I don’t know why people keep repeating the line about false accusations against “husbands, brothers, and sons.” I just counted, and I know of 8 cases of false accusations of sexual misdeeds. When I say I know, I don’t mean I read or heard about it. I know these people and these situations extremely well.
Four involved men and four were against women. Seven out of eight started in the workplace. One started as a custody battle and ended with a denial of Full Professorship and a suspension. All 8 accusations were false and utterly ludicrous. Five of the accused are immigrants, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything given my field of work. All were in academia at the time of the accusations.
Eight. I think it’s a lot especially since I’m not sociable and don’t even know that many people. Men are women were affected in equal numbers. This is not a gender or race issue.
And the whole appellation of “a street artist” is the cheapest, lowest, most manipulative trick in somebody who sells primitive circus acts for millions of dollars.
Middle-class and wealthy people hear “street anything” and they feel the air of something vaguely romantic, a tad dangerous, and pleasantly edgy touch them. What people are buying is not the word “artist.” It’s the word “street.” This is the commodification of both suffering and political protest. Protest sells. It’s one of the more successful commodities on the market of products that promise eternal youth.
In Neoliberal Culture, Jim McGuigan explains that the phenomenal ideological success of capitalism hinges on its capacity to sell itself as cool and co-opt the spirit of rebelliousness for its purposes.
People like Banksy are ideologues of neoliberalism in a much greater degree than any crusty old libertarian who drones on about free market in the classroom.
I really recommend McGuigan’s book because he shows that the British art scene is the laboratory where neoliberal ideology is articulated and masked as ‘cool.’
What we saw yesterday with Banksy only looks like a really cool thing because we’ve been brainwashed by the philosophy of cool capitalism. It’s not an ideologically innocent trick. It’s a co-optation of people into the structure of feeling that legitimizes their oppression. We are enthusiastically underwriting our own oppression in many ways. This is one of them.