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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

non-conformity in extremes

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Good golly, what is this world coming to? Apparently, there's this lady living in Old Southwest, a neighborhood here in Roanoke, who has nailed a bunch of stuffed animals to a dead tree outside her apartment. First, one must ask why was this is the story of the day at roanoke.com yesterday?  I mean, really... aren't there more pressing local topics than a maypole made from nasty old stuffed animals?

But, then, one must wonder why in the world the landlord of the apartment building allows such a thing?  Who would want their property decimated by rotting trash?  This isn't art, people.  It is junk, through and through.  There's no statement behind it, no purpose.  It is only a tree full of stinky, wet, floppy, discarded toys.  I don't blame the neighbors for complaining.  I wouldn't want to live next to a dump, either.  Would you?

Then again, maybe there is a point to this.  Maybe this piece of "art" should make you think (though that isn't the purpose of the creator).  Our resources are being converted into garbage.  The natural beauty of our neighborhoods disappears under the clutter of materialism.  We buy and buy and buy and buy some more, piling the junk up in our homes, our yards, and eventually our landfills.  We are decimating the beauty of the land on which we live by our immature rituals of accumulation.

And, again... isn't the so-called artist doing the same?  Isn't she ruining the landscape through the display of her collection?  Wouldn't these toys have been better used had she given them a thorough cleaning and then passed them on to homeless kids or even animals at the shelter?  Yet, she hung on to them, for no sentimental reason, and nailed them to her tree.  She crucified the animals, because "Jesus said so."  Read the article, it's true.

Personally, I think she's a nutcase.  I think many of the self-identified artists in Roanoke are.  Yet, people coddle their quirks because being different makes them special, no matter what the result of their efforts may be.  Case in point: another recent news article detailed the opening of a new restaurant in the downtown district.  The "chef" specializes in boiled water.  She then adds powdered hot chocolate or ramen noodles, and turns around and sells this cup of crap for profit.  And people buy it!!!  People waste their money on shit-food that a monkey could have made with a microwave.  Why?  Because she's an artist.

Don't get me wrong.  I believe in art.  I like art.  I just don't like that there's this certain movement in my city, in which people can gain recognition for being off-beat and artsy.  Really, I think they need to get over themselves and stop trying to be non-conformists just for the sake of being.  Making a point?  Fine.  Making a point to have your ego stroked by the local media and your little cronies?  It gets old.  Fast.

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