"Bad artists copy, great artists steal." - attributed to Pablo Picsso and others who stole from each other.
(OCT 16, 2020) The image source of Larry Rivers' 1961 painting, The Last Civil War Veteran, was Life magazine where is where I saw the story that same year if I recall correctly. There is some controversy about if the person in the picture was the actual 'last' as some said the last veteran of the war died in 1959. The photographs and painting still convey the historical moment and transition from a 'then' to a 'now.'
I remember thinking,"I was alive at the same time as a Civil War soldier and I wouldn't have known it without that magazine story."
Rivers was an artist I always wanted to meet and when a few opportunities for that to happen arose, life intervened like the unsolicited martini sent to me from the three young ladies at the other end of the bar.
As an artist I have found a commaraderie from Rivers, and others, in acceptance of subject matter as it is - not as it should be - and dive deep into its meanings and revelations. Sometimes I come up empty with interesting work while other times I find myself stuck deep in concept but nothing to show for it.
(The image above is preparatory for a larger format, black and white image.)
It is a serious mistake to construe my thinking and work as being formulated from or the result of political positioning. I have maintained for my entire voting age life I have no political leanings or interests. I do, as an artist (also, formerly, as a photojournalist), view politics as fair game subject matter which isn't really new to the art world.
I own the work I create but I don't own the responses.
As both sides - the electorate and candidates - continue to clobber each other, I'm the guy with a well hung telephoto lens on a Nikon grabbing some shots.
As I don't take sides in the incessant noise, I do vote and encourage all to make their own decisions even if it's a decision to sit this one out.
This is still the United States of America and it's diversity is very real needing no social engineering to create the illusion of it. There is some beauty in that diversity and it is often the case it can only be appreciated within some historical distance.
(OCT 09, 2020) There's a lot of messages being created and published today.
Nothing is more mixed in messages today than the accusation of racism.
It is also more than disingenuous for the college football teams (other sports as well) to do their pre-game kneeling about all the desired equality and justice by football players who don't pay a dime of tuition and coaches who make more than $5-million a year. There is some injustice there but it isn't that which they perform in their pre-game social justice theater.
College is for students and if they have to go the student loan route, do a few work-studies, have the parents chip in, and after excelling in the prep work in High School while meeting the college entrance exam criteria are awarded an academic scholarship, well, that's the highway to higher education.
Unless, that is, the high school student is applying to Yale.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a discrimination suit against Yale.
OCT 08, 2020
Justice Department Sues Yale University for Illegal Discrimination Practices in Undergraduate Admissions Race Discrimination Against Applicants to Yale College Violates Federal Civil Rights Law
The Justice Department today filed suit against Yale University for race and national origin discrimination. The complaint alleges that Yale discriminated against applicants to Yale College on the grounds of race and national origin, and that Yale’s discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular most Asian and White applicants.
The complaint also alleges that Yale injures applicants and students because Yale’s race discrimination relies upon and reinforces damaging race-based stereotypes, including in particular such stereotypes against Yale’s racially-favored applicants. And, the complaint alleges that Yale engages in racial balancing by, among other things, keeping the annual percentage of African-American admitted applicants to within one percentage point of the previous year’s admitted class as reflected in U.S. Department of Education data. The complaint alleges similar racial balancing about Asian American applicants.
The department’s complaint alleges that Yale’s race and national origin discrimination violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation into allegations of illegal discrimination contained in a complaint filed by Asian American groups concerning Yale’s conduct.
“Illegal race discrimination by colleges and universities must end,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “This nation’s highest ideals include the notion that we are all equal under the law. For centuries, people from all over the world have learned of this ideal, left their ancestral homes, and come to the United States hoping that this country would live up to its ideals and that they and their families could enjoy equal opportunity and pursue the American dream. Countless Americans have pursued their dreams through higher education, and they continue to do so. All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents, and achievements and not the color of their skin. To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”.....(US Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs)
So yes, there are a lot of mixed messages out there and they tend to serve only the messenger.
Tuition-free, kneeling football players and millionaire coaches are fully aware of systemic inequity at the admissions office all the way to the payment of tuition.
There is a grand deception being perpetrated by the same universities who hang banners describing the diversity among their students and faculty.
Well, uh, yes, there is an unnatural diversity attained by racial discrimination to satisfy schools' hidden affirmative action policies. This is in direct opposition to a real civil rights leader's admonishment, "Judge not a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character."
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal," said a Greek a long time ago.
So, what can be said to a high school student who has done all the right things and met, or exceeded, admission standards and is denied entrance the college of his or her choosing because of their race? Is this what taking a knee is about?
I don't think so.
Mixed messages always make the messenger more important than what is said or done.
That's what political and social activist theater is all about.
(OCT 04, 2020) In the late 1940's Robert Motherwell proclaimed the New York painters' goal was to 'equal' the art of Europe; more specifically, Paris.
It was, and remains, a curious goal from the perspective of artists who just don't have a state of 'equality' to connect with themselves or their work.
I've never met a painter who wanted 'equal' wall space with another in a gallery when all the space is available. To have work judged to be qualitatively 'equal' with the work of another, or others, is almost as bad as ignoring the work altogether.
It is probable Motherwell, and his schoolmates, was speaking from the gallery business point of view since there really isn't any metric to judge the 'value' - hence, a state of equality - of the post-war New York artists against others.
Maybe that was the point. The New York School defied comparisons.
(SEP 30, 2020) Walls and windows are self-loading subject matter I frequently examine absent of any human content.
There is a dichotomy in the differences in kind, yet, when windows are covered, draped, or otherwise blocked from their purpose of seeing in or out, they and the walls are not so different in function.
Still, windows are not very good walls.
(SEP 29, 2020) It was more than four years ago I decided to permanently part company with social media platforms. The business models and exploitive practices, as Facebook co-founder Sean Parker revealed around the same time, exploited the darker elements of human nature. Contrary to Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before congress, he and Parker knew exactly what their platform would do and as Parker noted, "We went ahead and did it anyway,"
One really didn't have to be a fly on the wall inside of big tech's casual board rooms to see what was happening and they continue to get away with it complete with legal immunity granted to them by congress. That immunity was based on the platform's claims they did not have the ability to police the content of the users.
The only reason for the platforms' existence is to control the content of users, package it, re-use it to manipulate platform activity, and then sell it all to paying advertisers and anyone willing to pay for users' private data. The users are the 'product' and the platforms generate massive profits from the 'free' products.
Recently Netflix Film released "The Social Dilemma" (2020), a documentary illustrating the social problems - including the current social unrest - having social media platforms as a common component and the platforms monetize the problems for more profit.
The film illustrates - from the position of the actual designers - the problem of putting the genie back in the bottle. Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, debunks Zuckerberg's patent response to critics that artificial intelligence (AI) will provide a solution to 'abuses' by noting AI has no morality or human value to make decisions favorable to users of the platforms.
Harris, and others, suggest a 'data mining tax' be imposed to decrease the amount of personal data being collected by the platforms. While that installs an overdue government regulatory component in proposed solutions, I don't think it goes far enough for the users.
First, as the film notes, the term 'users' is used by two industries; illegal drugs and software. People who use the platforms should be called 'customers' and, second, being customers should have legal recourse to file suit when wronged by the platforms.
And, third, customers should have a choice in the level of activity on the platforms. On a ‘basic level’ customers would be paid for access and the platform would have limited access to mine customer data for sale to third parties. On a ‘premium level’ customers would have paid subscriptions and no data would be available to the platform to sell.
One sobering aspect the film presents is anyone who thinks they are smarter than the algorithms, their designers, and the operating platforms as they are being used is already a victim and unaware of it. That is the nature of an addiction; "I can quit anytime."
My senator is getting a copy of this through US Mail (no one takes online petitions and letters seriously) and, hopefully, after the election the congress can busy itself with real work rather than frivolous investigations and infighting they can do on Facebook on their own time.
(SEP 26, 2020) In the late 1970's I had a small public showing, in Virginia, of my photographs which was my movement from photojournalism to fine art.
At least that was my imagined line of disembarkation.
The work was well received and led to a teaching position at Northern Virginia Community College's adult education extension campuses. At that time I was not formally trained in photography but had carried my weight in photojournalism for a couple years.
Shortly after the exhibit I took a trip to visit my mother in Ohio and bagged a few sample images to show her. Being new to the 'art mind' I was unprepared for her response.
"Who are all these people and why are some of them not wearing clothes?"
For my mother, these were important things to know through the filter of her bias that to photograph someone that person must be important and identified (and wear clothes). Otherwise, why bother?
The aesthetics of the 'fuzzy' content does require something of the viewer's own imagination and experience to participate with the work. That participation, on any of possible levels, is critical to appreciation of the work.
In the age of Photoshop and internet fact checking where a true likeness of anything matters less than the process of altering it or ripping it to shreds, the gelatin silver print photograph still carries within itself an authenticity of something material made from physics, chemistry, and the human hand.
(SEP 19, 2020) Deliveries are more frequent these days at Hawthorne Station. In addition to the quarterly orders of film and other photography/art materials, tools, a few items of clothing, and some Christmas presents comprise the burdens of the U.S. Postal Service, the big brown trucks, and expressive federals.
They all earn the charges for shipping to this address; 4WD vehicles or AAA are preferred, but not required, to negotiate the sand access road.
Aside from shopping via phone and the internet I do get out and about often enough and each time I leave the solitude of the lake I am surprised the world beyond the trees is as beautiful as it was my last trip into public places.
I concluded, almost out loud in my truck, "This observation is in direct conflict with the fiction published and aired by the news media."
After giving that conclusion further thought I considered the images I create don't always give a 'true likeness' to the subjects at hand but I present them for their artistic, aesthetic considerations. I suppose many expect art to be 'truthful' but that's a hard fence-line to hold since creativity tends to wander off the ranch more often than not.
American journalism can't compete with art's creativity so when it's content providers stray into the artworld of fiction, it is really bad fiction which results in the same daily plots and perception-guiding, yellowed hues worn out more than 100-years ago in the Hearst-Pulitzer wars.
(SEP 07, 2020) The fish weren't biting so I propped the pole against the dock rails and pulled out a camera to challenge the 7:30 a.m. light.
There was a thin layer of smoke over the lake and it smelled suspiciously of the 12 pound pork shoulder I put on the grill at 4:15 a.m. It's a solid 9+-hout cook at around 225-degrees with a stick of mesquite adding to the haze.
This cook - tack on 8-pounds of potato salad - is for my daughter and family down the road a piece. Social distancing doesn't mean we can't prepare, and deliver, the same holiday fare.
The flag is up and it's Labor Day!
(SEP 04, 2020) Perhaps I was 24-hours premature in posting my Florida Frenzy entry yesterday.
First, I must disclose I am a graduate of the University of Florida which was one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the south. I also lived and worked in Gainesville for about 8 years. During this time the city and the university were in a perpetual death grip of war and peace over resources and real estate.
The same hot-cold relationship exists today.
The People's Republic of Gainesville and Alachua County prides itself every election cycle for being the 'island of blue' in North Central Florida. Identity is very important to those with such back slapping, self-centered, political pride.
Identity is so important that Gainesville wants the entire city to be gentrified - all the same - which means re-zoning historical areas of the city - read that as 'black residential areas' - so that commerce, and UF, can exploit the appropriated properties.
The residential areas will probably lose this battle.
Moving to yesterday's Florida Frenzy comments about the Gainesville gentry fearing UF student gatherings in the midst of the virus pandemic, the Gainesville Sun(Sep 04) - much to its credit - printed a letter-to-the-editor from a Ms. A.H. from Gainesville which opened with:
"Alachua County commissioners have reached a new low. The proposal to have hosts of gatherings of 10 or more people apply for a permit and provide information in order for codes enforcement and law enforcement to monitor said gathering is not only an encroachment on privacy but an attempt to regulate society."
The letter continues with the obvious problem of having a family Thanksgiving with more than 10 people would require a permit issued by the county.
Permits aren't free.
In what alternative universe could such an idea even rise above a brainstorm event while sitting on a toilet?
Referring to the 'science' so casually flouted by Dr. Fauci the letter's author closes:
"Those who trumpet “follow the science” ignore the science they don’t like. They want to use “the science” they like to control the population. We are losing our freedom, especially in Alachua County."
Politics have politicized science just as American journalism has gone yellow (in more ways than one) to appeal to the lowest common denominator of reader and viewership.
The elected governments Alachua County and the City of Gainesville are examples of what happens when the politics on the national stage are applied, or are influential, on the local level. Locally, people see why the nutso ideas - like a national mandatory mask policy - from a campaigning politician just don't translate so well when viewed close-up and personal.
I don't live in the People's Republics anymore. If this is the proud example of what comes out of a 'blue island' in Florida, I think the palette might need adjustments.
(SEP 03, 2020) UF students have returned to campus and the non-student gentry of Gainesville, FL, are carrying their torch lights to Marshall Dillion's office to express their fears of the students having drunken, drug infused parties and infecting the entire city with the virus.
"What are you going to do, Marshall Dillion?"
It doesn't appear the city is all that willing to close the economic well from which their sole livlihood resides.
Things appear to be headed back to normal - the new, re-imagined normal - as the Gainesville Sun reported the first on-campus rape.
The new reality resembles the old reality.
(SEP 01, 2020) My abstinence from political activity - I enjoy no political party affiliation - is not a new philosophical position. It is a position I held during the first general election I was eligible to vote; 1972.
My attention that November was directed to spotting the flashes from mortar tubes owned by the Viet Cong. The 105mm battery received the coordinates and sent a sampling of hell to the tubes.
The Ashau Valley is a testament to political failure and is, today, a tourist attraction for those attracted to such things.
Political parties don't do a whole lot unless stirring up their congregations against the other party counts as doing something. It is no great revelation that those elected from the parties are politically neutered preventing them from, well, putting their political science on target in a timely manner.
What has evolved from this political tail chasing is the New American Bigotry.
Yes, I vote but without the influence of political bigots and their flawed positions on all manner of topics using weaponized science and fear to bolster their hatred of anything not allied with them.
Bigots note my lack of involvement as being 'less American' and 'cowardly.' The charge of 'silence is complicity' regarding any issue is a targeting of those who wish to exercise their free speech right through not speaking.
Political bigots and their minions, the social activists, avoid a reasoned, civil discussion because their closed mindedness puts them on the right side of any issue and the impossibility of them being wrong justifies any action, including violence, to further their causes. Of course, the causes are not 'furthered' and from the ashes comes the question, 'who benefitted from it all?'
I do, however, listen to bigots and extremists. Their speech is protected speech. Listening, and understanding, however, does not necessarily constitute agreement or requires a response. Bigots thrive on passionate responses.
Yes, I have listened to those claiming American is a racist nation which abides in systemic racism. So far there is no evidence to support the claims. That some people are racists falls short of defining a nation any more than some people are gay defines America as a gay nation. Activism doesn't require a lot of logic to enable rioters and political parrots. When the 'some' is allowed to define us all we will have arrived at that junction where tyrants rule.
'Back to 1972.
I took - rather, I was ordered - to take a holiday leave stateside and flew into SEATAC Airport a week before Christmas. As I was waiting from my checked bag a group of women ran towards me spitting, throwing plastic bags of urine on me, and called me a murderer and facist which continued until airport security intervened.
How do we treat soldiers returning home from deployments today?
How are we treating our law enforcement officers today?
Speaking only for myself, I have nothing to prove to bigots nor do I feel compelled to take a position on their, or that of social activists, dogma. I understand many commercial operations have signed on to activist pressure to include their issues on the commercial brand name. If they don't, then the twisted logic of the bigot indicts them for complicity in some contrived social injustice. The tactics have familiar ancestry to 1930's Europe.
Boycott and extortion are tools of the bigot; they believe 'x' therefore a company which contributes to 'y' must suffer financial penalties no matter how many workers are affected. There is no room for respecting the speech of others without being shouted down because only bigots have the self-awarded moral mandate to do as they please without consequences.
Is it reasonable, then, to 'call out' the bigots for what they are without also wearing the bigot label?
(AUG 31, 2020) Having power requires the wisdom of knowing when to use it and when to eat ice cream.
Keeping power requires a really big freezer.
(AUG 25, 2020) 'Chaos' has always interested me. It is something requiring more sensory and cognitive resources to mitigate into meaning even if 'chaos' is the final meaning.
Some ten years ago or so researchers at Cambridge University found significant evidence the healthy, developed human brain function is always centered on the edge between chaos and order, ready to respond to either stimuli.
This is significant in resulting perceptions and cognitive choices.
Perceptions are creations via the filters of personal biases and experiences especially when the stimuli are new.
Considering everything possible to be seen from any physical position, what is selected to be recorded on film is an effort to bring a subject into a viewable order which may, or may not, align most viewers' perceptions.
(AUG 24, 2020) The first symptoms I was getting old were felt when I received my first military leadership position at age nineteen. It was an internal, metaphysical transition and was accompanied by real physical things such as nausea and frequent release of urine.
Unfortunately, leadership is not something one grows into like an oversized pair of of pants.
One of the first things I learned in leading others is most situations are fluid and rarely go as planned or perceived.
The only things that are static and unchanging are the dead.
(AUG 23, 2020) Converting two lane highways into four lane highways comes with the displacement of people, fauna, and flora. In the case of Florida State Route 20 between Hawthorne and Palatka, the benefits - according to those who know - include an additional east-west hurricane evacuation route and accomodation of trucking.
More traffic isn't all that welcome in rural Florida and 'progress' is, I suppose, in the eye, or up the butt, of the beholder.
(AUG 22, 2020) It is becoming more difficult to use the larger film camera systems mainly because of the hostility and suspicious nature a photographer with a large camera mounted on a tripod elicits.
I'm apolitical and have no gripe with warring factions online and off. In fact, when in conversation the phrase 'one of my Facebook friends.....' is uttered, my mind automatically goes to happier, more interesting places.
There have been moments when shallow confrontations - often, just a lengthy stare - evolve into, "What are you doing here?"
I presume that isn't an entrance into a philosophical dialogue so I try to have some image samples in the truck to show I'm not a cop or whatever the inquisitor fears most.
Sunday mornings, when the boys are sleeping off their Saturday night conquests, are my favorite times to tread lightly onto rural properties with no posted signs, dogs, or aromas of protected agricultural products.
There are times when it is better to offend and ask permission when caught than to be denied access from the start. Wearing an orange Columbia PFG fishing shirt and a 'Gator cap also helps.
(AUG 20, 2020) 'Six' is the group size allowed on many Florida beaches and most play nice within the COVID19 social distancing rules without masks.
As storm season picks up the pace sending tropical systems our way, taking a day trip to a beach now and then is one of the few options for people in the virus high risk group.
The beach has a unifying quality attributed to the sounds of the waves, birds, and unintelligible voices both near and far. For some, this is too much unplugging from cell phones and the internet where millions of authorities on nothing tell the rest of us what we should, or should not, be doing during the pandemic.
My 'advice' is for myself only; wash hands regularly, stay away from sick people, and go to the beach.
(AUG 13, 2020) Nietzsche asked the rhetorical question, "Is language (verbal) the adequate expression of all realities?" (On Truth and Falsity)
It is an interesting provocation as we think and process our thoughts through language, but, is the result 'reality' or our unique perceptions which we call 'realities?'
When it is said, "A broken clock gives the correct time twice a day," the predicate is only true if our perception infers, and matches, what 'a broken clock' is.
(AUG 10, 2010) Indifference is a state of mind difficult to overcome and maintain while creating an image since the conventional creative process' goal is the production of something outside the ordinary.
The potential of making the ordinary special with indifference maintained, or overcome, is the driving force of making art.
(AUG 05, 2020) It was the ancient world's Aristotle who observed humans are socially 'political' in nature and, thusly, must, by necessity, exist in a state of inequality. He went a step further in implying there are 'forms' of inequality - levels - which comprise the political components and, above all, "The worst form of inequality is to make unequal things equal."
Place armed guards near all statues of Aristotle.
(JUL 31, 2020) Successful pictures have no need of words.
John Eisenhard, editor of the Fauquier Democrat and former Voice of America writer, called me to his desk a number of times. "What am I supposed to do with these images? They defy captions. This is a newspaper, damn it, and we use words here."
Shortly before his death we spoke via telephone and he fondly remembered those days and was happy I found my 'calling' in art.
There is an 'art' to trusting instincts and seeing a story requiring the viewer's mind to supply the words.
(JUL 24, 2020) The flu-bug pandemic hasn't ended the world but it has pushed American artists more underground than usual. How affected the artists may be remains to be seen in the aftermath of recovery.
Commercial galleries and museums are taking their losses and some are sure to be terminal. Americans, on a good day, are not supportive of the arts as much as other nations which have arts and culture cabinet members as a part of government's social contract.
The creation of an U.S. Secretary of the Arts and Culture may be helpful in formulating social policies currently being called failures by mobs as they destroy statues and deface public buildings. Congress, rather than leading, has allowed the mob mentality to guide the House in removing statues as a result of a summary judgement by the few.
Self-quarantined artists watching the destruction may consider 'offending' is one of art's valid chores if the history of art can be referenced before it too is re-written to accommodate the dumbed down and easily bruised.
(JUL 20, 2020) Technology is detail specific. It promises to do what it does better, faster, and more reliably than the human foot. The wheel replaced the foot.
Lacking imagination and all the other traits which make humankind less precise and specific, technology doesn't (yet) have the self awareness of 'being.'
'Being' is one of those philosophical rabbit holes which many are more interested in leaving than their ambitious entry would have predicted. Contemplation what 'is' against what 'could be' is a symptom, perhaps, of 'being.' Differences in kind amongst people, then, would suggest 'being' is more than a binary code or strictly ruled HTML.
The wheel did replace the foot but we still have feet and know how to walk.
We can also go tiger hunting with a butterfly net if we want.
(JUL 19, 2020) "Take a side. If you don't, you're just an uninformed dumbass!" At least that's what I've heard from activists most of my adult life.
Activits' axiom is social bigotry; "I'm right and I will never change my mind that you are wrong."
Bigotry is always what the other activists practice.
I have no dog in the fights but I am patiently watching, with cameras, as the moment of self-refutation arrives within the groups proclaiming what lives matter, and, what lives matter less.
Being 'informed' does not require taking a side any more than eating the main course of a meal requires having desert.
(JUL 17, 2020) 'Intelligent design' is a notion that really upsets the humanists; a.k.a. atheists. They contend ID is a 'pseudoscientific' argument for the existence of God.
The humanists never tire of being wrong in court, science, and about religion.
(Parenthetically, 'belief' resides outside the rigors of proof. "I believe there is life on other planets" does not require proof or evidence to support that belief.)
The argument of 'intelligent design' is not a scientific 'argument' for two reasons; 1.) science does not use arguments to support its theories and laws, and, 2.) the argument's origin is theological, not scientific.
Thomas Aquinas' Quinque Viae (Five Ways) is a response to the 13th Century equivalents of Humanists today and the religious source of 'intelligent design' as one, not only, ways in which God's existence can be accepted. Aquinas didn't offer 'proofs' but utilized logic while avoiding the 'persuasion from existence' which was the problem with Anselm's theological approach.
'Proof' is an obscure term leading the uninformed to conclude it to mean tangible, or scientifically 'proven' evidence; Aquinas used Aristotle's 4 Causes as a template which were cumulative - not fact based - arguments for causation and origins. This is similar to 'circumstantial' evidence accepted by courts.
If, however, liberalizing proof to include opinion, theory, chance, etc. as humanists do, then it would be a far more convincing position for them to argue evolution theory is in harmony with Aquinas' proofs; argument #3 Argument from Perfection and #5 Argument from Necessity. Darwin fits neatly. The Church now agrees.
It doesn't require membership in a faith to appreciate the beauty manifested in our differences and it is far more intellectually rewarding to embrace rather than ridicule those adhering to something beggier than themselves.
'Unintelligent design' is, at times, a construct of mankind. The humanist habit of repeating failed attempts at proving a negative (the Greeks knew of this fallacy) through science (it's religion, not science, and requires no proof) is a prime example how unintelligent design results from using the wrong tools (and colors).
(JUL 16, 2020) Littering is a willful act subject to fines or other punishments depending upon jurisdictions and statutes.
Accidently dropping something isn't a littering act but the result can be perceived as 'litter' which was caused by a purposeful act.
Perceptions are always, to some degree, creative conclusions forged through unique, cognitive filters which is why eyewitness testimony is the least reliable evidence in any court proceeding.
(JUL 15, 2020) According those who count such things there are 2.1-million digital images uploaded to social media venues every minute. Most of those images have no value – market, aesthetic, etc. – other than a momentary cell phone capture uploaded as an attachment to text or replacing text altogether. Few are ever printed.
The information age (sic) is a quantitative epoch in which decoding, analyzing, editing, and so forth, are processes always playing ‘catch-up’ to the accelerating volume of data being sent, received, and archived. Data quality or usefulness is determined by the parameters of adjunct algorithms.
Value, then, is the work product of the algorithm and beauty, well, remains a human judgement.
(JUL 14, 2020) Here in Florida all roads, it's said, lead to Disney World.
(JUL 13, 2020) Thomas Jefferson was fully aware the newly adopted U.S. Constitution had imperfections which the document, by design, provided the means for correcting; amendments and repeals.
State sovereignty was Jefferson's (and others') limits on the central, federal government; local government is the best government and when situations arise where the federal government must act on behalf of all states (war, trade, disputes between states, etc.) the states agree to comply in the interest of unity. It was a little rougher around the edges than that but that was the thinking of the time.
'Generational sovereignty' is a Jeffersonian argument for each generation (his letters written to James Madison and others note both a 19 and 30 years defining a generation) to have the right to amend, repeal, and ratify the U.S. Constitution as those generations should not be governed by deceased generations no longer available for redress. Jefferson had quite a bit of legal history behind that idea in that many of the new states passed laws forbidding perpetual and hereditary privilege.
The 'nationing' of the states faded the classical liberalism (not the 'liberalism' of today) which drove many of Jefferson's ideas. Perhaps he envisioned a nation so large and diverse the federal government needed more 'checks' in the form of regular constitutional conventions. Jefferson did foresee the inevitable civil war as the federal government - through legislation - eroded state sovereignty.
Between the 12th Amendment's passing in 1803 (establishing. the electoral college) and the 13th Amendment in 1866 (abolishing slavery as Lincoln's Emancipation of slaves in 1863 was in conflict with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850) grew from 17 to 36 states and some of Jefferson's fears were realized; the Civil War, corrupt cities, business having more influence on government decisions, and, remarkably, political party partisanship dividing the electorate.
In my 'generational' lifespan 2 states have been added to the Union and 5 constitutional amendments have been tacked on the law of the land. Jefferson lived less than 50-years after the constitution was ratified and suspected the courts would play a large role when the congress - comprised of conflicting regional and business interests - experienced political atrophy.
Since Dred Scott (1857) the courts gradually took a more pro-active role in the 'balance of powers' which did motivate legislation such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890).
I'm not sure a constitutional re-ratification in the years between Scott and Sherman would have changed much given the dynamics of industrialization and, of course, the Civil War.
There is a point to all this.
When I hear unchallenged claims and assertions the U.S. harbors systemic racism absent any evidence beyond the anecdotal, I am reminded of those scenes in the TV western series, Gunsmoke, when townspeople lit torches and headed to Marshal Dillion's jail to lynch a prisoner for a crime greater than his due process of law.
I use the word 'lynch' judiciously and with intended irony since 'social lynching' - allegations and convictions without due process - is the progeny of hate and real injustice from past eras. It is from those eras, and full contexts, we evolved and if we cannot exist with those reminders on display then it is not they, or what they once represented, which are the threats.
Mob rule is no rule at all.
(JUL 08, 2020) The trend of shuttering ideas, thus canceling open, good-faith based debate, is a dangerous path for any free society to follow. Only through the tolerance and protection of diverse (yes, I'm using the word's correct meaning) ideas can a society advance through accepting that which is beneficial and rejecting that which is not.
However, censoring history's landmarks and the diverse ideas behind the shield of 'social progress' is another form of tyranny claiming moral authority over all.
My faith in the creative and academic communities is buttressed by a letter ("A Letter on Justice and Open Debate") to be published in October's issue Harper's Magazine signed by 150 members of those communities and is an admonishment of the 'cancel culture' which calls for a summary retribution against people whose ideas are perceived as being outside of an abstract rule, or politic, of acceptability.
Many of those who signed the letter embrace ideas I find incompatible with mine yet I fully agree with the assertion our differences be allowed and be allowed without mob justice being the determining guide for what is, or is not, acceptable.
The full letter is here.
(JUL 04, 2020) It is increasingly difficult to commemorate or celebrate a holiday without mobs appropriating the time to amplify their anger and unhappiness on the cause de jour and if there isn't one, one will be provided by a politician or the media.
I asked a local journalist when, for the sake of accurate reporting (chuckle), does language require a 'protest' be described as a 'riot.' The answer was a glazed-eye stare as if I asked her to explain Russel's paradox.
But, it's the Fourth of July. It is a historical memorandum which cannot be removed like a statue. Americans have a common DNA which has no toleration for tyranny or oppression regardless of origins; foreign or domestic..
(JUL 03, 2020) It was the right time. There was no plan and planning these days of self-quarantine has come down to making the most of any brief trip into the post-apocalyptic, infectious zones where every cough and sneeze receives pointed fingers, nasty editorials in the Gainesville Sun, and snarling teeth behind masks which have a better chance blocking hate speech than a nano sized virus.
Having two feet of hair removed at the barber shop was the right thing to do since the world as we know it has been replaced by the 'new normal' because that's what people are saying on TV. This was a real barbershop complete with striped pole and hunting magazines in the waiting area. Girly men go down the highway to salons where they can be poodled up for $20-$30 more minus tip.
With a haircut that will suffice for another four or five years I returned home to watch 'The Road Warrior' and took notes on modification ideas for my Pickup truck.
(MAY 08, 2020) A picture is one choice available when I lose my train of thought.
It is thought 17th Century philosopher Thomas Hobbes first coined the 'train of thought' phrase in his work 'Leviathan' which described the 'train' as one thought connecting to another.
Hobbes' social contract theory was an influence on our Thomas Jefferson as he contemplated government's role over the citizen and citizen's consent to be governed. Articles 1-3 of the U.S. Constitution establishes the scope of powers held by the three branches of government; the separation of powers idea came from a 17th Century French political philosopher named Montesquieu.
(DEC 12, 2019) A 'rest' area.
Holidays - religious and secular - in North Central Florida are opportunities for ghost markets to set up shop on any vacant lot near a well-traveled highway. The 'good stuff' sells fast and if the shopping traffic is heavy expenses can be covered with a little left over to pay a bill or two.
What doesn't sell - the rest - is often left for the 'pickers' to take to another lot on another day in North Central Florida.