Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hallo from the Weltuntergang!

Greetings from the end of the decade, and from the looks of it, the end of the world! Life at the close of the aughts (oughts) is an untenable place, but bittersweet like everything else. It was the best of times (my blog, the Jersey Shore) and it was the worst of times (Joe Lieberman, my station in life) Staring down the barrel of this decade shows us two undeniable trends, and not silly New York Times Style trends like beer bellies on men and nasaly voices on female twee icons, like Kristen Schall and Sarah Vowell... but really, what is up with that? Twenty first century female Castrati in the name of quirk, if you ask me.

Oh yeah, so the ubiquity of vampire romance and apocalypse in the cinema must indicate something sinister about our modern moment, and whatever it is, it's not looking good. Finally! Something herein you can relate to! Sexy vampires and 2012 conspiracy theories!

Another marked trend in contemporary museum programming is a fascination with art from the Weimar Republic, which is actually the precise intersection of vampires and the apocalypse. The MOMA is currently showing and exhibit on Bauhaus. Designy stuff always makes me feel like an aesthete failure because I think it's boring, and I'm all, "If I wanted to look at tables and chairs and shit I would've gone to IKEA!" But if you too want to get your Deiter on, then check out "From Klimt to Klee" at the Neue Galerie.

My last dispatch from the Neue involved me beating my breast and crying for mommy in the middle of a gallery, the pictures were so scary.


And little has subsequently changed. Although a guard did inform me thaat it is strictly verboten to drape one's coat jauntily across one's forearm while perusing the galleries. Patrons must either put on or check their outerwear. I know I look skanky and shabby and should probably wear a snowsuit or burqua at all times, but come on now! Then I remembered where I was, a museum dedicated to the Germanic arts, so fascism is just part of the experience. Although if you ever visit Germany, any hausfrau or hinterwaldler will quickly remind you that Hitler was Austrian and Beethoven is German!

They say that the symbols of post- World War I Germany are the war cripple and the prostitute and you will certainly see those two along with many other unsettling and pervy images. Ok, full disclosure, the works from this exhibit are Weimar- ish, dating from the late 1800s til like the late 1930s or a few months ago or whatever, but give me a break, I'm promoting a thesis here! At any rate, the German raison d'etre is a constant quest for rules and regulation, for creating order in chaos. Sustaining that kind of anal retentive zeal results in inscrutable artistic subversion, like depictions of nude preteens and men in ladies' undergarments, for example.

You can find momentary solace in the elegant Enrst Kirchner woodcuts. Although enjoying these prints is like reading Raymond Carver: it seems too easy, so you must be missing something. You mean it's not just a story about getting wasted and drawing a cathedral with some blind guy?!

I wish it wasn't the case, but when I look at works like this finger painting thing by Paul Klee there will always be a tiny philisitine in my ear whispering something to the effect of "I coulda done that in pre- K! Why is that piece of shit in this museum?"

That impulse reminds me of what Joan Didion said about the Getty Museum in Los Angeles: "The Getty collection is in certain ways unremittingly reproachful, and quite inaccessible to generations trained in the conviction that a museum is meant to be fun, with Calder mobiles and Barcelona chairs." Except I feel like a member of the generation that came before that one, people wanted to see "'fine art,' in the old- fashioned didactic sense."

Harumph! So, put your inner- philistine at ease and go see this exhibit, if only because you will see things by men with immeasurably awesome names, like Otto, Egon, and Max (pronounced Mocks). Nuthin' wrong with that. And frolich weltuntergang to you and yours!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anthropology: The Mating Rituals of WASPs

One of my favorite jokes is as follows:

Q:What does a WASP say after sex?
A: I'm sorry, it will never happen again.

Oh, now don't go and get all offended from my inflammatory ethnic profiling, I am a WASP, or at least a half breed (though the other half hails from Appalachia and grew up eating squirrel pie, but no matter!). So I am a self- ordained authority on WASPs and consequently have license to make sweeping stereotypes for comedic purposes while revealing the hypocrisy and tawdry underbelly of a culture. Just think of me as the caucasian Chris Rock.

So I spent this past Thursday evening safely ensuring that I will never have sex again at a Young Republican bacchanalia, hosted at Orsay on the Upper East Side. I used to live just a few blocks away, and never went inside the restaurant but did find some delectable vittles in the dumpster just behind after being shooed away for pressing my nose against the glass. Anyway, this was a gorgeous soiree, all the boys busted out their best pocket squares and all the girls their most potent sedatives. Everyone was in high holiday spirits. Even Lauren Bush was in attendance, who I threatened to "jump" outside, but quietly and under my breath, to my plus- one (Brooke D). Despite all the poetic and physical justice I planned on delivering to a member of the Bush family, this sadly did not transpire, as the party was open bar and the only thing that got jumped that night was Brooke D when I pushed her into a pile of garbage. The open bar drove Brooke D in a more amorous direction rather than violent, as she spent the majority of the night staring at her own reflection on the mirrored walls, enraptured by and victim of her own beer goggles.

WASPs display curious social mores and proclivities. For example, if you ask a WASP where they went to school, they will invariably respond with the name of their high school. What the?! A small group of swans exchanged looks of utter bewilderment when they asked me this question and my response was "Doherty Memorial." "Oh, I've never heard of it, where is that again?,"one bauble- headed lovely asked me. "Yeah, it's really exclusive, it's in Worcester." "Oh, England?" "Uh, yes."

When you ask people how they know each other, they will often respond with "the Vineyard." When a man in a tie emblazoned with the Edgartown Yacht Club symbol asked Brooke and I how we knew each other, I quickly interjected with "Necker Island," which impressed this group momentarily, until they looked down at my polyurethane Forever 21 shoes and knew I was lying. Brooke's unbridled elation at the fact that "the drinks are freeeeeeeee!" didn't help our case either.

It's also completely appropriate for heterosexual [questionable] males to wear pink pants. What else do these haberdashers like? They like cuff links, truffles, gin, dancing in circles with other men to Neil Diamond cover bands, and not me. This one guy with movie star good looks and a Harvard MBA handed me his empty glass after he was finished with his umpteenth Maker's. As if I were the help. WASPs, curiously, are offended by the generous proportions of my rear end, which they find vulgar, but is always a hit in Harlem. These boys hadn't seen anything this wide since the finish line at the Head of the Charles!

I studied the fair- haired ladies in the crowd to see what I was doing wrong. First of all, their dye jobs are much more of the Bergdorf Blonds variety rather than Courteny Love, which is what I've got going on currently. WASPettes (yes, I WILL invoke Jersey Shoreese at this juncture) seem to have an affinity to monogramming, scowling, and anorexia. Also, the theme of the night was "speak softly and carry a big bag." Gotta keep that Xanax somewhere!

Stranger in a strange land.

And this is where the evening ended, like many others that came before. But it did not come to a close until after being chastised by a group of high school girls when Brooke dropped her slice of pizza and the floor and proceeded to consume it without the slightest moment of hesitation. As we parted ways, I turned to Brooke and said, "What shall we do to-morrow? What shall we ever do?" And I threw my head back and laughed with a voice full of poverty.