Thursday, January 17, 2019

Right-wing racists flipping out again because I created infographics

Obviously I'm never going to understand the thought processes of the racists who gather round Steve Sailer at Unz ~ so I despair of ever understanding why they have such a phobia about information in graphic format.

My graphics about Steven Pinker are the subject of controversy over at Unz. But the information I presented is virtually the same as the information that Bari Weiss presented in her Intellectual Dark Web article, connecting Steven Pinker to extremists:
Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier).
And yet they don't seem to think the Weiss article is crazy.

One of my Unz reader critics took exception to my criticizing the art of Sophie Blackall - but presumably doesn't mind that Steven Pinker devoted an entire chapter in "The Blank Slate" to ranting about modern art

You can't expect consistency from those wacky "race realists."

Monday, January 14, 2019

As anyone could have predicted Steven Pinker and Pinkerite Jesse Singal go the full Quillette

Look it's the gang from Unz.

Given Singal's well-known transphobia, and given that bashing trans people is one of Quillette's favorite activities - it was not only inevitable but I wonder what took him so long to start working with Quillette.

Quillette and Steven Pinker have long had a mutual admiration society, but this is the first time I am aware that Pinker has a byline in Quillette.

The text in the Pinker diagram will be updated to reflect his intensified connection to "race realism."

Infamous eugenics proponent Toby Young lists members of the race realism gang.

Young celebrates Pinker going the full Quillette.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Thank you New Republic

Finally the New Republic has published an article in the face of the great leftist romanticization of the "gilets jaunes" 

From the article:
Unfortunately, this is a challenge the main left-wing opposition has largely failed to meet, a balance it has refused to strike. Just as populists see “the people” as something pure in the face of corrupt elites, so, too, do certain elites desire for there to be an essential purity in the idea of an uprising of the alienated masses—the “neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls,” as Hannah Arendt once described them. 
First, the gilets jaunes have always been inseparable from far-right politics. Supporters of Marine Le Pen have the most favorable views of the yellow vests, and a hypothetical gilets jaunes party would sap significant support from Le Pen in the upcoming European parliamentary elections.
Feckless stupid leftists have been cheering on a group who - it should have been OBVIOUS to anyone - are the people who wanted Marine Le Pen to win. That's why even after Macron gave them what they said they wanted the gilets jaunes turned around and called for Macron's resignation.

That was ALWAYS the goal of the gilets jaunes.

If Trump had lost this is how his followers would have acted. Complete with NYTimes articles soul-searching why the "real" America wanted to tear down the government. 

Mark my words, it's going to turn out that Putin has been helping the gilets jaunes too. 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Sophie Blackall and the 2016 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee

I thought it was odd that one of the worst professional illustrators I have ever seen, Sophie Blackall, won the 2016 Caldecott Medal for children's picture book illustration. Especially when you look at the vastly superior work of the 2016 runners-up.

I didn't immediately leap to the conclusion of cronyism when I heard the news. But after looking at the names of the people in the Medal Selection committee, I'm definitely considering it. The Chair of the 2016 selection committee was Rachel G. Payne of the Brooklyn Public Library.

I did a little research and it seems, if the online location sources are correct, that Blackall and Payne are neighbors - they live about a mile from each other in Brooklyn.

And they are also Facebook friends, although I don't know if they were friends before Payne gave Blackall the medal. It would be very surprising if they were not, since not only do they apparently live in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, they have both been to at least one conference at the same time prior to 2016.

Now it's possible that Payne and the rest of the selection committee simply don't know shit from Shinola, and that's why Blackall won the Caldecott, but I have my doubts now.

But again, if the awful Renoir is still beloved by the masses there is no reason why Blackall can't have a thriving, award-winning career forever. There will always be tasteless idiots to champion mediocrities while the vastly superior are ignored - superior artists like Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot.

There is no justice in this world. And plenty of bad taste. And cronyism.

This book...

...was judged better-illustrated than this book...

and this book...

and this book...

and this book... the 2016 Caldecott committee. Completely insane.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Conservatory garden in January

A lot fewer flowers - but also a lot fewer tourists.

Sophie Blackall and the surprisingly crowded genre of books for children about lighthouses

So I was talking about the inability of award-winning, yet still terrible illustrator Sophie Blackall to handle perspective in her illustrations for a children's book about a lighthouse. To my amazement I found a blog which has an interview with Blackall in which Blackall claims to have done a whole lot of research for the book. I guess that shows that all the research in the world cannot cure an inability to draw.

I've been criticizing Blackall's work long before she won the Caldecott medal in 2016. In 2012 I saw her banner image on the NY subway system and understood her true awfulness even then.

But it looks like I got my wish from this 2016 blog post when I speculated that winning a Caldecott would make Blackall focus on children's illustration. To the relief of all discerning adults.

Just for the heck of it I did some Googling to see how other picture books for children handled the topic of lighthouses. I found that all the artwork in this surprisingly crowded genre was better than Blackall's... well except one, which I will get to at the end.

Here are some examples of both more realistic and more stylized approaches to lighthouses for kids.

A convincing rendition of top-down perspective on a 
lighthouse by artist David Armitage showing it can be done.

This piece by Rosalind Clark might be the most similar in style
to Blackall's that I've seen but yet is so much less awkward.
I shudder to think how Blackall would handle the pose of
the girl on a hillside in this image.

A more realistic work by Elaine Wentworth -
Blackall couldn't do something this realistic
in her wildest dreams

Very stylized but vastly superior technique to Blackall by
Ingrid Godon. Appropriately for a children's picture book,
Godon gets top billing over "with words by Andre Sollie"
What an hysterical title for a kid's book though - love it.

A non-fiction book about lighthouses by Roman Belyaev who
truly understands perspective - stylized, precise and beautiful

Ocean by Emily Dove - so beautiful and graceful.
In a just world it would be Dove winning a Caldecott
medal, not a talentless hack like Blackall. And I bet
Blackall couldn't understand why this
is so much better than her work but then
that's what it means to be an exemplar of the
Dunning-Kruger effect - you don't know
that you're bad because you don't know what
makes something good.
More stellar work by Dove on her web site.

As promised here is the one lighthouse-related piece of children's book illustration that I think is worse than the work of Sophie Blackall.

Like Blackall, Elias is much better at drawing lighthouses than people.
One of the far-superior illustrators
who were runners-up to

the awful Sophie Blackall ~
I can't help but notice that
the chair of the 2016 Caldecott
medal selection committee,
Rachel G. Payne, lives in 
Brooklyn, just like Blackall. 

And BTW this page from the Caldecott site shows all the runners-up beat by Blackall, each and every one a far superior artist to Blackall. They must all be as flabbergasted by the loss as I am.

The problem with someone like Blackall, who can't draw well, winning the most prestigious medal in children's illustration is not simply an incompetent being told she's the best - it's all the truly talented illustrators being told that an incompetent is better than them. That's what really annoys me.

And also that subway card by Blackall in 2012 is truly, truly hideous. I hated being forced to look at it during my commute.

But I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise - if the truly awful Renoir is still considered a great master,  anybody could be.