The Box-Out

Because the Internet won't write itself.


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John Gray on Progress

“Actually, humanity cannot advance or retreat, for humanity cannot act: there is no collective entity with intentions or purposes, only ephemeral struggling animals each with its own passions and illusions.  The growth of scientific knowledge cannot alter this fact.  Believers in progress – whether social democrats or neo-conservatives, Marxists, anarchists or technocratic Positivists – think of ethics and politics as being like science, with each step forward enabling further advances in future.  Improvement in society is cumulative, they believe, so that the elimination of one evil can be followed by the removal of others in an open-ended process.  But human affairs show no sign of being additive in this way: what is gained can always be lost, sometimes – as with the return of torture as an accepted technique in war and government – in the blink of an eye.  Human knowledge tends to increase, but humans do not become any more civilized as a result.  They remain prone to every kind of barbarism, and while the growth of knowledge allows them to improve their material conditions, it also increases the savagery of their conflicts.”

John Gray, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, 2007.

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Gallery of Decadent Art: Sleepwalker, Tony Matelli

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All-female college terrified by creepy underwear man statue (Gawker)

Petition: Move the “Sleepwalker” inside the Davis Museum (change.org)

“…an inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community that we, as members of the student body, would like removed from outdoor space immediately… we ask that in the future, the Davis Museum and the College notify us before displaying public art.”

A Wellesley Student (from petition text)

Comments from change.org petition:

“All I can think of is a naked man is terrorizing the campus. I really don’t get the point of this thing which I will not call art.”

Yue Xing, Wellesley, MA

“Regardless of the artist’s intent, you must listen to your students: they are telling you that to them, this is a daily reminder that white men get to do whatever they want, wherever they want, displaying their barely-clothed bodies openly regardless of how it makes others feel, and women don’t get to say anything about it.”

Charlotte Badler, Boston, MA

“This is not art. This is offensive and meaningless garbage.”

Peter Resnick, Sharon, MA

“Yes, our campus has an art museum but the campus itself is not an art museum. It’s an educational institution.”

Hilary Allen, Homewood, IL

“How about a sculpture showing a child being molested, or an African-American being hung by the neck on a tree?”

Susan Turnley, West Pawlet, VT

“A number of women pay big bucks to go to an all women’s school precisely to get away from society’s phallocentric bullshit and now it is invading their space on campus, and as many have said, making young women feel unsafe.”

Irene Glassman, Jamaica Plain, MA

“I am shocked and horrified that in this day and age vulnerable young women are still subjected to such rampant misogyny. I weep for this woman-hating world of ours and would like to apologize on behalf of my sex for any harm done by this latest salvo in the war on women.”

Michael Claymore, NSW, Australia

“Our campus, our safety — “art” be damned.”

Elizabeth Shirey, Los Angeles, CA

“Freedom of artistic expression, while vital, needs to be limited in the interest of public safety. Just as there are limitations to our freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment, so too must artistic freedom be limited.”

Jeanne McIntosh, Charlotte, NC