Stare.
 
2001 Notebook: Weak XXXVIII
 
   
gratuitous image
18 September 2001
Supermodel Socks Scandal
Another day, another disaster.

It seems that a persnickety accountant at Acme Stylists recognized a pair of missing socks from one of my recent supermodeling sessions. Just five days after I published my photograph, My Feet and Swiftwater Peak, I received an invoice from Acme Stylists for sixty-four dollars and two cents.

Oh dear.

It’s not my fault, of course. Although the case of cheap chardonnay erased almost all the memories of that particular supermodeling session, empirical evidence suggests that I innocently, accidentally, and completely inadvertently walked away from the shoot with a pair of expensive designer socks from a famous Tibetan fashion potentate’s spring collection.

I wrote to Acme Stylists, and told the inquisitors that the image, My Feet and Swiftwater Peak, was fabricated in my computer. I explained that the photograph I published originally showed my bare legs and feet on a San Francisco pier, and that I concocted the socks, pants, and mountains in my computer.

I hope the vicious investigators believe my falsehoods, but it really doesn’t matter. I figure I’ve already spent over sixty-four dollars and two cents of my time covering my tracks, so to speak.

I can’t believe I’ve wasted so much time on a pair of shoddy socks. There must be a lesson here, but it’s one of those lessons that’s probably not worth learning.

19 September 2001
Safer Living with Beer
My mother has urged me to pay careful attention to my personal safety in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks. As she put it with elegant brevity, “Please be CAREFUL.”

I told her that I was, in fact, being unusually prudent. I’m continuing to fly on commercial jets; there’s probably no safer environment. I have a friend who’s a flight attendant; she had the tweezers confiscated from her makeup bag! Even though I pride myself on my ingenuity, I can’t imagine how I’d hijack a jet with a pair of tweezers. “Take me to Tripoli or else the pilot’s eyebrows are history” just isn’t a credible threat.

Terror only works when it’s unpredictable, so I assured my mother that jets are safe for a while. I tried to reassure my mother that she shouldn’t worry about my flying, since the next terrorist attack will probably involve something completely different, some evil like ramming the Golden Gate Bridge with a supertanker, putting sarin gas in a skyscraper’s ventilation system, poisoning the public water supply, that sort of thing.

That was a bad move. Instead of convincing her that I was safe in the air, I inadvertently gave her several more things to worry about. And just as I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole of my own creation, I found a brilliant escape.

“Look, mom, I really am taking every precaution,” I assured her. “I’ll be safe even if the zealots poison the public water supply. I’m drinking Rainier Ale!”

“Is that safe?” she asked.

“Is Rainier Ale safe?” I replied. “Every can and bottle assures me that it’s ‘Brewed with the finest quality ingredients’ and has provided ‘Mountain Fresh Taste Since 1878.’ Mom, that’s almost a hundred and twenty-five years of continuous safety!”

My mother saw the light, the light that only shines on Mount Rainier. Whenever my mother calls and asks me if I’m being careful, I tell her I’m drinking Rainier Ale. We’re both happy. As the Californians say, it’s a win-win situation.

20 September 2001
How to Shit in the Woods
After reading my brief treatise on interacting with the continental divide, Francine sent me a note to gently excoriate me for my “ecologically unsustainable” behavior. She urged me to “read, and reflect on,” Kathleen Meyer’s book, How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art.

I’ve already read almost two books this year; I believe Francine thinks I have an infinite amount of time. I do not.

In fact, my imminent death will render almost everything I’ve done “ecologically sustainable.” Nature works in ways that are anything but mysterious. It’s precisely as Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The solution of the problem of life is seen in the disappearance of this problem.”

21 September 2001
One Unlucky Bastard
A while back, Tom Stoppard got in trouble for positing something like, “Thinking is not enough: art involves making, too.” The liberal idiots trashed him for being a Philistine who didn’t appreciate conceptual art; the conservative idiots insulted poor Tom by declaring him to be their intellectual equal.

Poor Tom.

Stoppard said all there was to say about art years ago when he answered his own rhetorical question.

    “What is an artist? For every thousand people there’s nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who’s the artist.”

There’s really nothing more to say after that.

22 September 2001
Tastes Like Chicken Restaurant
Umberto told me about his plans to open a restaurant called “Tastes Like Chicken.” The premise is that most humans seem to think that the meat of most animals—except cows—tastes like chicken.

I think Umberto’s idea is so stupid that it just might work.

23 September 2001
Museum of Modern Art Marketing
I met Richard Rinehart at a public forum this afternoon. (As far as either of us knows, we’re not related.) Anyway, Richard asked the rhetorical question of whether art museums were art museums or museums of art history.

What a great line!

I asked Richard if those were his words or someone else’s. After he told me he came up with the phrase, I told him that I was going to plagiarize it and claim it as my own. I think I’ll get away with it, too, since I’m comfortable with annoying museum administraitors. (Unlike the other Rineharts I’ve met, Richard seemed to be somewhat reticent to bite the hand that feeds him.)

Anyway, I passed along Marcel Duchamp’s answer to Richard’s question. (After all Marcel’s done for me, the least I can do is to save him a bit of correspondence.)

    “No painting has an active life of more than 30 or 40 years—that’s another little idea of mine. I don’t care if it’s true, it helps me to make that distinction between living art and art history. After 30 or 40 years, the painting dies, loses its aura, its emanation, whatever you want to call it. And then it is either forgotten or else it enters the purgatory of art history.”

As for myself, I think art museums aren’t art museums, nor are they museums of art history. I’ve been to the Museum of Modern Art Marketing in both New York and San Francisco, so I know what I’m talking about.

First time for everything!

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart