Sunday, March 1, 2009

zona sunday

Fried my little brains…

A spectre haunts Europe: the spectre of bankruptcy. With Merkel’s rejection of a bailout plan for the Central European states, the stage seems to be set for the hard fall of a number of banks in Austria and Sweden. And who knows where else. I’m no fan of the technical analysis school, which relies on quantifying the same old same old – otherwise known as the beating of a dead horse - but there is something striking about the fact that, just as the failure of Austria’s Credit-Anstalt in 1931 was a sort of threshold in the great slide downard, so, now, Austrian banks have once again invested heavily in Hungary, and Hungarian and Polish homeowners are paying mortgages (the stupidity is awesome) in Swiss francs.

I will not be surprised if there is some default swap on the Gold at the end of the Rainbow – it is just the kind of thing that, in the climate of allowing unrestricted power to the financial system to fictionalize and trade, would happen.

In a much lesser market, the zona art market to be exact, there is a story that would have brought a huge smile to Wyndham Lewis’s mug in the NYT Magazine about the entrance of some textile factory millionaires into the malign, the awful, the soul-destroying art market. Treated solely as things in the warehouse, art, of course, is no different from any other collateralized obligation. Its underlying value lies in the assumption that it can be swapped against other commodities with the latter's underlying values that lie in their exchangeability. It is the ring around the rosy of the automatons. Art as business ceases immediately to be art, and collapses first into the art of the deal and then into a mere swindle. Swindles, of course, can be understood by any swine, which is why the art market became, in the eighties, a swindle attractor.

If I had time, I’d juxtapose the swindling Mugrabis and the rape of Iraq’s archaeological treasures – that rapidfire erasure of the remains of the earliest city civilizations by gangbanger, American soldier, and swine in a harmonic conjunction with the rapidfire seizure of the atmosphere as a sort of vacuum cleaner bag, in which to stuff enough CO2 to make it increasingly unlikely that any of your grandchildren will know what a glacier was. Although they will learn about the population crash in China and India, as the Himalayan packice starts to disappear.

Instead, I will stop here and refer the curious reader to Lewis’ chapter in the Art of Being Ruled entitled Sub Persona Infantis.

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