An Italian Lesson

In Italian there’s a great expression to use when you’re disgusted by something: mi fa schifo. When you say it dramatically, you kind of spew—what with the "s," the "ch" which sounds like "k," and the "f." Say it loud and it’s almost like swearing. (It’s the origin of the English skeevy.)
Mi fa schifo is a response to ideas and situations that you find appalling, contemptible, disgusting, foul, noxious, repulsive, repellant, sour, splenetic, vile and vulgar. And that’s without a thesaurus. The phrase came up today because I read a churlish piece by a writer who had some myopic and reactionary things to say about art blogging, and some nasty comments about the bloggers themselves.

Here, read it for yourself.

Want to use my phrase? Here’s how you pronounce it: me-fa-skee-fo. It’s OK if a little bit of spit comes out.

By the way, whatisname's acerbic little post comes at a big time for art blogging, thereby further diminishing what he had to say. There is, for instance, Peter Plagens's front-of-book report from the blogosphere in the November Art in America, "The New Grass Roots," in which he talks to some of our best bloggers: Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof, Regina Hackett, Tyler Green, Jeff Jahn, and Edward Winkleman. And there's The Blogger Show, a four-venue event organized by John Morris of Digging Pitt in Pittsburgh. (Just about everyone mentioned is linked here, either below or on the blogroll at right.)

So, funny thing about whatsisname, he's scratching at the art bloggers at a time when we're all--you'll pardon the word--coagulating. Updated 10.28.07
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Some links responding to the same noxious comments (I'm adding to these as responses appear):
. Pretty Lady's The Egregious Mr. Finch
. Steven LaRose's Pictures
. Heart as Arena's Clearly
. Mary Klein's On Blogging
. Eric Gelber's Finch and the Will to Power
. Two Coats of Paint's Finch Flogs Blogs
. The Tire Shop's Eeenie Weenie is Helping Me
. Edward Winkleman's With Deepest Sympathies
. Grammar Police Pardon the Interruption
. Lightning History Calling the Kettle Black
. Susan Constanse's Oranje Charlie Finch and Google Alerts
. Paddy Johnson's Art Fag City Via The Comments on Edward Winkleman's Blog
Updated 11.09.07


Steven LaRose said...

In some cultures, I am told, it is a good omen when a bird shits on you.

Joanne Mattera said...

Yes, but a bird doesn't plop on people intentionally.

When do leave for your show?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was hilarious. If you can't laugh at yourself...

Joanne Mattera said...

I laughed through my entire posting. And Ed Winkleman's proves that brevity is the soul of hilarity. But it's possible to entertain conflicting emotions about a topic, n'est ce pas?

Steven LaRose said...

I will be stopping in Berkeley on the night of Tuesday Nov. 6th to meet Blogfather Chris Ashley. Where is your stompin' ground?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Not just conflicting emotions, but the whole gamut. Interesting to me that he alludes to the fact that we're in a discussion with ourselves and those of us already convinced. So ours becomes a discussion trapped within itself. Derrida warned that the untrained and inexperienced would seek out the affirmation of their own ideas, rather than seeking information for it's own sake, or conflicting points of view (emotions) as you put it. The internet, as important as it is, has also become a great tool for reinforcing ignorance. Better to maintain a a point of view that allows ambiguity to enter the discussion as far as I'm concerned. And here I am, trapped in my own discussion.

Joanne Mattera said...

Answering Steven: Where's my stomping ground? At the moment I'm in SF and, guess what? Two hours ago there was an earthquake. I prefer the bedrock beneath my feet.

Anonymous said...

I still say that Art in America and this clown BOTH have it wrong. Online influence is measured by traffic, not by who you know in the gallery scene. Perhaps the article should have been more clear than to state that these bloggers are the most influential. As far as traffic is concerned there are art blogs that have more traffic than the majority of the blogs mentioned in the Art in America article. Go to, Winkleman's blog has a rank of 2,346,874 meaning his blog is the 2,346,874 most popular site on the net, which is not very popular at all. How the heck did Winkleman end up on that list? Now look at the Myartspace Blog at The Myartspace Blog has a rank of 192,776 (according to Alexa) which means it is the 192,776 most popular website on the net.The only blog mentioned in the article that has more traffic than the Myartspace Blog is Tyler's blog (and not by much). Art bloggers have a long way to go before they are in the top 500 websites and I doubt they will ever be in the top 10 like youtube, but if that happens credit should be given where credit is due. Art in America needs to realize that the average net surfer can find this information with ease and expose it. Was this an honest article about the most influential art blogs around today? No.