Posts Tagged ‘art and artists’

December 16 roundup

  • Judge Jed Rakoff reviews new book by Columbia lawprof John Coffee on future of class actions [New York Review of Books]
  • About that “vaping could cause popcorn lung” scare: “All conventional [cigarette smoke] contains… levels of diacetyl… a lot higher than those produced by e-cigarettes.” [Michael Siegel]
  • A peek inside Kinder Surprise eggs, global candy favorite that cannot lawfully be brought into the U.S. [Business Insider, earlier]
  • Man’s suit against New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as “too white” raises eyebrows [New York Post, ArtNet]
  • Courageous: in Saudi Arabia, lawyer Waleed Abulkhair, who has represented blogger Raif Badawi, imprisoned for doing his job [Scott Greenfield]
  • Lawyer’s advice: bosses face legal risk if they let their employees join in #ElderlyChristmasSongs Twitter levity [Jon Hyman]
  • Current food labeling standards “provide a big nudge for people to eat less saturated fats and more carbohydrates,” contrary to what many doctors now advise [Ike Brannon, Cato]

“Artist Sues Oakland Auto Dealer Over Mural’s Removal”

Muralist Dan Fontes “is seeking $400,000 in damages from the current and former operators of Autocom Nissan at Broadway and 27th Streets in Oakland.” His lawyer “argues that when the dealership painted over the mural in 2013, they violated the U.S. Visual Artist Rights Act (VARA), a law dating back to 1990. Among other things, the law requires a building owner to give an artist a 90-day notice before the mural is removed or painted over, so the artist can take back or at least document the work.” The mural itself predates VARA by three years — it was painted in 1987 — but the lawyer is taking the position that the 1990 law stripped rights from owners of existing mural works that had not changed ownership before the law’s passage, and reassigned them to original artists. [KQED, Contra Costa Times] We’ve covered VARA and the misnamed concept of “moral rights” before.

August 12 roundup

  • “‘Game Of Thrones’ Fan Demands Trial By Combat” [Lowering the Bar]
  • One way to lose your city job in NYC: “An administrative-law judge then agreed to his firing, noting [the deceased] didn’t show up at his hearing.” [New York Post]
  • International Trade Commission asked to curb improper “imports,” i.e. transmissions, of data into the US, and yes, that could create quite a precedent [WSJ, R Street Institute, Niskanen Center, FreedomWorks letter] More: K. William Watson, Cato;
  • Sixth Circuit panel explains in cement case why some towns (e.g. St. Marys) have no apostrophes, others do [St. Marys Cement v. EPA opinion via Institute for Justice “Short Circuit“]
  • Proposed ban on export of some fine art from Germany stirs discontent [New York Times via Tyler Cowen]
  • With its SEO budget already committed to “Oliver Wendell Holmes = doofus” keywords and the like, Volokh Conspiracy must rely on organic content to boost Brazilian apartment seeker clicks [David Kopel]
  • But federal law forbids paying them, so the city won’t do that: “2 immigrants in U.S. illegally are named to Huntington Park commissions” [L.A. Times]

On the Garland cartoon show attack

Much can and will be said about the attack in Texas and its aftermath, but here is what came to mind for me. On current trends, many outspoken Americans will soon be living in hiding or under guard. To me that’s a bigger story than whether I find their views unsavory. And of course it’s going to happen to many whose views I don’t find at all unsavory. That’s the lesson of Salman Rushdie and his translators, the Danish cartoonists etc. And even when many respectables are living in hiding, under guard, or dead, a large bloc of polite opinion will still look the other way. Something is wrong in that.

As for what can be done, as a writer, I naturally think in terms of what writers and editors can do. The PEN gala award was a good example of a positive step that deserves our applause. It would be a positive step if Yale University Press had printed the (very tame) Danish Mohammed cartoons when it published a book on that episode. It would be a positive step if CNN and other networks did not black out or crop out even very tame cartoons when covering the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Danish Jyllands-Posten episode, or the winning Garland contest entry. When there is no solidarity, the minority of publications that remain uncowed stick out more, and so are in more danger.

The threats are nothing new: mobs ransacked newspaper offices and lynched editors in the Nineteenth Century, 21 died when unionists bombed the L.A. Times in 1910, and so forth. Somehow it didn’t shut them up, and I hope we have the resolve not to let it shut us up either.

Controversial speech, the Texas attack, and the murderer’s veto

The unsuccessful attack on an exhibition of Mohammed cartoons in Garland, Texas, near Dallas, is the most recent attempted mass murder on American soil endeavoring to silence expression bothersome to radical Islamists; it is unlikely to be the last. Some thoughts assembled from Twitter:

One early, ill-considered reaction from the legacy media:

But the legacy media coverage didn’t necessarily improve after a day for reporting and reflection:

As commentators have pointed out, the narrow “fighting words” exception in today’s First Amendment law is generally reserved for (at most) face-to-face insults likely to provoke an on-the-spot brawl, not to derogatory speech more generally:

Echoes of the PEN awards controversy going on at the same time:

On which memorably, also, Nick Cohen in the Spectator.

Earlier on the Charlie Hebdo and Copenhagen attacks.

More: Ken White skewers that awful McClatchy piece with its misunderstandings about “fighting words.” And don’t miss Michael Moynihan on those who would “make a bold stand against the nonexistent racism of 12 dead journalists by refusing to clap for the one who got away,” or related and very good Caleb Crain.

“Rejecting the assassin’s veto,” PEN to honor Charlie Hebdo

And very appropriately, too. But at least six literati, including Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, and novelist and New Yorker contributor Teju Cole, have withdrawn from next month’s gala to express distaste for the murdered cartoonists, a gesture about which Matt Welch has a few comments. More: New York Times, AP. And from fatwa target Salman Rushdie, who knows a thing or two about this topic:

“If PEN as a free speech organization can’t defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name,” Mr. Rushdie said. “What I would say to both Peter and Michael and the others is, I hope nobody ever comes after them.”

Meanwhile, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, has canceled an event on Charlie Hebdo, the university delicately citing a lack of “risk assessment.” [Channel 4, Belfast Live]