Some thoughts on Nassim Nicholas Taleb on terrorism

In light of the recent, tragic events in Paris, Taleb is correct to point out that Saudi Arabia is the major exporter of terrorism throughout the region and beyond, through its bankrolling of violent, extremist Wahhabi and Salafi doctrine. This, it should be noted, is in contradiction with the commonly-held belief that such ideas originated, more or less grassroots, in places like Syria and Iraq, or possibly, Afghanistan. Of course, there’s some inkling that the funds are coming from private sources in the Gulf because who else in our incestuous little sandbox would have that kind of money? But Taleb’s point is that this is in fact sanctioned at the official level.

The Best Art Writing of 2014

So long, 2014. Here's a list of things I read this year that you should too (in no particular order and biased toward the second half because who remembers what they were doing eight months ago).

Canceling Out

The problem with Suey Park may well be her critics.

If you’re reading this you probably know who Suey Park is. By now, you’re certainly caught up on the controversy of #CancelColbert. Maybe you’ve even seen the response that aired on Monday’s episode of The Colbert Report. In the name of accuracy, it should be mentioned that Park never actually called for the cancellation of the show: the hashtag was devised as a means of provoking white liberals into addressing the latent but endemic racism in their ranks. The rest was an ironic joke, kind of like the one that inspired this whole thing in the first place. Now would also be a good time to mention that “hashtag” + “activism” = “hacktivism.” But Park is smarter than her critics in anticipating this critique. Her project absorbs its own contradictions. Her ends justify the means, no matter how many times they change position.

A Theory of Twerk

When it comes to race relations in America, the lines are increasingly blurred. 

It’s been nearly a week and people are still talking about Miley Cyrus. Her performance last Sunday at the 2013 VMAs raised as many questions as it did eyebrows: Are the VMAs racist? What does the proliferation of ratchetness say about our society? Is Miley the Madonna of our generation? Wait, how old did you say 2Chainz was? Remember, this is an event where Grimes and Kathleen Hannah talk feminism during the preshow while Miley fingerblasts herself with a foam hand in the next timeslot. (Meanwhile…somewhere in Calabasas, Kris Jenner is kicking herself for not having thought of it first.) It’s also an event on MTV, which has won every award for most irrelevant network for like a decade straight. If you’re searching for substance or meaning from this donkey show, joke’s on you.

Magna Carta Holy Fail

What can Hova teach us about art? More than you think.

Wednesday before last, you may have heard, Jay-Z gave an impromptu performance of his new single “Picasso Baby” in a hush-hush event at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea. The audience, if you could call it that, was studded with art stars, socialites and people who knew someone that could get them in. Jim Jarmusch. Glenn O’Brien. Bill Powers. Laurie Simmons. Judd Apatow. Naturally, George Condo, Kanyes’ sloppy seconds, was there. So was the recklessly fêted Marina Abramović. For six hours Jay performed the song over and over, individually, to every person in attendance—a feast of discomfort masquerading as a feat of stamina.