I’m late to the festival of condemnation that attended Miley Cyrus’ monkey-rutting descent into the pit of global scorn. Or, late to the regrettable shaming of an energetic young person who is remaking her image as she sees fit and is thus an empowering lesson. Popular opinion seems to tend towards the former, although even her detractors admit that she twerks hard for the money, to paraphrase Donna Summers. The occasional refrain of “lol like she cares her song is number 1 on iTunes” reminds you that some people see the world as a cash machine, and if your PIN is the numeric equivalent of S-L-U-T, punch it in. Of course that’s a bad term, S-L-U-T, except when it’s a good term thrown back at those who regard it as a bad term. Doeth what thou wilt so long as it shall hurt no one. We are all Crowleyans now.

(If I recall reading Crowley back in college - I think the book was “Confessions of a Drug Addict,” or something with an equally coy title - his philosophy was amputated to “Doeth what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” and people left out the part about “not hurting anyone.” Almost libertarian. He was a poseur and a hack, but Dark and Shocking in his time, so he was a name to drop in rock circles when people wanted to be interesting but didn’t want to go Full Satan.)

Anyway: it’s not that she did a bawdy bit. It’s the cheap, ugly, auto-debasement-as-empowerment aspect that’s so tiresome, all the more so for thinking that it’s shocking. There are few shocks left. They’ll get around to them, eventually, and she brought us a bit closer: by incorporating teddy bears into the act, she was willfully using the symbols of innocence to add beaucoup taboo to her boneless prancing. Crossing lines! (sigh.) Pushing envelopes! (yawn.) Transgressing norms! (of course.) What’s interesting to me is that we’re bored in advance now. When we see someone cross the line, it’s just a manifestation of what we knew was en route. It’s done before it’s done. C’mon. Just skip to a video with Shirley Temple wearing a ball-gag and whipping the Cowardly Lion, okay? Surely they’re as impatient as the rest of us to get it all over with. Surely they’re annoyed with half-measures. Surely they want to hasten the moment when nothing shocks anymore, and we’re free of the last gossamer thread of bourgeoise oppression that ties us to the old order. As long as someone somewhere feels free to tut-tut about someone else’s artistic expression, we’re still in the age of putting pants on piano legs for decency’s sake.

No one wants this, but there it is.

The best response? Pointing fingers and laughing. She danced like one of those things they put outside of carwashes, the tubes with faces and arms attached to a fan. She had no mystery, no allure, no skill, no art, and her lunatic visage was so off-putting you were heartened by a sudden new-found certainty: an entire culture had realized that keeping your tongue extended like a basset hound with heat stroke was unbecoming, and unlikely to be repeated except as a sarcastic reference in Instagram selfies.

There’s that, at least. Amusing how this all makes Madonna look like such a grown-up, in retrospect.




Hot again, and hot enough to cancel school. Daughter is dancing over it; school went up against summer and lost, big.

Back to the Fair, of course. Of course. I dropped by a radio station booth to see Dennis Prager and give him a cigar, and for once he did not insult it. He insulted my cigars but admitted that this time I had given him something he could accept. Prior to the gift he had been talking about how no one really values anything they’re given for free; you have to earn it, pay for it. When I went in the booth between commercials I said that’s absolutely true; just witness how you insult the cigars I give you. This led to a refining of the argument, where we agreed that he has earned the cigar by dint of his ongoing magnificence. This having been decided, he went back on the air and refined his argument with a nod to me on national radio, noting that I am one of “the three or four smartest, cleverest people in his house.”

I never have a normal Fair.

Really, it’s never normal. Just walking around and eating and looking and going home when I want, not because I have enough for the day and know I’ll be back tomorrow. Never works like that. At least today I wanted to go; tomorrow, we’ll see. It’s just so damned hot. Came home, stuck the memory chip in the computer to download the video, and fell face-first into bed: zzzzzzz.

A few more sights: in Heritage Square, an old gas station sign. This should help explain why I like this part of the Fair.



One of the old-style Fairground lights from the 40s, I believe - it’s beautiful, and when you shoot video the lights pulse in a way the eye doesn’t capture. A reminder that corners of the world actually looked like the Emerald City, once.



In the train car devoted to Ice Capades memorabilia, there are old programs on the wall. 1948: patriotic themes are still in force.



The artist seems to have used a propellor as a model.


That’s all I have today, I’m afraid: you can see much more Midway Art here, if you missed the work blog, and of course there are four Restaurant Exteriors up, as is my wont. Otherwise I’ve writing and editing to do. Busiest week ever, but it’ll be done soon, and gloriosky the relief I will feel on Friday.





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