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Je Refuse

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There was Zola's famous defense of Dreyfus, J'accuse, but now a new screed threatens to be the epitaph of an era, Je Refuse. Passed around the way banned Russian poetry or samizdat was during the era of Soviet repression, Je Refuse has become a virtual manual for living or not living amongst denizens of New York's, black attired, downtown, death absorbed underground culture. Just as Goethe's The Sufferings of Young Werther provoked a rash of copycat suicides during the height of the romantic era, Je Refuse is creating a rash of revulsion at the pretension and hypocrisy of existence amongst would be literati, fashionistas and galleristas. Je Refuse is a collective scream of agony by these refuseniks at the pretension, grandiosity and narcissism that accompanies virtually every creative act. In particular the seemingly innocuous creative act is revealed to have addictive affects on the brain, flooding it as it does with serotonin--accompanied by an ensuring expectation of celebrity and fame. Such serotonin rushes only place the unwitting creative on a treadmill where he or she is constantly forced to produce new "work" which will in turn unleash the same self-centered expectations and hopes that feed what now has become a habit. Je Rufuse is unflinching in its condemnation of arts and creative writing programs which it calls crack houses, depending as they do on an endless supply of hopeful young artists, writers and fashionistas who are willing to sell both their bodies and their souls in order to satisfy their outlandish needs. This growing generation of art whores has grown so large and demanding that there aren't enough easels in art institutes, cubicles in writing schools, not to speak of galleries or magazines sufficient to publish even a fraction of their work. Such a buyer's market where supply so far exceeds demand has created an atmosphere of depravity that threatens to boil over into a caldron of resentment, making Black Friday, the day many American are trampled to death on their way into discount stores look like a cake walk. Signed by over 1000 fictional artists, writers and models, on the eve of a fall season of art openings, fashion events and book releases parties, this spoof which exists only in the feverish imagination of a solitary malcontent, takes on the excesses of creativity (weird clothes, eccentric behavior, terminal uniqueness, self-importance) the way Occupy Wall Street has attacked the inequities of capitalism.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, culture and art}