Letters from the Issue of , 2002

TSA at MIA, KMAN's screed, and new rules for morons

Make Art, Not Terror

I am KMAN and I am real -- and really mad! Let's get real. Art Kendallman (KMAN) is the "real" name of a "real" artist-persona-character who's been performing "real" art on the "real" mean streets of Miami for more than twenty years. KMAN has suffered many "real" abuses and civil rights violations by the "real" ignoramuses who still don't understand that performance art is a "real" and valid form. And of course there are many who actively conspire to suppress anything that is "real" or out of the norm.

In the article "When Art Attacks" by Kris Conesa (December 2), the sensationalist labels of art "terrorist" and "kooky" (read: crazy) once again tend to criminalize, disqualify, alienate, and reduce the artist to mere insignificance and isolation. Anyway, who's the "real" terrorist, KMAN with his pathetic histrionics and a few harmless art props, or the brutal Leviathan of the modern state, or the ruthless industrial-military-art complex, or our murderous roadways (one million die yearly worldwide), or the slavish labor system, or the endless development that progressively destroys the natural world and threatens to endanger life on earth? These are "real" terrors which we all, unwittingly perhaps, abet by our conformity, vested interests, and silence.

By the way, it seems that "terrorists" come in two flavors: AK-47 and M-16. Who manufactures and supplies this "art of war" material if not the top superpowers that run the world?

KMAN will continue "railing" and being critical (at the risk of being labeled negative or worse) of this "world gone really mad" and resisting the status quo and fighting for a sustainable planet with nonviolent art actions. Manmade reality really sucks! War sucks!

Art Kendallman

Kendall

New Rules for a New Year

Be bold! Be honest! Be as raunchy as possible! In the spirit of Real Time with Bill Maher, I'd like to propose the following "new rules" for New Times:

New rule: Hey, stop foisting off every outbreak of crackpot behavior as the work of "activists." Whenever some nitwit makes a stink because he or she thinks "they" are out to get them or that someone somewhere might be making money (horrors!), New Times attributes their rantings to "activists." You're giving civic activism a bad name. Instead of using noble-sounding but meaningless labels, describe the whiners accurately -- "chronically grumpy malcontents" or "self-righteous clods who don't care about the rights of others" or "people jealous because they didn't get in on the deal." That would be writing that both deserves and needs First Amendment protection!

New rule: We get it. The Bitch is really a bitch! Everything makes her unhappy. Just put her out of her misery and move on.

New rule: If you want your political coverage to ring true with people who know about such things, you have to get down and dirty with actual politicians. If that means taking county commissioner Javier Souto to lunch, so be it. You'll survive. And you might learn something useful, like how the world looks from Pluto. Sniffing around the edges of the process and gossiping with peripheral hangers-on does not give you insight. It just arms you with enough insider jargon to make you irritating.

New rule: Stop acting as though you invented adolescent snarkiness. Countless others have chronicled life from the perspective of overachieving, maladjusted eighth-graders. Just think MAD Magazine.

New rule: Cut the moral superiority crap! Don't you get it? People like New Times precisely because you have no moral compass. People read you to learn about the next freakish fad food, buy a cheap futon, remove annoying body hair, or hire a hot escort. Don't screw up a good thing by getting all high and mighty about other people's behavior. Maintaining your own conduct at a high state of raunchiness will only deepen the bonds with your readers and keep those cash registers ringing.

A corollary to that rule is another new rule: Stop trying to be the buddy of the average guy. The average guy in Miami views you as the anti-Christ, and no matter how many pieces you print on the plight of the economically or politically oppressed, you will always come across as prep-school scum slumming in the hood, working on a class project before going off to the Hamptons on holiday.

Seth Gordon

Coconut Grove

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