Monday, December 19, 2011

Semester's End....

I pray this post finds you all in good health and spirits. I can now take a breath and check in with my own blog for a change. When HSU is in session, I rarely have time to manage my own blog. Instead I find myself prompted to comment on Sohum Parlance or the Humboldt Herald instead.
I would like to take this opportunity to share my recent painting assignments from a wonderful Art course provided by the university. I just finished a painting class taught by a wonderful, engaged professor and artist: Lien Troung. Ms. Troung uses a positive outlook on art and life to encourage her students to develop "problem-solving" techniques during the development of a work or art.
As someone who has worked as a "professional" artist for almost thirty years, I can say that I was humbled by the talent, and creativity of my fellow students in Ms. Troung's class.
Thank you to everyone in the Art Department of Humboldt State University. I look forward to seeing you all again next semester; God willing, and the creek don't rise.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Northern California people have access to the healthier aspects of their environment. There are trees and flowing waters. They can step off on almost any road and forget the technological culture they live in. A society dominated by advertising. Those in the urban centers are not so blessed. They have no natural retreat at their fingertips. Their only refuge is one they create for themselves. That refuge is now being undone by an unbridled commercialism.

Americans are swimming in a commercialized world. It is so accepted among the mass population that there is no public debate about the commercialization of our visual space and our “virtual” space. We live in a culture where it's ok that every action on the internet may now be crafted and designed to be held up by a series of interruptions and secondary confirmations; slowing down processes to expose the user to more advertising. In our visual space there is now the phenomena of truck and trailer ads. In most California counties it is illegal for a homeowner to hang a sign to advertise a yard-sale, or to sell his mother's car. Yet, huge truck and trailers file past. Everywhere there is an endless series of mobile bill-boards thirty feet long. Showing huge graphics in bright colors with multiple lines of copy. With the “large-format-printer,” they can over power the streets.

Corporations in the United States are allowed to put their advertising wherever they see fit. It can be argued that there are new laws restricting the placing of outdoor advertising, so it is getting better, but the Corps have moved beyond outdoor, while they still use the truck and trailer mobile bill-boards method, they appear to be more concerned with commercializing any remaining space not now carrying ads. They don't need static, roadside billboards when they can have a constant stream of advertising in your vehicle. With the map programs that come with new cars there will be no escape from the ads coming from dashboard monitors.

Advertising in the public space used to be a necessary component of capitalism. In 2011 the public space has been narrowed down to a small screen. Within that flat glass lies a world with its own “real estate” and its own “reality”. But it takes real money from this world to keep that world going. At some point Americans have to say: “No, I've already paid the fee; you don't get to advertise on top of it!”

Monday, May 2, 2011

"A Day That Will Live In Infamy"

In the faith tradition to which I belong; we believe there is a new covenant in Christ that does away with the notion of: “An eye for an eye; a tooth for tooth.” In the nation to which I also belong, we have given authority and judgment to a system of law. This system is for the protection of human rights. . This system is now directed by people who have used their mandated power to organize and carry out an extrajudicial assassination of a wanted murderer; who should have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
Bin Laden is the “Adolph Hitler” of this generation. He is the embodiment of evil and has besmirched reputation of the religion he professed to follow; but, we are not the mafia. We do not put a “Hit” on someone and just go kill him. This is America, there has to be an attempt to arrest him. If that is impossible, then besiege him. Let him show himself to be the killer, Let the world see who is the good and who is the bad. But no, instead we became ourselves a criminal, and a murderer; as a nation we have committed a crime. This is not what America is supposed to be about. John Wayne always brought the bastard in for the judge to “...hang em' good and proper.” He didn't just go execute him on his own authority.
The U.S. Government had no right to risk the lives of our servicemen and women to carry out this killing.
This is a shameful event. There is celebration? There are parties? This should be prosecuted as a crime. Contempt was shown for the law, the constitution, and the rights of the survivors and victims of the 911 attack.
The word “closure” has come up a lot, but the victims of the attack have not had their say. They're not done fighting for their lives, so who is getting “closure.”?
This is a dark day for the United States. Even the most heinous, depraved, despicable criminal is protected by the rule of law. This execution is equivalent to a lynching. “Why waste time on a trial, we know he's guilty, so lets just go kill him and be done with it!” This is the sentiment demonstrated by this act of vengeance. Without the rule of law, we are lost as a nation. We have become the thing we condemn.
I just can't help but feel that my country is in the hands of greedy criminals, who will use any pretext, any excuse to exercise its power over the world. First they have stolen our money; now they have stolen our honor.