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Vivian Girls and Slashdot Trolling

Intriguing wikipedia entry about the trolls who haunt Slashdot. I read slashdot almost daily and confess to not knowing about some of the habits: I for one welcome our insect overlords, the Chewbacca Defense and You Insensitive Clod!.

Amazing art essay by John MacGregor about Henry Darger. Apparently Darger lived like a hermit for 80 years while writing a 15,000 page novel called Realms of the Unreal about the Vivian Sisters, a graphic pornographic epic about preteen girls who fight against monsters and enslavement. When I say graphic, I mean that he actually did lots of watercolor illustrations of many of his scenes, including some of the most violent. Apparently all the girls in the drawings had male sex organs (?!).

John MacGregor, a psychiatrist/art historian writes:

it comes as a surprise to realize that the identification of significant artistic talent among outsiders is almost never the accomplishment ofd psychiatrists, art-historians, museum directors, or art critics. It has almost invariably been achieved by artists-artists of immense reputation: Nolde, Klee, Ernst, and Dubuffet-because they alone are on the cutting edge of what is truly new and needed in the world of art. They alone are capable of recognizing and responding to new visual languages. Among the artists in this century, it was the French painter Jean Dubuffet who played this role in regard to outsiders. His invention of the non-psychiatric term “Art Brut” ensured the eventual acceptance of this unique form of image, within the larger context of Western art.

About his prolonged study of Darger, MacGregor writes:

I am occasionally asked about my experience of spending so many years immersed in Darger. I often worked in his room late into the night. Occasionally I spoke aloud to Darger. Such an encounter with another mind, ultimately involves deep confrontation with one’s own self; with one’s own fantasies, with the unlived portions of one’s own life, and with the dark forces which lie within. This necessary confrontation with one’s self is, perhaps, the essential component underlying the choice of an artist to work on. Initially, it is arrived at intuitively. There is always a risk of getting lost, of identification, or of project; all of which would result on a loss of objectivity. My own training psychoanalysis was the best preparation for this work; protecting me from losing myself for too long in Darger’s world, while permitting the occasional “regression in the service of the ego,” which is essential if one is to understand.

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