Five Points of Advice to Young People on the Spending and Earning of Money, Part Two: Always Pay…

Five Points of Advice to Young People on the Spending and Earning of Money, Part Two: Always Pay for Art

by John Fram

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Below is arrayed the next series of guidelines for the benefit of Young Spenders on the spending and earning of money. Just as in his/her previous posting, the Author can attest to the veracity of all statements contained herein, and would like to state, to all those listening, again, that he/she can be trusted implicitly, thoroughly, and unconditionally. The Young Spender is implored not to doubt the Author. With all that the Author has done in the Young Spender’s benefit, such doubt would be irreparably damaging, for all parties involved.

  • 1) Steal as little Art as possible; try, always, to pay for it.
  • a. DVD Boxsets of TV series, Bluray disks of movies, CDs/legitimate MP3 files of music, physical (and/or legitimate digital copies) of books, may all be expensive. However, their quality often makes them worth the expense. Reasons include:
  • i. No fussing with the file formats illicitly downloaded digital material to ensure that the files play properly on the Young Spender’s electronic devices.
  • ii. No fussing with files of dubious quality, e.g.:
  • 1. Containing splotchy, washed-out, patchy, skip-laden, or artificially brightened/dimmed video.
  • 2. Containing scratching, hissing, popping, screeching, crying, whimpering, whispering, laughing, pleading, or giggling audio, and/or subtitle tracks that do not align properly with the audio and video.
  • 3. Containing viruses piggy-backing on or twined inexorably within the illicit file’s code.
  • iii. No fussing with black SUVs pulling up outside the Young Spender’s house on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
  • b. Legitimate copies (of the afore-mentioned) will, sometimes, because they have been paid for, mean more to the Young Spender (than illegitimate copies) because they have cost him his money. This statement, however, feels disingenuous, because:
  • i. The author viewed the entire course of the HBO original series “The Wire” through a set of torrented files, and this illegitimate procurement did not one iota lessen the impact of the Art of said show on him/her.
  • 1. Because its slow-burning plot, with its several dozen threads spread over the length of five seasons, was, illegitimately viewed or not, a breath of fresh air in the hyper-accelerated, spiced up flash paper that is most television plotting
  • 2. Because its depth of character across a massive cast was all so pitch-perfectly realized as to make the worn-through plasticine stock-moulds of other (especially North American) television characters take on the obvious and garish brush marks of children’s toys and religious ikons.
  • 3. Because its thicket of urban street dialect, police blotter shorthand, medical terminology and judicial jingonese, all surrounded by the barest of exposition, clarification, or translation, fused all into a tense, heady grove of sound to which the Author felt privileged to eavesdrop, and, accordingly, to feel the tingling sensation of learning material true and fair and applicable to the Real World, all through hours upon hours (60 in all) of viewing.
  • a. (Other points in favor of “The Wire”): Its realistic treatment of violence
  • b. Its realistic depiction of drug abuse
  • c. Its realistic depiction of the ways in which the organizations and structures in which we find ourselves placed or which we build up around ourselves ultimately consume us, compromise us, obsess us, destroy us, or subjugate us completely to their will, and how not even madness is an escape, for it, in its own way, is little more than another all-consuming structure.
  • ii. The author watched, also, the entire first season of the other HBO original series, “The Sopranos,” and found it also to be, like “The Wire,” one of the defining works of Art of his/her generation, even though it, too, was illegitimately obtained.
  • 1. The author had procured, in fact, the entire six seasons of the HBO original series “The Sopranos” through a single, very large (31.6 gigabyte) torrented file and was not, in fact, convinced to purchase the second season (legitimately) until he/she discovered that the format in which it was encoded would not play on his/her XBOX 360 (see point 1.a.i., above).
  • a. The author attempted to convert said format into a format which would stream properly through his/her XBOX 360, only to discover that such conversion would require five-plus hours of work on his/her computer’s part.
  • b. The author attempted to wait these five-plus hours, but upon discovering, midway through said conversion process, that the audio and video tracks of Season Two, Episode One were woefully out of synchronization (see point 1.a.ii.2., above), he/she despaired of aforementioned five-hour process being “worth it” at all, and, at last, paid $37.99, plus applicable tax, for Season Two of “The Sopranos” in High-Definition, through the digital streaming service “Vudu.”
  • i. The author is fully conscious of just how ridiculous the name “Vudu” is.
  • ii. The author assumes no responsibility for the ways in which his/her use of a service with a name as ridiculous as “Vudu” might, in some way, result in the appearance of more services, with names equally ridiculous if not more so (than “Vudu”), appearing and/or prospering through the acquisition of his/her money.
  • iii. The author’s use of the “Vudu” service in no way implies that he/she wishes to see more services with names similarly ridiculous to “Vudu” appear and/or prosper thanks to influence that his/her money will make; that is, the impression that names like “Vudu” are not completely ridiculous and unnecessary.
  • iv. The author regrets to acknowledge that he/she already supports a service with a similarly ridiculous name (“Hulu”) and has, on at least one occasion, used previously services with names such as “Vuze,” “Bing,” and “Skype,” and feels an agonizing weight of complicity through said support of such services.
  • v. The author wishes to apologize, personally, to the estates of David Foster Wallace, William S. Burroughs, and William Gaddis, and all other authors, living or dead, whose work, in the fields of linguistic expression and evolution, he/she has undermined, if not destroyed outright, through his/her support, however unintentional, he/she has provided to the aforementioned services whose names and/or slogans, either in an unacknowledged or in an explicit way, seek to undermine, through pretentious misspellings and/or crippling affinities for monosyllabic nonsensicals, the English language and/or all forms of human communication as a whole. To reiterate: the author, no matter how much coin he/she has burnished in supporting such services, either through one-time charges or monthly subscription-based disbursements, assumes no responsibility for any damage, and/or degradation to, nor, indeed, assumes any responsibility for the outright destruction and/or collapse of, the aforementioned language(s) in general; in the event of Complete Linguistic Breakdown, the author would like merely to state the obvious, that he/she was not the only person to patronize such services, by any means, and, accordingly, is not the only person (if he/she can still be called that) responsible for said collapse.
  • c. The author must acknowledge that he/she still possesses, on the hard drive of his/her computer, the entire 31.6 gigabytes of “The Sopranos” that he/she initially downloaded, even though he/she has no intention of viewing it further now that he/she realizes that digital ownership is possible through the video service “Vudu”, and also for reasons listed in point 2.c, below. The author has not deleted this file, however, due to the fact that it took more than four (4) days to download completely to his/her computer, making the completion of this download feel like something of an accomplishment.
  • 2. The author had, also, begun inquiries into the possibilities of downloading other HBO original series such as “Oz,” “Carnivale,” and “Deadwood,” through illicit means (specifically, it must be acknowledged, through the file-sharing service “Vuze”), but did not follow through with such inquiries, mainly as a consequence of not having the time to watch them in addition to other said series already downloaded, but now, he/she assures all those listening, he/she shall not illicitly download any additional series.
  • a. He/she shall admit to not having made inquiries into such shows as “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones”, mainly due to these series’ incomplete status. Had they been completed, he/she might have considered them as well.
  • b. He/she must admit that he/she had looked upon the prospect of viewing the HBO original series “Carnivale” and “Deadwood” with a modicum of trepidation, knowing that these series were “cancelled” before their developers’ original plans could be realized.
  • c. He/she must admit trepidation in viewing any television series that has been “cancelled” prematurely, or shows which have yet to find “completion,” which carry with them all of the messy “loose ends” this “incomplete” status entails, (ie, unresolved character arcs, fractured story structures), as viewing these “loose ends” acts too much as a mirror into the state of his/her own life to provide much sense of “entertainment” or “pleasure” or “solace.”
  • 3. The author would, finally, like to assure all those listening that he/she has no intention of further illicitly downloading works of televisional Art now that he/she is aware of the affordability of said works through legitimate downloading services such as the above-mentioned, and would like to put to rest, once and for all, all worried discussion of said illicit downloading, and will, furthermore, no longer admit any further wrongdoing in any form, via any medium, forthwith and indefinitely.
  • iii. The author would, also, finally, like to state that he/she has never illicitly downloaded a book, in any form, but, he/she supposes, he/she has the “bigness” to “understand” the motivation behind somebody else’s illicitly downloading a book (specifically, should this series of pointers ever find their way into a printed volume, of some kind, of their own), i.e., he/she understands, in theory, the ways in which extreme poverty can limit the procurement of (and, subsequently, the enrichment via) Art. Which is to say, if the Young Spender, or any other Reader (Wealthy or otherwise), finds themselves reading the theoretical book in which this series of points has been published, via an illegal means (e.g., a torrent, etc) the Author would like merely to state that he/she understands. He/she might even forgive you, Young Spender or Reader, as well, should You subsequently purchase the book legitimately (which will benefit the author; see point C, below). Should You, Young Spender and/or Reader not purchase said book, the Author would only like to know: was it something he/she said/did? Something he/she didn’t say/do? Something he/she should have done more of? Something, anything, nothing? It was nothing personal, what he/she said earlier. He/she meant nothing by it. Please, don’t leave him/her here, dangling. He/she will try harder, really. Please.
  • c. Legitimate copies of art, when purchased, will eventually (usually, hopefully) find ways of lining the pockets of their respective artists with coin.
  • i. The benefits of this lining are obvious: without coin, artists cannot hope to produce new works of art, which, eventually, will lead to the end of Art as the Young Spender and his society knows it.
  • 1. Artists, being, like the Young Spender, human, can only survive for so long on credit cards (see Part 3, forthcoming) and overdrafted bank accounts (Part 1, previous).
  • 2. Artists, having fewer survival skills than other members of the human race (if they were good at things that kept them comfortable, and were happy doing such things, they would do such things, and they would not be artists), need all of the help they can get.
  • a. In many ways, artistry is similar to the Homosexual condition: if it were a choice, few would be the adolescent artist who would choose the harder road for him/herself.
  • b. No, the adolescent artist, like the teenaged homosexual, would only experiment with clay or celluloid the way the teenaged homosexual would play only a clutch of times with the moist cunt of her teammate on the volleyball team or the unshaven balls of the boy selling weed in the abandoned cafeteria, before buckling under the weight of obligation and labor and self-damaging desires that art brings, the same as the crush of rumours and pointed glances and self-damaging proclivities brought about by same-gender fucking.
  • c. Should the adolescent artist posses the skills to be a decent accountant, a competent lawyer, a passable pharmacist, and knew that they would be happy pursuing such careers for 40+ hours a week, for forty years, knew that they would have no desire to, one day, (a Thursday, perhaps), merely stuff a backpack full of underwear and socks, package themselves into their comfortable car, and, when pulling onto the Interstate, the Interstate they know so well, the Interstate whose gravel this now-middle-aged artist has ground five times a week into the groove of his/her comfortable car’s tires, instead of pulling North, as is the route of his/her commute, he/she would pull the opposite direction, winding through the labyrinth of overpasses and access roads until he/she is pointed South, toward Mexico, and, further down, Ushuaia, Argentina, and he/she would pull away and begin the first steps of his/her teenaged dream of driving until he/she reaches the terminus of the Pan-American highway.
  • d. Should the adolescent artist know that such a desire will never enter him/her, never in his/her entire forty year career as an engineer or lawyer or pharmacist , then by all means should he/she stop any and all artistic pursuits and take up fighting for the rights of disenfranchised corporations and limbless children.
  • e. But, most artists know better. Like the teenaged homosexual, they know, deep within him/herself, that, for a time, they can pretend to be happy doing something that makes them not, but only for a time.
  • 3. If the Young Spender is not careful in his stealing of Art, there will come a day in which no artists will be able to produce their Art, even when taking the most stringent of money-saving measures (and artists are known historically for their ability to subsist on a level of income that would kill most humans), and when such a point arrives in which no Artist anywhere in the world will be able to produce Art, then the Young Spender (and not, the Author would like to state, the Author) will be solely responsible for Complete Artistic Collapse (unlike the case of Complete Linguistic Collapse — see above — in which case all members of society shall be at fault). In the case of Complete Artistic Collapse, none shall be safe. Countries will battle countries for the barest scrap of stained canvas or the thinnest shard of chiseled marble to satiate their need to see their lives reflected back to them and to see their hopes and desires given form in ways that they can watch and touch and move through and so experience in their purest state. In case of said Collapse, those skilled in theft of Fine Art will be in high demand (see point 2.c.ii, below).
  • ii. A Few Notes on the Theft of Fine Art: While it is exceedingly easy, in this day and age, to procure digital copies of art through the Internet, it remains exceedingly difficult to procure, from galleries, museums, or private residences, physical, original works of Fine Art, for the purposes of either personal use or monetary gain. While the Author does not advocate such theft (see above), he/she does understand that times everywhere are difficult, and that works of Art, closely studied, are of tremendous value to the Soul and general well-being of all Spenders, and that the possession of such fine work can only be a positive force in the Spender’s life, provided it does not lead to jail time or death; i.e., the Spender is not “caught”. Below are three (3) points of advice on the possessing of Fine Art.
  • 1. A Note on the various Sizes of Fine Art
  • a. Paintings, measuring 3′ square or smaller, are the easiest pieces of Art to procure, requiring only a protective covering be placed over them before they are moved, as they can be carried under one arm, leaving the other arm free to carry a satchel, nightstick, or handgun, if necessary.
  • b. Pieces of pottery, measuring 2′ high or smaller, may appear, at first, the most accessible pieces of Art to procure, but the Young Spender must take into account their fragility when formulating plans for their displacement. Often, the excessive care needed to transport pottery safely will prove said displacement more impractical than their value will remunerate.
  • c. Large paintings, measuring 3′ square or larger, can often be quite valuable, but the difficulty of transporting them safely, while dealing also with the security systems at work in a given gallery or museum or private residence, may force the Young Spender to hire or otherwise enlist the aid of one or more accomplices. See point 2.c.ii.3, below, for fuller advice on the use of accomplices before deciding whether the theft of a large painting is worth the dangers incurred.
  • d. Sculpture, whether large or small, carries with it the same risks as both pottery and large paintings (above and above). Like pottery, sculpture is very delicate; like large paintings, it can also be very unwieldy. In order to procure a major piece of sculpture, whether made of marble, granite, stainless steel, linoleum, graphite, quartz, limestone, copper, glass, or aluminum, the Young Spender can almost be guaranteed a need for accomplices, and not just any accomplices, but Skilled accomplices, ones with a number of technical proficiencies such as the operation of cranes or heavy machinery or large trucks, and these Skilled Accomplices, with their intelligence, can often be Very Dangerous.
  • e. Digital installations are a fast-growing segment of art spaces, employing such technologies as video projection, holographic images, and high-definition screens. Attempting to procure a digital installation is functionally identical to procuring items from a pawn shop, but with heightened security. No fence (see point 2.c.ii.2, below) wants another high-definition television; they already have more than they can used, all tuned to the same public broadcasting network.
  • 2. A Note on “Fences”
  • a. When planning a heist, the Young Spender would be best served in finding a wealthy patron to contract them for one or more pieces of Fine Art. Typically, these patron are wealthy members of elite Italian or New York American families who have their eyes set on one particular objet d’arte. Securing this objet will often lead to repeat, well-remunerated business; while wealthy members of the bourgeoisie prefer to think that they are only interested in a single particular objet, they are actually obsessives and addicts (see point 1.b.i, above, and point 4, forthcoming) and one objet will, in a month’s or a year’s time, lead to the urgent desire to possess another objet, and another. In this way, some of history’s most successful procurers of art have been the wards of aircraft tycoons and budget clothing magnates, and have maintained very comfortable incomes in their tenure.
  • b. However, the Young Spender, especially when starting on the road toward a career in Art procurement, may find himself performing procurements that are “on spec;” i.e., without wealthy patrons lined up already to pay for them. In this case, the Young Spender will have to rely on a “fence,” an intermediary who will sell the Art for them via a secret network of interested buyers.
  • c. Do not trust a fence. Like the wealthy (point 3, below) they are liars and fucking thieves. Do not linger near a fence; like bankers (see point 1.c.iii., above), the Young Spender should spend as little time as possible in the vicinity of a fence, trust only half of the sum total of their words, and always, always, wear white gloves when handling anything their “fence” hands to them.
  • 3. A Note on Accomplices:
  • a. Accomplices should be treated warily; they are more trustworthy than fences, but still more dangerous than working alone.
  • b. There are many services though which serviceable accomplices can be found. Bars, 24-hour donut shops, and the list of former members of the United Museum Protectorate (the union of choice for guards of museums, university libraries, and government-funded exhibitions).
  • c. Accomplices can be obtained, also, through the many websites that now exist devoted to all manner of inscrutable activity, including Art procurement. The most popular of these websites include SkilledBuddiez.com, TeamPower.com, and AssistanceSeekers.org (a not-for-profit talent matching service)
  • d. Whether obtained through the Internet or in person, do not fall into the illusion of the heist film and delude yourself, Young Spender, into thinking that accomplices are your friends. They, like you, are merely in for a cut of the pie.
  • e. Accomplices, finally, should never be trusted; they will want a larger cut, or will all this time be working for the authorities, or will allow emotions of some kind or other to cloud their judgment, and the Young Spender will ultimately need to deal with them before they themselves are dealt with. For this reason, the Young Spender should carry a handgun with them at all times, for use at the end of their caper. When firing bullets into the backs of human brainpans, the Young Spender must remember to fire twice, to ensure the impossibility of survival (otherwise known as the “double-tap” or “execution-style.”)
  • iii. An Acknowledgment of Reality: It would be naïve of the Author to imagine that artists receive more than a very small portion of monies earned through the sales of legitimate copies of their Art when they are distributed through any sort of record label or production company or publishing house. However, this does not mean that the Young Spender may feel guiltless in obtaining those artists’ Art illegitimately (see notes on Complete Artistic Collapse, above).
  • 1. It is unlikely that Edie Falco is waiting for the $0.30 the Young Spender’s purchase of “The Sopranos” complete box set will bring her, but that does not mean she does not deserve it.
  • 2. Edie Falco has not had an easy life; she has had to work very hard to reach the position she is in now (as the star of the Showtime original series “Nurse Jackie”), having appeared in such unnamed roles as “Carriage Woman” in “Sidewalk Stories” (1989), “Film Director” in “Rift” (1993), and “Festival Programmer” in “Overnight Sensation” (2000), among others, before assuming a major role in the HBO original series “Oz” from 1997 to 2000, and finally breaking out as the character for which is best known: Carmela Soprano in the HBO original series “The Sopranos” from 1999 to 2007.
  • 3. For this work, Edie Falco should not be denied the Young Spender’s $0.30. She may have recently been beset by a series of hardships and large expenses, finding herself in a tenuous financial situation in which every penny counts, and thus need said $0.30. That $0.30 may be the difference for Edie Falco between eating and going hungry. Edie Falco deserves that $0.30. Edie Falco should not have to starve.

Previously: “Five Points of Advice to Young People on the Spending and Earning of Money, Part One: Overdrafted Bank Accounts”
Next month: credit accounts

John Fram is a freelance writer whose public records show him living in Texas. He has a dog and a guy that lives with him. He tweets here, and you can contact him here.

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