November 19, 2018

"Chani Nicholas doesn’t care for the hulking Alex Katz painting, depicting a trio of suited white men, hanging behind the front desk of the Langham hotel in New York. It reminds her of the patriarchy..."

"... she tells me one rainy, starless night in February, as we take the elevator up to her hotel suite and sit on the couch. We’re wrapping up a conversation about privilege, gender equality and the zodiac when Nicholas, who’s become popular on Instagram as a kind of social-justice astrologer, notices a different art piece hovering behind her. This one, she likes. The painting, titled 'Mona,' portrays a woman who shares a striking resemblance to Nicholas – dark hair with tight curls, sharp brown eyes, a strong jawline. She compares it to the painting in the lobby. 'The hotel staff must’ve known not to put me in a room with a bunch of weird guys on the wall,' she says. 'I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.'"

So begins "Meet the Woman Bringing Social Justice to Astrology/Chani Nicholas is transforming horoscopes from quips about finding true love and stumbling into financial good fortune to pointed calls to action" (Rolling Stone)(via my son John at Facebook).

If you get far enough into that article, you'll see some material about a technology and culture reporter at The New York Times, Jenna Wortham:
“I think the Internet is really good at helping like-minded individuals find each other and affirm each other,” she says. “I know a lot of people in my life who don’t give a shit about astrology and think that my interest in star signs is ludacris [sic] and laughable, but I don’t have to talk to them,” she says....

Wortham thinks that the millennial interest in astrology has to do with the correction of an imbalance, in which people are looking at their relationship to technology and finding it, at least to a degree, unnatural. Because social media and the Internet require people to externalize so much of their lives, people are looking for ways to be more introspective, she says. “In the same way that we’re like, ‘What’s the quality of the food that we’re eating? We’re now like, ‘How are we living? Is there a better way to live?'”

Last year, Wortham went through a difficult breakup and decided to switch neighborhoods in Brooklyn.... “I took Chani’s advice, and I made [something] happen,” says Wortham.... “When I think back on it, I don’t think it would’ve been as easy for me to manage all the influxes of opportunity had my house not been in order.” Nicholas’s guidance, Wortham says, helped her affirm whether she was doing the right thing. “It’s cool feeling like there’s something correlating in the cosmos and on the earth,” she says.
I wonder what the NYT's idea of reporting on "technology and culture" really is. Is it articles on technology designed to draw in people who wouldn't normally read about technology? I went over to the NYT and found this video about astrology:



I had to shut that off because I felt a strong and physical revulsion to the visual style. It didn't remind me of the patriarchy or anything like that. It just made me feel like a very annoying robot had the delusion that he could amuse me and intended to relentlessly act on that delusion. I had my own delusion — that I would have a seizure if I didn't shut it off.

ADDED: Jenna Wortham's new article in the NYT Magazine is "On Instagram, Seeing Between the (Gender) Lines/Social Media Has Turned Out to Be the Perfect Tool For Nonbinary People to Find — and Model — Their Unique Places on the Gender Spectrum." Excerpt:
Personally, Vaid-Menon doesn’t identify as any gender. “Nonbinary is so oxymoronic,” Vaid-Menon told me. “We’re defining ourselves by an absence and not our abundance.” When pressed, they will describe themselves as transfeminine, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary — but only reluctantly. “I really try to escape having to put myself in these categories,” Vaid-Menon said. “I wanted to be free from boxes — not end up in a new one.” Social media is one of the few outlets for that uninhibited expression.
AND here's the Alex Katz painting at the Langham Hotel:



Significantly less evocative of the patriarchy than the Rolling Stone made it sound! The "trio of suited white men" is next to a trio of women. And the men aren't wearing suits. White Man #1 has a turtleneck under his jacket. White Man #2 doesn't seem to have a jacket. And White Man #3 has his shirt collar gaping open in a way that suggests he's not wearing a tie. All 6 adults are staring in the direction of a bright light source and all but the one man in prescription glasses are wearing sunglasses, so they're not in an office environment. Where are they? The background is dark, so it's a confusing setting, but there's no reason to think they're in a position to exercise patriarchal power. They're out for some kind of fun. And the women are in front of the men.

87 comments:

Kevin said...

'The hotel staff must’ve known not to put me in a room with a bunch of weird guys on the wall,' she says.

Sure. Couldn’t be two random events.

The astrology person chooses to believe both paintings were purposely placed — one to reinforce the patriarchy, the other to soothe the bitchy feminist.

gilbar said...

Nicholas, who’s become popular on Instagram as a kind of social-justice astrologer 'I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.'"

if i had to decide between listening to Nicholas, or listening to the Crack MC rant about people like Nicholas; the choice would be pretty clear. In fact, Knowing that things like 'social-justice' astrologers are considered 'tech news' make me want to start ranting too

The moron writing this talks about how people are susceptible to astrology because of 'imbalances in their lives'...
Which is more clearly written as: If people won't believe in GOD, they'll believe in Anything

rhhardin said...

Per asperology ad asterology.

rehajm said...

Angry kooks have always been with us but we didn't promote them and their forums were small.

gilbar said...

Jenna Worthham is a 'technology writer' for the NYT magazine, she has a degree in 'medical anthropology'
when I want to read about astrology as if it's a technology, i go to a medical anthropologist

Lawrence Person said...

Once again we see that the modern mainstream media has abandoned telling the objective truth as its primary goal, and instead works to advance the Social Justice Warrior hard left, no matter how ludicrous and anti-scientific their fairy tales may be, as long as the story promotes the sacred goals of the victimhood identity politics left.


Can anyone imagine NYT publishing a fawning profile of Astrology while Nancy Reagan was First Lady? Of course not.

Amadeus 48 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gilbar said...

“Nonbinary is so moronic,” Vaid-Menon told me. “We’re defining ourselves by an absence common sense
fixed it for you!

But seriously, if you look at Only A Part of the picture, and interpret the way you want to; it's CLEARLY a picture of the things that you don't want

rehajm said...

All 6 adults are staring in the direction of a bright light source and all but the one man in prescription glasses are wearing sunglasses, so they're not in an office environment. Where are they? The background is dark, so it's a confusing setting, but there's no reason to think they're in a position to exercise patriarchal power. They're out for some kind of fun. And the women are in front of the men.

Above ground nuclear testing. The patriarchy put women in front to block.

Rob McLean said...

'I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.'"

Pro-tip: If someone calls themselves "an angry feminist", believe them.

Amadeus 48 said...


"ludacris" for "ludicrous". It's absurd, ridiculous, farcical, laughable, risible, preposterous, foolish, mad, insane, idiotic, stupid, inane, silly, asinine, and nonsensical. In other words, ludicrous.

Corrected. I skimmed it first and erroneously thought that the "ludacris" mistake was in the NYT. Oops.

JAORE said...

If you look at that painting and all you see is patriarchy, you must be the dog.

Or something....

Some Seppo said...

'I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.'"

Astrologer heal thyself.

Ralph L said...

Triggered by hotel art! Call Bob Ross, stat.

I find it really annoying watching a TV show when they change cameras every other half second, but I haven't had a seizure yet.

Fernandistein said...

technology and culture reporter at The New York Times, Jenna Wortham

That's very sad, but Jenna is a Person of Affirmative Action, and PAAs are the most superstitious persons of all.

Wortham thinks ...

No, she does not.

Angry redundant feminist who just happens to be a moron writes:

Over the course of the next 13 months, it will spend its time and energy making more out of the issues we face, with a Sagittarius flare.

"It’s about to get abundantly enthusiastic in here.

Get ready to grow.

But its adventures must be meaning-full. "

I'm ready to grow in my meaning-full adventure! Thanks for the free advice, angry, delusional Chani!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Significantly less evocative of the patriarchy than the Rolling Stone made it sound!

So Rolling Stone gets caught one more time lying to advance the narrative.

Robert Cook said...

I've never liked Alex Katz's paintings. They're badly drawn, but that isn't it...I've seen badly drawn artwork that was esthetically pleasing for one or more other reasons. I don't see any other aspects to Katz's work that makes up for the bad drawing.

Ralph L said...

I wonder if she's still into Fung sHay [sic], or is she old enough?

Robert Cook said...

Feng Shui.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

A newspaper that prints an article that is respectful of an astrologer has forfeited its right to lecture anyone on "believing the science" and "global warming." I'm not surprised though. The Communications of the ACM is now printing essays from "transgender" types decrying the oppression they suffer in the technology field. The ACM is for articles about why C isn't really a low-level language and understanding how AI comes to a decision. If you are getting an essay printed in it decrying your oppression then you aren't oppressed.

Phil 3:14 said...

This has become a Dr. Suess book, full of nonsensical words trying to tell a story.

At least give us a rhyme or two.

Or maybe a typo like “Schitt”

David Begley said...

Rolling Stone can’t get basic facts correct. What does that tell you about the Left?

Fernandistein said...

The ACM is for articles about why C isn't really a low-level language and understanding how AI comes to a decision.

Also for computer graphics, which is why they used my pics in their conference literature to illustrate new technologies.

Ralph L said...

I skimmed the title and assumed Nicholas was xer new pagan name.

dbp said...

""Chani Nicholas doesn’t care for the hulking Alex Katz painting, depicting a trio of suited white men, hanging behind the front desk of the Langham hotel in New York. It reminds her of the patriarchy...""

Even in the smallest, most insignificant things, it is just fake news all the way down, isn't it? Who's going to check, besides Althouse, to see what the painting really depicts? It is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I don't trust Rolling Stone to play things down the middle, but it still never occurred to me that the painting was anything but 3 white dudes.

Robert Cook said...

"Or maybe a typo like 'Schitt'”

Oh, that was no typo.

RNB said...

How can you doubt a woman named after the legal concubine of Duke Paul 'Muad'Dib' Atreides?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Personally, Vaid-Menon doesn’t identify as any gender. “Nonbinary is so oxymoronic,” Vaid-Menon told me. “We’re defining ourselves by an absence and not our abundance.”

An abundance of cock generally makes you a male.

An abundance of cock anger generally makes you an angry feminist.

An absence of cognitive thinking typically makes a NYT piece.

I am Laslo.

David Begley said...

Two paintings on one frame.

Mike Sylwester said...

When The New York Times hired Sarah Jeong onto its editorial board, a consequence would be an endless series of articles sneering at White men.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Significantly less evocative of the patriarchy than the Rolling Stone made it sound... All 6 adults are staring in the direction of a bright light source...

Maybe it's adults Ms. Nicholas finds oppressive.

Michael said...

Clown world. Every time I read the word "patriarchy" I double down on my white privilege, speed up my oppression of women and peoples of color, elevate my contempt for the transition epidemic. I suppose I am not the only one.

Temujin said...

There is simply no further need to comment on any of this.

zipity said...

Feminism have finally gone beyond the point where it can be depicted satirically.

Nothing is more ridiculous than its current reality.

dustbunny said...

We are entering ‘’Network’ territory with the soothsayers, fortune tellers and other purveyors of weird juju taking over the media. Time to open the windows and scream.

Ralph L said...

the legal concubine

Bound concubine in the Dino De film. But that would trigger Nicholas because of the association with domination.

Michael said...

Althouse notes that there are no men in suits in the painting, advancing or reinforcing the idea that men in suits are patriarchal. OK. I am currently in suit and tie bound for New York where I will meet with similarly outfitted men with whom I will plot to keep women and peoples of color under heel. Stupid times.

Rob said...

Sure, Rolling Stone didn’t get its description of the painting exactly right, but at least it didn’t accuse the three white men of gang rape. That’s progress.

Bob Boyd said...

“I think the Internet is really good at helping like-minded individuals find each other and affirm each other...I don’t have to talk to [non-like-minded people]”

When she says she doesn't have to talk to them, she means she doesn't have to listen to them. And she only saw half the painting.

I don't think the article was intended to be about how blinkered people can be. People see what they expect to see, what they want to see, to an extraordinary degree.

That's why guys get shot almost every year in rifle season. I remember reading a news story years ago about a guy wearing orange coveralls, smoking a cigarette next to his pickup truck, when he was shot and killed by another hunter who was absolutely certain he had fired at a bear.

Marcus Carman said...

So what you're basically saying is Rolling Stone prints stories by people who lie.

Bob Boyd said...

The Langham Hotel will now be deluged with calls for the removal of the offensive painting by people who have never seen it and didn't bother to look it up. Calmer voices, like Professor Althouse, will try to point out the obvious, but the screamers won't know because "they don't have to talk to them." They don't want to know, they just want a bearskin rug to hang on the wall.

gilbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

HoneyBee said...

People like this woman are part of the reason men prefer single use eggs!

Fernandistein said...

gilbar said...
Which is more clearly written as: If people won't believe in GOD, they'll believe in Anything


People who believe in GOD are much more likely to believe in astrology and other new-agey stuff, than people who don't believe in GOD.

By gilbar's attempt at logic, people who believe in GOD will believe anything.

But like most other superstitious practices, astrology and other new-agey ideas are becoming less popular:

"The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2 percent between 2011 and 2016.

And the population grew by slightly over 3%

Jim Daniels said...

"Last year, Wortham went through a difficult breakup and decided to switch neighborhoods in Brooklyn"

What a bold and radical move. She also vowed to add a second dimension to her existence starting next year along with her determination to use the terms "black and brown bodies" and "sustainable" in more of her conversations.

FIDO said...

The NYT is aiming for a smaller and smaller niche market: middle aged white women disappointed in their lives.

Jim Daniels said...

I thought when I moved to Brooklyn to live in this incredibly diverse community of people who all think the same and correct way about everything, life would be great for my son Penelope and they.

Matt said...

"I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing"

She's either a lesbian or a straight woman who recently went through a really bad divorce. (looks up). Yep. Lesbian. This article could have been condensed to one sentence: "Chani Nicholas is a lesbian, but not the fun kind that likes biker bars."

Hey Skipper said...

More Laslo brilliance.

YoungHegelian said...

"I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing

"The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in the White Male Patriarchy that doth oppress us."

Hagar said...

A hulking painting? Eeek!

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

The good news is that Millennials seem to be slowly working their way back to religion. The bad news is that the religion will probably be Islam.
I’m only half-joking. The road out of chaos and uncertainty always seems to result in a totalitarian rest stop.

mockturtle said...

'I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.'

Some of these women make me think of the loony female evangelists of the early 20th century. There are good reasons that the Apostle Paul taught that women should be silent in church.

mockturtle said...

It would not surprise me if this 'angry feminist' had fantasies of bondage. Her type usually does.

Rick Turley said...

"Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I'm a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Kay said...

Interesting article. I read her site a lot, but surprisingly, I never noticed anything political.

Chris N said...

Hey, that could be a white male, but ya know, maybe it's just a figure. I mean, this painting isn't quite what I thought.

You know, maybe that's Jupiter or Saturn, but it IS in the 7th house and that means Patriarchy.

Scoops, this is gold! Pew-litzer!

Jim Daniels said...

Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania
Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten

Chris N said...

When you're a fool and a bit of a scammer, every problem sounds like a wail.

Known Unknown said...

Chani totally missed the boat on this: All six people in the painting(s) are white. It's Titanium White Supremacy.

Omaha1 said...

To think that the Rolling Stone used to publish at least semi-respectable investigative journalism. Since "A Rape On Campus" didn't pan out, now they are printing advertisements for expensive, social justice oriented, astrologers. LOL!

rcocean said...

If you seriously believe in Astrology you shouldn't be allowed to vote or handle sharp objects.

rcocean said...

This Althouse blogging about the Rolling Stone,NYT, New yorker, etc. introduces me into the weird wacky world of our Liberal Elite.

Saint Croix said...

Chani totally missed the boat on this: All six people in the painting(s) are white. It's Titanium White Supremacy.

They should call that thing Hillary Wins the Election.

"We're in front and we're taller too!"

All 6 adults are staring in the direction of a bright light source and all but the one man in prescription glasses are wearing sunglasses, so they're not in an office environment. Where are they?

They are looking to the left and listening to Hillary as she leads us.

They're out for some kind of fun.

Yeah, but then Trump won the election. Oh no!

Bob said...

Misread the headline, thought the men were hanging behind the desk. Ewwww.

Fernandistein said...

AND here's the Alex Katz painting at the Langham Hotel:

It's actually two paintings; and shown against two different backgrounds/locations, both supposedly at the hotel.

PM said...

In other related news, we're now up to 72 'official' gender designations. Is Vegas passing up Millennial money by not posting odds when it'll hit 100?

Henry said...

It's actually two paintings; and shown against two different backgrounds/locations, both supposedly at the hotel.

It looks like two paintings shown in the same location as a diptych.

Maybe Ms. Nicholas always had to stand on the right. Our right.

Seeing Red said...

Because social media and the Internet require people to externalize so much of their lives,

How are they “required” to externalizations so much of their lives?

Howard said...

This is what cat ladies do when they are illurgic to cat dander.

Seeing Red said...

I don’t care for a lot of paintings. It was NEVER because I was being crushed by da man.

Leora said...

The painting looks like a typical Florida street scene to me.

I was thinking about CP Snow's "Two Cultures" essay the other day. The humanities culture seems to have concluded that technology and magic are indistinguishable.




Char Char Binks said...

Take that, science deniers!

Rabel said...

The astrologer quoted is an attractive woman and she has a prominent wart on her nose.

This is a double plus for anyone working in the field of magic and witches.

William Chadwick said...

So she's got that whole rational thing down pat.

eddie willers said...

My take on the (what we now know are two paintings) is that the left painting is three young men (with 70s long hair) and the right are the same three men 20 years later.

gerry said...

Personally, Vaid-Menon doesn’t identify as any gender. “Nonbinary is so oxymoronic,” Vaid-Menon told me. “We’re defining ourselves by an absence and not our abundance.” When pressed, they will describe themselves as transfeminine, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary — but only reluctantly. “I really try to escape having to put myself in these categories,” Vaid-Menon said. “I wanted to be free from boxes — not end up in a new one.” Social media is one of the few outlets for that uninhibited expression.

Reality is a merciless mugger, and the mugging is inevitable.

Char Char Binks said...

"The psychic services industry, which includes astrology and palmistry, among other services, is worth $2 billion annually, per data from industry analysis firm IBIS World."

I believe!

Ann Althouse said...

I agree w Henry. “Diptych “ is a good word. There are two canvases but hung together like that, you have to believe they are intended as one coherent composition.

rcocean said...

"Misread the headline, thought the men were hanging behind the desk. Ewwww.'

Me too. I was expecting nooses.

Hang 'em high!

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Maid-Venom" -- did I read that right?

Sam L. said...

Three words for Chani: SUCK IT UP.
Three more: GET OVER IT,

DavidD said...

R.S. McCain covered this the other day:

https://theothermccain.com/2018/11/16/a-reliable-warning-sign-of-craziness/

Henry said...

eddie willers said...
My take on the (what we now know are two paintings) is that the left painting is three young men (with 70s long hair) and the right are the same three men 20 years later.

That's a strong hypothesis.

That means Ms. Nicholas is bedeviled by 6 white men and cheesiness besides!

Ankita Singh said...

This interesting post. I really love this awesome post.
https://www.bharattaxi.com