Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, December 08, 2021

Does anyone else see the irony in the warning message that greets visitors to the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation website?

The contents of this site are for personal and/or educational use only. Neither text nor photographs may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

This, for a body of work that’s essentially ripped off from the efforts of countless comic-book artists. It was okay for Lichtenstein to “repurpose” this imagery, but not for others to make further use of it?

It seems hypocritical, and it is. And the root of that attitude is in the way such acquisition art is defined:

[Lichtenstein] took images that had no aesthetic content. You could open a romance magazine if you were a teenage girl or a war comic if you were a teenage boy, or flip through the ads in the back of a New York tabloid and see images that your eye would just skip over. He took these images, copied them, at first rather crudely, but then with fabulous elegance, and made these images deserving of being scanned or attention paid to them equal to the art in museums. And he really broadened what we saw as and thought of as art.

In other words, Lichtenstein’s work is valid because it elevated non-art into high art — dismissing the idea that the comics artwork was deserving of consideration as art in its own right. Therefore, if someone were to do the same to Lichtenstein’s work… You guessed it: That would redefine Lichtenstein’s pieces as lower-grade raw material for the next iteration created from it. In effect, they would be downgraded.

It’s a vicious circle, in a way. Obviously, the Web is ground zero for today’s arguments over dissemination and repurposing of creative material; it touches everything from musical mashups to digitized books. A recent flareup involves renewed attention for Richard Prince and his photography presentations, many manipulated from mass-market advertisements.

Incidentally, I “borrowed” the dog image here from the rather extensive “Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein” webpage exhibit, which gives side-by-side comparisons of source material and artsified output. On a smaller scale, it’s a full-circle presentation.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/08/2021 08:01:22 PM
Category: Creative
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For longer than I can recall, parts of this blog’s backend were running slooooooow. The WordPress dashboard screen would take forever to fully load, and publishing a post would take several seconds too long. I figured something was bugging out, and I’d just have to upgrade to the latest WP version sooner rather than later (despite the problems that always comes with for me).

When the problem peaked to the point where I couldn’t even post without a 403 Error cropping up, I investigated. It turned out that the Bad Behavior plugin that I was using (along with the built-in Akismet, as part of a blended comment-spam defense) was malfunctioning. It wasn’t as severe as what others were going through — I was still able to get into the blog backend, edit comments and do other things — but I couldn’t write new posts, owing to a false 403 Error getting in the way.

So I turned off Bad Behavior. The backend went back to normal, and I was able to post again. Problem solved!

Except I was left with only Akismet for spam protection. Akismet works really well, but it doesn’t catch everything. The reason I reinforced it with Bad Behavior in the first place was because I was tired of having to clean up the dozen or so false-positives that would get past the goalie. Sure enough, shortly after I went all-Akismet, a few random spamments slipped through.

I could have replaced the old Bad Behavior plugin with the fixed version. But I decided to take advantage of the opening to give the Spam Karma 2 plugin a shot. Just like BB, it’s supposed to play nice with Akismet (i.e., won’t cause conflicts that will kill off your website).

I installed SK2 today, and so far, it’s looking good. It’s got a load of diagnostic screens, and I’m actually scared to poke around with it too much. As long as it snags the spam without blocking the legit stuff, I’m satisfied.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though Spam Karma will be a long-term fix. Dr. Dave decided long ago to discontinue ongoing development, partly due to WordPress politics and partly to a widening of scope in the spam-fighting effort.

Upshot: Regardless of how well or not SK2 works for this blog, I’ll probably have to go back to Bad Behavior. So this all amounts to some blog-tinkering, which I haven’t indulged in for a while. I’ll ride it as long as it’s feasible.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/08/2021 02:08:20 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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