Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is soooo bad that I'm in a fluster of angry delight!
A fourth form (year 10) creative writing class has taken over the marketing department of our National Museum:

"OMG" the class clowns said to each other (or whatever it is the kids say these days to express wide-eyed wonderment) "the wikipedia page on Picasso reckons people had sex before 1990! Well, it reckons he did, at least. That must be why he's so famous. This is newsworthy - let's mangle a few synonyms together into a really long sentence."
And so they looked up Roget’s thesaurus google and found that 'many', 'several' and 'prolific' were sort of related, as were 'interesting', 'revolutionary' and 'sensation'; also 'art' and 'work'.
Uh, kids:
1. Picasso was prolific; not his art nor his relationships.
2. How many works of art does a relationship need to equal, for Picasso to have been as prolific a relationship producer as he was an artist? 50 paintings for every lover? A painting a kiss? Are we counting sketches here? What about one night stands?
3. The first half of the sentence is only grammatical as a reversal of the phrase "His relationships with his many lovers and several wives were as interesting...". What you actually meant, I expect, was something different: "As he had many lovers and several wives, his relationships were as interesting..."
4. Why, if his relationships were as interesting as his art, was it the art that created the real sensation?
5. How can something non-revolutionary be as interesting as something revolutionary AND real-sensation-creating?
6. Does a New Zealand audience really need a generalised gloss reminding us that this guy was a real arsehole of a ladies man before they'll go see a picture by Picasso?


  1. The poster's not *that* bad. I read it and understood what they meant. What if Picaso had just followed conventions? In rocking the grammatical boat this poster could one day be called a master piece! As could your blog. As could this comment. I think we can all learn from this that implying sex and stretching passive grammar to breaking point sells art. Well, if the exhibition is successful. You in Welly? No? Maybe someone down there will let us know how it goes :)

    Anyway, I thought this anti-corporate ad posting clip was cute. Do you like the sentiment therein? And the guy reviling in his anti-hero hero persona?

  2. Not that bad, not that bad! With its war on logic, its refusal to acknowledge the death of the author and its blurry grammar vision! Outrageous!
    My blog is as conventional as possible.
    It would be nice to think lots of people would go see Picasso pics even though they have poor publicity because, um, they've heard of him before.
    The ad posting clip: yes cute, real cute. I think the guy is a little too smug, and it wasn't so much anti-corporate as pro-responsible-corporate but good on them for stirring. I notice it's part of the yes men - have you seen the movie? You'd like it...

  3. haha, Conventional Jem? no! You're the blogging Picaso! And I've seen so many Yes men excerpts I feel I've seen the whole movie! Perhaps the above completed it.

    This simultaneously amused and annoyed me:

    damn those culturally insensitive dope growers!

  4. ha ha! Careful with the Picasso refs, I'm concerned for your sanity.