Art has the power to change lives. It can redraw the boundaries of our public discourse and stretch the horizons of our private hearts. When you study its history and see the important role it has played in human development, you realize that art has the power to do anything, except make money. Mostly, though, it has the power to suck. Back when art was two carvings a year and whatever Michelangelo put out, it had to be really good. Now that everyone is an artist and all behavior is performance, no single unit of art has to do much work. It just has to be seen. Today is Friday, and the world is producing art on a larger scale than ever before. Won’t you tactfully remark on the size of the canvas with me?
Richard Spencer strongly identifies as white, like his mother, despite rumors that his father is a tube of chicken semen she accidentally sat on at the fair. Spencer is the president and director of the National Policy Institute, a “racial realist” think tank he founded, and the executive director of Washington Summit Publishers, a publisher he also founded. He is about my age. His professional accomplishments make me wonder why I don’t run a policy institute and a publishing house, but maybe I’m just not as white as he is. It would be scientifically unsound to conclude that, though. We also must control for education. Spencer went from the prestigious St. Mark’s preparatory high school in Texas to the University of Virginia, then immediately to a master’s program at the University of Chicago, followed by two sessions at the Vienna International Summer University and then a PhD program at Duke. Given this trajectory—from prep school to grad school to president of his own think tank—it’s easy to understand why whiteness is so important to Spencer. Getting born to the right parents has been the key to his professional and political life.
Like many private, vaguely creepy people, I live in fear that someone else will find me out. That worry is natural, but it’s also misplaced: we’re far more likely to expose ourselves than to be exposed by others. It all checks out from a phenomenological standpoint. Who we are is defined by what we do. If the world is going to find out who you are, is it really likely to happen because of what someone else does? Today is Friday, and you are bound to expose yourself sooner or later. Won’t you open the trench coat with me?