Hidden Monsters – Bachelor Uncle Sunday

God dammit.

When making a case for something, there is a trope called the “Current Year Argument” which basically means nothing. The current year argument is essentially stating the year that it is, and why something is the way it is. Like “It’s 2019, why can’t I find a new pink fridge!” Some argue that the current year argument is lazy and ineffectual for a couple reasons:

  1. Unless you’ve recently woken from a coma, you know what year it is.
  2. It doesn’t actually say anything, other than you believe things get better over time.
  3. It prematurely dates the argument, and makes it seem old in a few months, regardless of how sound the rest of the point is.

Honestly, it’s filler text, so ideally it shouldn’t be used ever. With that said, let’s get this weeks Bachelor Uncle Sunday underway!

This is a bad joke.

It’s 2019, and everything is simultaneously great and terrible. Technology is getting mature in a way that is fundamentally changing our daily lives like never before. We’re finally learning how to harness social media to address systemic sociological issues like sexism, racism, wealth inequality, and more. But with growth comes growing pains and I find myself saying “God Dammit.” many times a year.

I have an issue where I find myself drawn to successful singular people. I find them fascinating and cool. I love learning about them and appreciating their genius or madness. And without fail, I come to find out that they’re sexual predators and monsters. This happens on a local level, and an international/historical one as well.  It’s gotten so bad that if I like something, I’m starting to automatically assume it’s created by an absolute monster.

It’s frustrating because I feel like I can no longer trust my own taste. It makes me question myself and why am I always drawn to these people. What is it about me, that connects so readily with artists who are just human garbage fires?

Why couldn’t you just be a weirdo, Robert? Why’d you have to also be the worst fucking person ever?

One of the challenges I have encountered while writing this blog has been finding something amazing and then realizing it was created by a madman. And make no mistake – it doesn’t matter how unique your perspective is, how amazing your design skills are, or how great your artistic talent is, if you’re grooming people, sexually assaulting them, or otherwise abusing your power.

Recently, a local art maven and landscape architect (pictured above), was accused by a dozen women of various forms of abuse. Prior to these revelations, I found his persona and life’s work to be compelling and inspiring. I remember posting on a Facebook group my adoration for his talents and singing his praises based solely on his aesthetic vision.

But the people he preyed upon were also drawn to his artistic vision. His sculptures and buildings and off-kilter personality were the honey trap. They weren’t just by-products of a weirdo, they were the tools of his abuse. Without those things, he would never be in a position of power to take advantage of these women. So every statue, every remodeled block home, every finely crafted art panel is the “murder weapon”, as it were. There is no separation of the art from the artist.

On a long enough timeline, will we all be seen as degenerate monsters? I wonder.

Sometimes it looks like the people of the past are a different species.

When it comes to American Architecture, there are no figures who loom as large as Frank Lloyd Wright. There is much to admire about the man. He was flamboyant, open, provocative, arrogant, talented and profoundly weird. He’s interminably fascinating.

There are hundreds of books written about him, and his buildings are literal works of art. I drive past one of his buildings every single day and it makes me so happy to see such a large important piece on my daily commute.

But if old Frankie boy were alive today, he would be instantly cancelled. He used his genius to exploit would-be architects keeping them as slaves who paid him tuition for the privilege of cleaning his toilets and cooking his meals. He and his wife controlled their sex lives and did weird things with Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana. But because he didn’t live in 2019, his genius will be celebrated forever.

Peace out, girl scout.

But the reality is, I’d gladly lose “Falling Water” if it meant that these people didn’t have to live through the pain and shame of abuse and manipulation. I’d gladly drive past another Chili’s instead of Gammage Auditorium, if it meant that Svetlana wasn’t kept as a sex slave.

Bachelor Uncle is a design and lifestyle blog. It’s about cool chairs and rants about rugs. It’s about color and gadgets and weird fantasy art. It’s about men who don’t have to love sports, to be seen as masculine. It’s about an aesthetic vision and ultimately, it’s about me.

So, if I highlight the art of someone who is a nightmare, I will do my best to acknowledge that. I will try to speak only about the intrinsic value of the “idea” itself while still recognizing it was created by a giant fuck who should have known and done better.

Stylish bachelors with nontraditional sensibilities are often portrayed in TV and films as secret sexual deviants and predators. These seemingly “cool guys” always wind up being pure villains and it has really painted the whole Bachelor Uncle aesthetic with a skeevy hue.

The Bachelor Uncle aesthetic has a lot of overlap with men like this. It celebrates the weird, the confident, the cocky and the singular. The dark side of the Bachelor Uncle is the Creepy Uncle and the veil between the two is too thin for my liking.

Make sure you look your best.

But I’d like to think that you can be creative and weird without being a criminal. I believe in my heart that you can be confident and stylish without also being a predator. So while the “hot tub lifestyle” has a begrimed connotation, I’m here to argue that it doesn’t have to be; that these aesthetic choices are a celebration of life and self expression.

These terrible people’s actions speak so loudly, that if I describe a single mustachioed man who drives a conversion van, has a hot tub, has a house full of naked statues and a round bed – bad, bad thoughts fill your mind. They fill mine too.

I guess this blog is my way of reassuring you, but mostly myself, that you can be yourself. Just because you share aesthetic sensibilities with bad men, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad man. Some of our most talented people are also the most broken.

Let’s have a good week.

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