However you celebrate, or even if you don’t, I wish all my readers a Merry Xmas. I’ll be back in the New Year, and wish everyone a great 2010.
In the course of an interesting piece by Richard Dorment in the NY Review of Books on the authenticity or otherwise of works by Andy Warhol, I came across a striking passage
The single most important thing you can say about a work of art is that it is real, that the artist to whom it is attributed made it. Until you are certain that a work of art is authentic, it is impossible to say much else that is meaningful about it.
Is this a reasonable claim about art in general? How important is authentic attribution in, say, literature or music?
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My article from last Thursday’s Fin, over the fold
It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. In this context, could I ask commenters to avoid the term “bulls**t” which has sent a lot of recent comments to moderation, creating unnecessary work for me. In future, comments containing this term will be deleted.
The Copenhagen meeting has produced an agreement, though it’s more of an “agreement to agree” than a concrete deal. Most of the specifics have been left for later. That’s problematic of course, but not as bad as an agreement on specifics that are too weak to achieving anything. The deal (draft text here has several important elements
* A warming target of 2 degrees
* Commitment by the developed countries to spend $30 billion over 2010-12 and aim for $100 billion a year by 2020 in assistance to developing countries with a particular focus on preventing deforestation
* A technology transfer mechanism
Of these, the most significant is probably the deal on deforestation, which has actual money (or at least commitments) attached. Assuming this happens, it’s an outcome more significant than that of any international conference in the last decade at least. And technology transfer is important in a number of ways, particularly as a countervailing force against the pressure for ever-stronger intellectual property protections.
I’m a bit surprised, in that I thought the payments to developing countries would be one of the hardest issues of all, whereas the biggest single sticking point seems to have been China’s objections to transparent monitoring – the kind of silly national sovereignty stuff that is par for the course at these meetings but usually gets smoothed over and traded away by the end.
It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please.
Update I must say the response of those on Plimer’s side of the debate has been thoroughly disappointing. Tribal loyalty might perhaps justify silence in the face of an embarrassing performance like this. On the other hand, no one appears to have the cheek to suggest that Plimer came out looking good, and few on the delusionist side are willing to admit that the most prominent scientist on their side came across as a total fraud.
So we get two lines (a) It was really mean of Jones and Monbiot to keep on demanding that he answer the questions (which had been supplied in writing long in advance) (b) It’s too hard to tell. This is truly pathetic.
And, as I’ve said before, this style of dishonesty, originating with the tobacco lobby’s attempts to obfuscate the health effects of smoking, now permeates right wing discussion of any issue you care to name, from the Iraq war to the Global Financail Crisis. It’s hard to see how any kind of political discussion can be sustained in the face of this kind of thing