Urbanistocrats, high and low art

People who live in large cities are obviously a better people, one nation almost, regardless of their native language. Better than who? Of course, better than people living outside large cities!

Today’s new elite. Global urbanistocrats. Consumers of premium brands, VIP services, High Art, and the words “excquisite” and “consummate”.

Urbanistocrats love seeing people who are not urbanistocrats once or twice a year.

They “escape” to picturesque villages or small towns on their two-week vacations (the longest they can stay away from their large city), and then they fall in love with cutie-cutie spots of nature and old stones of the mayor’s house in the town’s only square. They take out their cameras and start shooting macro snaps of flowers, panoramic spans of rolling hills and romantic pics of each other, with the craze of Taliban fighters having spotted an unprotected Soviet truck convoy.

Having fallen in love, they want to bed the country side. Someone would stop clicking the camera for a second and say, “Wouldn’t it be nice to buy a house here…” and someone else would reply, “Yeah… but what would you do here? It’s a village, you’ll have get bored to death in a month!”. The disappointed echo of multiple “yeah’s” usually follows.

Night clubs, theatres, restaurants, art galleries. You don’t have their vibe in a village. And no, that joint 5 miles away is not a night club, you have to bring your own cocktails and go-go dancers to get closer to the real thing.

It doesn’t matter, really, that no one from this urbanistocratic group goes to night clubs any more. Theatres are a once-a-year occasion, art exhibitions happen just as often as vacant cabs on a Saturday night. But an urbanistocrat needs to know all this is within immediate reach, otherwise they feel restless and anxious about their future like a sea bass being carried from its fish tank to the kitchen.

Urbanistocrats may spend two hours in a traffic jam to get to a gym to cycle for half an hour on an exercise bike.

A typical traffic jam in Moscow

They buy live trees to decorate the insides of their flats in the stone jungles of human zoo that’s called a Megalopolis. They are always in motion. If you see an urbanistocrat sitting calmly on a bench and staring at nothing (that is, staring at anything which is not a Blackberry or Ipad), don’t hesitate to call 911 for medical assistance.

Rural people are slow and funny. A half of urban jokes ridicules farmers lost in a large city.

A farmer hails a cab.
– Take me to the Principle.
– To where?!
– To the principle. They say, in a large city you can get anything, in principle.

Rural people are dense when it comes to the matters of a higher order of human existence. Of course, a well-bred urbanistocrat will never admit it openly, but would snigger at a villager who can’t recognise Prada by its red strip, Gucci shoes by their buckles, Jil Sander by the sophisticated purity of its silhouette, and Ann Demeulmeister by the gothic tattoos of its wearer.

A villager understands nothing about High Art. Rothko makes rural people sad, because they think a nice painting has just been painted over, and start anxiously looking at the crowd around hoping to spot the vandal. Remember to always wash your hands clean of any paint before visiting a modern art gallery! Better remove nail polish too. You don’t want to be the suspect when it comes to rural people!

No, it’s just a Rothko and photograph next to it. Do not attempt scratching a Rothko next time you see it!

If you give a Pollock to a farmer, he’d suggest you take a special laxative herbal tincture to rinse your mind.

Jackson Pollock, Convergence – 1952

Appreciation of simple, but sophisticated things? Like, poem-deserving flowers, sunsets over corn-fields, or a nightingale song? Rural people are obtuse in this department. They say they see and hear it too often! Can you believe it? Compare them to an urbanistocrat, who gets exposed to a print of Rothko in his living room lounge ten times a day, and is never tired of marvelling at it, and telling her friends that she marvels at a Rothko print each time she sees it. Oh, that awesome borderline between dark red and light red! More than awesome, agrees a fellow urbanistocrat.

Even worse, rural people are hypersensitive to trivial stuff. They tend to wow at skyscrapers and Bugatti Veyrons, oblivious of the smirks on the faces of true urbanistocrats brusquely walking to and from their offices.

And – hold your breath – rural people often believe in God, weather reports, and think O’Bama might be half-Irish. It is very easy to make rural people believe anything. They are exquisitely naive, even if they can’t understand the subtlety of this description.

There’s just one tiny problem with urbanistocrats. If 100% of marketing directors or gallery curators suddenly disappear, 0% of farmers would feel the loss the next day. But if farmers walk away for a season?

As I load foods into the back of my car, I can’t stop thinking that there’s something false about the culture that made worshipped idols out of Rothko or Pollock, regardless of how great they were as artists. And surely, a lot is wrong about the culture that turns Damien Hirst and Jeff Koonz into even bigger gods.

Mass Media implicitly raises urbanistocrats over all other kinds of people, but why then I want to punch the more urbanistocratic of them when I see one, especially talking about High Art versus low art? Should I enroll into an anger management programme? Or buy a knuckle-duster?


  1. Carry a paint can and Pollock them! G (v. – to pollock – to throw paint freely at anyone and anything which displeases one. E.G. Ralph pollocked the gawping strangers discussing his barnyard, disparagingly.

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