What i read today…

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, December 07, 2021… the heroism and death of Messman Doris Miller, a black man, in WW II… he was on board the U.S.S. West Virginia in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked… he survived the sinking of the West Virginia but later perished when the U.S.S. Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese Torpedo, November 24, 1943…

I hear a lot these days about how American democracy is doomed and the reactionaries will win. Maybe. But the beauty of our system is that it gives us people like Doris Miller. Even better, it makes us people like Doris Miller.

In Defense—God Help Us—of Lauren Boebert, Chris True… i read the article and understand the point being made, but on the fence about whether i agree… my great frustration is that individuals that “no decent person … should give the time of day” get the time of day, get traction, take cover behind the protections of the system they are working towards dismantling… it puts those of us who want to stop them at a great disadvantage… we may be at a place where lines have to be drawn… on the other hand, it is a slippery slope…

No decent person should give Lauren Boebert the time of day. Congresswoman Boebert, however, is a different story. Congresswoman Boebert is representing over 700,000 people and those 700,000 people deserve the same representation in Congress as everyone else, even if that makes Democrats feel unsafe. Sticking to your principles often does._  International Court of Justice Rules Azerbaijan Must Stop Destroying Armenian Cultural Heritage in Artsakh, Yelena Ambartsumian… the ICJ apparently has the authority to refer its decisions to the UN Security Council which has the authority to do something about it… i am in sympathy based on what the article tells me, but wonder how straightforward the issue really is… last night Rachel Maddow’s opening monologue talked about the taking down of monuments to war heroes of the Confederacy… would the Confederacy, such as it exists today, have the right to appeal to the ICJ for relief?…

… a cartoon by Guy Richards Smit in Hyperallergic… last week, on Deadline Washington, Donny Deutsch lamented that the people he talked to in his crowd (he’s pretty wealthy) weren’t particularly concerned with whether democracy survives or not…

The Power of the Dog Is a Different Kind of Western Film, Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic…

In Jane Campion’s elegant adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel The Power of the Dog, nature is an instrument of both wonder and violence.

The audacity of the original book comes from Savage combining a heated sibling rivalry, an illicit love story, the Western myths of male virility, and a murder mystery all within its slim pages.

How Marisol, “the True Trailblazer,” Paved the Way for Andy Warhol, Karen Chernick… “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.”… Marisol was quite well recognized at the time, so, not living in the shadows… but… an interesting exhibition…

Marisol, “Andy” (1962–63) (Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, image © Acquavella LLC (1962-63), © 2021 Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

The Hungry Eye: Eating, Drinking, and European Culture from Rome to the Renaissance, Leonard Barkan, review by Lauren Moya Ford, Hyperallergic… for art lover epicureans… there don’t appear to be recipes, but i suppose we can find our own…

… this image from the book catches my attention in particular… so many layers to dig through…

Joos van Cleve, “The Holy Family” (c. 1512-13) (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

New Study on NFTs Deflates the “Democratic” Potential for the Medium, Jasmine Liu, Hyperallergic… yesterday i upgraded my micro.com subscription to premium to take advantage of the new email signup feature and begin posting short videos which i call video stills… i was ambivalent about doing this because i have viewed these video stills as ideal for the NFTA world… it is interesting to see that the market is shaping up to be a reflection of the physical art world system of value creation and art distribution, where there are taste makers serving as intermediaries advising the well to do on their art purchases… i struggle with this system because it is exploitative and elitist and a direct reflection of the power structure in which art is created… artists don’t often make out well trying to participate in this system… i don’t have to make money from my art at present, so i don’t have to participate in the system if i don’t want to, and lately, i don’t want to… right now, i create my art and offer it for free on a platform that isn’t profiting from my free content…

About Cancel Culture

a lengthy, informative and interesting essay by Cathy Young in the Bulwark about what cancel culture is and isn’t…

… while accepting that serious cancel culture incidents are, in relation to the size of population, not as common as one would think given the media hype of the most dramatic stories of CC, it is none the less significant in it’s impact on the public discourse, with both conservatives and liberals being illiberal in relation to views that offend them… it’s a complicated subject and hard to draw the line between the truly abhorrent and should not be tolerated and the expression of a differing, even if on some levels, problematic, point of view… i guess i log in as a moderate in this regard… i believe in broad tolerance of expression of differing points of view while realizing that dominant cultural world views, such as the Eurocentric white patriarchal one, are so dominant that they overwhelm other significant and valid world views, subsuming them in ways that diminish them…

 Jörg Colberg, On Art and Neo Liberal Society

From The Merge by Sara Brincher Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen, and Tobias Selnaes Markussen

… watch this video demonstrating the current capabilities of robots created by Boston Dynamics…

https://youtu.be/fn3KWM1kuAw

… then read this

… and if you need more encouragement, this…

 But when the sum of it all — the (art) community — largely fails to respond to all the various challenges to our societies, democracies, and well being, then I’m left to wonder where it all went wrong.

Maybe it’s simply the fact that the world of art has become too enmeshed with the very people who are responsible for the challenges I just mentioned. Why or how? Simply follow the money.1

… the article is significant to me less for the book it reviews, which it pans, than for the conversation it starts, which to me is, wtf are we doing?…


  1. Jorg Colberg, Into the Technological Sublime [return]

The Haiku of Issa

… less progress on actual unraveling of meaning in these haiku today, but, several books on the subject, one of which i have ordered for my library… one thing that i knew, but which is confirmed in my exploration today, no single translation can transmit all the meaning possibilities packed into a great haiku… numerous translations are required…

  • on turning fifty: from this day on, it’s all profit…
    • was fifty the life expectancy when Issa was alive?, that would seem to be the implication…
  • a butterfly flitting, a child crawling, repeat…
    • another one of those ordinary moments
    • but also, butterflies are symbols of rebirth and transformation and are thought to be the souls of the departed… so the image of child and butterfly is one of a conversation between a new being and an old soul…
  • on sea slugs not seaming Japanese…
  • writing poems to please the rich is not art…
    • i can relate to this… art is too much driven by wealth now as it was then…
  • envy of the child being scolded, end of the year…
    • to be a child again?, from the vantage point of old age?…
  • cuckoo singing, nothing special to do, even for the burweed…

Haiku of Issa

  • sin is not possible without talent, on a winter day…
    • if talent is lacking then being lazy on a winter day isn’t a sin?…
  • four or five pennies for the poor, evening rain…
    • the scene set, it is melancholy…
  • a cuckoo singing to the poet and the mountain, the poet and then the mountain…
    • like an echo?…
    • summer harbinger, summer poem…
    • mourning, melancholy, longing… these are the things the bird symbolizes, though, not being Japanese, i don’t naturally pick up on these implied feelings…
  • holes in the wall whistle flute like on an autumn evening…
    • imperfect human-verse…
    • there is a without and within to this poem… without, winter is coming… holes in the wall need fixing… but for now… a pleasant song…
  • a fat priest with one foot out the door on the last prayer…
    • even priests can be half assed…
  • skinny mosquitoes, skinny fleas, skinny children, stupid world…
    • why is the world stupid and not wondrous?…
    • who would think up such a world?…
    • mosquitoes, fleas and children, all in the same world… imagine that…

The Haiku of Issa

The Six Ways…

… this is a funny set of six… there are…

  • Hell… in which there is a bright autumn moon and snails crying in the saucepan… a kind of hell on earth, if the cosmos is delivering something bad to you…
  • The Hungry Ghosts… in which flowers are scattering, water is scarce, the far off mists tease us with the possibility of water… this one about how enlightenment is illusive, especially when we allow ourselves to “thirst” for it…
  • Animals… in which it is pointed out that the falling of the flower petals mean nothing to them, they see no Buddha in it, but then again, it might be that they are all Buddhas because they lack desire and the ability to differentiate themselves from the cosmos…
  • Malignant Spirits… in which, people carry on petty argumentative lives and gambling, not seeing the shadow of blossoms they are in… a Plato’s Cave type of analogy?… also seems to channel the spirit of conservatives in the present time…
  • Men… in which humans squirm around on the ground amidst the blossoming flowers… no better than the animals?… “squirming around” channels the image of worms to me…
  • The Heaven Dwellers… in which lazy humans on a hazy day excuse themselves by thinking even the gods must be indolent…

… i really like this set of poems…

Haiku by Issa

… a strange set this AM…

… one about fleas in the hut and someone looks skinny… a woman i am guessing…

… another about a zealous flea about to become a Buddha by the poet’s hand… a contradiction since Buddhism counsels non violence?…

… another about ducks bobbing on water and hoping to get lucky…

… another about a dragonfly dressed in red off to the festival…

… dragonflies are another animal that has cultural significance in Japan…

… this from Wikipedia…

 As a seasonal symbol in Japan, the dragonflies are associated with season of autumn. In Japan, they are symbols of rebirth, courage, strength, and happiness. They are also depicted frequently in Japanese art and literature, especially haiku poetry. Japanese children catch large dragonflies as a game, using a hair with a small pebble tied to each end, which they throw into the air. The dragonfly mistakes the pebbles for prey, gets tangled in the hair, and is dragged to the ground by the weight.1

… the festival referred to in the poem is probably the festival of Obon, which is…

A Buddhist tradition celebrated in Japan for over 500 years, Obon is an annual three-day event held in honor of one’s ancestors, which sees families get together as the spirits visit household altars. More recently, the holiday has become a time for family reunions, as people return to their hometowns and revisit the graves of the deceased.2

… and it’s relation to Obon…

 Although they are seen in abundance in early summer, tombo have become associated with the autumn and are often represented flying among the autumn grasses in Japanese art. A folk belief persists that the tombo is the steed of departed ancestors who return to visit their families during the summer festival of Obon.3

The Daily Read

The Haiku of Issa…

… an interesting set of poems today…

… a cricket chirps in the belly of a scarecrow…

… crickets are symbols of fall in Japanese haiku… in the west, they are symbols of summer…

… scarecrows in Japanese mythology (Kuebiko) are wise creatures and is one of three knowledge deities…

… taken together, a cricket in the scarecrow’s belly might be seen as suggesting the autumn phase of human aging, there being wisdom associated with approaching old age…

… another talks about the face of a spring moon 12 years old… the 12 years old part is the dead giveaway to me that the poet speaks of a girl on the cusp of menstruation, becoming an woman…

… another speaks of a woman washing the dishes by moonlight in the shallows of a river…

… this seems a multiple reference to feminine fluidity, the moon being a complex symbol of fluidity in Japanese culture… the river being a direct symbol of flowing time, the woman washing the dishes… the dishes themselves being concrete items that around which all this fluidity revolves… everything is feminine here… evocative of intuitive understandings… evocative of inner knowledge… wow, what a beautiful poem!…

Washing the saucepans—

the moon glows on her hands

in the shallow river.

… i am going to have to continue looking into this last one… there seems to be so much to it…

07 On Protest and Mourning

… again, following up on note 05 from today, i find my way to the digital exhibition On Protest and Mourning at the Caribbean Cultural Center & African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) website… i read curator Grace Aneiza Ali’s statement…

Protest is a form of mourning; and mourning is a form of protest. Throughout these images we see a consistent narrative, a shared language, a call to action: we must resist slipping into numbness, we must always cry out against a state’s militarized violence, against the emotional and mental brutalities it wields. And, as a matter of survival, we must always cry out for the Black lives loved and lost.1

… Black Lives Matter…

… relative to the exhibit at The New Museum, i think, CCCADI is better positioned to curate a visual art representation of the oppression, grief and protest of black and brown people…

… i am ambivalent about doing this in the cultural institutions of white patriarchy… i think it is important to have a conversation, a conscience… to admit the wrong of systematic oppression… but i can’t let go of the idea that oppressive cultural and political structures have a huge capacity for self critique without changing… the object of the self critique being to say, we see, we understand… maybe some do, but overall, there is little change as a result…

06 We Should Abolish Museums Now

an article arguing not so much for the abolishment of museums, but their transformation into cultural institutions that serve the people, not the power structure of the white heteropatriarchy…

… museums exist because they are funded by the power that prevails and they purposely tell the cultural history in ways that support that power… is this another sign that the multiarchy is rising?…

The new museum requires an ethical reorientation from our old ways of thinking, a divestment from a conservationist and capitalist ideology, and a centering of voices previously silenced by the colonial project. People and art deserve a better form of art stewardship.1