"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

Welcome to Infoshop News
Tuesday, September 23 2014 @ 07:22 PM CDT

Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot: The case for obnoxious dissidents

Art & Revolution

Prompted by news that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is releasing a heavy metal album, the Atlantic's Matt Schiavenza questions just how useful China's best known dissident's antics are for advancing the cause of democracy in his own country:

Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot: The case for obnoxious dissidents

By Joshua Keating
Foreign Policy
March 18, 2013

Prompted by news that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is releasing a heavy metal album, the Atlantic's Matt Schiavenza questions just how useful China's best known dissident's antics are for advancing the cause of democracy in his own country:

So the fact that Ai is able to embark on these extracurricular ventures at all is, in its way, something of a triumph. But by fanning his celebrity through what amounts to little more than publicity stunts, Ai has evolved into a bumbling parody of himself and in the process has empowered the same force -- the Chinese Communist Party -- that he so regularly vilifies. Unwittingly, Ai has conformed to the Party's definition of a dissident -- a Narcissist more attuned to the whims of foreign admirers than to the interests of his own people.

If Ai were just an artist, or even a politically engaged artist in a more democratic country, he would be totally insufferable --"at once formidable and absurd, courageous and disingenuous, unquestionably brilliant and downright moronic," as critic Jed Perl described his recent show at the Hirshhorn museum in Washington. And no doubt, there's a threshold activists can cross -- let's call it the FEMEN line -- where their actions become more about self-promotion than effecting any sort of change.

But the distinction Schiavenza draws between's Ai's Gangnam-dancing, Elton John-hugging public profile and "the mild-mannered professor" Liu Xiaobo seems to imply that opposition is more legitimate when it comes from refined intellectuals rather than brash self-promoters.

Read more

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Ask
  • Kirtsy
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Twitter
  • SlashDot
  • Reddit
  • MySpace
  • Fark
  • Del.icio.us
  • Blogmarks
  • Yahoo Buzz
Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot: The case for obnoxious dissidents | 0 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.