Tuesday Talk*: Who Can Object?

Are we all part of a big social conversation, where each of us gets to express our views on whatever issue arises, strikes our fancy or about which we have an opinion? Are we not paying the taxes that pay for the programs that pay for the solutions demanded of government for social ills?

Well, no, apparently. At least when it comes to issues raised by people who claim a different “lived experience,” we not only have no right to speak, but are to shut up so as not to talk over others who claim to be marginalized or ignored, to detract from their message and make it about us. And that gave rise to two distinct problems with the reaction to the grievance by Chaedria, who curated a Basquiat exhibit at the Guggenheim which turned into her worst racist nightmare ever.

Her initial grievance was that no one seems to care about how the Guggenheim racially victimized her by making her the first black curator of an exhibit, but then Helen Lewis from The Atlantic reached out to her and that was more than she could take.

This twit received a less than appreciative reaction, a ratio and a dunking as some have characterized it, as it appeared to many that Lewis’ DM was hardly “literally demanding,” but rather a quite normal polite request. Chaedria explained it as white men failing to grasp how this “read” to black people.

Edie and I are going to bed soon but I will reiterate tmrw what I said today and I am completely unmoved by White men declaring she was polite because Helen Lewis speaks like them, just w/ “please”. Nearly every POC watching knew exactly what her message was — a demand.

And while another interlocutor took issue with Chaedria’s claim that this was an offensive demand, he followed up by recognizing that the dunking it was receiving was from white men and failed to recognize its “nuance.

…then I realized most of the people dunking were white men like me. (This is the only medium where we excel at it). So I re-read the thread. And I found…nuance!

Is there nuance that’s obvious to black people and invisible to white people that either should preclude white people from responding or criticizing? Granted, the dunking Chaedria received appears (though it’s hard to be sure since not everyone wears their race on their sleeve) to be mostly from white men, but are white men forbidden from voicing disagreement? Do white people not understand what black people understand, thus making their opinions unworthy and their voicing opinions oppressive when it negates the “truth” of a black woman?

Perhaps Chaedria is right that Helen Lewis’ seemingly ordinary polite request was racist in that it was “literally demanding,” and that I can’t see it because I’m white and speak the same language. Chaedria’s reply to Helen Lewis was, in essence, “fuck you, white woman.”

Chaedria was not much kinder to the interlocutor who found “nuance.”

Tyler, I hate to disappoint you but on this matter, a swarm of rabid White men online screaming “BuT sHe wAS pOLite” neither hurts my feelings or means anything given the collective moral compass of WM is in a trash can in a meth lab. I said what I said.

Bear in mind, this relates to her being made a curator of an exhibit at the Guggenheim. Is this what the tenor of “discussion” must be if not to offend? What room, if any, is left for there to be any question, any disagreement, any deviance from the view expressed by a black woman, even when it appears to be facially…questionable?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.


24 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: Who Can Object?

  1. Hal

    The “trash can in a meth lab” was sort of clever and evocative. Her response is still garbage.

    See what i did there?

  2. Elpey P.

    Nobody – outside of a mythical creature never seen in public – who jumps into a debate to complain on principle about white people questioning the argument of a POC (how is that label not tone deaf) actually means it. Crazy how often it’s white opportunists who do this.

    It’s one of the most bad faith arguments from people who specialize in accusing other perspectives of being broadly grounded in bad faith. And this critique is not the same as their deflective accusations, since it’s actually a rational argument (frowned upon in some circles, how convenient) and not a non sequitur “I forfeit the debate” dodge.

    If they meant the “don’t question black folx” assertion it would include defending those whose politics they can’t abide. Hell, it would simply mean agreeing with that in theory, even if in practice they never do or (more likely) join in with their own attacks. Good luck getting anyone to admit that even in the abstract. It’s just pretense, a perpetual weapon in humanity’s pathological antihumanism.

  3. B. McLeod

    I get behind on this stuff. Does “facially questionable” mean the same as “unhinged” or “batshit crazy” now?

  4. Dan J

    So she is mad her exhibit of art that looks like a demented preschooler was given a box of crayons and a spoonful of cocaine* wasn’t covered more in the news so she refused to talk to the person writing a story about it? Makes about as much sense as any progressive I suppose.

    *I say this despite having a couple Basquiat (small and cheap) drawings on my wall

  5. Grum

    One can only take heart from the history of people using a combo of performative outrage and, basically, lies which insult the general intelligence of anyone capable of critical thought usually run out of steam when it goes beyond parody. In fact, I believe there was a rather famous play, inspired by a similar attempt a good few years ago. The quote that always comes to mind is “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”.
    MacKay would have loved Twitter.

  6. Guitardave

    This was a gift from Basquiat to his supportive critic, Rene Ricard.
    It appears that Chaedrias behavior is just another case of [curators] imitating art[ists].

      1. Guitardave

        It is one of the ‘works’ of the ‘artist’ of the show Chaedria curated.
        Reach out to her…maybe she’ll help you find and purchase it…or take a shit in your hand.
        Let me know how it works out.
        Your friend, GD

    1. Mike Guenther

      Looks like something drawn through an alcoholic haze, coming down from a Purple Microdot trip.

      But then, “art” is subjective and even the scribblings of a moron can be hung on the walls of the finest homes at Martha’s Vineyard or penthouses on Park Ave.

      1. Guitardave

        When it comes to the subjectivity of art, I’m certain someone thinks this kindergarten acid test is really ‘bad axe[d]’.

  7. Rxc

    She needs to find a society somewhere that operates according to her sense of how language, logic, and Justice should work, live there for a while, and let us know how that turns out.

    1. Lambert

      Well I first noticed it when Tr*mp’s daughter was trying to talk herself up in some interview a few years ago.

  8. johnburger

    Just out of curiosity, how is one to ask for permission for an interview? On bended knee? With eyes averted? Speaking in most deferential tones? Apologizing for millenia of evil deed before hand? I would like to know the rules.


    1. Hal

      I believe proper form is to write request by hand in copperplate on good (e.g., Cranes) stationary and have it hand delivered by your second…

      Though, I may be confusing the etiquette for requesting an interview with that of challenging someone to a duel.

      As our host will attest, good manners is not always my strong point.

  9. Jake

    Having once experienced the “Hey we’re going to write about you, care to comment?” approach from a hostile “journalist” I can sympathize, though my own response was far less vehement. But, she’s swimming in a pond so vast and different from anything I’ve ever experienced…Who among us has any idea what it takes to have credibility and relevance in a world where scribbles on canvas can fetch hundreds of millions of dollars, even if it is just a tax shelter. Was her response appropriate? Correct? I guess. We’re talking about her. Before today I had never even heard of Chaedria. Then again, I’m more of an Academic Realist/American Renaissance guy when it comes to paintings. Give me a William-Adolphe Bouguereau or a John Singer Sargent any day.

    1. PK

      I’m supposed to care that she’s a former fancy art curator? I don’t. Is that a problem? Show me where exactly Chaedria was correct in characterizing the message from the writer as a demand, please. You’re bending over backwards for someone who might not care about reality. I guess. Tread carefully.

      1. Jake

        To be honest, I’ve done a poor job of responding to the questions posed by our host and made it about me therefore I shall stop digging before it’s too late.

        1. PK

          You’re allowed to make it about you. I said so. Are you worried that you’ve stepped on Chaedria’s lived experiences by inserting yourself into the narrative even in such a minor way as a comment on a blawg where you talk about yourself? I have some sense that that is at least part of what you’re up to. Frankly, your introspection confuses me and I’m trying to find out what’s up.

          If the post wasn’t so focused on this individual’s identity, I wouldn’t have bothered replying further. What about Jake’s identity? Is your experience not as valuable as any other?

          If that is part of what you’re up to, you’re also allowed to disagree. Dissent is not disloyalty. Remember that we were not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to speak, to write, to associate, and defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular. The fault, dear Jake, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

  10. Lee Keller King

    Are some of these folks living in an alternative reality? Where “please” means “do what I say or else, black/brown/yellow man/woman?

    It sure seems so to me, but I’m just some old white guy with a law degree, so maybe I no longer understand the English language. (Or maybe their version of the English language is so fluid that it is incapable of being understood).

    “But despair is a sin.” Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Comments are closed.