foolishly thinking I would be fine.  But I am not.

I still have no idea what I am going to do…

Well, technically that is a lie.  I have a general idea of the themes and concepts I wish to address, but I’ve got NO clue exactly what the performance will be.  And I’m fending off an anxiety attack because of this.  I swear I’ve been thinking about this for weeks.  Before school even started actually.  I’ve been doing research, and brainstorming… I haven’t gotten anywhere.

My intended concept for this performance revolves around reality versus expectations,  using the themes of failure, futility, and anxieties that I have been dealing with over the last year or so.  I was thinking about how hard I often making things for myself, frequently choosing the most difficult or involved manner of performing tasks.  This in turn made me reflect on the way that my expectations are often drastically unrealistic, and that disconnect between expectation and reality is very likely the source for much of my anxiety.  Additionally, for me, there is a factor of repetitious, and sometimes destructive, behaviors, because I refuse to give in, or to do something in any other way than I envision it.  In a word, inflexibility.

In it’s original iteration, the idea for this performance was a video of  me running and jumping for a tree limb, just out of my reach, over and over and over again.  Until I was exhausted, possibly bruised and/or bloodied.  That then evolved into a performance of me attempting to jump over a limbo stick that was placed at a height which I could have easily walked under.  Again, repeating this same pointless and destructive action, refusing to admit failure or adjust my behavior to a more appropriate course of action.  But the reason neither of these ideas came to fruition, is that I see them as a bit to literal.  Like one liners that will cause a laugh, but not provoke thought.  With the limbo stick idea, there was a factor of physical technicality too.  The performance is talking place in a space which I cannot permanently alter, making it difficult for me to construct some type of structure which would allow me to repeatedly throw my body against it and have said structure still remain standing.

And that brings me to my current quandary.  I have no idea what to do…

So I am going to continue to write about this and hope for one of my magical moments where everything connects and finally makes sense.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks doing research into Matthew Barney, specifically his Drawing Restraint series.  I will wax lyrical about my love of him in another post, but there are a number of things in his Drawing Restraint series that parallel some of the things I want to do or am thinking about in relation to this performance.

The thing about all of Barney’s work, is that it is informed by the practice of hypertrophic training.  Briefly, this is the way that athletes train their muscles at increasingly difficult levels in order to build up strength.  According to Nancy Spector, the chief curator at the Guggenheim (or The Gügg and The Husband and I sometimes refer to it) in New York, this informs the fundamental tenet of Barney’s practice:  Form cannot materialize or mutate with out struggle against resistance in the process.  In the grand scheme of Drawing Restraint, Barney willingly puts himself in ever increasingly difficult scenarios, using extreme lengths to create a mark or create form.  It’s really pretty fascinating.  Thinking about that, you see the desire to make a mark, or more basically to create, and then you contemplate the accompanying restraint and training required of creating.  So in this really beautifully, and mildly absurd way, Barney is challenging himself, level by level (a theme also seen in his other major body of work The Cremaster Cycle, to make a mark.  Barney is also a proponent of using art to overcome psychological division and conflict, which is very much right in line with where my thoughts are these days.

I’ve also spent some time looking at an artist, William Lamson, a fellow student recently brought to my attention.  In his work I see so much of what I want to convey.  There is this sense of tension and self-defeat in his work that I find completely compelling, particularly in his Actions series.  He very carefully choreographs events in his videos, expending tremendous amounts of time and energy in the process of creation, knowing that the moment he initiates the plan, he is actually pressing a self destruct button.  When you watch these videos unfold, you hold your breath with this feeling of anxiety and anticipation because you know exactly what is going to happen and that it is all going to be defeated.  You are watching self imposed failure.  The scary thing is, I can completely relate to the train of thought.  I can understand and predict the outcomes of my actions or behaviors, and see the possibility for failure.  In fact, no matter what, there is always a possibility for failure.  But that version of events is totally overshadowed and out weighed by the prospect of successfully executing something to my exacting expectations.  So really, it becomes about this tension between the reality of the situation and the expectation, about the inevitability of the out come.

Which brings me full circle back to the expectations versus reality thing.  And for some reason I keep thinking about this scene from 500 Days of Summer, one of my all time favorite movies, and possibly one of the most brilliantly filmed scenes ever.

I just keep watching it over and over again.  Obviously the content is not what I am trying to get at, but there is something in the format that really intrigues me.  The whole movie is brilliant really (and it doesn’t hurt that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is in it, or that there’s a lot of Regina Spektor’s music), but this scene has stuck with me since I first saw it back in 2010 or so.  And no, I didn’t go out of my way to find a JGL connection here.  It was a totally organic happening!

I think the question here is how do I put this all into the meat grinder and distill it into something?  Can some one answer that question for me?  Is that like asking someone to do my homework for me?  Nah… We can just call it an artistic collaboration.  😉
So, no magic moment yet, but maybe it all just needs to process?

 

Oh, and of course, the video clip is not mine.  I wish.  If it were I wouldn’t be in the position I am!

Ubu Roi

It’s been a crazy busy two weeks.  School is now in full swing, as are research and art making.  I’ve got loads to share about all of that, but first I thought I’d share some thoughts about a play I’ve just read for a class, Ubu Roiby Alfred Jarry.  It prompted a lot of thought and a little bit of research on my part, and hopefully it will do the same for you.  The translation I am using is from 1961, with a short preface or forward by Barbara Wright, and accompanied by two essays by Jarry.  It was published by New Directions Publishing Corporation, and is the “Twenty-Seventh Printing.”

Image from Wikipedia, Originally a woodcut done by Alfred Jarry of Ubu Roi.

 

Until about a year or so ago, I had never even heard of Ubu Roi, which the more I think about it, the stranger it seems, as I’ve taken at least 3 art history courses that covered the time period in which it was first performed.  The first time I came across Ubu Roi was reading Roselee Goldberg’s Performance Art from Futurism to the Present.  I remember being intrigued by what was described, as well as the cultural/historical events surrounding it.  I felt that I should probably read Ubu Roi, but I was wary of doing so.  For whatever reason, the way it was described in Goldberg’s book reminded me of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.   Several years ago, I made a valiant attempt to read Catch-22 and found it’s bureaucratic absurdity so painfully difficult that I couldn’t even finish the book (an extreme rarity for me).  It left a really bad taste in my mouth that made me hesitant to read Ubu, which come to find out was completely unnecessary.  I really enjoyed reading Ubu Roi, and found a number of parallels to our current social, cultural, and political ideas/events.

 
In the forward/preface to the play, Barbara Wright mentions the comparisons to Shakespeare that Ubu has faced.  Even with this forewarning I did not expect it to so obviously and blatantly follow the plot of MacBeth.  It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve read that play, but the prodding and abuse of Père Ubu by Mere Ubu in Act I, Scene I, instantly reminded me of the portion of MacBeth, where Lady MacBeth urges her husband to “screw your courage to the sticking place” and do what needs to be done.  At that point MacBeth has essentially thought himself to a standstill in regards to the prophesy delivered by the three witches.  Lady MacBeth’s assaults imply that her husband is too weak of will and clearly not manly enough to advance in the world. As Ubu Roi opens, we see Père Ubu, too stupid to see the possibilities that Mère Ubu has clearly already considered, thus the verbal attacks, once again rousing the spouse into action.  Reading Ubu Roi reminded me of what a dark, violent play MacBeth is, and how it really reflects the inherent evilness of man kind, in much the way Ubu demonstrates the crass commonness of humans.  We always want what others have, we can never be satisfied with what has already been achieved or earned.  I think given Jarry’s aims in creating Ubu, a better choice could not have been made, especially in light of what he writes in Of the Futility of the “Theatrical” in the Theatre.   In this essay, Jarry asserts that there are two things that can be done in order to make the theater more accessible to the audience.  Firstly, that they are provided with characters who think like them and are relatable/understandable.  Secondly, that the audience is given a “commonplace sort of plot.”  In other words, people, places, things, events, with which they are familiar.  In using, nearly word for word, the plot from MacBeth, as well as placing Père and Mere Ubu in the roles of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, Jarry provided a ready known, familiar plot line.

A second thing which crossed my mind while pondering this connection to MacBeth, is that Jarry had created a piece of art that was postmodern long before anyone could grasp the concept of postmodern.  He appropriated, with out apology, material from Shakespeare’s work, twisting it and adding to it, serving his own purposes.  Part of this “borrowing” pushed his ideas about making the theater more accessible, as I stated previously, but I think it also stood as a sign of things to come, whether or not Jarry intended for it to do so.  The idea of Ubu Roi being before it’s time is hinted at in both the forward/preface and the essay Questions of the Theatre.   In that essay Jarry uses a really lovely metaphor for the idea of time and the evolution of ideas, writing:  “Light is active and shade is passive, and light is not detached from shade, but, given sufficient time, penetrates it.”  He goes on to discuss the idea that people who have lived a long time have lived among a specific group of works and concepts.  Essentially stating that what these elders are familiar with, is what becomes the accepted, and therefor normal, mode of thought and artistic creation.  He notes, however,  that one day “We too shall become solemn, fat and Ubu-like and shall publish extremely classical books…And a lot of other young people will appear, and consider us completely out of date…and there is no reasons why this should ever end.”  I take these two quotes to mean that something, such as Ubu Roi, may be put forward, but it may not be understood until it has experienced the test of time, so to speak.  It brings to mind a sort of wave of understanding.  However, these works will eventually be pushed aside the same new understandings and continually advancing tide that brought about it’s initial understanding.  It’s my opinion that humans in general seek that which is familiar and comfortable to them.  When something comes along, as Ubu did, and challenges or mocks the known, all thrown in to disarray, which is something I think is a very prominent goal in postmodernism.  This is underscored by Wright in the forward/preface, when she reports:  “It caused an uproar, was violently booed and violently applauded; it was compared with the work of Shakespeare and Rabelais, or dismissed as insipid nonsense; it was called the inspiration of modern youth, or dismissed as a rather poor joke.”

The idea that Ubu Roi was dismissed as a poor joke also brought to mind for me Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.  I watched that movie about six months ago, and still find myself wondering exactly what it was meant to convey.  Was it a farce?  Was it a documentary?  Was it only a joke?  Is Banksy making fun of the sudden popularity and profusion of street art?  Is he questioning the value of the artist and art in our current society?  Is he challenging the art market and collectors yet again?  Is it all of the above or none?  I sincerely wonder.  Exit Through the Gift Shop is alternately described as all of the above, depending on who you ask and their personal experience of it.  I feel as though this is much the way Ubu Roi would have been received, at least by those in the world of the arts.  In the same way Exit Through the Gift Shop is so unbelievable unlikely and absurd, so too was Ubu in it’s time.  You are left unsure of whether or not to take it seriously, and it causes to to really question your perceptions of the surrounding ideas, events, and even the culture.  While frustrating, and I’m sure confusing for those who experienced the first appearance of Père Ubu in 1896, I feel the lingering questions are a positive thing.  It continues to force you to think, long after your initial experience of the thing.  While Ubu Roi (as seen through the lens of modern culture) is not as shocking or offensive as it was once considered to be, it is clearly the first of its kind.  It asked its audience to view itself with out a filter, and therefore reconsider themselves.

Finally, as I was reading, I saw an incredibly strong parallel between Père Ubu’s behavior and that of today’s culture and politics.   Père Ubu is a selfish and immature person, acting with out thought for consequence to himself or others.  For him the ultimate goal is self gratification at any and all costs.  It doesn’t matter if he has to kill hundreds of nobles, or refuse advancement to those who aided him, he will have what he wants.  Ubu Roi examined the entirely too commonplace occurrence of those with power and money to wind up abusing that power and money in the quest for their own success.  I think this is still true of American politics.  Politicians lobby for, and enact legislation that benefits themselves, forgetting their duty to their constituents.  Often times, laws are passed in knee jerk reactions to specific events or situations with no thought of how they might affect future generations.    Politicians work to better their own situations, to make more money both privately and for their reelection campaigns, saying whatever it is they need to say along the way.  This short sightedness is also a very common theme in today’s popular culture.  We want everything, and we want it now, we have become a culture of instant gratification. We continue to talk on the phone and text while driving, even though we have been warned that it may result in fatal car accidents.  Our iPhones are much more important than common sense or safety.  Americans currently find themselves in financial crisis because they borrowed money with out a true thought as to how we would pay it back.  The prominent thing in our minds was the McMansion, the giant flat screen TV, or the giant SUV that we really had no need of.  Much like Père Ubu, we are too ignorant to even take responsibility for our behaviors, instead we point fingers every which way, blaming others for our misfortune.  We blame the banks for bad business, the economy for high unemployment, and the government for spending too much, but we never stop to examine our own behaviors or think for ourselves, something we have in common with Père Ubu.

Since Tomorrow is Florida’s Primary…A Little Political/Literary Humor

So tomorrow is Florida’s primary day.  Of course I am going to participate and do my civic duty…or is it doody?  Either way, it’s happening and there is no way anyone can stop it, because I Give a Fuck.  But to most, AKA the average citizen, local primaries are like the birthday party for the lame second cousin to the presidential election…the one where no one shows up.  Boo to that I say.  I mean really, how inconsiderate!?  People go through so much trouble and expense, and then… Nothing!  Uninformed, disinterested, and uninvolved peeps.  What I think politics needs is a little bit more humor.

 
Anyway, as I think I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading books by an author named Jasper Fforde.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE his books!  He has several series running, and I am forever waiting for his new book to come out.  He is super witty, funny, and, most importantly to me, absolutely freaking ABSURD.  I constantly recommend these books to people, but for some reason no one ever takes me up on it (with one exception that I know of, and she now LOVES his novels as well).

The specific book I’m reading right now is titled Something Rotten…

Credits to Jasper Fforde’s website for this image…IT’S NOT MINE!!!!!

I demand that you read his books.  If not now, then in the very near future, because they will make you laugh and smile AND think.  But right now I am going to force you to read part of one of his books because Something Rotten has a plot line about a politician and part of what Fforde does so wonderfully is lampoon politics and politicians.  So obviously reading this book was quite timely, and I just want to share with you what is possibly my favorite scene from a book ever:

“Good evening and welcome to Evade the Question Time,
the nation’s premier topical talk show.  Tonight, as every night, a panel of distinguished public figures generally evade answering the audience’s questions and instead toe the party line.

There was applause at this, and Webastow continued:  ‘The show tonight comes from Swindon in Wessex.  Sometimes called the third capital of England or “Venice on the M4,” the Swindon of today is a financial and manufacturing powerhouse, its citizens a cross-section of professionals and artists who are politically indicative of the country as a whole.  I’d also like to mention at this point that Evade the Question Time is brought to you by the Neat-Fit® Exhaust Systems, the tailpipe of choice.’

He paused for a moment and shuffled his papers.

‘We are honored to have with us tonight two very different speakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum.  First I would like to introduce a man who was politically dead two years ago but has managed to pull himself up to the second-highest political office in the nation, with a devoted following of many millions, not all of whom are deranged.  ladies and gentlemen, Chancellor Yorrick Kaine!’

There was mixed applause when he walked onto the stage, and he grinned and nodded for the benefit of the crowd.  I leaned forward in my seat…

‘Thank you very much,’ said Kaine, sitting at the table and clasping his hands in front of him.  ‘May I say that I always regard Swindon as a home away from home.’

There was a brief twitter of delight from the front of the audience, mostly little old ladies who looked upon him as the son they never had.

Mr. Webastow went on, ‘And opposing him we are also honored to welcome Mr. Redmond van de Poste of the opposition Commonsense Party.’

There was notably less applause as van de Poste walked in…

‘Thank you, gentlemen, and welcome.  The first question comes from Miss Pupkin.”

A small woman stood up and said shyly, ‘Hello.  A Terrible Thing was done by Somebody this week, and I’d like to ask the Panel if they condemn this.’

‘A very good question,’ replied Webastow, ‘Mr. Kaine, perhaps you’d like to start the ball rolling?’

‘Thank you, Tudor.  Yes, I condemn utterly and completely the Terrible Thing in the strongest possible terms.  We in the Whig Party are appalled by the way in which Terrible Things are done in this great nation of ours, with no retribution against the Somebody who did them.  I would also like to point out that the current spate of Terrible Things being undertaken in our towns and cities is a burden we inherited from the Commonsense Party, and I am at pains to point out that in real terms the occurrence of Terrible Things has dropped by over twenty-eight percent since we took office.’

There was applause at this, and Webastow then asked Mr. van de Poste for his comments.

‘Well,’ said Redmond with a sigh, ‘quite clearly my learned friend has got his facts mixed up.  According to the way we massage the figures, Terrible Things are actually on the increase.  But I’d like to stop playing party politics for a momentand state for the record that although this is of course a great personal tragedy for those involved, condemning out of hand these acts does not allow us to understand why they occur, and more needs to be done to get to the root cause of–‘

‘Yet again,’ interrupted Kaine, ‘yet again we see the Commonsense Party shying away from its responsibilities and failing to act toughly on unspecified difficulties.  I hope all the unnamed people who have suffered unclearly defined problems will understand–‘

‘I did say we condemned the Terrible Thing,’ put in van de Poste.  ‘And I might add that we have been conducting a study in the entire range of Terrible Things, all the way from Just Annoying to Outrageously Awful, and will act on these findings– if we gain power.’

‘Trust the Commonsensers to do things by half measures!’ scoffed Kaine, who obviously enjoyed these sorts of discussions.  ‘By going only so far as ‘Outrageously Awful,’ Mr. van de Poste is selling his own nation short.  We at the Whig Party have been looking at the Terrible Things problem and propose a zero-tolerance attitude to offenses as low as Mildly Inappropriate.  Only in this way can the Somebodies who commit Terrible Things be stopped before they move on to acts that are Obscenely Perverse.’

There was a smattering of applause again, presumably as the audience tried to figure out whether “Just Annoying” was worse than “Mildly Inappropriate.”

‘Succinctly put,’ announced Webastow.  ‘At then end of the first round, I will award three points to Mr. Kaine for an excellent nonspecific condemnation, plus one bonus point for blaming the previous government and another for successfully mutating the question to promote the party line.  Mr.  van de Poste gets a point for a firm rebuttal, but only two points for his condemnation, as he tried to inject an impartial and intelligent observation.  So at the end of the first round, it’s Kaine leading with five points and van de Poste with three.’

There was more applause as the numbers came up on the scoreboard.”

Something Rotten, Chapter 3, Evade the Question Time, Jasper Fforde

 

It continues on in this manner, the absurdity increasing, which is why I love it!  I hope you enjoyed!  Now go to the library and check out his books!  🙂