Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Feb. 14, 2018
While walking to the subway the other day, I heard a beautiful and astonishingly complex bird call. Glancing to my left, I spied a European Starling perched on a roof’s edge -- its throat vibrating as it sang its tiny heart out.
After pigeons and sparrows, starlings seem to be the most common birds in New York City. The song I heard is a combination of "warbling, gurgling, chirruping and clicking noises," and these birds will often imitate many other species (animals as well as birds), along with man-made sounds like car alarms and telephones.
A group of starlings is known by humans as a "constellation" or a "murmuration" or -- tellingly -- a "scourge" or a "filth" or a "vulgarity." Whatever term you may use, starling flocks often number in the tens of thousands.
Every European Starling in North America "descended from 100 birds released in New York's Central Park in the early 1890s. A group dedicated to introducing America to all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works set the birds free."
Thanks to this dimwitted idea, you can now find over 200 million European Starlings across much of North America… and therein lies the rub, e.g. the U.S. Department of Agriculture named the European Starling an invasive species because:
Graffiti art [sic]
Phrases like “overwhelm buildings” and “significant cleanup and maintenance costs” evoked images of graffiti “art.” While some of these almost exclusively male spray paint scrawlers are indeed viewed as “invasive,” this is more likely an expression of racism than artistic judgment.
Yes, some graffiti “artists” are very much demonized, but the “art form” is commonly romanticized to the point where a few stealth painters become wealthy and/or legendary. Think of Banksy today or Basquiat decades ago.
If Jean-Michel Basquiat didn’t exist, white male power would’ve invented him.
He first achieved fame as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s. By the 1980s, he was an international art celebrity and in 1992, the Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his art.
On May 18, 2017, at a Sotheby's auction, Basquiat's painting, “also Untitled,” set a new record high for any U.S. artist at auction, selling for $110,500,000. The painting depicted a skull created with oil stick and spray paint.
Best of all (in the eyes of a white male culture of necrophilia, I mean), he died of a drug overdose in 1988 -- just before his "suggestive dichotomies" and "springboards to deeper truths about the individual" garnered his genius status. It hardly gets more vicariously edgy than this.
As the well-conditioned white male urban rebel I once fancied myself to be, I reflexively lauded Basquiat. Over time, I woke up to his admitted lack of talent, his cynically manufactured fame, and what a typically despicable man he was (read his wife’s book for more about that). I woke up, eventually, but not before I further embarrassed myself by becoming a vocal graffiti advocate.
I now see graffiti quite differently: Males lacking the systemic power to mark their territory through advertisements, real estate development, etc. Instead choose a typically illegal option instead and get to call it “art” and “expression.” But if there’s abundant graffiti in your neighborhood, it signals that such “artists” had a large block of time to commit a crime without fear of getting caught.
Take a second to ponder what this means to women, girls, the elderly, or anyone low on the predator/prey hierarchy. Graffiti is not subversive art or rebellion. It’s a reminder of how unsafe these populations are in a world dominated by male pattern violence -- a reminder of how males of any class can engage in a criminal act with virtual impunity.
But, to keep us from making such connections, a few graffiti “artists” are regularly selected to be geniuses [sic].
Which leads to a question virtually no one asks…
Why are most “geniuses” also men?
If you invent the methods and tools of measurement and you not only own all those tools but you’ve convinced everyone these are the only tools worth using, well…you also own the standards those measurements create.
That’s how a starling becomes a pest and clowns like Basquiat become geniuses. Basquiat. The dude who once remarked to his wife: “I’m almost a famous artist now and I don’t know how to draw. Do you think I should be concerned?” Seriously, THIS is what’s being called genius. And this and this. (I’ll stop there but damn, it just keeps going.)
It’s how a random game like chess is created and designated a barometer of intelligence. Ban or dissuade girls from playing and boom: There are no female world champions -- ever. The closed loop of a self-fulfilling prophecy is sealed shut.
It’s how almost all the Nobel Prizes go to men. How many women “win” such awards?
(But hey, maybe there’d be more female geniuses if they weren’t so damn BOSSY.)
Everything -- e.g. music, science, medicine, philosophy, film, sociology, economics, psychology, medicine, and yes, “graffiti art” -- is judged by male-created standards. Even in those rare cases when a woman is deemed a “genius,” it’s within the context of patriarchal guidelines and history.
I don't know about you, but I'd like to live in a world where…
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
Male geniuses (sic), graffiti art (sic), and a 'filth' of starlings? by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/male-geniuses-sic-graffiti-art-sic-and-a-filth-of-starlings-mickey-z.