Banksy’s recent opening to the Simpsons

November 20th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

struck me as a particularly toothless example of the very contemporary kind of humor I explored and derided in my October post for Mischief & Mayhem Books. In this case both the medium and the message were to blame. Grim, impotent, post-ironic, pre-defeated, and worst of all, complacent, as though watching it were meant to lend the moral superiority, if not the actual minute ameliorations, of activism. And delivering it as a preface to The Simpsons? Way to sap your own message of any potentially remaining force.

It does no good, of course, to point out what everyone with a conscience knows but no one is doing anything about. It does, in fact, little good to point out even this fact. As Louis Simpson said in “On the Lawn at the Villa” (1963): “It’s complicated, being an American,/Having the money and the bad conscience, both at the same time.”

My latest post, on visualization and translation, is now up at Mischief & Mayhem.

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