Massive Links: Androgynous Model Andrej Pejic Censored | Hans Ulrich Obrist Talks with Julian Assange | Ai Wei Wei Has Not Been Harmed

by Paddy Johnson on May 16, 2011 Massive Links

  • Proving that today’s IMG MGMT essay on gender as a social construct wouldn’t ever last long at Barnes & Noble, the bookstore has placed a wrap around the latest issue of Dossier for fear that male cover-model Andrej Pejic would be mistaken for a woman. Androgynous and shirtless, Pejic’s sexy pose has proven too risqué for the company.
    According to Jezebel, though, fashion isn’t responsible for the model’s look — he’s cultivated his appearance since he was a child, so it’s actually his lack of muscular tone that’s the issue for Barnes & Noble. Rebecca Watson over at Skepchick thinks this is off-base, citing the countless skinny H&M and Urban Outfitter male models as proof that bulky men are not *that* desirable in the fashion world. “Pejic isn't being censored because he's skinny. He's being censored because he is styled like a woman, and women's torsos are sexualized to the point that we consider them obscene while men's are not.”
  • Curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist talks with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over at e-flux. The interview is fantastic, though Obrist doesn’t ask much by way of follow-up questions, which can be infuriating. At one point, Assange accuses the New York Times of cowardice, citing an example of a killed story he thought they should have run, but offers no insight on why it was killed. Perhaps he didn’t know, but it would have been nice to at least have the question asked.
    Anyway, Assange discusses a range of topics, including his early days on the internet as a hacker, the cyberpunk movement, and the basic conceptual underpinning of Wikileaks (to generalize: a full understanding of the world is needed to produce effective domestic and international policy). An early excerpt on history:
    JA: There are three types of history. Type one is knowledge. Its creation is subsidized, and its maintenance is subsidized by an industry or lobby: things like how to build a pump that pumps water, how to create steel and build other forms of alloys, how to cook, how to remove poisons from food, etc. But because this knowledge is part of everyday industrial processes, there is an economy that keeps such information around and makes use of it. So the work of preserving it is already done.
    HUO: It's kind of implicit.
    JA: There is a system that maintains it. And there's another type of information in our intellectual record. (This is a term I interchange freely with “historical record.” When I say “historical record,” I don't mean what happened a hundred years ago, but all that we know, including what happened last week.) This second type of information no longer has an economy behind it. It has already found its way into the historical record through a state of affairs which no longer exists. So it's just sitting there. It can be slowly rotting away, slowly vanishing. Books go out of print, and the number of copies available decreases. But it is a slow process, because no one is actively trying to destroy this type of information.
    And then there is the type-three information that is the focus of my attention now. This is the information that people are actively working to prevent from entering into the record. Type-three information is suppressed before publication or after publication. If type-three information is spread around, there are active attempts to take it out of circulation. Because these first two pillars of our intellectual record either have an economy behind them, or there are no active attempts to destroy them, they do not call to me as loudly. But, this third pillar of information has been denied to all of us throughout the history of the world. So, if you understand that civilized life is built around understanding the world, understanding each other, understanding human institutions and so forth, then our understanding has a great hole in it, which is type-three history. And we want a just and civilized world—and by civilized I don't mean industrialized, but one where people don't do dumb things, where they engage in more intelligent behavior.

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