Appropriation & #justgettinstarted

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Appropriation is cool, isn’t it?

I found this picture online last night and thought it would be fun to talk about. First off, this thing has compelling composition: our friends Amed Rosario and Juan Lagares draw the eye up while at the same time our friend Michael Conforto draws our eye away – towards the left of the frame – as he walks away from the jumping dudes, creating a nice contrast to the whole thing. Second, our friends Mr. Rosario and Mr. Lagares are overlapping with the Marlins inane #justgettinstarted, which is actually based on a song by someone named Poo Bear (?) with a feature by DJ Khaled, Nicky Jam, and Kent Jones, meant to drum up some excitement for a rebuilding Marlins team. Whatever. Font is cool though. This overlapping juxtaposition between the Mets’ success and the #justgettinstarted logo is what I want to talk about.

Artists like Rauschenberg and Warhol appropriated all the time, taking objects thought up by other people, twisting them slightly to make them their own. To me, this is when art became officially Modern, capital M. An art history major would probably disagree with me, but when Duchamp walked into the Society of Independent Artists salon in 1917 and kluncked this thing down on the table…..

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…you can’t deny that we had just been dragged screaming and leg-kicking into the 20th century.

Now, this “Jumping Dudes” photo isn’t appropriation exactly, because the Mets have not taken the #justgettinstarted and called it their own. We as fans haven’t done this either. But this photo is an art-piece because it has taken two images and juxtaposed them to create new meaning. Much like the Endy Chavez “the strength to be there” catch from 2006, this photo has come to mean something else. The Metsies are 9-1, winning like every day. They have the confidence and poise that comes along with winning. Things are going pretty well, and it feels like it can’t get any better than this, right? Ah, but according to this image, they’re #justgettinstarted. Keep watching, baby. There’s more to come, it says.

 

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This is like a flat, emotionless, dream-state of a season so far. Maybe because I spent the first week in Italy? I don’t feel anything like I suppose I should for a team that is 9-1. Perhaps it’s “other-shoe-to-drop-itis”, preventing me from feeling full-on euphoria. It’s also only April 11th. 9-1 is super, but 1st place in June with a 6 game lead would be better. Flatliners need to wake me up here before I end up realizing I never appreciated this wealth and good fortune. Why can’t I appreciate this? I told myself after 2015 and then after the struggles of 2016 and 17 that winning is a state you visit, not live in. And try to enjoy your trip while you’re there. What kind of fan truly appreciates their team’s success in the moment? None here, I dare say. 

There’s all different kinds of Mets fans, just like there’s all different kinds of people. But I would guess a lot of them have seen too much heartbreak to truly feel secure with 9-1. First place in June with a 6 game lead? We’ll revisit.

The Roadways of Italia & The Conforto Sixth Sense

The roadways spiral out here in Italia, through majestic and lumpy (is that even a thing?) hills that could be described as rolling, but these hills don’t seem to follow a pattern that one associates with rhythmic rolling at all. They seem to run their own wayward course, jutting up in different shades of amber, stretching out the horizon line left and right, up and down, creating a kind of patchworked, overlapping y, x and z-axis all at the same time.

Every now and then one will catch sight of a villa or a cottage tucked inside one of these hills, like a tiny bug you notice on the wallpaper. But looking closer, these structures hold beauty in them as well. Glimpses of terracotta orange and brown if you squint quickly before it gets too far away. Lines of cypress trees guarding the exterior, long driveways and metal gates with tiny postes and oh well it’s too far away now…

These roadways have been here longer than any in the world. The Autostrada was first conceived and built by a dude named Piero Puricelli in the ’20s. It’s first iteration spanned from Milan to Varese, and he cut the inaugural tape while sitting in an 8-cylinder Lancia Trikappa with a poet (?!) named Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Several thoughts here. First one: Lancia Trikappa’s were really freaking cool, but how can you sell a car with the name Lancia Trikappa?

Second thought: This was the start of the entire highway system as we know it. This road would multiply into more roads – the Firenze-Mare Roadway, the Birgamo-Milan Roadway, the Pompeii Roadway, and by the 70s Italia’s map was spider-veined with freeways. The rest of the world had caught up by then, but who cares? Autostrada is where it’s at baby.

Let me know what you think next time you’re zipping past those amber patches and jutted-out mounds, when you’re snaking through an almost too-low tunnel and your vision pinholes for a few seconds, even maybe a minute, and the blackness takes over. Then you turn a darkened corner and suddenly the blackness evaporates, and there you are again in the unreal sunshine, spiraling through those hills both majestic and lumpy.

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When Michael Conforto swings the bat now I hold my breath, because of reasons too depressing to type so I’ll just link it. Even over here in Italia, while I’m exploring sun-soaked spots like this one….

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…there is a sixth sense in me somewhere that cringes out of reflex, wincing with an unholy kind of dread. Chris MacNeil in the attic trying to find where that weird sound is coming from kind of dread. For every time Conforto unlocks the bat and creates force into the air I worry about his danged shoulder.

It’s only been one game – and what a game it was – but as Mets fans go I am hesitant to stare at Mr. Conforto from now until eternity (or at least until something worse happens to someone else) without waiting for the other shoe to drop. That bizarre silence after he fell to the ground in a heap. I don’t wanna hear that kind of silence again.

Allora! Things come, things go! Mets are 5-1, best start since 2006. Good things happened that year, no?