I have not brought myself to pay this year’s dues on my long-term membership in AICA-USA, the United States section of the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art. Founded in 1950 in Paris (hence the acronym), it presents its mission as “elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.”
[Embalming criticism in an academic discipline sends cold steel through the heart of the kind of lively observations recorded by the Goncourt brothers. Their Journal, first published in 1866, is still delicious. Jules and Edmond had only two credentials as critics: a keen eye and a sharp tongue. Gossiping over escargot and Puilly-Fuissé in Parisian cafés, they set a standard for art criticism that no MFA in Art Writing can equal.]
Uncomfortable with AICA’s pretensions and ideological bent, I skip its networking soirées: the annual International Congress and a national chapter meeting at its New York headquarters. Nonetheless, I have been glad to have my membership card. It grants me free admission to any museum anywhere on the planet. This year, however, my conscience balked when a letter came from the managing directer HC Huynh. They added them’s pronouns to them‘s official signature. That was a bridge too far.
[Am uncertain about the correct possessive case of they in non-binary language. Is it them or them’s? That apostrophe before the “s” looks old school, but hard to let go.]
What sex was they assigned at birth? Hard to tell from HC’s name or them’s website. HC identifies themself as an artist (aka “the dunce”), a cultural worker, and a curator—roles that can make hay out of gender fluidity. This 2021 video sends a clue about them‘s natal assignment to lying eyes.
Cultural workers often wear several hats at once to pay the rent while moving up the food chain of arts administrators. This 2021 video was filmed while they was Director of Special Projects for The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. EFA is another donation-seeking
NGO charity in the arts. By joining management at AICA, they has moved from a Manhattan-based 501(c)(3) to one internationally recognized.
Listen to them’s plug for EFA’s participation in the United Nation’s International Decade of People of African Descent (2015 to 2024). The theme of the program—”recognition, justice, and development” for the decades’s chosen people—is larded with buzzwords close to the heart of the same progressives who guide us on the path to pronoun finesse. The tenor of EFA concept of equity aligns with trendy preference for grammar over biology. And it coincides with the race-class-gender preoccupations of AICA.
They tells us that EFA “stands against oppression, racism, and the exploitation of humans, non-humans, and the land.” Art itself goes unmentioned but “art practices” that agitate for “accountability, reform, equity, justice, and abolition” are grant-worthy. EFA commits to training young adult social justice warriors to organize against “mass incarceration and the police state.” Naturally, EFA means in the U.S., not countries like Myanmar, Cuba, or China.
What constitutes police state behavior, among other civic actions, is in the eye of social justice bureaucrats. Send the cavalry to parents at a school board meeting but celebrate NYC’s revised Human Rights Law which urges fines up to $150,000 for a first offense against the mandated pronoun glossary; and up to $250,000 for a “willful” or “malicious” misgendering. Cherry-picking within broad categories (e.g. oppression, racism, etc.) puts ideological blinders on social justice zealots. Unredeemed by thought or scrutiny of evidence, it cheapens those moral distinctions on which true justice depends.
For an on-the-spot illustration of the cohesion of the artmind, take a peek at HC’s artist’s statement. It is more an eyeful than something meant to be read—a Dadaism gone to seed. Draw your own conclusions.
Keep those conclusions coming. Meet Sam Brinton, Joe Biden’s middle finger to the Department of Energy. A non-binary, aggressively queer drag queen, Sam announces Sam’s pronouns: they and them. The mainstreaming of kink lends color to the grim roster of the Biden administration’s historic achievements.
[Follow the link above. Scroll down to the video of Brinton explaining the importance of pronouns.]
This pronoun juggernaut is not a small thing, not a craze that will wear itself out. It is a militant program to destabilize, even erase, the concept of normalcy. All norms must go. The force of the propaganda campaign to reduce biology to grammar—and something called gender expression—is a direct attack on human nature. It is a menace to be fought.