Another Bird

New Zealand Pigeon

I want to introduce to you the course I’m doing at Yale. I’ll try not to be boring, as people do become over fetishes. By way of introduction then, during lecture 11 Professor Fry said this:

There are two possible ways of reacting to what deconstruction calls “undecidability,” that is to say the impossibility of our really being able to form a grounded opinion about anything. There are two possible ways of reacting to this, one positive and one negative. The negative way is to say that undecidability opens a void in the intellect and in consciousness into which fanaticism and tyranny can rush. In other words, if there is a sort of considered and skillfully argued resistance to opinion–call that “deconstruction”–then in the absence of decently grounded, decently argued opinion, you get this void into which fanaticism and tyranny can rush. That’s the negative response to undecidability, and it’s of course, a view that many of us may entertain.

The positive reaction, however, to undecidability is this: undecidability is a perpetually vigilant scrutiny of all opinion as such, precisely in order to withstand and to resist those their obsessions, and cut to the chase.most egregious and incorrigible opinions of all: the opinions of fanaticism and tyranny. In other words, you can take two views in effect of skepticism: [laughs] the one that it is, in its insistence on a lack of foundation for opinion, a kind of passive acquiescence in whatever rises up in its face; and on the other hand, you can argue that without skepticism, everybody is vulnerable to excessive commitment to opinion, which is precisely the thing that skepticism is supposed to resist. Now this isn’t the first time in this course that I’ve paused over a moment at a crossroads where you can’t possibly take both paths [laughs] but where it is obviously very, very difficult to make up one’s mind. More than one can say or care to admit, it may ultimately be a matter of temperament which path one chooses to take.

Yale’s Professor Paul H Fry – Introduction to Literary Theory – lecture 11

FlashTrashSplash (FTS)

No, you’re wondering; where the hell did this come from?

Look, FTS approached me, asked about being my newscaster, work for nothing. Seems like a nice person so yes, I said yes with my best wishes and a warm welcome. We’ll see how this goes and what unfolds and take it from there, as we do.

Give FTS a warm welcome, everyone.

(FlashTrashSplash suffers a bit from stage-fright so be patient and kind)

Giddy there, my name is FlashTrashSplash and I’m the local newscaster at John McCully dot com. I’m here to tell you the way it is unfolding, and let me tell you I have the full support of the Rakaia Rabid Rag, the Rangitata Isla Heraldo, the Stavely Stumper, the Mt. Somers Nightly, the Peel Forest Rexy Perverters, the Geraldine Antiques Online, AND Atencion in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (and a bunch of other chicken-shit news outlets not worth mentioning).

And you know what, based on a survey I did, John McCully’s blog at John McCully dot com readership has ALREADY surpassed the readership of the Ashburton Guardain; yes, in this short time John McCully’s blog has shot to the top!

So me, I, the inimitable FlashTrashSplash (yes, that’s what my mother named me bless her heart – her name is Jane) is your news host at John McCully’s blog. And I’ll be bringing you all the happenings so go away and come back later, if you know what I mean.

Got something hot:

You can email me at flashtrashsplash@johnmccully.com but keep it simple.

Little Mt. Peel quite a way away!

This goes out on Monday…

DOC is having a photo competition. John McCully, a photographer, is appalled at the notion and has written a rather lengthy essay on the subject which can be read here. His key points are that while in sport and other areas competition is positive the notion in Art is just plain wrong in that it forces judgement of the unjudgeable. There is no way to objectively judge art as in determining one creation to be better than another, he claims. Promoting art as a competitive event fails miserably to understand what art is, McCully tells us, and claims of superiority, one versus the others, is a mistake ‘with the whiff, the unmistakable almost-odour, of fraudulence’.

He notes also that by entering the ‘competition’ participants forfeit copyright, totally; the creativity of the participants becomes the property of DOC with no consideration of the creator whatsoever. This fact is hidden in the fine print, he points out. ‘That totally sucks’ he says. ‘I know where DOC is coming from but that’s not on’. He calls it ‘fine print shenanigans’.

He points out that it doesn’t have to be like that. ‘Promote the event as a Photography Exhibition. Anyone can enter; the images are placed on a server for the world to see, a valued public archive with full copyright protection for the protection of the participating artist however young and small, old and infirm. There is no Judge, no losers, but there still is a prize, and lots of winners, everyone actually. A huge top prize: a free lunch (there is such a thing – easy on the mustard and hold on the judgemental) and a day out with the camera with fellow Kiwi artists, competition-free, no losers, just winners; everyone who participates is a winner, and everyone’s work is invited to be uploaded to the server, as equal as varied before the eyes of the world to see’.

And if DOC take a fancy to any of the images, that they have perceived value added to the DOC enterprise, then a conversation should take place, a concession discussed, with the artist. DOC know how to do that, McCully reminds us.

Bottom line, says McCully, is that ‘photo competition’ is an oxymoron, impossible, and unfair even to begin to go down that road. Art should be promoted as competition-free, and coming to understand that simply participating in art is to be a winner, plain and simple.

And copyright remains with the artist, as is rather much the norm in the world today. It cannot be otherwise, McCully suggests.