Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Turner Prize; i-Technology; Corrupt priest; Corrupt others; Ponters streets; and Russell finally.

Well, the UK Turner Prize for art has, naturally, lived up to its (priceless) reputation for controversy. This year's winer was the French artist Laure Prouvost, whose entry comprised, it says here, "a film shown in mock-up of the Lake District cottage where her fictitious grandfather, a conceptual artist and supposed associate of Schwitters, spent his last years, making abominable pottery while trying to dig a tunnel to Africa. In another room, we are given the long-suffering grandmother’s view of the story." If you think this is odd, contemplate for a second or two the work of the favourite, Tino Seghal, whose work consists of "actors in an empty room who offer visitors £2 to engage in a conversation about the market economy." So many layers of irony there, I guess. Finally, one of the other entries was said to be a pissing robot but I'm sure there was more to it than that. If you want to know more about the entries, click here.

So far, I've declined to get myself a smartphone or tablet or phablet - or even a simple e-reader - as I'm already concerned that my laptop and its capabilities take up enough of my time. So I was always going to find this little video amusing, dealing as it does with technology-crazed I-diots. It's Spanish, by the way, and to me far more eloquent than any of the Turner Prize candidates. You might also like to ponder on the (American, of course) naming of a new phobia - FOMO. Or Fear of missing out. Technology-wise, of course.

Somebody who obviously wasn't missing out was the priest I mentioned yesterday, up in Borja. He's now been charged with offences including sexual abuse, embezzlement and money laundering. The 70 year old cleric is one of 6 men arrested in a fraud investigation labelled Operation Thorn Tree by the police. We await further funny details. Meanwhile, more here if you're interested.

The latest passengers on the Spanish corruption bus are more officials of the UGT trade union and the ex-mayoress of Jerez. The latter is accused of being involved in an €8-9m embezzlement scheme. She's looking at a fine of €9m and 3 years in prison. Perhaps. Meanwhile, she's been asked to cough up bail of €11m. En passant, Jerez is one of the most indebted cities in the country.

Down at Pontevedra street level . . . There's a thoroughfare on the other side of the bridge which I've walked down virtually every day I've lived here. I read on Sunday that from yesterday the traffic lanes would be reduced from two to one. This rather astonished me, as I'd always thought there was only one lane. This, of course, was because the second lane was always occupied by the (illegal) double-parking which, I was once told, the 2 supermarkets in the street bribed the police to do nothing about. Probably just a tall tale.

Finally . . . The final instalment from Bertrand Russell's auto biography. With a nice final note for the non-religious among us. Not to mention the irreligious:-

Principia Mathematica

Ever since my marriage, my emotional life had been calm and superficial. I had forgotten all the deeper issues, and had been content with flippant cleverness.

I went out bicycling one afternoon, and suddenly, as I was riding along a country road, I realised I no longer lover Alys [his wife]. I had no idea until this moment that my love for her was even lessening. The problem presented by this discovery was very grave. . . During my bicycle ride a host of such things occurred to me, and I became aware that she was not the saint I had always supposed her to be. But in the revulsion I went too far, and forgot the great virtues that she did in fact possess.

Pain made me sentimental, and I used to construct phrases such as "Our hearts build precious shrines for the ashes of dead hopes." I even descended to reading Maeterlinck.

What a monstrous thing that a university [in the USA] should teach journalism! I thought this was only done in Oxford.

What we have to do, and what we privately do, is to treat the religious instinct with profound respect, but to insist there is no shred or particle of truth in any of the metaphysics it has suggested; to palliate this by trying to bring out the beauty of the world and of life, so far as it exists, and above all to insist on preserving the seriousness of the religious attitude and its habit of asking ultimate questions. And if good lives are the best thing we know, the loss of religion gives new scope for courage and fortitude, and so may make good lives better than any that there was room for while religion afforded a drug in misfortune.

And I often feel that religion, like the sun, has extinguished the stars of less brilliancy but not less beauty, which shine upon us out of the darkness of a godless universe. The splendour of human life, I feel sure, is greater to those who are not dazzled by the divine radiance; and human comradeship seems to grow more intimate and more tender from the sense that we are all exiles on an inhospitable shore.


James Atkinson said...

I will get a copy of Berties autobiography sounds like a good read to me. I read his History of Western Philosophy many years ago, and enjoyed it. I can't though help feeling sorry for the women in his life, did they really know what they were getting into? he does seem to epitomise the essence of sententiousness.

Perry said...

This is my inspirational story for the Turner prize, plagiarized from elsewhere. ###

Once upon a time, a guy asked a beautiful girl 'Will you marry me?'
The girl said, 'NO!'
And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and scotch.

He had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted.

The End