Tag: unsexy enough

THE PIN-UP STAKES: Clarifications

by on Jan.24, 2011

* This is a post-script of sorts to my original post THE PIN-UP STAKES: Poetry & the Marketing of Poetry. [for the below I’m paraphrasing and reorganizing replies I made in the comments field of the original post, as well as in the comments field to Mike Kitchell’s post about The Pin-Up Stakes on HTML Giant – thanks especially to Jackie Wang for her engagement]


The central concern of a marketing model is the communication of an idea (or thought, or vision) via the image. This is precisely the concern of the image artist. I would argue, for example, that Jon Leon’s poetry is not poetry but the idea of poetry. As he’s said before, “Poetry is not why you come to poetry.” This is a strategic insight shared by Leon and marketing VPs, and they share a set of tropes as well: in place of Stevens’ palm at the end of the mind we have Leon’s “Beverly Hills of the Mind,” in which the idea of Beverly Hills is more Beverly Hills than Beverly Hills is. This is not to say that Leon is engaging in some kind of trite ironic critique via appropriation. I would argue that he is not critiquing this strategy or these tropes at all. In fact I think he uses them because he feels they are effective. He likes them, and follows Stevens’ adage of “It must give pleasure.” You could argue that many people won’t be able to tell the difference between what Leon is doing and what an ad agency or some asshole is doing, and that this approach could easily lead to a reinforcement of the status quo. I would not disagree with this, but it misses the point. What matters is that his objective is to assert the infinitude of thought, and his tactics are slyly and not-so-slyly disruptive all along the audience expectation spectrum, from staunch conservative to radical leftist. This is what makes him a prototypical pin-up artist. He welcomes and fucks with everyone.
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