Climate activist Superglues himself to Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 1 month ago.

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  • #45445

    Unseen
    Participant

    Elsewhere, activists splashed tomato soup onto a Van Gogh and mashed potatoes onto a Monet.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that saving the planet is very urgent, does it justify defacing or destroying art that belongs to mankind?

    How about assassinating petroleum or coal executives? Certainly saving the planet is more important than letting them continue to lead their miserable moneygrubbing lives!

    If we feel what these activists are doing is wrong, what arguments can we offer?

    #45449

    Autumn
    Participant

    Does it justify it? We’re looking at the potential for mass extinctions and unprecedented weather events that could kill untold numbers, ruin countless more lives, threaten food and fresh water supply, and more depending on the region. Weighed against paintings that are well documented and reproduced, the paintings are trivial.

    However, that’s assuming that each thing is actually balancing on either end of the scale. Realistically, damaging paintings is not likely to make a dent in the issue. While it does draw attention, it’s hard to envision a scenario it moves the needle on much of anything. They probably ruined the paintings for nothing.

    I feel what the activists are doing is ultimately not significant, though perhaps I can sympathize with it as an act of unmitigated frustration. The message behind the protest will get swallowed up in the sensationalism. Even if the paintings can’t be cleaned and restored, the negative impact on human existence will be marginal at best. I don’t advocate destroying art or historic artifacts; however, nothing lasts forever, we have enough resources to study these masterworks even if they are destroyed, and new art emerges and eventually needs space on the wall anyway.

    #45451

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I think the art is behind glass protective panes. Perhaps Vermeer was the guy who supposedly used projecting lenses that enabled him to reproduce models so accurately on canvas?

    Immediately after that happened OPEC ceased all oil production in an effort to save the art. Just Kidding. I agree the act is on the “right side of history”.

    #45454

    Unseen
    Participant

    Are these acts productive? I assume “productive” means producing changes in policies or laws. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Not as a direct consequence.

    As for “productive” in the sense of raising awareness, who the fuck isn’t aware of the problem? Everyone has already decided how bad the climate problem is and how amenable it is to fixing. I think the idea that throwing flaming marshmallows at a Rembrandt or blowing up Rodin’s The Thinker is going to make anyone decide to take action. Unless it’s to make sure the activists do hard time.

    BTW, they seem to think climate science is settled. It isn’t. Actual scientists can argue that while the climate is changing and that it’s largely man made, we have more time than the Chicken Littles say we do to address it and that addressing it the way they would have us address it will set us back in other areas like social justice.

    Bjorn Lomborg is an actual scientist, author of several books on addressing climate change, who tells us that the proposed solutions are so draconian and expensive that they simply won’t happen. And not only that, the wasted money would be taken away from addressing other problems we can actually solve at home and worldwide. For example, now that the prosperous industrial west has raised its standard of living by using fossil fuels, we ask them not to use them without offering them anything that’s a sufficient substitute. What the climate activists propose lacks a social conscience in other words. He thinks you won’t fix the climate by depriving people because they won’t stand for it. Rather, it’s a problem we need to innovate out of.

    Anyway, I can let Lomborg speak for himself.

     

     

    #45458

    _Robert_
    Participant

    The problem with climate change is no one really knows where it will go. Already the feedback loops are worse than they thought. As the perma-frost melts, tons of carbon gets released. Alaskan’s houses are being swallowed up, the pipeline is already in jeopardy. Miami is pumping water from the streets on every king tide. The coral reefs are all dying…who knows what that will lead too. On that “most dangerous catch” TV show they have to close the snow crab season, they are basically gone.

    Guy seems like a small-scale thinker. I agree that people won’t do shit, but that is just because we are like the old frog-in-the-kettle story. Getting more people air-conditioning is a pretty small-time and a silly solution. Lake Meade is drying up, the Hoover dam water levels are critical, states are fighting over Colorado river water, Cali has a 10 month “fire season”. We are just getting started.

    He is right, until green energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, it’ll be status quo. I wonder how many gazillion mega watts we can get from tidal flow.

    Tidal power – Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power

    #45460

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    Short answer, no. The ends do not justify the means. The right to freedom of expression means the right to use your own time, Dime, and private property, not to destroy or trespass upon that of others. It goes for the litterbug Christian pamphleteers who trash the property of my store and it goes for these Gaia Worshippers too.

    And the Vermeer painting is not the property “of mankind” but of first Vermeer (while he was alive,) then of the line of his heirs and their heirs on to the present.

    And it goes for the lives of petrochemical company Executives and Employees and the lives of everyone who uses petrochemicals. Their lives are not for anyone else’s disposal.

    And speaking of, if these Eco-Wacko Punkasses are using Epoxy, they are using a polymer resin derivative of petroleum. And the Acetone nail polish remover that unbinds the Epoxy and makes them too stoned to resist arrest is also a derivative of petroleum. Hence, said Eco-Wackos are not only Nihilist thugs, but hypocrites to boot.

    If they want to do something about the environment, let them get their asses back to school, study Nuclear Physics to build nuclear reactors, or Nanotechnology to build Carbon nanotubes to send solar energy from space, or Petrochemistry to find cleaner ways to burn fossil fuels, or Horticulture and Agriculture to plant Goddamn trees and crops to absorb Carbon Dioxide!

    As long as they initiate force to get what they want, however, their “right side of history” is on the inside of a jail cell! Stupid little fucks!

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Removing excess verbiage, with less pain than these jerks deserve
    #45462

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Fellow Unbelievers,

    The only good thing about this story is now I want to see the movie about the painting, just to twist the blade on the futility and absurdity of their cause.

    #45463

    Autumn
    Participant

    Unseen, Short answer, no. The ends do not justify the means. The right to freedom of expression means the right to use your own time, Dime, and private property, not to destroy or trespass upon that of others. It goes for the litterbug Christian pamphleteers who trash the property of my store and it goes for these Gaia Worshippers too.

    It’s not a freedom of expression issue, and we can assume the protestors knew their acts were illegal. But every person has to negotiate for themselves at what point they are still willing to recognize law and the authority of the state. I am sure the protestors accepted the state has the means to arrest them and convict them of crimes, but that doesn’t mean they had a moral or ethical obligation to colour inside the lines of social order.

    And the Vermeer painting is not the property “of mankind” but of first Vermeer (while he was alive,) then of the line of his heirs and their heirs on to the present.

    It’s the property of the Mauritshuis (as it has been for over a century), which in turn is owned by the state (Netherlands). It likely spent very little of its history in the possession of the Vermeer family. While it is not the property of mankind in the literal sense of property law, the museum has a mission to preserve and share the works with the public. Furthermore, it is a significant cultural and historic artifact. Culture and history not being the property of any person or institution, in that sense the culture contribution of the work belongs to mankind even if the physical painting does not. That’s a big part of why the museum houses it, likely.

    And it goes for the lives of petrochemical company Executives and Employees and the lives of everyone who uses petrochemicals. Their lives are not for anyone else’s disposal.

    No one’s life is for anyone’s disposal, and yet we have such bizarre phenomena such as sanctioned wars. We have revolutions that earn legitimacy on success. We have state violence. There are all sorts of ways killing is legitimized in society. Saying someone’s life isn’t for anyone else’s disposal makes a shockingly poor point for a species that somewhat habitually resolves (or attempts to resolve) conflict with killing.

    #45464

    _Robert_
    Participant

    No one’s life is for anyone’s disposal, and yet we have such bizarre phenomena such as sanctioned wars. We have revolutions that earn legitimacy on success. We have state violence. There are all sorts of ways killing is legitimized in society. Saying someone’s life isn’t for anyone else’s disposal makes a shockingly poor point for a species that somewhat habitually resolves (or attempts to resolve) conflict with killing.

    This current war in Ukraine had me thinking this same thought. As soon a Putin decides to invade and cause a war, all the crimes committed are immediately reclassified as being somehow more minor given the backdrop of war. “All is Fair”… It’s like we normalize the whole business on either side. We really are a crazed species, aren’t we?

    #45465

    _Robert_
    Participant

    No one’s life is for anyone’s disposal, and yet we have such bizarre phenomena such as sanctioned wars. We have revolutions that earn legitimacy on success. We have state violence. There are all sorts of ways killing is legitimized in society. Saying someone’s life isn’t for anyone else’s disposal makes a shockingly poor point for a species that somewhat habitually resolves (or attempts to resolve) conflict with killing.

    This current war in Ukraine had me thinking this same thought. As soon a Putin decides to invade and cause a war, all the crimes committed are immediately reclassified as being somehow more minor given the backdrop of war. “All is Fair”… It’s like we normalize the whole business on either side. We really are a crazed species, aren’t we?

    Maybe climate activists see it as a war against continued use of fossil fuel and thus the rules don’t apply.

    #45466

    Autumn
    Participant

    The “fought and died for your freedom” rhetoric was bandied about often when I was young, especially around this time of year as Remembrance Day approached. Were I in Canada in WWII, Canada would have been a greater threat to my freedom that Germany. Yet if I went overseas to kill Germans, I’d be a hero fighting for my freedom. If, instead, I pointed my gun at the Canadian government, I’d be a traitor (or terrorist in contemporary parlance).

    The point here being how much we rationalize what rules apply when, to whom, and for what reasons.

    How much ethical and moral obligation do I have to respect Canadian social order just by virtue of being born here? What if that social order is absolutely a-okay with environmental destruction, and I’m not? What if this is a major moral impasse for me? What if that puts me ethically at odds with my own culture? Am I morally bound to fight, or does that just make me a terrorist? Should I care? By what means can I fight and do I need to limit myself to the channels validated by the system I oppose? Why?

    Destroying paintings, as I’ve stated, is probably not the most effective strategy. But if there is one aspect that’s interested me in various illegal political protests is whether it can effectively communicate the idea that dysfunctional societies are not societies worth preserving, at least not in their entirety.

    #45467

    Davis
    Moderator

    So here is Enco rationalising limits to freedom of expression (mostly reasonable ones I think) and yet doesn’t seem to have a problem with not limiting free speech when those words contribute towards inequality, terrible suffering of the marginalised and the brutal consequences of radical hate speech. Nice. Clearly it means: limits for things that have consequences you care about, and no limits for things that have terrible consequences but don’t really bother you that much.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Davis.
    #45469

    Unseen
    Participant

    @robert

    I’m a big proponent of tide power. There are cloudy days and days when the wind doesn’t blow but the tides run like clockwork. Of course, they aren’t steady. There are lull periods between high and low tides, so tidal power would work as a steady source of energy only if part of a far flung geographical and probably multi-nation network. But right now, the cost of producing energy this way is nowhere near as cheap as using fossil fuels, so for the time being, the key is to burn such fuels as wisely and cleanly as we can.

    @Enco

    Of course, I didn’t mean that the Vermeer belongs to mankind in a property law sense. I guess you’re just very dense or pathologically literal. Our cultural heritage belongs to us in a very real sense and the evidence of it is important to be preserved to whatever degree we can.

    **********

    More generally, I take Lomborg’s points that we probably have until the end of the century before the shit hits the fan, that what the Thunbergs and AOC’s of the world want will “solve” the problem on the backs of the poor and helpless both here and abroad, and that you will never solve the problem by taking things away that people don’t want to give up, but that rather the problem will have to be fixed both rationally and by means of innovation. Seems pretty logical to me.

    And then, of course, we really need to get the nest generation of nuclear power plants working. Either fusion reactors that can burn up the waste of the current generation of reactors or practical smaller reactors that do less damage even should they fail.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Unseen.
    #45471

    _Robert_
    Participant

    @unseen,

    I live pretty close to an ocean inlet and the tidal current in that inlet is incredible and awe inspiring. Sailboats and kayakers going against have no chance. Even motorboats barely make headway. The true ebb only lasts about an hour or two per change. Again, energy storage is the issue. I have a note to myself to monitor the firms involved in that storage effort for possible investment.

    #45472

    Unseen
    Participant

    @unseen, I live pretty close to an ocean inlet and the tidal current in that inlet is incredible and awe inspiring. Sailboats and kayakers going against have no chance. Even motorboats barely make headway. The true ebb only lasts about an hour or two per change. Again, energy storage is the issue. I have a note to myself to monitor the firms involved in that storage effort for possible investment.

    I’m quite aware of the energy storage issue, which is why I said that to work it would probably have to involve international networking. Another possibility off the top of my head is to impound the incoming tidewater to be released in a measured way in order to provide steady power even it it’s lower than the power generated at tidal peaks.

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