[-empyre-] Re: empyre Digest, Vol 38, Issue 18

John Haber jhaber at haberarts.com
Wed Feb 6 13:11:09 EST 2008

Naeem's description was vivid, so his contribution is worth it for that 
alone.  (Did I say it's hard to write about art?)  It raises a number of 
questions as well. 

One was my uncertainty on what he feels, other than amazement.  It could 
be read as condoning terrorism or not.  While I don't believe in Bush's 
global war on terror -- or even on the value of defining terror as an 
enemy rather than a tactic -- I'm not too keen on killing people, 
period, but especially civilians.

A second was how familiar it sounded.  "Street theater"  has been an 
aspect of American politics, although more so in the 1960s, and one can 
still start an interesting discussion of whether it was useful as 
politics or intersected in an interesting way with performance art.  
I'll just say it was necessary at the time but probably left little 
legacy.  I marched in an anti-Bush demonstration in New York when the 
2004 GOP convention was held here, and I remember how depressed it made 
me.  All the people around were chanting, "This is what democracy looks 
like," and all I could think was, "This is what happens when democracy 
fails or is suppressed, and we're reduced to self-expression rather than 

A third was the whole issue once again of borders in context of 
globalization.  As in everything before, capitalism is an enormous force 
for destruction and creation, and it's only fair if we're scared to 
death.  I'll save you my Thomas Friedman analysis (or my amusement at 
discovering that a hot artist, at least in Beverly Hills, is also named 
Tom Friedman) for a better time. 


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