Sure, the name itself might not immediately ring a bell, but you will almost certainly remember his picture: He’s the muscular fellow who posed, sans shirt, while playing or pretending to play a violin.
Beckeld is also the guy who complained to the author of the article that “people who are better looking are less likely to pursue advanced degrees, or play an instrument or learn other languages.” Beckeld, who clearly sees himself as really, really, ridiculously good looking, went on to point out that he in fact has an advanced degree, can play the violin, and can speak seven languages. (Allegedly.)
Well, it turns out he has opinions about things other than hot people and their alleged unwillingness to learn stuff. Indeed, the late-thirties Brooklyn “writer” and self-publisher has a “philosophical blog” through which he attempts to force these ideas upon what one imagines, for him, has been a very unwelcoming world.
He’s a thoroughgoing reactionary clearly convinced that his ideas are far more original and interesting than they really are, and most of his essays are pretty much unreadable philosophical dreck. (Trust me, I tried to read a bunch of them.)
The only one I managed to make it all the way through was his latest one, a rambling post on the now-famous “Fearless Girl” statue that now stands athwart the famous Wall Street bull statue in Manhattan’s Financial District. Needless to say, he’s not a fan of Fearless.
After declaring in an aside that “the girl’s fearlessness stems mainly from stupidity, since not even a grown man would stand a chance against a rampaging bull,” Beckeld goes on to set forth his main thesis: that Fearless represents the ungrateful and “oikophobic” ideology of modern feminism.
“Oikophobia,” in case you’re wondering, means hatred of home; Becheld is using it to mean “the dislike of one’s own civilization and a disregard of the traditions that shaped it.” Beckeld is completely obsessed with this idea and is apparently writing a book on the subject, because why not?
Anyhoo, here’s what he’s got to say about little Fearless.
Fearless Girl is a stab not only at testosterone-laden executive boardrooms (though Fearless Girl is as much a corporate stunt as anything, whereas Charging Bull was the work of an independent artist), but also an oikophobic attack at the United States.
Wall Street no doubt has its excesses, but it also contributes enormously to its city’s and country’s financial success, and thereby to so much of the wealth that we all take for granted here, and which we criticize and consider insignificant precisely because we have come to take it for granted.
Later on in the essay, he accuses feminist types of being, basically, overgrown children. But of course he doesn’t put it quite so succinctly. Wall of text, incoming!
A part of attacking the ruling power is now the prejudice that, no matter what, one should never change for others and that one is fine just the way one is. This is why it is also significant that the statue does not simply portray a female, but specifically a young girl rather than a woman. For the dissemination of the aforementioned anti-patriarchal prejudice is a reflection not only of people having become more narcissistic, but also of the increased purchasing power of young people. This prejudice – that no matter what one does or how one behaves, one should stay the way one is – happens to be expressive of a particularly youthful and infantile attitude, and since young people have more money than they used to, or at least a greater access to their parents’ money than they used to, the popular culture is going to change in order to cater to their emotional needs, and so more films will be made, more songs produced, where this prejudice is expressed. Many of these young people will learn over time that it is in fact healthy to change in some respects every now and then, and that some bases of power – such as American power – are better left untouched, although there is, of course, a feedback loop in which the increased stress on this prejudice in popular culture will also, regrettably, come to influence those who might otherwise not have been victims of it. The girl of the statue has the knowledge and understanding of a child, but the conviction of a prophet, and therefore taps perfectly into the self-righteousness of the millennial generation (who feel intellectually flattered and therefore love the statue).
But of course he blames the millennials!
The statue – and the politicians who support its presence – thus, opportunistically, dips into that faux-feminism of the young and the angry, who know what they hate but not what they love, and who in any case refuse to understand what they owe to the object of their wrath.
You ungrateful kids! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!
Beckeld has many similarly not-very-mindblowing thoughts on subjects ranging from the election, America’s alleged decadence, and the problems he’s got with contemporary feminism. I would pull out some amusing quotes, but, well, his blog posts are far more tedious than amusing. So instead I’ll go take a nap.
If unlike me you love every second you spend readng Beckeld’s blog posts you can sample more of his writing in his two English-language books. One, called Art & Aesthetics, is apparently about, well, art and aesthetics. The other, a self-published volume with the somewhat prosaic title Statements, offers, according to the author,
two parts I wrote when I was 17 and 19 years old, respectively. It deals mainly with issues of ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of history. It also contains my first critique of academia.
So that sounds like an absolute delight, huh?