Friday, April 23, 2010
* Heir-Apparent to The Anti-Yale Discovered ?
#8 By Heir-apparent discovered ? 10:06a.m. on April 23, 2010
The scathing prose of this article was penned with an intellectual blow-torch.
I want to meet this writer.
He may be the previously unrecognized heir-apparent to The Anti-Yale, the new lama of ivy satire, emerging only now (TODAY, with this column) for authentication.
(He's stealing my show.)
Should he further reveal himself, I'll give him successor-rights to the blog and appoint him immediately as apprentice-in-waiting.
Invite him to contact me for interview.
It took me a full year of YDN posting to make this discovery, and I do so ONLY on the FINAL day of YDN publishing for 2009/10? Wow.
(Article in Full)
Shaffer: The Twins are coming
On Truth and Lies
By Matthew Shaffer
The Yale Daily News
Published Friday, April 23, 2010
Satire is dead. Satire is dead and we have killed him. On Tuesday, the Ying Yang Twins are coming to Yale.
I don’t know why the Ying Yang Twins were invited, and I don’t know why there isn’t more outrage. But they really were invited; they really will perform. I can’t stop them. All I can do is reflect on what they say about us. In a way, it’s appropriate that the Ying Yang Twins were selected, because they constitute the apotheosis of our generation’s sexuality, music and feminism.
Some have described the Ying Yang Twins’ music as overtly sexual. This is a mistake. There’s nothing sexual about it. A better word for it and for contemporary patterns of desire would be masturbatory. The Ying Yang Twins evidence no sexuality — no desire for union or intercourse with another. No woman is the object of their love or lust. Rather, in every song, the only object of desire is the male orgasm and attendant ejaculation. A woman is just the most convenient means to that autoerotic end. But fundamentally, neither twin can differentiate a woman from his own right hand.
The Ying Yang Twins’ popularity is symptomatic of our generation’s crippled sexuality. They are little different from the man who chooses a hook-up and refrains from learning her name or speaking to her the day after. The case for him is the same — libidinal release is the only desired end, for which any orifice may provide the justified means.
The musical abominations which are the Ying Yang Twins indicate something of the artistic degradation of our culture. Beside their misogyny, there is no compensating value to their music, which is repetitive, obnoxious and uninteresting. “Salt Shaker” has, literally, two notes. One theme predominates — in an impressive combination of narcissism and phallus worship, every song informs us of the artists’ fixation on their own penises, a fixation privy to which they wish to make the whole world. Art happens at the intersection of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, where bestial urges are informed by human artifice. But there is nothing of art to be found in their droning, predictable, crunk rap-boilerplate lyrics and chords. There is only the throbbing Dionysian urge, never informed, moved, redirected or perfected by human artifice.
What is most surprising, however, is the sudden evaporation of our campus’ feminism. The real ones, of course, have not evaporated. Those hard cores, who read N.T. Nuyen and populate the Women’s Center, continue to be outraged. By the run-of-the-mill Yale feminist is hardly to be found.
We have performed an impressive feat of intellectual hypocrisy. The Ying Yang Twins’ invitation reveals our campus’ faux-feminism. We insist on advertising pro-choice sympathies in section, in joining the right Facebook groups, voting for the progressive candidates and telling those wretched evangelicals to keep their hands off of our bodies. But when feminism demands more than calling George Bush ’68 a fascist and wearing cute shirt, it is silently abandoned. When it’s politically fashionable, Eli will militate for reproductive rights, but he won’t decline to grind to “Beat da pussy up, beat da pussy up!” lest he look like a square. Like the upper-middle class suburban mother who donates to the NAACP while trying to make sure no real-life black people get too close to her, Yale men will do everything to advertise their feminism short of actually demanding respect for women. It is clear that what dictates the feminist conscious of this campus — both at its best and its worst — is less a commitment to an ideal than a commitment to fashion.
It’s true that ours is a culture in which people are too quick to compete for the title of Most Offended. For that reason, I appreciated Avinash Gandhi’s ’10 little satire (“Reason to protest,” April 14). But the fact that a boy cries wolf too much doesn’t mean there are no wolves. Leprechauns are not an offensive Irish stereotype, but lyrics like, “Make that pussy fart for the Ying Yang Twins … The home of the fifth red bones and big butts, has been bitches splittin’ all over the floo,” are wildly, wildly offensive, however much the word may be overused.
Oscar Wilde once said that “All art is immoral.” If he meant that art shouldn’t be preachy, that it doesn’t exist to make us moral people, then I agree. But the problem with the Ying Yang Twins isn’t that they are amoral, but that they preach on behalf of anti-morality. They create nothing interesting, nothing beautiful, nothing profound. All they do is appeal to our worst instincts.
When Ying Yang Twins take the stage, do something. Throw food, hiss, leave. People like them deserve to be stigmatized, frightened, told clearly that they will never be given any respect by respectable society.
While Old Campus throbs in celebration of an adolescent, predatory masturbation, I will sit in Davenport courtyard, smoke a pipe, listen to Beethoven and read Shakespeare, shutting my eyes to a cause and embodiment of the degradation of my generation.
Matthew Shaffer is a senior in Davenport College
#1 By mn 4:20a.m. on April 23, 2010
My first thought when seeing this title was that it was referring to the Minnesota Twins. I was very excited.. hah.
#2 By wow 7:08a.m. on April 23, 2010
This is literally the most pretentious thing I've ever read.
Your absence will not be missed.
#3 By MJG 7:40a.m. on April 23, 2010
Insightful and exceptionally well stated. I commend your courage, but the fact that you care distinguishes you even more, Mr. Shaffer.
#4 By Anonymous 8:01a.m. on April 23, 2010
Thanks, Mr. Shaffer, for being the voice of reason.
#5 By #2 9:38a.m. on April 23, 2010
Bravo, Matthew. BRAVO.
#6 By DC 13 9:45a.m. on April 23, 2010
#7 By BR'10 10:05a.m. on April 23, 2010
#8 By Heir-apparent dicovered ? 10:06a.m. on April 23, 2010
The scathing prose of this article was penned with an intellectual blow-torch.
I want to meet this writer.
He may be the previously unrecognized heir-apparent to The Anti-Yale, the new llama of ivy satire, emerging only now (TODAY, with this column) for authentication.
(He's stealing my show.)
Should he further reveal himself, I'll give him successor0-rights to the blog and appoint him immediately as apprentice-in-waiting.
Invite him to contact me for interview.
PS: It took me a full year of YDN posting to make this discovery, and I do so ONLY on the FINAL day of YDN publishing for 2009/10? Wow.
#9 By Yale mom 10:22a.m. on April 23, 2010
#10 By SY '10 10:52a.m. on April 23, 2010
Matt, I think you underestimate the extent to which "ordinary" Yale feminists are upset about the Ying Yang Twins. I know a lot of people not involved in the Women's Center or other explicitly feminist activities who are planning to avoid the Ying Yang Twins performance. You are right that there is a degree of faux-feminism at Yale, but it's a lot less than you think.
#11 By @ SY '10, #10 12:04p.m. on April 23, 2010
The faux-feminists Shaffer means are people like Avi Gandhi, who profess to care about women's rights/be against the abuse of women, and in the same breath claim that the Twins' music is "art" and so therefore should not be taken seriously.
#12 By TC'13 12:16p.m. on April 23, 2010
Not that you need it, Matt, but allow me to add my own voice in approbation to the choir. This is a phenomenal column. See you at rehearsal.
#13 By JE 10 1:45p.m. on April 23, 2010
Thank you for making things interesting, at least.
#14 By MC'11 1:46p.m. on April 23, 2010
I am not ordinarily a Shaffer fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with this piece.
It disgusts me, sometimes, how even at a place of reason like this people are all too happy to embrace their basal, hedonistic, masturbatory instincts.
On another note, the excuse that such utter misogyny or misanthropy is 'art' is not merely facetious but dangerous. Some weeks back Kate Maltby wrote a column explaining why rape is no laughing matter. The same applies here. People are all too easily desensitised, brutalised. Next thing you know, we'll end up no better than beasts.
#15 By SY '12 2:01p.m. on April 23, 2010
Your best op-ed of the year, Matt. Well done.
#16 By @14 3:33p.m. on April 23, 2010
What did you think of the abortion "art" by Shvarts?
#17 By CC '10 4:26p.m. on April 23, 2010
Shaffer's articles are unfailing brilliant, probing, entertaining, timely. I think this every single week. I might as well post it. Please continue to speak for us, Matt, if you can, after graduation.
#18 By MC'11 @16 5:13p.m. on April 23, 2010
You know, that incident was so messy (figuratively speaking) that I can't remember whether it was 'real' in the end or not.
Real or otherwise, I think Shvarts was essentially trolling, and just shouldn't have been allowed to do whatever it was she did. The issue she was bringing up - abortion - is, objectively speaking, less clear-cut than the straight-up sexism and misogyny that's the issue here; but whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, Shvarts' 'art' was still a disgusting mistake that doesn't help anything.
Why, what did you think of it?
#19 By Yes 6:12p.m. on April 23, 2010
This is incredibly well written. And I couldn't agree more with this article's points. Nobody with respect for women or, for that matter, art and music, should support the decision to bring the Ying Yang Twins by attending that part of Spring Fling. Akon is one thing (and was rejected for this exact reason!), but the Ying Yang Twins are truly in a different league of awful.
#20 By Death 6:45p.m. on April 23, 2010
Why does this writer always proclaim the death of various things? I think he already proclaimed sarcasm dead a couple of times this year, and last week he said philosophy was dead. Is anything alive?
#21 By LOL 8:00p.m. on April 23, 2010
I think Shaffer's columns are a degradation of journalism, and so I wonder, where's the outrage!?
#22 By ES10 8:01p.m. on April 23, 2010
Agreed with #17
Also, are there any plans for an organized protest of the Twins' music during their performance? Nothing so disruptive as interrupting the show, but, perhaps something similar to Blair's speech 2 years ago, silent protesters peacefully demonstrating.
Does anyone know?
#23 By Jordon Walker 9:36p.m. on April 23, 2010
I really took issue with your interpretation of the quote: "Art is immoral". The analysis following it--one can only reasonable conclude--conflated immorality with amorality and that is simply intellectually dishonest.
Although the Ying-Yang twin's musics is far from artistic in my opinion, it is undeniable that their lyrics reek of immorality, if one assumes that monogamy is a definite component of morality--and I definitely do. Consequently, per the definition of the quote presented, the Ying-Yang twins definitely make art, and you Mr. Shaffer are the one repressing artistic expression and stagnating our society, not the Ying Yang twins. :)
#24 By @ #16 10:55p.m. on April 23, 2010
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at, and I may be assuming something you don't intend. But...
You should know that there are plenty of pro-choice feminists on this campus who are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of performing abortions for the sake of "art." Just because we believe it should be legal doesn't mean we think it should be taken lightly. Many of the same people who oppose the Ying Yang Twins' performance were appalled by Shvartz's work. (However, I'm not sure anyone on this campus actually believes that she performed any abortions. Likely, it was an elaborate fiction.) Nevertheless, just because something is offensive, doesn't mean it's not art. I think we can say that Shvartz's work was far more artistic than anything the YYT do.
#25 By Abrahamson 1:19a.m. on April 24, 2010
So proud to know this kid.
#26 By It was all good until... 1:45a.m. on April 24, 2010
that last elitist paragraph.
#27 By MC'11 10:28a.m. on April 24, 2010
Yes, Shaffer did arguably 'mis'interpret the quote; but many people accept that his interpretation is the correct one, i.e. that Wilde meant what we'd now call 'amoral'.
In any case, all art being immoral does not mean that all that is immoral is art.
Also, still waiting for an explanation from #16...
#28 By Freedom of Expression 11:48a.m. on April 24, 2010
As I said at the time, but without my actual name on the posts, Schvartz initiated an important debate about art and about abortion.
Although the art itself might be repulsive,it must be protected under the First Amendment.
Same with Ying Yang Twins.
Same with Mr. Shaffer's flaming pen (brilliantly incendiary keyboarding) which reached a pinnacle in his "On Truth and Lies" column.
No one is obliged to attend Schvartz'z exhibition (censored by Yale unfortunately), the Ying Yang's concert, or to read Mr. Shaffer's column(s).
Audience (and the lack of it) are equally examples of freedom of expression too .
Where Yale and the First Amendment get into trouble is when freedom expression and freedom of religion collide, as in the Muslim cartoon controversy earlier this year.
#29 By adam t 12:40p.m. on April 24, 2010
outstanding, matt. i have nothing else to say.
#30 By ROFLCOPTER 1:35p.m. on April 24, 2010
I take umbrage to the notion that Mr. Shaffer is the arbiter of what is "musical" and what is not.
It was not long ago that Romantic music (not to be confused with little-r romantic music) was considered hedonistic trash.
#31 By y11 @#22 1:53p.m. on April 24, 2010
i have the same question. is there any kind of organized protest being planned? y11
#32 By Homeric 3:10p.m. on April 24, 2010
I agree with #3o but Shaffer's piece still cuts through the air like a golden sword.
I just listened some of the Ying/Yang Twins' music (NOT the lyrics). The SOUND sounds a lot like Homer might have sounded reciting the Iliad or Odyssey. The "beat" is how the oral tradition managed to pass down that enormous accomplishment.
#33 By you guys are silly 5:44p.m. on April 24, 2010
I guess it makes sense that the comment base here has been largely favorable, given how partial both shaffer and his fans are to hyperbole. My favorites include:
"Cuts the air like a golden sword," unfailingly brilliant, probing...," and, of course, "penned with an intellectual blow torch."
I think the only thing dead here is criticism.
#34 By Hyperbole Gutted 7:37p.m. on April 24, 2010
So, ignore the hyperbole.
What's writing for?
All I know is I wasn't at all interested in the Ying/Yang Twins controversy and barely knew who they were UNTIL I read Shaffer's piece, which I expected to be boring and turned out to be anything but.
I happen to disagree with him on a few issues which I have written about myself, but his writing was interesting, provocative, and charmingly phrased. And it got me thinking and investigating the Ying/Yang phenomenon.
Is that less hyperbole for you? (Pretty boring in my opinion. I wouldn't spend five minutes with somebody who talked that way!)
BTW: Hyperbole is my middle name. It's how I best express myself. I do NOT consider it a defect when it is offered in the service of provoking thought: thesis/antithesis/synthesis.
#35 By over-dramatic 7:58p.m. on April 24, 2010
It's natural to indulge one's predatory sexual instinct, occasionally. Even Shakespeare screwed a whore every once in a while.
Nature, sex, idolatry, music... Spring fling is like a pagan ritual. I love that!
#36 By Diana 7:59p.m. on April 24, 2010
There is, indeed, an alternative student act playing as a form of protest. The event is in the works but it will most likely take place! Keep your eyes peeled for posters around campus advertising. Your audience can be the perfect form of protest too!
#37 By @34 11:04p.m. on April 24, 2010
You must not spend more than five minutes with anyone, then.
#38 By Hmm 12:08a.m. on April 25, 2010
Ridicule, do not attend, and thow tomatos at the African American Rappers says Matt Shafer, conservative elitist (using that term in the meaning Shafer would not want). Be careful Matt, this column could be interpreted the wrong way at your confirmation hearing.
#39 By Litmus Test 3:40a.m. on April 25, 2010
Use me as a litmus test.
I read this ENTIRE article and had no idea that the Ying/Yang Twins were African American. I had to go on-line to find out who in fact they were. Even the sexist lyrics sounded like they could have been as white as Eminem.
CONSERVATIVE ELITIST? Because he doesn't want women treated as objects?
Because he advocates audience behavior which went on from the Globe Theatre to Vaudeville?
Methinks thou doth protest too much.
#40 By Salsa 6:55a.m. on April 25, 2010
"Five minutes" is hyperbole too.
Actually I spend a lot of time talking to people about nothing in particular looking for a bit of humor or an opportunity to offer it.
But that's friendship and neighborlines.
I was referring to CONVERSATION.
Conversation requires salsa.
Have you ever tried steak without salt or pepper or onions or sauce?
#41 By steak 9:52a.m. on April 25, 2010
Yes, quite often, in fact. Good steak requires nothing beyond itself. One should be able to luxuriate in the flavor and texture of an excellent steak. Is seasoning a nice additive? Yes. But you drown your steak in A1. You pour a mound of salt on it. You bury a half-pound of meat under two pounds of onions. These things all dominate the dish and overwhelm any hint of the steak. They are also make me wonder what the chef is trying to hide under all that spice and sauce. Is the steak tough and chewy? Over-cooked? Rotten?
If your steak cannot stand on its own, perhaps you ought to work on getting a better cut of meat and cooking it properly.
#42 By hey PK! 2:46p.m. on April 25, 2010
Poking fun at you on the YDN boards may be trendy (and hard to resist, given how often you post), but everything you've contributed to this thread has been RIGHT ON. No hyperbole necessary.
@41: Please go eat something, and learn when to let a metaphor die.
#43 By ? 3:37p.m. on April 25, 2010
is this a joke? smoking a pipe and reading shakespeare? please.
#44 By Vermont Talker 4:05p.m. on April 25, 2010
"given how often you post".
You got me thinking:
I come from Vermont, where CONVERSATION is looked upon with suspicion as a city-slicker tactic to "milk" (pardon the Vermont imagery) people for something the city-slicker wants.
Despite the fact that I love Vermont and would live nowhere else, perhaps the reason I post so often is that I MISS CONVERSATION!
Vermonter Calvin Coolidge became known as "Silent Cal" during his tenure as President because he spoke so seldom and so economically.
When the famous wit Dorothy Parker was holding forth at an Algonquin Round Table gathering of literati, a member of that august group rushed in with the news bulletin: "President Coolidge is dead."
Dorothy Parker looked up at the messenger and said, "How could they tell?"
Once a reporter bet another reporter he couldn't get President Coolidge to say "three words in succession."
When told of the bet by the bettor who had taken up the challenge, Coolidge replied, "You lose."
So much for Vermont loquaciousness and PK's posting mania.
And good bye and good summer to all my faceless and nameless friends on the YDN posting board. I've been enriched by you all.
#45 By Kathryn Olivarius 6:53p.m. on April 25, 2010
Splendid column Matt. Right on point.
We should rally for Gaga next year
#46 By @ Mr. Shaffer 7:54p.m. on April 25, 2010
During Spring Fling, I plan on lighting up a different kind of pipe, and lamenting the fact that people like you still exist.
But anyway, thanks for speaking for "your generation"...I had had no idea that we had given you the right.
#47 By Matt 10:54a.m. on April 26, 2010
I don't know if you read these, and I believe that you are smart enough not to answer comments on your own article, but if you could, could you elaborate on what actions you took to stop the Ying Yang Twins from coming to Yale? Even if it was just writing in on your survey that they were offensive that would be good to hear. If you did nothing, then this article means nothing. If you did something, then your honor is upheld.
#48 By Claire G 12:13p.m. on April 26, 2010
save me a drag on your pipe ?
#49 By Edith 1:57p.m. on April 26, 2010
This is a very well written and necessary piece. Thank you Matt!
#50 By Matt 4:23p.m. on April 26, 2010
For what it's worth, this "evangelical" (or "follower of Jesus" at any rate) is on board with this analysis. My only lament is that the Church is still quite often too squeamish to speak this plainly about the kind of distortion of human sexuality we see here
#51 By es12 6:55p.m. on April 26, 2010
So incredibly pompous.
#52 By y12 8:23p.m. on April 26, 2010
But incredibly correct.
#53 By seriously? 8:46p.m. on April 26, 2010
anyone protesting severe budget cuts to the Yale Women's center or writing an op-ed about that? interesting.
#54 By y09 12:17a.m. on April 27, 2010
I haven't heard anything about it; care to enlighten us?
#55 By Y13 3:05a.m. on April 27, 2010
Go the Ying Yang Twins Alternative Show tomorrow, 7:15 in the Trumbull courtyard!
#56 By AnnaMaria 11:01a.m. on April 27, 2010
It seems to me that Yale is a cesspool of immorality; so why is this program any different from other programs that have occurred at Yale? Once you cross the line, especially pertaining to sexuality, you have opened the door to everyone and everything and every side of the issue. Sadly, this is what Ivy League 'education' has lowered itself to in order to stand apart from the 'unenlightened.'
#57 By nc 1:01p.m. on April 27, 2010
i agree with the content of this article but i don't think one has to actively protest the YY twins to be a real feminist. also, the tone of this article, especially the the very end, is very melodramatic--almost comically so. the writing style of this article made it difficult to take seriously, even though the writer was astute regarding his points.
#58 By nycfan 1:07p.m. on April 27, 2010
i agree with the points made in this story, and, i really like you as a person Matt, but that last paragraph....what were you thinking when you wrote that?! too pretentious to bare. and, yea, you do tend to proclaim the "death" of many things way too often. maybe it's time to pick a different literary trope. you are a great Titus Andronicus, however....
Posted by Paul D. Keane, The Anti-Yale at 11:57 AM