Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court and Guns

First let me apologize about this blog posting. It's not about photography, it's not about art, it's about our right winged Supreme Court's ruling today that Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense. Now as a former gun owner I can really tell you this is NOT something that every American household needs. Now, not only did they rule that gun ownership is permissible but they also said that laws making trigger locks and keeping the guns unloaded is now unconstitutional. Forget about child safety, forget that we do not live in the Wild West. Of course this decision was applauded by the White House. Where we have a Vice president who should NOT own a gun and a President who has, every chance he has gotten, stacked the deck on the Supreme Court. Remember, these are life time appointed positions, so even if we get a Democrat in the White House someone on the bench has to resigned before someone can be appointed. In our county where the violent crime rate is still climbing, where guns are stolen everyday out of homes, why would the Supreme Court make such a decision. Oh wait, now I remember, the NRA is a huge contributer to the Republicans. Justice Anthony Scalia actually said that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police." HUH? Like this is what they are doing.
Well, that's enough of my rant about the state of our country. But beware Jehovah's Witnesses and take note before you go knocking on some stranger's door. Oh yes and girl scouts look out when selling your cookies. We now will have households of trigger happy people just itching to be "invaded" so they can use their new toys.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Interesting Quotes

Today I received a mailing from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I have been thinking about going back to school to get my Masters in Fine Art and this university has a great distance learning program. But I digress; the reason for this blog post is that I liked some of the quotes in their mailing and wanted to share them with you, so here goes:
"If it disturbs you, it's art."
"If it inhabits your dreams and questions your fears, it's art."
"If it lifts you up in some sort of emotional epiphany or throws your preconceptions to the ground, it's art."
and finally a quote by Paul Gauguin, French Post-Impressionist Painter, "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." so they say and I agree, Let's start a revolution!

What they were eluding to is that art is everywhere not just on gallery walls but in fashion, in architecture, all around us. That is why it is so vitally important the we keep the arts alive, whether by patronizing a museum or small local gallery, viewing a performance or concert or on a beautiful day taking a walk in a city and looking around and realizing that someone had to design that building.
Art is one of the few things that we have that expresses who we are, don't let the funding for it go away.
Yes, I know I had to bring up politics but now we are down to the two candidates for president and they will decide who to fund and who not to.
According to information available from the Barack Obama campaign, the Illinois senator believes that the arts should be a “central part of effective teaching and learning.” He proposes increasing funding to expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations, and he intends to create an “Artists Corps” of trained artists to work in low-income schools and their communities. Obama also hopes to increase funding to the NEA, whose budget has been slashed by $50 million since 1992.
For more on Obama and the arts you can read Edward Winkleman's blog at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Censorship is not only an American issue...

It seems that censorship is alive and well in not only our own country but throughout the world. Last week Australian photographer, Bill Henson had of his photographs seized from an art gallery in Sydney on the claim that they are child pornography. Not only that since Henson has over 250 photographs hanging in prestigious galleries all over Australia and in state buildings. He and gallery owners are being intimidated by the right-winged Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, who has recently introduced section of the NSW (New South Wales) Crimes Act, which covers the production, dissemination and possession of child pornography. He is getting support from the arts community notably Cate Blanchett. She and 42 other leading writers, dramatists, filmmakers, musicians and artists issued an open letter to the prime minister. The letter rejected allegations that Henson’s work was child pornography and called on Rudd and Premier Iemma to “rethink” their previous comments.
For more about this issue of censorship you can read a report on it at the World Socialists Website.
It seems the more and more the right-winged conservatives throughout the world feel threatened, the more they are going after artists right to freedom of expression. That doesn't mean that blatant child exploitive photographs should be allowed. Child pornography laws are in affect to protect children from people who preys on a children for the sole purpose of violating and sexualized them. But in this case as in the case with Robert Mapplethorpe back in 1988, the children and the families all agree that the images are tasteful and beautiful. That there was nothing seedy going on during the shoot. The intent of the photographs is the real crux of the issue. Again, here the intent was just simply a beautiful photography of innocence.
So as much as I bash the good old US of A about our narrow minded politicians, it seems we are not alone and that my friends is a scary thought.