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I Must Not Write All Over The Walls.
October 10, 2010 7:47 PM   Subscribe


 
I thought the panda and dolphin head were a nice touch.
posted by bionic.junkie at 7:51 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm actually having a hard time reading his intentions. It seems that he wanted to make a statement about sweatshops, but at the same time, the absurdly over the top nature of the cartoon seems to minimize the very real problems. If he made any political statement at all, it struck me as a conservative one.

Or maybe he's just being silly and doesn't give a shit about sweatshops
posted by empath at 7:55 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I laughed
posted by jcruelty at 7:59 PM on October 10, 2010


(at the koala bear slave labor... so inefficient)
posted by jcruelty at 7:59 PM on October 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


A super-awesome Metafilter post might also include a link or two of context, maybe a little background information. At least a link to some reaction or something.
posted by chasing at 8:00 PM on October 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


It seems that he wanted to make a statement about sweatshops, but at the same time, the absurdly over the top nature of the cartoon seems to minimize the very real problems. If he made any political statement at all, it struck me as a conservative one.

I think that by adding in the over-the-top touches Bansky was just being self-aware. We hear admonishments about sweat shops and other terrible things caused by our lifestyle all the time, and often it can be the pot calling the kettle black. I think that he was both making a valid point and poking fun at himself for making the valid point. I liked it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:01 PM on October 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Empath:... Banksy seems to be a pretty smart guy, so my take is probably "all of the above." i highly recommend seeing the documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop". It's entertaining, a great expose on the history of Street Art, and lots of behind the scenes with Banksy.
posted by jmnugent at 8:03 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point is that The Simpsons cartoons are created in a fucking sweatshop. So are the toys. This is not a dig at consumerism per se, it is a specific dig at the horrible way The Simpsons is created and its product tie-ins produced, versus its superficial appearance.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:06 PM on October 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


All I could think watching that was that it must have been very weird for the animators to animate, and I wonder what they thought of it.
posted by Diablevert at 8:07 PM on October 10, 2010 [17 favorites]


A super-awesome Metafilter post might also include a link or two of context, maybe a little background information. At least a link to some reaction or something.

If you don't know who Banksy or the Simpsons are, and why this would be interesting, then I don't know how you managed to find metafilter.
posted by empath at 8:08 PM on October 10, 2010 [50 favorites]


It's interesting, but I did see it on the TV once already. I guess I'm personally kind of curious about why Banksy did a Simpsons opening and maybe what the process was. Or something. I did a quick Googlin' and didn't really find anything interesting, but figured maybe if you were going through the trouble of making a post here that you might have some deeper insight or know of a good resource.

Anyway: It was a cute opening. I didn't think the sensibility was much different than the usual Simpsons sensibility, though, and the only thing that clued me in that something was up was the "Banksy" graffiti here and there.
posted by chasing at 8:11 PM on October 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you don't know who Banksy or the Simpsons are, and why this would be interesting, then I don't know how you managed to find metafilter.

I know who Banksy is. I know who the Simpsons are. I don't know what the hell this is. Do you? Would you care to explain?
posted by flotson at 8:12 PM on October 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Holy shit. I know Fox doesn't really bother to censor either Family Guy or The Simpsons anymore, but I'm kinda stunned that aired.
posted by zarq at 8:12 PM on October 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


I liked it and now that the conditions that Simpsons merch are produced under have finally been revealed I feel much better about the bootleg "Bart with a Bong" t-shirt I got circa 1991.
posted by MikeMc at 8:14 PM on October 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Holy shit. I know Fox doesn't really bother to censor either Family Guy or The Simpsons anymore, but I'm kinda stunned that aired.

Your mistake is thinking that this matters. Here was the entire conversation in the Death Star prior to this:

Groening drone: "Dude, we got Banksy to do an intro. Could be edgy."

Murdoch drone: "Ka-ching!"
posted by felix betachat at 8:15 PM on October 10, 2010 [34 favorites]


> I don't know what the hell this is. Do you? Would you care to explain?

Banksy was making a statement about underpaid Korean animators and illegal dolphin tongue package sealers.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 PM on October 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


That aired?! It was made with the cooperation of Fox?
posted by phrontist at 8:16 PM on October 10, 2010


Banksy also recently did a grafitti of Bart Simpson.
posted by zarq at 8:18 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the Simpsons has been done on computer - not cell animation, for around 8 years, now. So you'd probably see people in little cubicles, slaving over a computer for at least 40 hours a day. Which I think is horrible.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:20 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Respectfully folks, if you have issues with the FPP please take it to MeTa? There's nothing wrong with this post. More context might have made it more accessible, but it isn't required.
posted by zarq at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


That should be 40 hours a week. But you knew that.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2010


That aired?!

It did, this evening.

It was made with the cooperation of Fox?

I assume they had to clear it with somebody, yeah.
posted by zarq at 8:23 PM on October 10, 2010


I bet it'll be edited for syndication.
posted by box at 8:27 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


the Simpsons is always getting it's digs in on Fox. Same for Family Guy. This is neither bad nor new
posted by Redhush at 8:31 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The sweatshop stuff seems like an critique of Western consumer culture... but then the dolphin head and animals etc. seem to shift it from being a problem of the system to animal rights abuse which is typically leveled at asian countries instead, which kinda derails the point.

So yeah. Huh.
posted by yeloson at 8:32 PM on October 10, 2010


The point is that The Simpsons cartoons are created in a fucking sweatshop.

All I could think watching that was that it must have been very weird for the animators to animate, and I wonder what they thought of it.

From what I've read, animation is actually a pretty good job in South Korea, and a joke in a previous episode about the Korean animators working in a sweatshop so offended the animators that it had to be produced stateside.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:38 PM on October 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Simpsons has used digital animation for seven years or so, so the animators should be slaving over computers. Also, all the animation not done in the US is, as far as I can tell, done in South Korea. I'm willing to believe the working conditions aren't great, but they're probably not horrific. The Chinese merch factories, though...
posted by jedicus at 8:40 PM on October 10, 2010


THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED [AS AN INTRO TO A SIMPSONS EPISODE]!
posted by klanawa at 8:44 PM on October 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I liked it and now that the conditions that Simpsons merch are produced under have finally been revealed I feel much better about the bootleg "Bart with a Bong" t-shirt I got circa 1991.

yeah, until you see a clip of the hordes of pale stoners silk-screening in a dim basement with the windows covered by Dimmu Borgir flags
posted by mannequito at 8:51 PM on October 10, 2010 [19 favorites]


The animation studio in Korea that (still) does The Simpsons is Rough Draft Korea.
posted by cazoo at 8:54 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the rats were a nice touch.
posted by Catblack at 8:56 PM on October 10, 2010


Oh wow, they also did The Maxx. I loved that show.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:56 PM on October 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


i just saw this over at OhNoTheyDidnt and all i could think of was exactly that
posted by liza at 8:58 PM on October 10, 2010


oh, btw, the best part is really the kittens being used as stuffing for the Bart dolls. that right there was worth the watch.
posted by liza at 8:59 PM on October 10, 2010


It was a cute opening

the absurdly over the top nature of the cartoon seems to minimize the very real problems.


I really liked the opening. But it's unsettling how critiques of globalism or capitalism fit so easily into the "machine." I guess it was subversive, being on a cartoon as it was. So kudos for that. Not everyone will see The Cove, but hopefully this dark piece of theater will get caught in people's minds like a confusing fever dream needing to be examined.
posted by acheekymonkey at 9:01 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Show me something horrible and then make a joke out of it, I'll laugh, feel bad about laughing, laugh some more and will remember the bad thing more clearly after. This was great, and I think people will take the message with them.

A super-awesome Metafilter post might also include a link or two of context, maybe a little background information. At least a link to some reaction or something.

Link-padding is the cancer that is killing MetaFilter.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:03 PM on October 10, 2010 [25 favorites]


I just saw The Cove last month. Don't know how it passed me by but it was fascinating and should be seen by as many people as possible (and I say that as a non-activist type).
posted by mannequito at 9:04 PM on October 10, 2010


The Simpsons has, for a long time, had animation work done in South Korea, where work conditions and pay are probably relatively good. However, the same S. Korean company which carries out animation work for The Simpsons has also done work with animation operations in North Korea (presumably none of this is Simpsons-related).

The animation industry (which does a lot of outsourced work for foreign animation firms) in North Korea is one of the few reasonably well-functioning export sectors that the insular totalitarian society there has, possibly due to the personal interest of the dictator Kim Jong Il in film.

Life in the animation industry in North Korea is depressing and scary, like the rest of the country.

posted by Bwithh at 9:12 PM on October 10, 2010 [38 favorites]


Almost makes me want to start watching The Simpsons again.

What else they got?
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:13 PM on October 10, 2010


The sweatshop stuff seems like an critique of Western consumer culture... but then the dolphin head and animals etc. seem to shift it from being a problem of the system to animal rights abuse which is typically leveled at asian countries instead, which kinda derails the point...

I think it was all about the contrast and correlation between middle-class comfortable 1st worlders on their couch vs. poor overworked 3rd world manual laborers (not necessarily just the Simpsons animators, a broader 3rd world representation.) This comfortable 1st world lifestyle is supported by and is the direct cause of environmental crises and the waste of vast amounts of resources. And those who would demonize 3rd world countries for less-than-ethical practices re: the environment and resources are forgetting that it's not so simple, because our lifestyle is economically intertwined with these practices and directly supports them. Basically a critique of capitalism/globalism and the way seemingly harmless local actions can have disastrous global consequences. The over-the-top nature is meant to get your attention but isn't meant to contradict the point as far as I can tell.
posted by naju at 9:17 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


By going to the extremes it did (dying unicorn!), Banksy's depiction of the "Simpson's Sweatshop" went beyond 'making a statement' to an apparent parody of 'making a statement', thus avoiding a corporate backlash that would keep it off the air. I'm sure the merchandising managers who contract with the real-life sweatshops got a good laugh. And I'm sure there will be a memo on Monday morning about making sure there are enough Bart dolls in the store.

If it had been too realistic, it would not have been funny and never would have been aired.

Yes, Rough Draft does damn near everything that looks like cel animation on TV these days, and the 'Engrish' on its website ("Create an Animation with Highest Quality Value") was almost as funny as the Simpsons opening. I'm sure the clip made the Rough Draft executives laugh too... in unison. Yes, The Maxx was classic for its use of Limited Animation to create the Comic Book look (among other things). Other notable past credits (for various reasons): The Oblongs, Jackie Chan Adventures, Dilbert (the Series), Angry Beavers, Rocko's Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead, Cow & Chicken/I Am Weasel, Harvey Birdman. And currently: Futurama, Clone Wars, Spongebob Squarepants, Phineas & Ferb and (shudder!) The Looney Tunes Show. "Good Animation" with no regard for content.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:21 PM on October 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hard to believe Sweatshop isn't a sitcom on NBC.
posted by phaedon at 9:24 PM on October 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised that they aren't taking all that animation expertise and knowledge of the American and international markets and home-grown anime--- or are they and I'm just pitifully unaware of a bunch of awesome Korean animated movies?
posted by empath at 9:24 PM on October 10, 2010


and MAKING home-grown anime.
posted by empath at 9:25 PM on October 10, 2010


Well there's always Aachi & Ssipak, which was pretty fantastic and weird as all hell.
posted by graventy at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I think the Simpsons has been done on computer - not cell animation, for around 8 years, now."

Nah, you're thinking of the scripts. That machine consists of nothing more than a Markov-chain logic unit primed with Seasons 1-8, a randomiser (possibly the only truly random, as opposed to pseudorandom, machine made by Man), and a long pipe recycling the output back to the input. Curiously, the original idea for this machine was itself recycled from the episode "Bart Gets an Elephant".

Stochastic effects totally overwhelmed the Markov unit somewhere around Seasons 11 or 12.
posted by Pinback at 9:39 PM on October 10, 2010 [24 favorites]


Sometimes additional links are just padding (the main link + three Wikipedia pages), but other times some context really would help. I don't watch TV and haven't made an effort to watch the Simpsons for years, and all I knew about Banksy was that the name seemed vaguely familiar. (If I'd had to take a stab at it, I'd have guessed it was some sort of username from a famous website, like SA or 4chan.) One of the reasons I've always liked MetaFilter was the tendency to provide additional context through explanatory links and alternate resources. I think calling that culture of helpfulness and thoroughness a "cancer" is a bit much.
posted by Scattercat at 9:41 PM on October 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised that they aren't taking all that animation expertise and knowledge of the American and international markets and home-grown anime--- or are they and I'm just pitifully unaware of a bunch of awesome Korean animated movies?


Animators sure, storyboarders and writers, not as much. Couple of titles though.

My Beautiful Girl, Mari
Wonderful Days

Other than that not much. Always surprised me too.
posted by zabuni at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


These days the Simpsons just depresses me. Even without digressions about sweatshop labor.
posted by EmGeeJay at 9:59 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some context (but not much) from Wooster Collective (who know a thing or two about Banksy).
posted by sleeping bear at 10:14 PM on October 10, 2010


A super-awesome Metafilter post might also include a link or two of context, maybe a little background information. At least a link to some reaction or something.

Rupert Murdoch's The Wall Street Journal describes it as "subversive", "grim", and "Sacrilege!"
posted by finite at 10:21 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other Fox-related news, they apparently dropped an F-bomb tonight during the Cleveland Show.
posted by schmod at 10:32 PM on October 10, 2010


I have to admit, I was somewhat offended that the three dominant and distinct East Asian groups were conflated so cavalierly. The animators are Korean, but the panda slave is a reference to China (the only place pandas come from) and the dolphin head is known as a Japanese thing (its possible that the Chinese and Koreans are equally horrible to them, but they're not known for it like the Japanese).

So, like, if you're trying to make some sort of statement about how Asian sweatshops are exploited to fuel the Simpsons machine , it would be nice to acknowledge that there's a difference between Asians. Failure to do so either means Banksy / whoever is either ignorant or indifferent to these distinctions, neither of which are a flattering revelation.
posted by shen1138 at 10:33 PM on October 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Having lived in Korea, I can say that it isn't THAT grey...

Although, replace the animation cells with homework, and it's not too far off reality.
posted by butwheresthesushi at 10:34 PM on October 10, 2010


Man, you folk complaining about the production conditions of your Simpsons just got to read the youtube comments to set your heads straight:

some people crying because we are capitalists, the comunism has demostrated is not funcional, so if you are very sad because you use jeans made in china or latinamerica, so wear an empty potato bag or wait... maybe that potato bag was harvested by poor farmers from Mexico, naked is better or make your own clothes with dry leafs. is the world we live in, and moaning it's unfair, it's not going change anything!

See? Is the world we live in. No problems!
posted by Ahab at 10:45 PM on October 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've spoken here before about different "genres" of comedy, and how they appeal to different people, but I will never understand the mindset that because a joke is made about something, that means that the joker doesn't take the subject seriously.

To the conscientious mind, comedy is a way to call attention to things. He went over-the-top because it's a damned cartoon, and he had to make his point with a laugh. And he did. Laughter is a visceral shortcut to memory.

I hate hate HATE the idea that if an important idea is presented in an entertaining way that it is cheapened. It is intellectual ghetto-ization at its worst. It is counter-productive. It is, simply, wrong.

More people are thinking about sweatshops and the circumstances which lead to them than there were before 8:00 ET tonight, and it doesn't matter how much smarter you imagine yourself to be than those people are.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:45 PM on October 10, 2010 [36 favorites]


I thought it was funny, but tend to agree that by making it so over the top (the dolphin head was a particularly nice touch), it significantly diffuses its critique. I suspect a lot of people's reactions will be something along the lines of: well, if it was actually made in a Korean sweatshop, they certainly wouldn't have made that intro to call attention to it, so it obviously isn't made in a sweatshop.

What I've seen of Banksy's stuff does sometimes seem to have its subversion mollified somewhat by an admiration of the blatantly commercial. But maybe even that is reading too much into it.
posted by damonism at 10:47 PM on October 10, 2010




I think he's parodying himself and the whole idea of making these kinds of political statements. He has to do this, because if he were to make a sincere, non-ironic statement with the permission of Fox, it would suggest that they think that his message has no effect (or maybe a positive effect) on their bottom line, and this would destroy his entire subversive cachet. So he does a fake, a parody, to imply that his true message is still genuinely subversive and therefore cannot be shown. His entire project depends on the idea that he is so dangerous, he must be censored, so he must censor himself to keep up the appearance.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:03 PM on October 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Banksy (and all "political statement artists") always strike me as very obvious. Sweatshops are bad? Ya don't say. Never would have guessed that if you hadn't told me, dude.
If you want to effect change - go and change something. A few cels of animation are not going to do dick for anyone.
posted by cerulgalactus at 11:17 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ouch.

A shitty old cartoon is trying to regain its long-dead relevance by incorporating Banksy's graffiti art and Naomi Klein's political ethos--two things everyone was sick of ten years ago.

Just pull the plug already.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:44 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I got dumber reading some of these last comments.

The panda, the dolphin and the unicorn are metaphors for the shattered dream of American globalism. These are Asian icons that Westerners readily identify as "cute" and are being depicted in an exaggerated, abused manner in order to show us "the greater context" -- much like what this parody is trying to say about the show itself. We start with the recognizable Simpson intro, then go behind the scenes, we are in a sweatshop, we see an assembly line, the show is being made, DVD's, t-shirts and dolls are being produced, pan out, we are inside a prison, pan further out, we are inside the American global corporation, we end with the apocalyptic studio/prison Fox logo. Back to the show, which must go on. This is called art.

And frankly nothing is more dumb, fat American than sitting in front of your computer typing about how somebody else isn't doing dick for something. You clearly don't understand the power of television, and probably sit around watching it all day. Fucking hilarious.
posted by phaedon at 11:45 PM on October 10, 2010 [27 favorites]


The panda, the dolphin and the unicorn are metaphors for the shattered dream of American globalism. These are Asian icons that Westerners readily identify as "cute" and are being depicted in an exaggerated, abused manner in order to show us "the greater context" -- much like what this parody is trying to say about the show itself.

Whuh? The panda is Chinese. The cut up dolphin is Japanese. The animators are Korean. The unicorn is nonexistent. The message is muddled.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:49 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow, Fox and the producers of The Simpsons will not have changed their objectionable practices. They will, however, have gotten a lot of attention.
posted by Football Bat at 12:03 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't mean to say Asian icons, I just meant icons.

And last time I checked, the Japanese don't use dolphins as glue sticks and pandas aren't driving the Chinese economic boom. Nobody seems to be taking issue with those exaggerations. But rather, it's the appearance of conflating those wild exaggerations so as to depict Asians as a single group that upsets people? Good Lord.
posted by phaedon at 12:03 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is possible to take issue with both, and I do.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:07 AM on October 11, 2010


incorporating Banksy's graffiti art

Where?
posted by setanor at 12:11 AM on October 11, 2010


you should have put graffiti art like this "graffiti" "art" or maybe like ""graffiti" "art""
posted by setanor at 12:12 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoa phaedon. Heeeeeeyyyyy phaedon. That was awesome, but relax. Ah, I'm sure you're fine. Sys Rq, I think a clear statement in the format we're discussing is too much to ask. The message might be simply, "here is something you should be aware of." phaedon's got it - it's not politics, it's art.
posted by randomyahoo at 12:17 AM on October 11, 2010


But rather, it's the appearance of conflating those wild exaggerations so as to depict Asians as a single group that upsets people?

I have lots of problems with the "art," as you call it. It's trite, its intellectually shallow, and it has very little metaphorical integrity (so Americans are supposed to feel bad for the sweatshops that fuel American enterprise, but then we can feel ok about it because Asians do horrific things like the Cove?). But all of these points were already covered by earlier comments, so I put something else out there to contribute.

As an exercise of "greater context" it's a dismal failure, since many mainland Chinese see "sweatshop" work for US companies as highly desirable compared to other employment options. It's also ironic to defend the "greater context" of the piece, when my criticism, the conflation of different Asian groups as a monolithic entity, is precisely an example of the lack of greater context.

Of course, the second you apply any actual pressure to the coherence of the "message" and the "art," rather than concede the flimsiness of the construction, Banksy and his defenders will probably say something like "lulz its just a cartoon don't read so much into it." Which is a total cop-out, and goes a long way towards justifying my original attitude toward it.
posted by shen1138 at 12:34 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


To me the message is fairly simple: Western society is the scum floating on a lake of suffering, exploitation, and environmental destruction.
posted by Kattullus at 12:36 AM on October 11, 2010 [15 favorites]


So, no one else thinks that the clip shows Banksy to be a narcissistic, self-aggrandizing douche?

I haven't seen his doco, and I've enjoyed his work before, but something about his scrawling his name all over the clip just raised my hackles. Like, it's not enough that he made a statement, it's the the fact that he made the statement that counts.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:57 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Again, this segment depicts: a child dipping a cel into a radioactive barrel with his bare hands; kittens ground up and being used as doll stuffing; a panda being forced to lug a wheelbarrow; a dolphin's head-on-a-stick being used to seal a box; a unicorn popping holes in DVDs -- all inside of a warehouse that looks like a set from The Temple of Doom. And your problem is the monolithic portrayal of Asians. That's why this doesn't work for you. Got it. Is this the first time you've seen the Simpsons? How about Family Guy?

I will go further and grant you that this work of art is shallow enough to either be a criticism of globalization, or a mockery of said criticism. And frankly, that to me is not all that surprising, given the 1m30s they have to set up and deliver a message, as well as the conflict of interest represented by the distributor of said message. Maybe you were expecting something more epic. Maybe this is what people expect from Banksy.

In its wake, we can talk about whether conditions are really that bad, perhaps what the point of it all was, etc. We can talk about dolphins, pandas, kittens and unicorns, whatever you want. But what I'm not willing to grant you is Banksy is "ignorant or indifferent" to these racial distinctions just because you say so, asking me to chose between the two, and telling me neither produces a "flattering revelation." That is a completely uncharitable read and you are just totally making this stuff up.
posted by phaedon at 1:45 AM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Banksy's graffiti art and Naomi Klein's political ethos--two things everyone was sick of ten years ago.

You're so edgy. "The flesh is sad, alas! and I have clicked all the links."
posted by Baldons at 3:06 AM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Unicorns are Asian? I thought they were a mediaeval Christian trope.
posted by acb at 3:25 AM on October 11, 2010


That poor unicorn.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:26 AM on October 11, 2010


Ugh. That was a very badly timed comment on my part.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:29 AM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Banksy's work is often pumped through a healthy dose of pop culture - it's what makes him so accessible. The very notion that he'd be painting all Asian cultures with the same stick is absurd. It's a direct reference to sweatshop labour in various Asian countries, and the animals are used because they're typically cute and (in the panda's and dolphin's case) endangered. If you have outrage to spare, point it at somewhere more productive.
posted by Magnakai at 3:32 AM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have always found that snarky comments in the arse-end of a thread on a communal blog do far more to entertain &/or change than some thought provoking yet amusing creativity that is broadcast around the world.
posted by i_cola at 3:44 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised that they aren't taking all that animation expertise and knowledge of the American and international markets and home-grown anime--- or are they and I'm just pitifully unaware of a bunch of awesome Korean animated movies?

Given that the majority of new Japanese anime is executed in Korea, they're probably so disgusted with the medium and pessimistic about its future that they're all saving up for Super 8 film cameras and reading up on Dogme 95.

It's like, "Here, I'll pay you a hundred dollars to make me a shit sandwich for lunch every day!" and then someone's like "Dude, you're great at making sandwiches, why don't you open your own nutella sandwich stand!"
posted by No-sword at 3:48 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


See now. I have a slightly different take on the whole, but I'm coming from a animal advocate space.

On the whole though I think that you're missing the point. The reason that, even today, The Simpsons is relevant is that it's a cartoon which even when - perhaps more so when - a child doesn't understand what's going on it's most effective. Because THEY ASK. They question. They want to know. And that's the generation of kids we're raising. Kids who are not ok just sitting back and saying. "Huh. that was funny."

It forces, or more likely encourages, a family discussion about topics that might otherwise never come up.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:52 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Simpsons opening looks, thematically, on a par with Banksy's other pieces referencing exploitation/injustice/animal cruelty and juxtaposing it with consumerist pop culture; like his aged, wretched-looking Tweety Bird, animatronic cosmetic-testing rabbit or obese Western tourists being pulled along by a downtrodden-looking urchin. I imagine that Banksy uses exploitation and the juxtaposition between the happy-making myths of Western consumer-capitalism and the ugly underside of the world order in the same way that Quentin Tarantino uses spectacular violence: to add flavour and zing.

AFAIK, Banksy has never nailed his views to any ideology or alternative idea to the issues he references. One can infer a number of possible critiques, from the obvious Naomi Klein-esque anti-capitalism to populist conservatism (one of his stencils read "A lot of artists are willing to suffer for their art, but few are willing to learn to draw", which is a stone's throw from Billy Childish's grumpy-old-manisms and the "modern art is rubbish" mindset your average Daily Mail reader might be expected to have).
posted by acb at 4:01 AM on October 11, 2010


Banksy's depiction of the "Simpson's Sweatshop" went beyond 'making a statement' to an apparent parody of 'making a statement'

I thought so too. At the end of the day, hey, it's all a joke, and nothing more, you see.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the Simpsons has been done on computer - not cell animation, for around 8 years, now

2-D animation is still hand-drawn. The individual pencil drawings are scanned and digitally colored rather than painted on acetate, but the frame-by-frame process remains.


A shitty old cartoon is trying to regain its long-dead relevance by incorporating Banksy's graffiti art and Naomi Klein's political ethos--two things everyone was sick of ten years ago.

Wow, saying that human suffering got boring for you is a lot more ignorant than just saying you don't care about it. I'm actually impressed. Kudos.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:49 AM on October 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Leave it to Banksy to start the conversation.
posted by yoga at 5:09 AM on October 11, 2010


The bean-plating in this thread is STUNNING.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:28 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the part where his name was spray-painted on the wall.
posted by tommasz at 5:36 AM on October 11, 2010


Discussion about art on this site are always a bit depressing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


The knee-jerk defenses of this one-link FPP are ridiculous. Bansky's Simpsons opening: What does that mean? He gets a tribute? He wrote it? Storyboarded it? Approved the designs? Supervised art direction? Did he sit on a fucking throne saying, "Put in a depressed unicorn punching holes in DVDs."?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:49 AM on October 11, 2010


Astro Zombie, know of a better place for art discussion? Thought so.
posted by cuteforce at 5:57 AM on October 11, 2010


More details from the BBC. (No thrones.)
posted by i_cola at 6:00 AM on October 11, 2010




His thoughts were red thoughts: something about his scrawling his name all over the clip just raised my hackles. Like, it's not enough that he made a statement, it's the the fact that he made the statement that counts.

I was under the impression that Banksy just did the couch portion of the opening. I assumed that his name graffitied in the beginning was just the Simpsons team pointing out who did the cool part.
posted by Hubajube at 6:07 AM on October 11, 2010


Dang it! Now, who's got a picture of the dude? And don't try linking to one of those whited-out porn stars.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bet we'll get this over here and not the Limbaugh-themed Family Guy that aired in the US the week before - I'd be surprised if Sky ever showed it.

(My issue with FG as a foreign viewer is that a lot of the pop-culture references are incredibly US-specific - I know of Rush Limbaugh, but not whether he's the funny-right-winger like Glenn Beck or scary-right-winger like Ann Coulter - and The Simpsons rarely do that. It's nice to see a reference from our side of the pond.)
posted by mippy at 6:20 AM on October 11, 2010



I have to admit, I was somewhat offended that the three dominant and distinct East Asian groups were conflated so cavalierly.


dont have a cow, man
posted by the cuban at 6:33 AM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch's The Wall Street Journal describes it as "subversive", "grim", and "Sacrilege!"

This is such a perfect illustration of the empty puppet-show performance of culture as politics, media consumption as faux-identity, that I wish Thomas Frank would write a host of Baffler screeds decrying it, instead of trying to become a Serious Political Analyst or whatever the hell he's doing now. It's t-shirt-level posturing-as-politics all the way down: you can choose to buy commodified dissent, whose "ironic" self-denunciation of the conditions of its own production serves as a mark of its authenticity (The Simpsons is still "subversive," dude!) or you can choose to buy, from the same corporate puppet-master, the commodified conservative condemnation instead. It's Kulturkampf as bread-and-circus sports rivalry; you can pick your side, buy its merch, and cheer it from the sidelines for the rest of eternity, while your masters make the real decisions in peace somewhere else.
posted by RogerB at 6:57 AM on October 11, 2010 [15 favorites]


Astro Zombie, just be glad you missed the dancing about architecture!
posted by kimota at 7:00 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am, at this very moment, dancing about architecture.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:02 AM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you don't know who Banksy or the Simpsons are, and why this would be interesting, then I don't know how you managed to find metafilter.

I had never heard of Banksy before seeing this post. I've been reading Metafilter since 2000 and don't remember how I "managed to find" it. So, your views of which things someone should know before knowing about other things could use readjusting.
posted by John Cohen at 7:06 AM on October 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you don't know who Banksy or the Simpsons are, and why this would be interesting, then I don't know how you managed to find metafilter.

I took a right toin at Albakoiky.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 AM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, your views of which things someone should know before knowing about other things could use readjusting.

I'm aware that lots of people don't know lots of things. However, there are some things that a reasonably cultured person should be aware of and Banksy is one of them. I don't expect people to explain who Andy Warhol and Lady Gaga are in fpp, either.
posted by empath at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2010


The knee-jerk defenses of this one-link FPP are ridiculous.

There's not a damn thing wrong with one-link FPPs. So, lemme just adjust my knee here... wait a minute... there! It's jerking! My knee is jerking in defense of this post!

MeFi: 1 post

empath, it's not as though people who haven't made many (or any) posts have no right to comment or express their opinion. Pointing out that this user has only made one post makes you look petty, I'm afraid. It's really not a good tactic. How many posts this person has made or not made is beside the point.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:17 AM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: sardonically deplorable conditions
posted by chavenet at 7:18 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


i disagree, but this is really a metatalk discussion, as was his original comment.
posted by empath at 7:19 AM on October 11, 2010


Really that's the direction we went with this thread? Jesus, guys.

Banksy had a chance to make an advertisement. Given 90s he had time to make either that or a little political announcement. And the political announcement would have been boring, or unfunny, and the Simpsons guys weren't looking for that anyway.

Advertising is shallow and deals primarily with symbols. Banksy lined up a lot of familiar symbols, directed the sequence with shocking and somewhat unexpected flair, and created a sequence that's already been shot everywhere in the media, and carries specifically with it the question: "Is all of Western culture decadent, spoiled, garbage?" The last two seconds, where it cuts abruptly from the lengthy tragic sequence back to the shittypeppy Simpsons theme song*, are wicked devastating.

I'd like to see anybody else storyboard a 90-second sequence that wonderful. Just sketch out to us what you think Banksy could have done instead to provoke such a reaction as he has but with less offensiveness. Off the top of my head I can't think of any symbolic substitutions that would have had as much impact as the ones he used.

That sequence just killed the last bit of doubt in my mind as to whether Banksy was a canny hack or a legitimately talented and thoughtful artist. Hell, I think the sequence works better thanks to The Simpsons' being shit all these years. Because I was not expecting, clicking on that Youtube link, so see anything remotely that edgy coming from modern Simpsons, for Christ's sake.

*I mean it's not really shitty, it's really good, but part of what makes it really good it the way it seems to kind of both be peppy-catchy and making fun of itself at the same time. Only now it's used in such a saccharine manner as to make my heart chop onions.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:22 AM on October 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Astro Zombie, know of a better place for art discussion? Thought so.
This is your first comment on this site and you're using it to be fighty?
WTH man?
posted by bitteroldman at 7:24 AM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Astro Zombie, know of a better place for art discussion? Thought so.

I don't know what is meant by this question, but yes I do. Almost anyplace where contemporary artists aren't routinely treated as hucksters with no real content to offer and where modern art isn't consistently treated as some giant scam. Whatever is posted, there will be a race to be the first to say it is technically incompetent, shallow, and not worth our attention. It's like this site is populated by Theodore Roosevelts staring in bewilderment at the Armory Show.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2010 [25 favorites]


MeTa
posted by Burhanistan at 7:31 AM on October 11, 2010


Recapitulating the spectacle.
posted by warbaby at 7:32 AM on October 11, 2010


oh, and I really didn't like that episode - the best part was the intro.

They're not really trying anymore, are they?
Would have been more interesting maybe if it was Prof. Frink and the noids as the coaches , with all the jocks (Bart, Nelson, etc.) being slowly replaced by the various nerds (Lisa, Milhouse, Martin, etc.), with hilarity ensuing.

Sigh - the Simpsons is like one's high school sweetheart, who, in college, breaks completely changes for the worse. Yeah he/she is popular, hot and has everything going for him/her, but, he/she is no longer the person you used to love. You no longer like this person, and it kills you inside, because you were so much in love. And with each conversation that you have, you hope that he/she will return to that person you knew when you were younger, but it never happens. Sure, there are a few interesting moments, but these are rare. You hate to admit it, but it's time to let go an move on.

You have a few flings looking to replace the void, but they're fun only for a while (Family Guy) don't stimulate your passions the way he/she did (King of the Hill), or just lacking that emotional connection that you had with your lost love (American Dad, Cleveland Show). Some flings are hot, but really the person is an angry soulless jerk (South Park).

Then you meet someone from your past, a friend, who you never really thought much of. But now you look at him/her in a different light. Oh Futurama, are you the one for me?

posted by bitteroldman at 7:39 AM on October 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


I worked as a supervisor in a couple of those sweatshops back around 1990 and wasn't the worst working environment in Korea, by a long shot. The animators rolled in about 11:00 most days, and worked until about 7:00 before heading out to hit the town. Young women did most sweatshoppy cel painting jobs. There wasn't a union but workers had ways of looking out for one and other because some people (at all levels of production) could be horribly incompetent and still never get fired.

There was plenty arguing, flirting, crying, checkers games all set in the stink of kerosene heaters and crushed aspirations. It was a factory where people made stuff. Also, the camera guys seemed to be REALLY high on speed.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:45 AM on October 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's Kulturkampf as bread-and-circus sports rivalry; you can pick your side, buy its merch, and cheer it from the sidelines for the rest of eternity, while your masters make the real decisions in peace somewhere else.

That's why the 90-second Banksy intro was a million times better than the episode itself or anything else the show (which has turned primarily into a bunch of head-scratching plotless set pieces strung together by obligatory relentless guest appearances -- Mike Scioscia? -- and obligatory straining-to-be-hip music montages -- Elvis Costello's "Clubland"?) has churned out in the last few years. "The Simpsons" entered "Joanie Loves Chachi" territory long ago.
posted by blucevalo at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first time I saw this was on the broadcast, and I only caught that by accident because I thought the Phillies were on Fox that night. It was great! Greater still for being so unexpected. Even more greater yet for the juxtasposition with the show's plot, which centered on the great American past-time, beisbol! It was fucking brilliant, and rather a clever episode followed.
posted by Mister_A at 8:03 AM on October 11, 2010


If it had been too realistic, it would not have been funny and never would have been aired.

That's one explanation. Another one, I'm surprised that no one here seems to have considered, is that Banksy considers our liberal vapors over sweatshops to be stupid and is making a parody of what we think sweatshops look like. Dying unicorns! Panda slaves! Nuclear waste! Shredded kittens! Oh, the horror!

Kind of like how, say, Team America was such a parody of macho movie conservatism that some people thought it was actually espousing those beliefs.
posted by fungible at 8:16 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's way too brutal, memorable and effective to be intended as parody. And the entire setup to the grim "punchline", the contrast between brightly-colored typical Simpsons intro and dark sweatshop sequence would no longer make sense in that context.

Not to mention "Banksy thinks liberal vapors over sweatshops are stupid" would be information that is counter to every other Banksy piece I've ever seen.
posted by naju at 8:36 AM on October 11, 2010


What Rory Marinich wrote.

Banksy is consistently one of the greatest artists of our time, and he shows it once more. He understands pop, he groks the participatory life of the Web, he has compassion, he fucks with the art market and the art establishment, he gives 1000 times more that he takes.

He does what great artists do: he surprises us with his skill, with his sense of place, with his instinct of show time just to bring us back with a bang to our fragile humanity.

This is "only" an animation but so many images could be framed as the old Disney cells have been, but with so much more heart. Banksy shows us a tragedy taking place in our consuming lightheartedness. And by showing how it is directly related to our consumption, he helps us perceive that maybe we are in part responsible and maybe we can do something about it.

This is revolting.

Good.

Thanks, Banksy, thanks empath.
posted by bru at 8:40 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


(One example of Banksy's unambiguous stance on sweatshop labor.)
posted by naju at 8:42 AM on October 11, 2010


The strangest part about the opening was when Banksy's bit was done and it reverted back to the standard opening credit sequence with the upbeat theme music.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:43 AM on October 11, 2010


The strangest part about the opening was when Banksy's bit was done and it reverted back to the standard opening credit sequence with the upbeat theme music.

That was the BEST part. That was a fucking GUT PUNCH. Happy one minute of the shitty world outside your living room, here's the flat unshaded world of the Simpsons TV, lean back and enjoy!
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:57 AM on October 11, 2010


"Oh boy, Asia! That's where I'm a panda!"
posted by fleetmouse at 9:11 AM on October 11, 2010


Having watched the piece and read all the comments, I think the animal imagery was deliberately chosen so it would harken back to our childish love for animals. Suddenly we remember that love and remember we still have it. Desecration of beloved childhood symbols shocks us because we spent so many years telling ourselves we were all grown up and had long since abandoned those symbols.

But it seems we hadn’t.

You’re supposed to be upset and disquieted by those symbols.
posted by joeclark at 9:14 AM on October 11, 2010


Mmmmmm. I love a steaming hot plate of pre-digested dissent.
posted by rusty at 9:20 AM on October 11, 2010


Right on time: The Big Picture on A North Korean anniversary and debut.
posted by bru at 9:30 AM on October 11, 2010


Kevin Smith did it first.
posted by cereselle at 9:49 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had never heard of Banksy before seeing this post. I've been reading Metafilter since 2000 and don't remember how I "managed to find" it. So, your views of which things someone should know before knowing about other things could use readjusting.

You apparently haven't been reading too closely.
posted by andoatnp at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2010


Content/form-based criticisms of the piece aside, it is good because it contributes to the net awareness of certain unsavory realities of global capitalism. There are millions of Americans, for example, who never give a moment's thought to the how of their lifestyle. Any attempt to interject those issues into the average American TV viewer's experience is worthwhile, IMO.

And it is just more evidence that Banksy is a savvy-ass conceptual artist; even better than he is as a visual artist. He has positioned himself to be criticism proof, by courting criticism from all sides: if he does High Brow gallery shows, he has sold out to cultural elite. If he does mass culture, he has sold out to the capitalists. No matter what Banksy does, he causes debate, and you can't have a debate without Banksy without getting back to the role of capitalism in contemporary society. Which seems to be the core thematic concern of his work. So let it his career stand as his major work, and it seems to be an effective effort. I like him.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dammit, should read: . . . you can't have a debate about Banksy . . .
posted by barrett caulk at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2010


I think the fact that an intro to The Simpsons is being so heatedly discussed is pretty awesome.

The Simpsons gets crapped on a lot for not being relevant enough, edgy enough, pointed enough, what have you. As a fan, the more people fight over What The Banksy Intro Means, the happier I get.
posted by ErikaB at 10:47 AM on October 11, 2010


This reminds me of Negativland's Dispepsi album, specifically The Greatest Taste Around, in which in which the lyrics (set to an upbeat, cheery tune) attempt to associate horrible (or at least unpleasant) images with the Pepsi brand name.
posted by davejay at 10:59 AM on October 11, 2010


there are some things that a reasonably cultured person should be aware of and Banksy is one of them.

Actually, I will pay attention to the things I want to pay attention to and not pay attention to the things I'm not interested in. Maybe I know about some important philosophers that you don't know about. I wouldn't tell you you need to read more philosophy, and I don't need internet commenters to tell me who I should be paying more attention to.
posted by John Cohen at 11:12 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish Thomas Frank would write a host of Baffler screeds decrying it, instead of trying to become a Serious Political Analyst or whatever the hell he's doing now.

Good lord. I just wish he could get his shit together and publish Vol. 2 No. 2.

The Facebook page hasn't been updated since July. Same with Twitter. The Web site is non-responsive.

I think I subscribed 5 years ago and have received 2 issues so far. I'm familiar with the commodification of dissent; now I am expressing the dissent of subscription. BOOOOO to The Baffler.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:25 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


The sweatshop stuff seems like an critique of Western consumer culture... but then the dolphin head and animals etc. seem to shift it from being a problem of the system to animal rights abuse which is typically leveled at asian countries instead, which kinda derails the point.

That's one "derail" that's fine with me. I liked how they looked at the treatment of humans and animals. If a "derail" just means making two different (though related) points in a short space, there's nothing inherently bad about a derail. Anyway, what's the "derail" and what's "the point"? You could just as well say looking at human sweatshops detracts from looking at cruelty to animals.
posted by John Cohen at 12:11 PM on October 11, 2010


Actually, I will pay attention to the things I want to pay attention to and not pay attention to the things I'm not interested in. Maybe I know about some important philosophers that you don't know about. I wouldn't tell you you need to read more philosophy, and I don't need internet commenters to tell me who I should be paying more attention to.

Likewise, we don't need internet commenters to tell us who they've never heard of.

It's the internet. There is a google and a wikipedia. Do your own legwork. Jeez.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:29 PM on October 11, 2010


Unicorns are Asian? I thought they were a mediaeval Christian trope.

Apparently not. (via Metafiler)
posted by Sparx at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the BBC.com piece:

According to the street artist, his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department.

"This is what you get when you outsource," joked The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.


So it did create some internal controversy. (Maybe ended up watered-down or joked-up a little?)

And from the original link:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:01 PM on October 11, 2010


Here's a new link.

I suspect the Fox lawyers will be playing wack-a-mole with this until the authorized Hulu feed goes up.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:05 PM on October 11, 2010


Sys Rq: "Banksy's graffiti art and Naomi Klein's political ethos--two things everyone was sick of ten years ago."

"Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall" came out in 2001, "Existencilism" gave many people their first exposure in 2002, and his first exhibition was in 2003, so I'm a little unclear about how "everyone" got sick of him even before his first booklets came out, and really, before he was even doing much stenciling at all.
posted by rhizome at 1:13 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


A NYT interview with Al Jean, Simpson's showrunner.
posted by Sparx at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall" came out in 2001, "Existencilism" gave many people their first exposure in 2002, and his first exhibition was in 2003, so I'm a little unclear about how "everyone" got sick of him even before his first booklets came out, and really, before he was even doing much stenciling at all.

"Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall" was a retrospective. He'd been active long before that. "Everyone" was hyperbole. Everyone knows that.

Point is, this stuff is entirely old hat, and it's sad that the folks at The Simpsons seem to think it's edgy.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:25 PM on October 11, 2010


FYI, I'm not the only Asian American that has problems with the video.

http://blog.angryasianman.com/2010/10/creepy-asian-sweatshop-in-banksys.html
posted by shen1138 at 1:52 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know what is meant by this question, but yes I do. Almost anyplace where contemporary artists aren't routinely treated as hucksters with no real content to offer and where modern art isn't consistently treated as some giant scam. Whatever is posted, there will be a race to be the first to say it is technically incompetent, shallow, and not worth our attention. It's like this site is populated by Theodore Roosevelts staring in bewilderment at the Armory Show.

I think the problem is that Banksy essentially is a huckster with no real content to offer. His talent lies in self promotion and in making simplistic statements about the bleedin' obvious which are lapped up by the middle class who think that having one of his expensive books on their shelves makes them a bit politically dangerous. if he has actually provoked any serious thinking by anyone about global capitalism, then fair play to him, but i suspect he hasn't. your comment about the armory show was funny, but way off the mark.
posted by peterkins at 2:01 PM on October 11, 2010


Ah yes.

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox."
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2010


Crap. Didn't preview.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2010


I think the problem is that Banksy essentially is a huckster with no real content to offer. His talent lies in self promotion and in making simplistic statements about the bleedin' obvious which are lapped up by the middle class who think that having one of his expensive books on their shelves makes them a bit politically dangerous.

I don't have any of his books (I didn't even know there were any) but I can say that Banksy has definitely made me think about art. De gustibus and all that, but I find it hard to believe he has offered "no real content"?

What are your qualifications for "real content"? Does Jeff Koons' work apply?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:39 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


i'm not sure that link proves your point, unless you think that having dinner with joan collins is in some way significant. of course, my qualifications for 'real content' are entirely subjective, and no, jeff koons' work doesn't meet them. i want stuff that makes me think, that's mysterious and doesn't give it all up on the first date. bill viola, tacita dean or gerhard richter are more my thing, but that's a random selection and they're not really comparable to Banksy. it's good that Banksy does it for you (seriously)...he just doesn't do it for me.
posted by peterkins at 3:23 PM on October 11, 2010


I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to live in a world where Koons (or Banksy) isn't real.

Sys Rq: ""Everyone" was hyperbole."

What about the "ten years ago?"
posted by rhizome at 4:25 PM on October 11, 2010


Here's one that's working right now, albeit without sound.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:10 PM on October 11, 2010


I think the problem is that Banksy essentially is a huckster with no real content to offer. His talent lies in self promotion

I hate to break this to you but being an artist at any level is 95% self promotion and this is not really all that exclusive to our current position on the art history timeline. Criticizing artists for being successful at making things and getting people to look at them is like saying fish shouldn't swim. It is however a useful way to poison the well on any art you don't like (or art people you don't like are buying) so that you can easily dismiss it without having to put all that effort into thinking about it.
posted by bradbane at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


What about the "ten years ago?"

That part was meant literally, yes.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 PM on October 11, 2010


It hardly matters to say important things when no one hears you say them. Being a PR whiz (or hiring one) is part and parcel of the work of every artist you've ever patronized (excepting close personal friends). And thank goodness. We desperately need more art in the world. It doesn't need to be "mysterious" but it sure as hell needs to make us think.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:13 PM on October 11, 2010


I'm Asian American and I did not find the Banksy intro remotely offensive. There is some evil shit that goes on in Asian workplaces and I'm fully in favor of anything that exposes it.

Remember all those people killing themselves at Foxconn? That was not some kind of accident. As far as sweatshops, I know people who used to call Electronic Arts a sweatshop, and that's a software company in Silicon Valley. So the use of sweatshop isn't necessarily a term only applied to Asian factories. I know, EA probably has lots of Asian American or H1B people working there, but still.

That's one of my major issues with what I see in Asian American activism*, that it focuses so much on how we are represented in the media. It shows the middle class privilege of the activists. How we are represented is important; however, BEING ABLE TO EAT and GETTING RUTHLESSLY EXPLOITED IN A FACTORY are also very important issues as well. Perhaps these weren't such big issues back in the 90s when the US middle class wasn't taking such an obvious beating. But they should have been.


*And keep in mind that I have spent plenty of time in that community, and continue to this day.
posted by wuwei at 10:30 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate to break this to you but being an artist at any level is 95% self promotion and this is not really all that exclusive to our current position on the art history timeline. Criticizing artists for being successful at making things and getting people to look at them is like saying fish shouldn't swim. It is however a useful way to poison the well on any art you don't like (or art people you don't like are buying) so that you can easily dismiss it without having to put all that effort into thinking about it.

that wasn't my point, was it, and if you'd managed to read all the way to the end of the sentence you'd quoted you'd know that. but thanks for the heads up.
posted by peterkins at 2:09 AM on October 12, 2010


"His talent lies in self promotion and in making simplistic statements about the bleedin' obvious which are lapped up by the middle class who think that having one of his expensive books on their shelves makes them a bit politically dangerous. "

Yet a lot of his stuff goes up in working-class areas, such as the one near my office (now been placed under glass by the greasy spoon next door since someone tried to paint over it) and the huge CCTV one just off one of the busiest shopping streets in London.
posted by mippy at 3:23 AM on October 12, 2010




Doh, missed Sparx' link upthread.
posted by waraw at 8:31 AM on October 12, 2010


Asian-Americans are not depicted in the Bansky video, hence their opinions are no more relevant than those of anyone else not depicted in it, like Canadians’.

As we’ve discussed already, the (indentured) workers in the Banksy opening are an intentional amalgam of Chinese, Korean, and (via the dolphin) Japanese. You may be offended by that, but that’s a separate issue. Americans are involved only inasmuch 20th Century Fox is sitting behind barbed wire in the United States, which is not explicit by any means.
posted by joeclark at 2:31 PM on October 12, 2010


Did anyone else internally hear phaedon's comment in Old Spice Voice?

No?

The panda, the dolphin and the unicorn are metaphors for the shattered dream of American globalism. These are Asian icons that Westerners readily identify as "cute" and are being depicted in an exaggerated, abused manner in order to show us "the greater context" -- much like what this parody is trying to say about the show itself. We start with the recognizable Simpson intro, then go behind the scenes, we are in a sweatshop, we see an assembly line, the show is being made, DVD's, t-shirts and dolls are being produced, pan out, we are inside a prison, pan further out, we are inside the American global corporation, we end with the apocalyptic studio/prison Fox logo. Back to the show, which must go on. This is called art.


I'm the comment your comment could smell like.
posted by pineapple at 7:49 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


NYT via Salon: ‘The Simpsons’ Explains Its Button-Pushing Banksy Opening

Apparently Bansky is a Thomas Pynchon style recluse, and the Simpsons creators had to go through the people who did his movie to find him. Kind of an interesting story behind the story.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:06 PM on October 12, 2010


Worst. Episode. Evar.
posted by stevil at 7:59 AM on October 13, 2010


NYT via Salon: ‘The Simpsons’ Explains Its Button-Pushing Banksy Opening

I'm experiencing deja vu all over again. :)
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2010


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