March 27, 2017

You'd think, given Trump and his wall, that NYC wouldn't go for an art project called "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors."

But it's ironic.
Ai Weiwei, the provocative Chinese artist, will build more than 100 fences and installations around New York City this fall for “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” one of his most large-scale public art projects to date....
You're not supposed to think that fences are good.
“When the Berlin Wall fell, there were 11 countries with border fences and walls,” Mr. Ai said. “By 2016, that number had increased to 70. We are witnessing a rise in nationalism, an increase in the closure of borders, and an exclusionary attitude towards migrants and refugees, the victims of war and the casualties of globalization.”
So he's building fences against fences. It's sort of like we're supposed to hate his art. Get this thing outta here.
It calls to mind the old "Tilted Arc" — a long metal wall that blocked diagonal paths across a plaza that many NYC workers just hated. But I don't think that work was intended to express the idea that walls are bad. I think it meant look at my big, beautiful modernist erection. But for those of us who worked in the area and had an interest in freedom of movement through what would otherwise be an open plaza, the predominant thought was, yes, I've seen it, I've seen it in my way a hundred times, get it the hell out of here. And in the end it was removed. The artist was miffed, but the workers were happy. Not as happy as Berlin when its wall fell, but happy to have the arrogant artist's imposition disimposed.

I've talked about "Tilted Arc" a few times on this blog, notably here:
The sculpture's high art proponents ridiculed the complaints, including a fear of "terrorists who might use it as a blasting wall for bombs." Serra himself said that to move the "site-specific" sculpture would be to destroy it. He also said: "I don't think it is the function of art to be pleasing. Art is not democratic. It is not for the people." Fine, but then, keep it out of the plaza! And don't take taxpayer money. The Grand Central carpeting on the other hand, can be walked on comfortably, is amusing for almost everybody, and is going to be removed after a short time, so any perception of ugliness will soon enough give way to the good feeling of relief when it is gone. "Tilted Arc" was there, in the way, permanently, with no feeling or sensitivity for the people who worked in the Plaza. I worked in the area at the time and know first-hand its effect on human beings, who had "site-specific" jobs and did not deserve to be challenged by art to take a 120-foot walk around a steel arc hundreds or thousands of times.
IN THE COMMENTS: There's some discussion of the extent to which the taxpayers are funding this. And Matthew Sablan wants to talk about the Robert Frost poem (the full text of which you can read here):
The fence/wall in the poem always struck me as one guy saying, "we don't need this; it wastes our time every year rebuilding the damn thing," and the other guy saying, "yeah, but we might need it in the future, and besides, you and I trust each other, yet, trust but verify."

There's a lot packed into the poem, but in general, it is two different people approaching the wall problem. Frost wants us to think the narrator makes a good point, but the other guy has plenty of valid reasons for wanting a wall (without it, in say, 20 years, how will they know where the property line is? What if an apple tree DOES sprout on the opposite side?)

Also, the wall ISN'T walling the two people out from each other. They could talk over it, if they wanted. Without the wall there, they wouldn't see each other any other time in the year.
That made me read the poem and feel I can enlighten you. This is purely on my reading it just now and not looking at what anybody else says. I think the narrator enjoys the yearly activity with his neighbor. He calls it a "game." They don't really need a wall because they're only growing trees and the trees aren't going anywhere. But a second amusing thing you can do when you've got another person with you — besides playing a physical game like wall-building — is to have a conversation. The narrator is satisfied with the wall-building game — he's not really trying to avoid the trouble. He kind of likes it.

He's disappointed by the inability to get the verbal game started. He parries with that idea that the trees aren't going to behave any differently. But the other guy has a go-to old saying: "Good fences make good neighbours." The narrator babbles out a few things and stops short of another idea he could throw out — that elves are taking the wall down — but "But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather/He said it for himself." The narrator wants to have a conversation. But the other guy is just doggedly continuing the physical game, lugging another stone. And all he adds to the conversation — that the narrator thinks could get really interesting with elves or something, anything — is another repetition of the old saying.

Yes, there's repetition in rebuilding the wall every year, and yes, that repetition isn't really necessary, but I think the central problem is frustration at not getting a conversation started. I think the narrator would be just as happy to get a flow of interesting words about the good of maintaining an old fence and redoing the shared annual ritual of moving the stones back where they were. What he wants is to do something with another person with his mind and not just his body. But the other man — whose body is good enough to lift "boulders" — just doesn't have a mind that can do much. He says the same old thing twice, and the narrator wants a real conversation. When the narrator says "Something there is that doesn't love a wall/That wants it down," he means Talk to me, for God's sake!

100 comments:

Rocketeer said...

I think it meant look at my big, beautiful modernist erection.

Virtually all contemporary art is just the artist metaphorically screaming "HEY GUYS LOOK OVER HERE AT MY ERECTION!"

Inga said...

So who is to pay for Mr. Ai's walls?

Curious George said...

I have an idea. Trying pulling that shit off in your native land.

Fernandinande said...

Hadrian cried.

FWIW, I think the Mexican wall is a terrible idea. If built it'll be a monstrosity and people will continues to get across thru tunnels, hidden in vehicles, and such. Better to cut the welfare flow and civilly (or criminally?) charge employers who hire illegal aliens.

Chuck said...

Inga said...
So who is to pay for Mr. Ai's walls?


The taxpayers. Just like Trump's Mexican border wall. With just as much practical utility.


Lance said...

Chesterton had something to say about fences.

Ann Althouse said...

Don't assume Ai Weiwei's artwork will annoy people. And it's only temporary.

I just question whether it will say what he intends it to say and find it funny that for it to accomplish its political goal, people will have to DISLIKE it. If it's enjoyable, then it's not controverting the statement in the title, that fences are good.

Ann Althouse said...

"The taxpayers."

Wrong.

It's funded by The Public Art Fund, which might sound like part of the government is a nonprofit organization.

I assume NYC will benefit as visitors come to town to see it and spend money in restaurants and hotels. It's good for the art reputation of NYC.

Matthew Sablan said...

Yes, Prime Minister, has a great exchange about art when the PM suggests taking arts funding and letting local governments use it for other leisure purposes, like football teams. Sir Humphrey will have none of it because arts funding is to give people what they don't think they want, or something like that.

rhhardin said...

Walls keep the cows in.

Balfegor said...

Re: Curious George:

I have an idea. Trying pulling that shit off in your native land.

To his credit, Ai Weiwei has not exactly shied away from criticising the government of his native land. In fact, he's been arrested for it at least once.

On this project, though, there is a certain irony in someone from Northeast Asia criticising walls, since for centuries, the Northeast Asian states (China, Japan, Korea, sometimes Annam/Vietnam) have had much, much stricter border controls than pretty much any Western states. Chinese border officials were asking to see your papers two thousand years ago. Koreans have had national ID cards for over six hundred years. And they were very strict on unauthorised border crossing, up to the death penalty. Nor were they welcoming of refugees. When the Ming fell to the Qing, there were a number of refugees who sought asylum in Japan. Zhu Zhiyi, for example, unsuccessfully sought asylum in Japan in 1651, but was not ultimately permitted to reside in Japan until 1656 when he obtained the sponsorship of a minor Japanese gentleman (I think he tried a second time in between those two events, but Wikipedia does not confirm it for me so perhaps I am misremembering).

Unknown said...

A Fence is not a Wall.

The Great Wall of China is not a Fence.

The Berlin Wall was not a Fence.

A picket Fence is a Fence.

The Trump Wall is planned to be a Wall co-mingled with Fences. Of course, it won't happen because Mexico is not going to pay for Trump's Wall and nor will the majority of the American public.

Trump should start a collection from the Trumpies who can pay for the Wall. Only way it is going to happen.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, fences and walls are different. Good fences make good neighbors. Fences are things you can open/close, talk over, etc. They serve many legitimate purposes; walls are different. They ALSO serve different purposes, but fences separate and note areas, walls are physical separations that are meant to divide, while fences are different. I think. I just think they're different, in my own rambly, not making sensey way.

rehajm said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The taxpayers."

Wrong.

It's funded by The Public Art Fund, which might sound like part of the government is a nonprofit organization.


Actually your wrong is wrong, in part. The Public Art Fund receives funding in part from government grants.

Taxpayers, in other words.

rehajm said...

The premise they could not be funded by taxpayers because they are a nonprofit is completely wrong, however.

buwaya puti said...

Much more influential wall PR.
The current "Great Wall" movie, a Chinese coproduction.
Yes, there is a bloody great wall in it, and a good thing too. I'm sure Adams will think it's effective pro-wall messaging.
It's not a good movie, on grounds of rationality, art, or acting (not the wall part, just the rest of it).

Achilles said...

The refugees and illegals never end up living with the wealthy liberals who fight to bring them here.

They go to poor schools and neighborhoods. It is much easier to support open borders when you live in a guarded high rise or gated community and it is only poor people who are hurt.

I think Ai needs to open up his house as a resting place for these people coming here right after he goes to China and tells their government how to change their immigration laws.

Rocketeer said...

From The Public Art Fund website:

"The Public Art Fund, Inc., which is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs."

So yes: Taxpayers.

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The taxpayers."

Wrong.

It's funded by The Public Art Fund, which might sound like part of the government is a nonprofit organization.


I stand corrected. Brava, Althouse. Point made.

But...

The Public Art Fund operates as a 501(c)(3) organization. And, like so many (c)(3)'s, it receives, in turn from other, larger (c)(3)'s like the Carnegie Endwoment, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, etc., etc., millions in funding. So, just a little bit of tax-code assistance from Uncle Sam.

And isn't is an interesting feature of so many of these private-but-tax-exempt organizations, how they name themselves and model themselves on public-sector things? So, "The Public Art Fund." And, "The Public Theater." And, "The Neighborhood Playhouse." All 501(c)(3)'s. That would be a long list if we worked on it.

Kudos to Althouse for the correction and for elevating the issue.

Balfegor said...

Re: Unknown:

Trump should start a collection from the Trumpies who can pay for the Wall. Only way it is going to happen.

Honestly, I think they could totally pay for the Wall that way. Heck, I would subscribe. He should do this.

buwaya puti said...

What's the point in making Anti-wall propaganda in NYC?
Aren't the people whose minds need to be corrected elsewhere?

Scott said...

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."

Inga said...

"I assume NYC will benefit as visitors come to town to see it and spend money in restaurants and hotels. It's good for the art reputation of NYC."

If you build the walls, they will come. No one gets locked out, or in.

Quayle said...

What are Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity if not walls to keep out the low wage "immigrants"?

DougWeber said...

It is a shame that so many have not read and understood Frost. At a minimum:

There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.

Roy Jacobsen said...

I'm go camp out in Ai Weiwe's living room and find out how he really feels about walls, fences, and doors with locks.

buwaya puti said...

An effective employer-oriented sanction will require much more along the lines of raids by La Migra.
It's no coincidence that the Anti-wall types don't like that either.
Properly, it will require a national ID and a large enforcement arm, willing and able to hunt down every roofer, plumber, and taco truck. And, necessarily, a system of informers.

Sebastian said...

I invite everyone to think deeply about the Frost poem. So much better than the crude political grandstanding. I say as someone who does want immigration law enforced and changed.

Matthew Sablan said...

The fence/wall in the poem always struck me as one guy saying, "we don't need this; it wastes our time every year rebuilding the damn thing," and the other guy saying, "yeah, but we might need it in the future, and besides, you and I trust each other, yet, trust but verify."

There's a lot packed into the poem, but in general, it is two different people approaching the wall problem. Frost wants us to think the narrator makes a good point, but the other guy has plenty of valid reasons for wanting a wall (without it, in say, 20 years, how will they know where the property line is? What if an apple tree DOES sprout on the opposite side?)

Also, the wall ISN'T walling the two people out from each other. They could talk over it, if they wanted. Without the wall there, they wouldn't see each other any other time in the year.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the extra stuff about the role of public money here.

Is the public being made to pay for anti-Trump propaganda?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Is the public being made to pay for anti-Trump propaganda?

Of course not. The Public Art Fund operates as a 501(c)(3) organization, and the IRS would never let a 501(c)(3) organization engage in politics. \sarc

Kevin said...

The left loves walls more than the right. They just go by fancy names like zoning restrictions, co-op boards, and CC&R's. They even have doormen and private security to ensure only the right sort of people can walk around.

They're fine with "those people" coming across the border, but they're not going to let them drive down their own property values.

And they assuage their guilt by making sure the doormen and private security people are sufficiently "diverse".

buwaya puti said...

Of course the public is paying for Democratic party propaganda, in a thousand ways. Consider the SEIU. Most of their members are employed due to Medicaid/Medicare. That's where SEIU dues come from.

Paddy O said...

We shouldn't interfere in the autonomous choice of artists to do whatever they want.

John said...

Speaking of fences, Manhattan has a fence of sorts around it.

Called an Eruz it is a filament of wire surrounding Manhattan. Jews inside the wire are allowed to go about their normal business during the Sabbath.

Pretty cool loophole.

I had heard of it before but last night ran across an article reading Marginal Revolution:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/91594/theres-wire-above-manhattan-youve-probably-never-noticed



John Henry

John said...

In addition to "Good fences make good neighbors"

"An armed society is a polite society" - Lazarus Long

John Henry

Balfegor said...

Re: Scott:

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down
."

Right he is!.

Quayle said...

"And they assuage their guilt by making sure the doormen and private security people are sufficiently "diverse".

In other words, they sort of make them pay for the very wall that keeps them out.

buwaya puti said...

I find the "casualties of globalization" thing interesting. It's a common sort of line, a throwaway slogan, with little thought behind it, and yet...
It's grounded, overtly, in a rather stupid premise, that third-world people are desperate because they are being impoverished by multinational corporations and global trade. This is not true. They would be much poorer without it. The emotion behind the statement is false, wrong. Emotions can be very stupid.
On the other hand, the population pressure and the increase in expectations - ambition - is indeed due to globalization, of technology, of knowledge. What resident of Central Africa would even have thought to head for the US for a better life in 1917?

sunsong said...

"The irreplaceable riches of our borderlands
Borderlands are special spaces where cultures meet and mix, where diverse communities blend within the overlapping edges of two worlds. This is especially true in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands because the region lies along a natural boundary as well as a geopolitical border.

"Where the United States meets Mexico, a 2,000-mile stretch of land bridges the tropical and temperate zones. Here jaguars and ocelots share the landscape with their northerly cousins, the cougar and bobcat. Green jays, Altamira orioles and elegant trogons perch side-by-side on mesquite, ebony, and cottonwood branches with northern cardinals and mockingbirds. This is a landscape of wild surprise, shared equitably by the north and south of the natural world.

"This is a landscape of wild surprise, shared equitably by the north and south of the natural world.

"The borderlands harbor some of North America’s rarest wild species and oldest human cultures, descendants of the Hohokam, Lipan-Apache and Spanish colonial families – all of whom predate the United States’ existence as a nation..."



Will the border wall strike a fatal blow to one of the most imperiled wild regions in North America?

sunsong said...

I prefer the idea of building solar roads at the border than a stupid wall...

Kevin said...

"We shouldn't interfere in the autonomous choice of artists to do whatever they want."

Then Trump would simply declare his border fence to be his "greatest masterpiece" funded through the NEA, and the NPR crowd would simultaneously explode.

Trump's wall, Trump's choice!

khesanh0802 said...

Unknown has clearly never been to New England where a fence is indeed a wall made of good New England granite. When Frost used that old saying he did so in a poem called "Mending Walls".

rehajm said...

And isn't is an interesting feature of so many of these private-but-tax-exempt organizations, how they name themselves and model themselves on public-sector things? So, "The Public Art Fund." And, "The Public Theater." And, "The Neighborhood Playhouse." All 501(c)(3)'s

One for both sides of the ledger, there's The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Perhaps once upon a time long ago people may have held companies and the private sector in esteem?

Kevin said...

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."

I don't think Frost had even considered Mexicans seeking anchor babies and welfare benefits, or the Mexican government looking for ways to relate the pressure for real reforms. And yet his hypothesis remains intact!

Kevin said...

"Perhaps once upon a time long ago people may have held companies and the private sector in esteem?"

Perhaps long ago we had other scapegoats for the nation's problems?

Gordon said...

Am I the only person who saw the artist's basic fallacy? His comparison is to the Berlin wall. But that wall was built to keep people from leaving, not to keep people from entering.

mockturtle said...

Frost notwithstanding, I love a wall. One thing that attracted me to my new AZ neighborhood is that every lot is enclosed by a brick wall.

buwaya said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China

That must have had just as much an effect on cultures and and ecology - 2200 years ago.
But now its a priceless cultural artifact, even to those that object to the proposed US "Great Wall" on grounds of ecology and culture.

If the distinction is simply time, creating familiarity, then the objection is irrational.

buwaya said...

"Am I the only person who saw the artist's basic fallacy? His comparison is to the Berlin wall."

The artist is Chinese. His cultural point of reference is the Great Wall, of which they are very proud, which was intended to keep invaders out. Its very curious why there is no comment on that.

Note I mentioned above the "Great Wall" film, which is very much a piece of Chinese patriotic fantasy.

A great deal about these sorts of gestures is curious.

Balfegor said...

Re: Kevin:

I don't think Frost had even considered Mexicans seeking anchor babies and welfare benefits, or the Mexican government looking for ways to relate the pressure for real reforms. And yet his hypothesis remains intact!

I assume he had an ordinary education, so he must surely have been aware of cannons, mangonels, battering rams, and other various and sundry siege weapons whose purpose is precisely to break down walls. There are a lot of things that do not "love" walls -- all of human history attests the burning desire of every invading power to batter down all walls in its way, from Sargon to the Sea Peoples to Mehmet the Conqueror. And beyond.

Curious George said...

"Balfegor said...
Re: Unknown:

Trump should start a collection from the Trumpies who can pay for the Wall. Only way it is going to happen.

Honestly, I think they could totally pay for the Wall that way. Heck, I would subscribe. He should do this."

I would also pay to build walls around sanctuary cities to keep the illegals in.

Darrell said...

I would also pay to build walls around Lefties. I'd use 55-gal drums until the details could be sorted out.

whswhs said...

The line "good fences make good neighbors" was ironic when Robert Frost wrote it in "Mending Wall," a long time ago now.

Kevin said...

I always admired Frost's use of "something" which does not love a wall. It is brilliant actually, because it leaves it to the reader to fill in the something for themselves.

Walls separate two people, and it is usually to the advantage of one person at any one time that the wall exist. Although that may change from time to time, the idea that both parties are equally invested in the wall is rare. There is always one party who is less invested in the wall's continuance than the other.

In Frost's poem it is Frost, for he is being forced into maintaining a wall for which he sees no immediate benefit. Although in doing so, the intangible benefits of the wall are revisited.

mockturtle said...

Honestly, I think they could totally pay for the Wall that way. Heck, I would subscribe. He should do this."

I would also pay to build walls around sanctuary cities to keep the illegals in.


Me too! I assume it would be tax-deductible.

Bay Area Guy said...

Good fences do make good neighbors. It breeds stability and reasonable expectations (assuming no border dispute).

Richard Dillman said...

Walls are unnatural for many reasons. The speaker in Frost's poem seems to be poking fun at the rigid neighbor imprisoned by his maxims and bits of folk wisdom (proverbial wisdom). He is like "an old stone savage armed " and he goes " in darkness." When I taught this poem during the Cold War, students often associated it with the Berlin Wall. It is one of Frost's most whimsical poems.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

One big way that Iowa has changed in the last 30 to 40 years is that the grain farmers have taken out their fences. The livestock farmers, which at this point means cattle and sheep as chickens and hogs have almost all gone to confinement buildings, still need fences.

That creates some interesting socioeconomic interactions. If you put in a new fence next to a grain farmer, he may get angry. The new fence signals you're going to run livestock next to him for another 30 years, and won't be switching over to grain. He can expect that some of those livestock will slip through the fence and eat his grain in the field. And yet he can also be expected to get angry about having to pay for or put in his half of the fence, because he perceives that he doesn't need it. That's the law, but when there are enough grain farmers, the law will be changed.

Does the Coase Theorem account for that? And how does it apply to the Mexican border? We've become grain farmers. We want to keep the other farmers' livestock out, but we don't want to pay for the fence.

Robert Cook said...

"I have an idea. Trying pulling that shit off in your native land."

Oh, he does. He's been arrested and held in detention there.

mockturtle said...

Walls are unnatural for many reasons.

The walls of our [bodily] cells are of critical importance by using diffusion, osmosis and active transport of molecules through the membrane. Cell walls of all living things are very natural and necessary to life.

Robert Cook said...

It'd be funny, if it were not so grotesque, that so many Americans object to government funding of the arts--an infinitesimal percentage of any taxpayer's taxes--while so few (or none) of these same "Not with my taxes!" objectors have no objections to their tax dollars enriching arms merchants and killing civilians all over the middle east.

Fernandinande said...

Sebastian said...
I invite everyone to think deeply about the Frost poem.


It's just a poem. It doesn't mean anything.

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."


That "something" is probably gravity.

If you feel that gravity can't want, then the something could be cattle.

If you feel that cattle can't want, then go with burglars or the zoning department.

Sebastian said...

@Fernandinande: "It's just a poem. It doesn't mean anything." Now wait a minute. Are you trying to put English lit teachers out of business? The poem means many things! As you proceed to illustrate. Anyway, it only works because Frost gives the mender his due.

rehajm said...

Is the public being made to pay for anti-Trump propaganda?

Who gets to define the meaning of 'anti-Trump propaganda?

buwaya said...

"objectors have no objections to their tax dollars enriching arms merchants and killing civilians all over the middle east."

Its traditional for tax money to go to arms merchants, or to make war. Thats been a proper use of taxes since the pharaohs.

For that matter, so is making public art, which also goes back to the pharaohs.

The problem is diverging opinions about which arms, which merchants, which wars and what art. Personally, you would be much better off if the government took a leaf from the pharaohs and limited itself to embellishing cities with statues, stelae and friezes of Ramses II. Nobody hates Ramses II. Anymore.

Sigivald said...

As rehajm said, not only do they get government grants, but ...

If you follow the link and look at their 990, you'll see their reported Public Support Percentage is ... 87%. The remainder is about half interest and dividends and such, and "other income", which looks to be things like non-government donations.

At 87% public money, I'm okay with saying "taxpayers" are the ones paying for their output.

Richard Dillman said...

Modern college students not surprisingly often associate the wall in Frost's poem with racism. Kind of a cliched response.

Fernandinande said...

Sebastian said...
@Fernandinande: "It's just a poem. It doesn't mean anything." Now wait a minute. Are you trying to put English lit teachers out of business?


I would do that if'n I could, or at least reduce "English lit" to it's proper place as a harmless, useless hobby and not a taxpayer funded pseudo-business. And anywho me talk more better than "something there is that doesn't love a wall" - what kinda English is those?

The poem means many things! As you proceed to illustrate.

If he meant that things fall over or the zoning department doesn't love walls, he shoulda just said so.

mockturtle said...

Fernandinande responds: That "something" is probably gravity.

:-D Indeed!

n.n said...

One proposal is to build the DC wall, and a viable (i.e. politically correct) alternative is to erect electric and barbwire fences. So, there is a bipartisan consensus that first-order forcings of catastrophic anthropogenic immigration reform are a real and progressive threat to persons and babies, too. We desperately need emigration reform.

n.n said...

The problem is not necessarily defensive wars, although those should not be pursued for light and casual causes, but rather social justice adventurism (i.e. wars of aggression) that is a first-order forcing of catastrophic anthropogenic immigration reform and opening of abortion fields with a near perfect record of 100% collateral damage.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Just so you know, demanding a conversation of people is a big fucking ask. It's enough that I have to listen to you, now you expect me to speak? To speak in a way that entertains you? Really? Why would I do that? Do I owe you something? Are we having sex?

This in Maine yet, where people are famously taciturn?

Is this paid speech? Hillary Clinton might be worth $250K a speech if she had to give it while schlepping rocks around the property line of a nice big farm, and interact verbally and rock-ly with the goober or wannabe wordslinger on the other side.

"If a word is worth one coin, silence is worth two." --Talmud, Megillah 18a

Bad Lieutenant said...

Robert Cook said...
It'd be funny, if it were not so grotesque, that so many Americans object to government funding of the arts--an infinitesimal percentage of any taxpayer's taxes--while so few (or none) of these same "Not with my taxes!" objectors have no objections to their tax dollars enriching arms merchants and killing civilians all over the middle east.

3/27/17, 2:06 PM

Of course not, Robert, I quite like killing foreigners who do not please me. What else are they for? Silly doodle.

And since you're so big on the Constitution, you should know that killing foreigners is one of the few actual Constitutional duties.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Curious George said...
"Balfegor said...
Re: Unknown:

Trump should start a collection from the Trumpies who can pay for the Wall. Only way it is going to happen.

Honestly, I think they could totally pay for the Wall that way. Heck, I would subscribe. He should do this."

Prefer minefields. Would contribute to minefields.

I would also pay to build walls around sanctuary cities to keep the illegals in.

Prefer minefields. Would contribute to minefields.

3/27/17, 12:25 PM

Bad Lieutenant said...

Blogger sunsong said...
"The irreplaceable riches of our borderlands

Will the border wall strike a fatal blow to one of the most imperiled wild regions in North America?

3/27/17, 11:59 AM

OK sunsong, make you a deal. No wall. Instead, smart mines and smart robotic weapons which will only detect and kill humans coming north over our property line. K? We good?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Richard Dillman said...
Modern college students not surprisingly often associate the wall in Frost's poem with racism."

Modern college students associate just about everything with racism.

"Faculty were also banned from asking students basic small talk questions, such as “Where are you from?” and “Where were you born?” These questions can be construed as racist. According to Janet Napolitano, banning these microaggressions from California’s universities was part of an initiative to “improve campus climate.”

exiledonmainstreet said...

"I would also pay to build walls around sanctuary cities to keep the illegals in."

It wouldn't take long before the guards would be trying to keep the liberals from escaping. "Dear me, Utopia is not working out quite like we thought it would."

robother said...

Only China should have a Great Wall? Only China should be able to have an office policy of no immigration? Because White Devils.

Richard Dolan said...

In 2005, NYC was home to another wall-inspired outdoor work, The Gates by Christo. A gate is, in its way, the anti-wall, the opening that undoes the work of the wall, assuming you can find the gate and it's open. Perhaps someone will pay to bring the Gates back, and put them side by side with Ai Wei Wwi's fences. As for Serra's Tilted Arc, that used to be in the plaza in front of the federal office building in Foley Square, next to the Court of Int'l Trade building. Perfectly sited, and a good match for the ugly standard-issue federal plaza it was in. But nobody misses it.

buwaya said...

"Only China should have a Great Wall?"

Exactly.

If made correctly, a thousand years from now the MAGA Wall will be a tourist attraction, and red MAGA caps will be ubiquitous in its souvenir shops.

The complainers are short-sighted.

Paddy O said...

This post and this thread brought to mind Andy Goldsworthy's work on walls, which I first learned about in that great movie Rivers and Tides. It's interesting how integrated and inviting his approach is versus how others view walls.

It's interesting how the various posts on Althouse today feature walls of some kind or another, variously embraced or rejected, fashionable or insufficient.

We maintain walls over our body, and prefer that others keep their walls up. We choose different sides of a political wall. Are walls for keeping out or keeping in? Both. The Great Wall, Hadrians wall, meant to keep out invaders, whereas the Berlin Wall was made to keep in those who would want autonomy from the government.

Nature has walls of all sorts, as Althouse and Meade found in their recent journeys. From very large to microscopic. We have emotional walls and social walls and literal walls that are mostly made for social and emotional reasons. My house has a lot of walls, otherwise my kids would take over the whole place. A womb is now either a way to trap in an invader, a trap in which they can be killed, or keep safe from outside harm until ready to enter into this broader world. Is not the womb a walled sanctuary within another's body? Our skin is a wall, our clothes a wall for the walls.

Some social walls are why there's protest against literal walls. The wealthy of Mexico want to protect their sanctity and security by making sure the poor go somewhere else. They create walls to prevent social advancing and send the poor to the safety of US nets.

So, it's not really a question about whether walls, it's a question about which walls and where? Whose walls are inviolate and whose rights are worth protecting. The walls of the wealthy, of course, are never beyond question.

Robert Cook said...

"And since you're so big on the Constitution, you should know that killing foreigners is one of the few actual Constitutional duties."

Oh, there are many duties assigned to Congress in the Constitution, such as levying taxes, to "provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States," to regulate commerce, "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," and "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers...." This covers a lot of ground, that is, whatever is deemed necessary to accomplish the above. Even funding for the arts is included!


"Killing foreigners," is not one of these duties, except where that is a necessary aspect of defending the nation against armed attack.

mockturtle said...

Cookie comments: general Welfare of the United States

And I suppose you take that to mean 'government handouts'.

useful Arts

I doubt they had NPR in mind.

mockturtle said...

Useful arts were things like printing, architecture, weaving, etc. Not decorative art.

buwaya said...

As for arts spending -

Here's the problem.
People who want to make art almost all hate the people who are taxed to pay them for their art. Hence the art they make is almost entirely devoted to insulting the taxpayers. This is not a good situation. So the artists can't be trusted to choose their subjects. Nor can they be trusted to choose their style, because even in that they just can't help being a gang of irony-worshiping, passive-aggressive wankers and piss off the public anyway. "Yeah, it looks like I just welded together a lot of rusty metal, but you squares just don't get the point".

Now, the government could choose the style and subject instead, as was almost always the case in the good old days - "he who pays the piper calls the tune" could have been said by a Sumerian priest-king. That is the most traditional policy.

However, again, here and now, no monumental government-gratifying subject would be without its bitter critics. One could not erect an Easter-island style black marble monumental figure of the President (with a gilded topknot stone) in Berkeley, more's the pity.

The only way out is for the government to designate uncontroversial subjects for monumental sculpture, which it should pay for to raise the tone and make the place a bit more classy. Which is why certain subjects should be specified and not deviated from. I suggest:

Ramses II - because no-one hates him anymore
http://pre07.deviantart.net/fd16/th/pre/i/2011/147/f/f/statue_of_ramses_ii_by_fatgordon0-d3hc3m0.jpg

Olmec heads - because nobody knows who the &%&%*% these guys are anyway.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/17/f0/42/17f042bc4705312c5290cff1edbbc1c9.jpg

Bad Lieutenant said...

Cook, the original Cabinet had FOUR departments, IIRC. Not a Health and Human Services among 'em:

George Washington's cabinet included just four original members: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.

buwaya said...

Come to think of it, Obama would have looked great as a 50-foot tall black marble Easter-island head.
There is still time.

Achilles said...

buwaya said...

If made correctly, a thousand years from now the MAGA Wall will be a tourist attraction, and red MAGA caps will be ubiquitous in its souvenir shops.

The complainers are short-sighted.


That means visible from space. Sounds like a plan.

Ann Althouse said...

I could see interpreting "Mending Fences" to mean that the narrator was seeking a homosexual relationship with the other man.

Ann Althouse said...

I see someone agrees with me:

"In the section of the poem where Frost entertains the possibility of just letting the wall fall down, I sense a faintly paranoid loss of boundary between himself and his neighbor: "I wonder / If I could put a notion in his head." "I'd rather / He said it for himself." There is a link, widely recognized in psychiatry, between a paranoid view of the world (It is all directed at me) and the projection of homosexual impulses (I don't love him--he loves me). In this context, the poem's fantasy of merger may not be directed at a woman ("no cows") but another man, and (in psychoanalytic terms) I can hear other levels of merger, in those hard boulders the two men carry: as weapons, as "balls," "handling them," and so on. In this vein, I am hearing wishes and fears about being close to another man, particularly a strong, primitive one, a "savage." I am hearing wishes about excrement, testicles, assault, or penetration of one man by another."

buwaya said...

See, Althouse, this is why psychology is the least popular of the non eng classes for engineers - those things where the colleges make them try to educate us troglodytes just a bit. Frankly we'd be just fine chipping away at our rocks.

If those fancy headcase mechanics had any idea what we are actually up to...

mockturtle said...

I certainly take issue with public funds being used on a piece of 'sculpture' that looks like a collapsed suspension bridge.

Michael K said...

If those fancy headcase mechanics had any idea what we are actually up to...

That;s what is amusing about Scott Adams. The usual dopes don't get him because he is an engineer.

His first cartoons were about his boss and his coworkers used to give him ideas for strips. He drew the cartoons strips at 4 AM before work.

Michael K said...

"If made correctly, a thousand years from now the MAGA Wall will be a tourist attraction,"

The "Fine Homebuilding" issue this month has a story about building walls without mortar,

If done properly, they will last a thousand years,

They survive because they flex with the ground.

Gretchen said...

When liberals stop locking their doors and building fences to keep people off their own property they can start complaining about border fences.

mockturtle said...

The "Fine Homebuilding" issue this month has a story about building walls without mortar,

If done properly, they will last a thousand years,

They survive because they flex with the ground.


As you probably remember, the English countryside is covered with dry stone walls.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie comments: 'general Welfare of the United States'

"And I suppose you take that to mean 'government handouts.'"


No, not particularly. It means: whatever polices are deemed desirable or necessary to improve or maintain "the general welfare of the US," (however "general welfare" might be defined at any given time). I agree that that lavish government handouts to big corporations and insider contractors are objectionable.

"'useful Arts'

"I doubt they had NPR in mind."


Well, no, because again, they did not specify or limit what "useful arts" might be, leaving it to be defined freely going forward.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook, the original Cabinet had FOUR departments, IIRC. Not a Health and Human Services among 'em:

"George Washington's cabinet included just four original members: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph."


And? So?

In order to fulfill its constitutional mandate, the government is free to expand and create new departments as necessary to oversee and implement whatever policies are deemed useful or necessary to the "general welfare of the United States," or that pertain to the regulation of commerce.

mockturtle said...

Cookie asserts: I agree that that lavish government handouts to big corporations and insider contractors are objectionable.

Exactly. They are. Even when called 'Economic Stimulus'. I wasn't confining my remark to welfare programs.