Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quote of the Week (last week)

“Chief Scagnelli will say, ‘Let’s not forget why we’re all here: We’re here to move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce injuries, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce accidents, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce fatalities, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic,’ ” Mr. Pilecki said.

~referring to methods the city of New York employs to collect traffic fines. See "Adding to the City's Coffers, One Ticket at a Time," Nov. 27 The New York Times Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reality TV: Will You be Voted off the Island?

Since "Survivor" debuted in 2000, so-called reality TV is all the rage. The situations vary from show to show, but the premise is always the same: a group of eclectic people from various (often dysfunctional) backgrounds come together to compete in some humiliating events for a prize only one will claim.

It's not in the Olympic spirit of competition, mind you. While they pretend to be cooperative, they are really back-stabbing each other aside. These moments come out in the little alliances team members make on "Survivor", and in the little "confessionals", the little private interviews between the action when we get to hear the private thoughts of the participants (is there anything private any more?).

These people have dollar signs in their eyes and are ready to come to loggerheads with any opposing member who gets in ther way. It's all for one, and one for himself game. They even rank members of their own team according to importance to the team on "Survivor." Of course, whether it's that show, or "America's Top Model", "Project Runway", or that one with Donald Trump ("You're fired!"), the climax is, I'm sue you know, the vote. That is the moments when one unlucky participant gets voted off. They can't cut it, so they're ousted. Hey, life is like that.

Public television is not immune to this. I guess its ratings were falling, and the producers decided to jump on board. Of course, they disguised it. "We don't do reality TV. Go to the networks for that." (quotes my own). About four years ago, however, PBS put on "1900 House", "Frontier House", "Manor House", and "Colonial House." On the last one participants in a mock Jamestown colony had to eat flour studded with weevils. Take that, "Fear Factor"...our weevils are as bad as your hissing beetles. Oprah Winfrey's appearance in 17th century fashion (the latest from Holland) sealed it for me. She was there to steal as many viewers from the networks as she could.

So, what does it all mean, and isn't it all in clean fun? I don't think so. The idea of forcing people to do humiliating tasks, eat revolting foods, and betray their companions is not how most of us would spend a weekend. There may be something symbolic going on.

I believe this horrible shows reflect the savage competition happening from Globalization, job outsourcing, lack of job security, and now the worldwide economic crisis. I don't want to get on a mountain top on this - they're still ridiulous shows. Consider that it's not acceptable to act in those vicious ways to your family, co-workers, and people in your every day life. So we do it vicariously through "Big Brother."

Workers feel the pinch of job outsourcing, lack of stability, tanking wages and consumer power, but it is a little abstract. You can't strike out at Globalization. So we have these shows. If you can't be up to par, your teammates vote you off the island. If you are not performing all the time and pleasing your managers, you'll be voted out of your job or out of the Middle Class. And there is no immunity idol, so watch out. You may be voted off the island too. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Week

Pres. Bush: Forgotten but not gone.

~Marcia Mercer, Washington bureau chief of Media General Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Quote of the Week

"The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats."

~Noam Chomsky Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Consumer Subjects Deconstructed

In the book, Hypersurface Architecture II, edited by Stephen Perella, the author relates a parable for the new age. A father, intrigued by his small daughter's sleeptime blather, bends down to hear the refrain she utters out of her unconcious. Was it something mystical, some mantra keeping its secrets? No. The "mantra" she repeats is "Toyota Cressida. Toyota Cressida."

To me this is our very dreams being appropriated by consumer culture. Our identities are interwoven with our spending habits.

Perella writes of the "deconstruction of the capitalist subject through the very modes of production and technologies that proliferate due to the instrumentalism inherent in consumer economics."He uses this parlance in an architectural context, now that the philosophy of Deconstruction (Post-Structuralism) is united with architectural theory. Perella sees capitalism as the engine that is changing our conception of reality. He says "the reality of a Disney phantasm and the unreality of the O.J. Simpson trial" makes it hard to know reality. The technologies that proliferate in consumer economics (see above) are the images from a paripatetic media which reaches into every part of our lives in the developed world - indeed, into our dreams.

It goes farther than that, much farther. Perella holds that consumer capitalism is changing more than subjects; it is swaying our constructs of space (time too, but I'll leave that to later). Consider this passage from his email to Brian Massuni of September 2007:

In mathematics, a hypersurface is a surface in hyperspace, but in the context of
this journal the mathematical term is existentialised. Hyperspace is four +
dimensional space, but here hypersurfaces are rethought to render a more complex
notion of space-time-information. This reprogramming is motivated by cultural
forces that have the effect of superposing existential sensibilities onto
mathematical and material conditions, especially the recent topological
explorations of architectural form. The proper mathematical meaning of the term
hypersurface is discussed here as being challenged by an inherently subversive
dynamic within capitalism. While in mathematics, hypersurfaces exist in
'higher', or hyperdimensions, the abstractness of these mathematical dimensions
is shifting, defecting or devolving into our lived cultural context. Situated in
this newly prepared context, hypersurface comes to define a new condition of
human agency, of post-humanism: one that results from the internal machinations
of consumer culture, thereby transforming prior conditions of an assumed
stability. Instead of meaning higher in an abstract sense, 'Hyper' means
altered. In both contexts, ideal abstraction and the life-world, operation is in
relation to normal three-space (x, y, z). In mathematics there are direct,
logical progressions from higher to lower dimensions. In an existential context,
hyper might be understood as arising from a lived-world conflict as it mutates
the normative dimensions of three-space, into the dominant construct that
organises culture. In abstract mathspace we have 'dimensional'constructs, in
cultural terms we have 'existential' configurations; but the dominance of the
mathematical model is becoming contaminated because the abstract realm can no
longer be maintained in isolation. The defection of the meaning of hypersurface,
as it shifts to a more cultural/existential sense, entails a reworking of
mathematics. (This is similar to what motivates Deleuze to reread Leibniz.) This
defection is a deconstruction of a symbolic realm into a lived one; not through
any casual means: it arises and is symptomatic of the failure of our operative
systemics to negotiate the demands placed upon it. If one could describe an
event whereby cultural activities could act upon abstractions so as to commute
the normative, etymological context into a context of lived dynamics, what
activity has that capability? The term hypersurface is not simply attributed new
meaning, but instead results from a catastrophic defection from a realm of
linguistic ideality (mathematics). If ideals, as they are held in a linguistic
realm, can no longer support or sustain their purity and disassociation, then
such terms and meanings begin, in effect, to 'fall from the sky'. This is to
describe the deterritorialisation of idealisation into a more material real. In
the new sense for hypersurface, 'hyper' is not in binary relation to surface, it
is a new reading that describes a complex condition within architectural
surfaces in our contemporary life-world.

When we are seeing infomercials exalting the age-reversing properties of coral calcium and James Van Praagh, Ghost Whisperer for our time, contacting Marilyn Monroe at Forest Lawn, we can see what Perella means. Lived conditions, these existential sensibilities, altering our perceptions.

Let's get back to the deconstructed, deterritorialized consumer subject. When political analysts are scrutinizing Al Gore's snicker at George Bush in the 2000 presidential debates and Sarah Palin's folksisms ("you Betcha"), we are seeing people deconstructed by their attributes. When reality TV assembles contestants to evaluate them on performance, motivations, teamsmanship, personality, we are seeing people indiscriminately broken into components and judgements heaved upon them. The ideal image of the contestant is cooperative, hard-working, tireless, and holding celebrity status. It is not based on reality but on promotional image. When a writer's blog features a workshop on the power of personal branding, you know for sure we are being deconstructed. I never thought of myself as a brand; I am a person.

When we in the industrial world are evaluated for our celebrity, for our status, for our selling power, we are somehow not ourselves any more. We are deconstructed and deterritorialized images of ourselves, like our bodies (evaluated for sex appeal) up on some LED board in Las Vegas hustling for Benetton. I believe fleeing capital due to the unjust paractices of mishandled Globalization creates a crunched market and necessitates hyper competition. So, we disgard weakness in favor of uber selfhood. We see image and not the reality of starvation, AIDS, and poverty in our own post-industrial landscapes. We cannot see how we are being lost in a sea of signs, a mediatized culture consuming the consumer.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Qoute of the Week

One who would know the secrets of nature must practice more humanity. ~Henry David Thoreau Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Revealing the Truth about Revealing the Truth

In 1949 Martin Heiddeger delivered four lectures to the Bremen Club that eventually became the essay, "The Question Concerning Technology." He relates how technology is to him not about technical and scientific methods of production nor inventions based on those principles. It is a way of revealing beings. Poiesis, bringing-forth, is what the craftsman does when he produces an object.

Revealing in the sense of technology has the inherent danger that the revealing will not reveal truth. Heiddeger reveals the essense of technology as a setting-upon of man and nature to turn the earth into a standing-reserve, that is, a storehouse of resources which Man masters. Man extracts from nature everything he needs. The Rhine River is for the purpose of creating hydroelectric power.

Ge-Stell, enframing, is that challenging claim which allows man to reveal nature as standing-reserve. That is a dangerous way to look at the world:

Yet when destining reigns in the mode of enframing, it is the supreme danger.
This danger attests itself to us in two ways. As soon as what is unconcealed
no longer concerns man even as object, but exclusively as standing-reserve,
and man in the midst of objectlessness is nothing but the orderer of the
standing-reserve, then he comes to the brink of a precipitous fall, that is,
he comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-
reserve. Meanwhile, man, precisely as the one so threatened, exalts himself
to the posture of lord of the earth. In this way the illusion comes to
prevail that everything man encounters exists only insofar as it is his
construct. This illusion gives him in turn one final delusion: it seems as
though man everywhere and always encounters only himself...In truth,
however, precisely nowhere does man today any longer encounter himself,
i.e., his essence.

While enframing endangers the truth by keeping up the standing reserve, man can be the agent by which the truth will be revealed.

I have to give ghost credit to a web page I read about a two years ago that said the way we use information now is like Heidegger's standing-reserve. Please let me know, readers, whether you can find this page. Think about this. Don't we just mine Google and other search engines when we need information? Are we doing deductive reasoning now? With a vast reservoir of info at our disposal, we have become mesmerized by information. Knowledge could be an arsenal of intellectual weaponry to use to fight subjugation. We could use the database to fight the official narrative and then come up with our own dialectics, each person his own inventor of new ideas. This poesis, bringing-forth, could help us redefine our world and our place in it.

I believe the powers that be want to keep us dependent on the standing-reserve of knowledge so that we do not shake up the power structure. The powers are pulling a Svengali's trick on us by having us dependent on factoids and mesmerized by the Internet. Few people use the expansive standing reserve to generate new configurations

Just as the railroad coralled people off the farms and into the factories in 1820's and 1830's England, the Internet, when it is used as standing reserve, restricts thought. As Heidegger warned, with ubiquitous information at our fingertips, we encounter only ourselves. We are part of the standing reserve. Our consciousnesses are becoming part of the system. That system is Capitalism.

You may have noticed that any time at all you invoke a term on the search bar, you get ads. Knowledge is now associated with consumption. This is a dangerous development, as knowledge is tainted with powerful forces more than ever. It always has been, but now it is ever-present that it is second nature to us that we are in buying mode when we go to the storehouse of knowledge.

Consider the ways that computers alienate us from eachother. People talk less to others. Email precludes personal interactions -phones, while distancing, allow give and take and emotional connection. Answering machines do not. How many minutes at the outer limits would you stay on hold? The IRS kept me on hold for one hour and thirty seven of them. And answering machines confine your choices. How many times have you had a question which couldn't be found on the directory?

Our identities themselves are getting alloyed with Information Age technology. The pervasiveness of Facebook and MySpace underscores this. A friend of mine didn't contact me in over two months while abroad. When she did, it was in the form of a brief email saying, "Hey, check out my Facebook profile!" So much for asking how I was or having a human interaction. We become virtual selves, and the danger is great that we are losing touch with real, physical and mental, suffering in the real world. I am sure forces are aware of this, and that this is not coincidental.

Heidegger relates the meaning of technikon, part of techne (technology) as more than the work of the craftsman bringing forth objects. It is also about art. And poiesis, bringing-forth, is poetic.

Once there was a time when the bringing-forth of the true into the
beautiful was called techne. The poiesis of the fine arets was
also called techne.

Heidegger tells us how in Ancient Greece art was not an aesthetic enterprise. It was a revealing that aimed at the safekeeping of truth. Its job was to reveal truth. That is possibly what John Keats meant when he wrote, "Truth is beauty, beauty truth." So, it was the supreme danger that the enframing and challenging Heidegger wrote of would reveal only himself, but not his essence. That is the false revealing through the techne. Art is the technikon which can reveal the truth of man's existence.

If we allow our minds and identities to rely on all information as something we extract, and we do not deduce our own thoughts, we will become victims of our own exploitation of resources. Deduction is artistic in that we take information from other sources and then creatively reconfigure ideas.

The act of making art is a search for truth. We should make sure our mastery of the earth and information does not confuse what we know from what we could know.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quote of the Week

The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure ~ Laurence J. Peter Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeling Confined Lately?

Some processes eat away our rights, yet we can't see them in action. We feel the pinch, but accounting for our diminished rights and happiness is elusive to most.

I was reading today about the system of Enclosure, which existed in England and Wales between the 12th to the 19th centuries. Lands, whether in common hands or private lords' hands were held in common for the use of anyone who cared to farm them. During the Tudor period especially, lords discovered they could make more from the lands by grazing sheep there. Arable lands were now pasture lands.

The Inclosure Acts of the 18th and 19th centuries took common lands out of public hands by escheat whether they were solely from common trust or were already privately owned and used by commoners. This system reached its zenith between 1760 and 1832. Middlemarch deals with land enclosures in service of another animal, the "iron pig" of the railroad.

Marxist scholars assert the act of enclosing space extended private yeomanship and created a landless laboring class who were forced to seek work in the new industries. Those were sheparding and shearing, and, from 1780 to the 1820's, factory work.

I see a new form of enclosure happening in industrial nations. It is the kind that sneaks up on us and is so insidious that we may not see it. It is a kind of virtual enclosure for the virtual age.

There is, to start, a physical delimiting of actual space. There are fewer public places where we can speak our minds. The ancient Greeks had the agora. We really have few spaces for citizens where we can speak our minds freely at any time. You need permits for protest marches. There are few Speaker Corners (London's Hyde Park). Colleges, libraries, and meeting halls are about all we have.

If we speak our minds and displease the owners of private property, they claim the power of private property. Owners can "trespass" you (notice how trespass became a verb about 2002). You can be trespassed lately for being rude to the desk staff or for complaining about policies. This is a way of shrinking individual rights and tightening the gag on freedom of speech.

You can even be trespassed for sleeping in the public library. And have you noticed that public libraries are letting the private sector creep in? There are cafes and restaurants in libraries now. The fees on copying have risen. I was also told I would have to buy a copy card for $1, which I could keep. The librarian said, "you get three free copies. Copies are 15 cents." That begs the question: what happens to the other 55 cents? The manager told me it goes for upkeep. Shouldn't we just pay for the copies? This is a public institution bilking the public for revenue just as a private company would.

A man I know suggested the city of Boston keep out the "troublemakers" by closing off the pedestrian thoroughfare section of Washington Street and covering it with a glazed arcade, such as the Galeria Emmanuelle in Milan. Maybe we should turn Boston Common into a private park, Sir, and have Verizon sponsor it.

Have you noticed that stadiums are now sponsored by companies? There's the Verizon Wireless Arena, the Tweeter Center, Gilette Stadium. This nomenclature tells the public that companies own more and more of our world.

All those security cameras create another enclosure of space and restriction of our freedoms. Surveillance keeps us in line. We don't have the same sense of freedom of expression or mobility.

Most of us have to work harder and longer to keep up with bills. We are getting shut out of our money, property, and leisure time while the billionaires and hudreds-millionaires, the new lords, are expanding their "estates."

It is not all virtual reductions. Lords are now finding ways to reduce the property and spaces of the common people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the lords of real estate. Instead of common land enclosure, we have mortgage forclosure.

What scares me even more than those developments is the true virtuality of land-grabbing. Information, which should be free and accessible to all is now restricted in ways. For about four years after the terror of 9/11 American news networks broadcast very few stories criticizing the Bush Administration, especially over the Iraq War.

Consider that the Web was, before 2000, the equivalent of the card catalog at the library, wherein most of it was text and images related to subjects. Starting in 2000 the advertisers caught on and, since then, it is a forum for ads. No matter what subject you tap in, you are bound to get an ad that may have nothing to do with the subject. In this way the Net is eroding free thought (as long as we comply). We have to use it as the expansive tool it is.

Let's be wary of how space, whether real or virtual, is shrinking at the hands of the lords of industry. We have more to lose than vegetables.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Problem with Finances

Now, I'm no Marxist scholar, but here is how a friend of mine who is put it. He said capital must realize itself for it to work. I found the below on the Web.

The product is therefore not only a commodity, but a commodity pregnant with
surplus-value." ...

These commodities - "pregnant" now with
"surplus-value" - are "commodity capital." They must be sold - transformed into
money - to realize their "value" sufficiently not just to cover the "productive
costs" of wages, industrial materials consumed and the wear and tear of
production, but also to realize their "surplus value" sufficiently to cover the
capitalist's "unproductive costs" - such as overhead, rent, taxes, financial
expenditures - plus a profit. &

According to my friend, one problem with Capitalism is that its Capital is not going to be realized. That is because workers have less free time and smaller wages to spend. I added that workers need to be producers, but they also need to be consumers. They have less time and money to hold up the economy. We are not a big exporter, and so our markets can't expand outside our borders. We need money to be spent here, and that is falling.

I, myself, believe we will further lose our competitive edge due to the fact that workers have less free time in which to educate themselves with the skills of the new global economy. They should be taking adult ed classes, training programs, learning computer skills, and (God forbid) reading. The young are doing this, but the workforce is not only the young. We need to give more leisure time to workers for the sake of education. By the way, hobbies are productive in helping us learn.

So, more leisure time and greater wages will help us stem the loss of our economy. The key to a healthy, productive populace is a happy, rested populace. Let's start with that, and maybe later we can talk on Marx.

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Quote of the Week

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.~Thomas Henry Huxley Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Do We Really Want to be Number One?

I was reading an article in the May, 2008 issue of Boston Magazine. The Feature editorial was on power, apropos of this post. In the departments section is an amusing article called "Confessions" by Lisa Liberty Becker. It's on her own and parents opposition to all-day kindergarten in Concord, Massachusetts. It passed.

What struck me was her reference to "preschool tutoring" (page 92). What in the Hell is preschool tutoring? You know, I didn't even want to bother Googling it - sort of a tacit protest that such a monstrosity exists. I did anyhoo, and here is a preschool tutoring link. Now I can die. I've seen it all.

You may remember a feature on Nightline called "Inside the Cutthroat Preschool Wars" from 2006 on the savage competition of parents to get their children into elite preschools in San Francisco and New York City.

There was a cartoon in the New Yorker a few years ago (sorry, I couldn't locate) of one little boy telling another that he couldn't hang out with him now that Globalization has made free time more scarce.

The need to stay on top of the world is now petering down to the way we raise our children. Actually, it has since we've been on top (1918), but we always had the economic fat to fall back on. We generally left competition to Little League and that crucible of preparation for the adult rat race, high school.

But now, market forces brought on by Globalization; the rise of China and India; the Seven Tigers; and, let's not forget, the greater disparity in income distribution is causing some to throw their most precious assets into the marketplace. "My kid will have an advantage, even if it means all day kindergarten!"

Do we really want to keep up our standard of living if it means we can't enjoy life any more, are worked to the bone, and are possibly doing irreperable psychological harm to our offspring?

Maybe it's time we give up on our standard of living. Maybe it's time to get a new standard. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where Will You Go?

I am always looking for discrepancies in religion. I think the Bible has to account for its contradictions with proper dialectics. Here's a case. If you are good, you go to Heaven when it is your time. If you are bad, well, you know. That suggests God and the Devil are parties in a kind of supernal court fighting for your soul, that they are subject to an independent system of justice. Therefore, God, wouldn't be the foremost power.

The next contradiction I found has to do with Satan. Why would he take delight in punishing evil souls? He celebrates, encourages, invites, and foments evil. He should want to promote those evil souls to demons.

Another trouble spot is in God's love. If God loves us so much, doesn't he love us in Hell? If we have free will, why can't we redeem ourselves from Hell and choose to love God? Why should our power of free will end when we depart our bodies? And why is this system finite? Systems change on Earth; they should be able to change in Heaven and Hell.

...just some thoughts Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thought of the Week

Humanity is what we practice when the pantry is full.

I said that Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quote of the Week

Civilization is a slow process of adopting the ideas of minorities.

Herbert Prochnow Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Pat Robertson at the Forum

The Religious Right spews so much cant in the name of Jesus. You know, if they were alive at that time, they would have denounced Christ. Christ was a radical who defied Roman authority and had a new concept of wealth and human interactions. The Christain Right is composed of ultra-conservatives who try to conserve the old ways of power and of thinking. They would have followed Roman law to the Roman letter.

In Pat Robertson mimicry:

Roman friends, I want you to know that Venus loves you. And Venus loves you so much, she wants you to send 30 Derarii to The United Church of Pagan Idolatry. It will help with getting out the message to our young people to get invoved in any cults they so choose. And I want to say something about this seditious upstart Hippy, Jesus Christ. With all his talk of peace, and love, and universal brotherhood, he is corrupting the youth of Judea. Why, they are not making sacrifices any more. They're not attending orgies or vomotoria. What is happening to our morals? I haven't seen a golden cow in months.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Classic/Fantastic: Apollo versus Dionysus

We all know examples of the orderly in art. Think of the Classical world of ancient Greece and Rome with art in the form of perfectly-shaped urns and the ideal of the Discus Thrower. We have also seen art from the irrational side of the brain in the work of Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. It is rare to have an art show which juxtaposes the rational and irrational impulses at the same time. In doing so, each side is more illuminating, and we see how we depend on both in our personalities.

An ongoing show entitled Classic/Fantastic: From the Modern Design Collection opened in December of 2007 in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is a minor show, yet sometimes a little can say a lot. The ongoing show demonstrates the dual and dueling parts of the human mind.

In The Birth of Tragedy the Frederich Nietzsche distinguished two principles from ancient Greek philosophy, the Apollonian and the Dionysian. Everything that maintains man's or things' individuality and that makes distinctions between things is Apollonian: "...all types of form or structure are Apollonian, since form serves to define or individualize that which is formed..." (Steven Kreis, 2000. See last link). According to Nietzsche (see Kreis' website), rational thought is Apollonian due to it being structured and that it makes distinctions. All types of form and structure are Apollonian, according to Kreis, and "...sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effect."

That which is Dionysian opposes that which is Apollonian. Music and bacchanalian debauches from Roman times are Dionysian, as they dissolve man's individualism in favor of mass activity. Man gives up his reasoning power and takes on attributes, i.e. enthusiasm, ecstasy, and instinct. He joins irrational and mass behavior. he submerges himself in the greater whole, says Kreis. Surrealist art represents symbols from the irrational mind.

On the Apollonian side, for example is the "Capiletto Chair" shaped like a capital (in ruins) from the Classical world. It was designed by Studio 65 in 1971. The show's curator, Jared Goss, imparts how the designers were rebelling against the functionalism of the International Style and how the instantly recognizable image is linked to Pop Art. The fact that the chair is made of foam rubber underscores that.

Another take on the capital is the Taccia company's lamp of 1962 by Achille Castiglione. The base is a fluted metal column. A glass cone subs for capital. It is Classic and Modern. One could say the pool of light that emanates is akin to the Apollonian sense of learning.

Let's stay rational for a while longer. The urn may epitomize Greek and Roman rational art, as it positions idealized figures in idealized activities. The urn's face recreates the Classic world as thinkers of the day envisaged. Each character on the urn is individuated and has a singular purpose. The form of the urn itself individuates its own forming (see Nietzsche link).

A wonderful urn of porcelain by the famous Gio Ponti called La passaeggiata archeologica is somewhat Art Deco in its cartoon-like stylizations. According to the show's curator, Gio Ponti was a Modernist who respected tradition. I myself believe that Modernism, in its rational concern for the betterment of man and rejection of irrational waste and corruption is felicitous to the Apollonian concept. The urn presents Classical imagery from ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and the NeoClassical age. The Modern stylings work well with the Classical vocabulary.The masonry motif is particulary whimsical. Note that each figure is individuated.

On the Dionysian side - and, incidentally, side is quite literal here, as the two galleries are side-by-side - are strange works of art that may defy rational explanation. Consider a serving dish for fish (presumably) by Henning Koppel of Denmark. Its clam shape is more than the odd stylizations of fruits de mer on bouillabaisse pots of the Renaissance. Here the object is the concept. It seems to be Apollonian at first due to the intact nature of its form, that individuates the clam. The "clam" is the form, after all. What could be more Apollonian? I think the reason the dish is on this side of the divide is that it borrows heavily from Surrealism. Think of Paul Klee's fish against the black void, or Dali's ants and tigers. The clam is no idealized form such as the Discus Thrower. There's nothing noble about a clam. In Surrealism like in no other art style, emblems from Jung's Collective Unconscious come to the fore and supersede logic. The clam, then, is Dionysian as it loses its individuality by being part of an art movement, Surrealism, and therefore out of the collective world of dreams. Surrealist and Dionysian art should let the viewer submerge with the greater whole of nature. The clam is more than a clam.

A hand table - not what you are thinking - makes its bizarre appearance. It is by Costa Achillopoulo and from 1934, in the heart of the Surrealist movement. Mr. Goss indicates that the table also functions as sculpture. Disembodied hands were prominent in Surrealism -the left hand in particular symbolized the irrational. The cloudlike element from which the hand emerges, Mr. Goss says, may represent the transition from the unconscious to the conscious. You cannot use it as a functional item without a feeling of discomfit, I believe. It must have elicited unusual conversations at cocktail parties.
The "Architettura" drop-front desk by Piero Fornasetti and Gio Ponti from 1952 is a tour de force. The illusionistic work seems to depict one palace or public building, but look again. the three levels are incongruent, and the leaves of the front may or may not be of the palace facade. There is an architectural inset hovering on the staircase. It conjures up the technique of collage in Modernism and Surrealism, whereby incompatible objects are juxtaposed in time and space to disorient the viewer and, hopefully, access his unconscious.

My favorite items are textile samples circa 1900 by an unknown designer. Mr. Goss says the organic quality may have been inspired by advances in medical science, namely serums and antibiotics, as the motifs look like microscopic specimens. Here rational science meets the incongruence of the bedroom, parlor, or dress. By turning microscopic organisms into decorative designs, the creator entered the realm of the illogical mind. The germs and bacilli become monsters ready to devour the family at home (if they were wallpaper) or wearer (if they were for a dress). The comfort of scientific, rational study degenerates into the uncertainty of the world of chaos, violence, terror. While the other art in the show kept on either side of the Apollonian/Dionysian credo, these textiles give us an uneasy alloy. It's not so easy to keep the two kingdoms apart always.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quote of the Week

I'd say I'm doing just peachy, but peaches are now $1.79 a pound.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Egyptian City of Akhetaten: Does this Remind You of Anything?

Between 1347 and 1332 BCE, also understood as in the late Eighteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom, a remarkable transformation took place in Egypt. Over a fifteen year span existed a city, Akhetaten (today called Tell el-Amarna) which broke the rules of two millenia of gods worship and artistic expression. It was a radical new concept of monotheism after eighteen dynasties of polytheism. Art was now naturalistic instead of formal and static. People, too, changed their ideas and created a new lifestyle.

The mastermind behind this transformation of minds was Akhenaten, the son of Amenhotep (Amenophis)III. The one god his devotees followed was Aten. Although Aten, the sun god, existed for centuries, his cult was now the only game in town - town being Akhetaten, "the horizon of the Aten." Akhenaten built his first temples to Aten in Karnak but, wanting to remove his followers from past associations, took his court and many subjects to the east bank of the Nile to construct the new city.

According to Professors Barry Kemp and Jerry Rose of the Amarna Project, a very high proportion of the people, according to paleontology, suffered from short stature and early death due to iron deficiency in childhood. Add to that an epidemic, and life must have been very hard prior to the Amarna period.

Akhenaten might have responded to the desperation of his new subjects by rejecting the older generation's ways in favor of a new set-up. He and his wife Nefertiti and their up to six daughters set up court in the new city. Tuthmose was his most famous artist who created the groundbreaking style. To quote Dr. Kemp: "We must assume that Akhenaten incurred the hostility of the priests of the old cults, particularly the powerful priests of the god Amun at Thebes.

Let's see. Crisis of the old regime. A lack of faith in the old ways. A questioning of authority and religion. New concepts of art. New depictions of reality. Young people speaking their minds. Does this all remind you of anything?

If you're going to Akhetaten
Be sure to wear some lotus in your hair
If you're going to Akhetaten
You're gonna meet some monotheists there

For those who come to Akhetaten
Sunny rays descend from Aten's flair
In the streets of Akhetaten
Aten's children with lotus in their hair

On the east bank of the Nile, throw out your sundial
People in motion
There's a whole new art style raising old cult priests' bile
People in motion people in motion

For those who come to Akhetaten
Be sure to wear some lotus in your hair
If you come to Akhetaten
Temple time will be for Aten there

If you come to Akhetaten
Akhenaten grants the sun to share

"Hey, Man, try this Frankincense. It'll get you real high."

"I'm tired of my folks and there Middle Kingdom values."

First Egyptian:"Hey, Man, we're going to a party at Tuthmose's Papyrus Factory, you know 'The Factory.'
other Egyptian: "Yeah, isn't he the artist who did Hatshepsot's image repeated like 20 times?"
First Egytian: "Yeah, and his iconic 'Karnak's mallow soup can 20 times."

See insets below. It's a love-in (with some unwanted guests)

These young people are followed by the National Guard sent by the old priests in Thebes. Some kids under Abu Haaf-Aman tried to levitate the chariot house of Ay.

"What a field day for The Heat, a thousand devotees in the street."

"Why don't we paint these in day-glow hieroglyphics?"

Thebes doesn't fool around. Akhenaten has to reign in the Vizier's "Gestapo tactics."

These are the "people in motion."

"Free stuff for everyone! More stuff at the Wart Hog Farm!"

Veggie food, of course.

This girl band is part of the Mo-Town (Memphis Town) music scene. Mo-Town is where they make all the chariots.

You've got it. A commune. But what's this about work? We feel the rays of the Aten. Groovy!

Remember readers: There's nothing new under the sun. Akhetaten and its subsequent revolutions will come around again.

Life, Man

Credit to Scott McKenzie for the lyrics to "San Francisco". Credit to Buffalo Springfield for "For What it's Worth" (1966). Credit to Googleimage for the photo of the Ankh. Credit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, U.S.A. for the far out show, "Pharaohs of the Sun" in 1999-2000. Thanks go to Professor Barry Kemp of the Amarna Project.
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

I was doing a telemarketing pitch (your opinions of me probably just went down a few pegs) to a limo co. on possibly selling gift cards to them for their employee incentive program. The woman there said: "I'm sorry. We offer other 'infringements' to our employees." Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Humor. Har, Har!

I think George Bush should be up on Mount Rushmore.

He could clean out Lincoln's nose.
Then he could wax Teddy Roosevelt's moustache.

At a classical music concert the condutor should get to the podium and say: "Hey Flower Children, artfully arranged, there is some bad acid going around." Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

The Tao of the Dow: The Market Creeping into the Soul

The triumph of neoliberal market Capitalism since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has colored many aspects of our lives. We have seen a "Coke Day" in a Georgia high school, Oprah Winfrey making a guest appearance on "Colonial House" on PBS, and the allowance of private concessions vendors in the national parks (I worked with them).

With globalization we see intense competition in industrial nations and capitalism becoming Hyper-capitalism. Free trade is entering every aspect of our lives. Now, you would think religion was a hands-off affair. Not so, if you take a look at what is happening in some of our places of worship and in the relgious merchandise catalogs.

Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion by J. Carrette and Richard King deals with the corruption of the spiritual realm by very worldly aims. The authors write:

“What is being sold to us as a radical, trendy, and transformative
spirituality in fact produces little in the way of a significant change in one’s
lifestyle or fundamental behavior patterns (with the possible exception of
motivating the individual to be more efficient and productive at work). By
‘cornering the market’ on spirituality, such trends actually limit the socially
transformative dimension of the religious perspectives…”

“A religion of feel-good affluence reassures the consuming public that religion
can indeed be just another feature of the capitalist world with little or no
social challenge to offer to the world of business deals and corporate
takeovers. Spirituality is appropriated for the market instead of offering a
countervailing social force to the ethos and values of the business world.”

J. Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion, (Routledge, 2005), pages 1, 5-6, 126.

My search for work in advertising led me to a webpage touting advertising as "a spiritual endeavor."

To get slightly off topic (off road without a map), I want to tack on something you readers might find of interest. Do you remember how advertising was once (60's - early 90's) synonymous with selling out, with slickness, with snookering the unsuspecting consumer? I came across a job announcement I dare not put a link to on this post. It said the advertising position required "honest and integrity." The times have changed.

Thanks to Aaron Ghiloni for the book quotes.

Thanks to images.google.com and flickr.com (seller) for the photo of the Buddha for $49.95.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Curses on Censorship

Here's a promising article that should give the on-line community some platform shoes, so we can walk a little taller. It's just another step in making information free and accessible everywhere.

Director of technical research Nart Villeneuve, for example, went to Kyrgyzstan last year just before a controversial general election in February, when internet sites for opposition newspapers were being shut down.

"Eventually we decided to host some of the sites here so that we could document the extent of the denial of service attack and track where it was coming from," he said.

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Quote of the Week

Reality doesn't always look like the map.

I said that. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Health Care Bennies of the Near Future

In the not so distant future...

at a health care company

Applicant: Do you provide health benefits?
Manager: Oh yes, see for yourself. [opens a first aid kit and shows bandaids, snake anti-venom, iodine, Ace bandages, and syrup of Ipecac]. And the co-pays are reasonable Bandaids are a quarter. Gauze pads are 75 cents. Splints are $4. If you ask for anti-smoking advice, it's $10. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Credit Given

The post on the Death Penalty of June 28 did not credit the source of the video from The Mission. Here is the link from imdb, the International Movie Database. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

When Simon Raised an Eyebrow

I never thought raising an eyebrow could get you into trouble. Not so. Simon Cowell, the vitriolic judge of American Idol known for skewering less talented contestants, got into a flap over just such an offense. After a competitor finished a song, he made an expression of tenderness to the families of Virginia Tech shooting victims. It seems that, while this was happening, Simon tapped the desk in impatience, rolled his eyes, and raised an eyebrow.

Cowell explained that he never meant to disrespect victims' families. He was, as video bears out, commenting to Paula Abdul on that contestant's use of a nasal tone while singing 'Mayberry.' That shuts that case.

Is anyone else disturbed by this? Even if Simon had been raising the eyebrow in question (It would probably be to sneer at the contestant's motivation behind the comment, such as to win sympathy votes), is it anyone's business on what we do with our eyebrows? He was not vocalizing disdain for this man, or thowing up his arms in displeasure.

In this age of surveillance we don't even have the right to our expressions any more. Everything is now up for public scrutiny. We live without privacy when we are in public. By that I mean what was once the private realm, such as our expressions, gestures, and movements have become public rights.

I read an article that seems to turn something called facial coding into something like a science. The piece describes the trustworthiness of various C.E.O.'s, such as Warren Buffet, based on their smirks, pursed lips, fixed gazes, and the dreaded "wandering eye."

Facial coding is used at a few airports with the idea that terrorists are angry people, and study of their faces would reveal minute but tell-tale signs of that anger. I know many other people who are angry at the airport. guess why. But, if the practice is working, let it be.

The above investigation into our facial ticks, scrunched eyes, and crinkled noses has spilled over into aspects of life completely unconnected with the Pakistan/Afghan border. Simon is a prime case.

There are now books instructing us how to decode body language.

The book The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara and Allan Pease (Bantam Books, 2006) claims that "It is a scientific fact that people's gestures give away their true intentions." Maybe it is true, but I don't think we can connect every gesticulation or expression of the face to what is happening at that moment. What do we do about the "bad day"? you know the bad day, those days when we wake up as if we're ready for trench warfare. That mood will come out in a person's face and body, but it may have nothing to do with the conversation in the copy room. Facial coding and body language decoding can detect feelings but not reasons. People have internal motivations. I knew a woman who often entered a room with daggers in her eyes. When you asked her simple questions, she looked contemptuous, as if she wanted to kill you. It turns out she was molested as a child and carried this anger with her all the time. Using the science of facial or body language, I might hypothesize that she was lying to me when she answered questions with a snarl. I know better, however.

I've known fractious, jumpy people who actually have hearts of gold. You can't judge a book by its cover (unless it's the one to the above right). We had a relative who was all smiles all the time, until there was money involved. Then she stabbed us in the backs. You couldn't tell her true nature from her face.

Michelangelo was given to fits of rage and lunacy. Should we have deduced, if we were living in his day, that he was a malefactor? No, because he also created art for the benefit of humanity.

Look at Bob Dylan's kisser. It looks moody, sarcastic, and disrespectful. That's part of his charm. His music is ironic to expose the corruption and duplicity in the world. If we judged Dylan by his face and body language, we wouldn't see the underpinnings of love in his heart.

If we want to define people by every non-verbal cue, we might be shutting off the full dimensions of those people.

And what of the quote they always throw at you in interviewing seminars: "First impressions are last impressions." I have not found it in my experience that that is the case. I've talked to people who were cold at first who then softened over the conversations. I've known people who showed all the facial expressions and body language of being congenial and fully engaged with me but who never called me back to honor favors.

This transparency is not about greater freedom to interpret eachother. It's about limiting freedom so that we don't see the true nature of people, their full dimensions.

Simon can raise his eyebrow any time he wants in my estimation.
Stuart Kurtz
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Fools on Parade

Foolish Quote of the week:

While my aunt, her friends, and I were talking about the heightened sense of security due to terrorism, her friend looked at me and said, "He's suspect too. Look, he's got black hair."

My hair is dark brown, by the by. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Fools on Parade

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deeper into the Death Penalty

Some concepts from a panoply of sources can aid us in further discussions of Capital Punishment. Consider the view of the Society of Friends, the Quakers and the Quaker view of the Death Penalty. John Wilmerding's treatise called "Equity-Restorative Justice vs. Capital Punishment", published in THE QUAKER ABOLITIONISTS, spring, 1997 issue (found by clicking Quaker View on the Death Penalty in above link) is about the concept of Shalom. It is about restorative justice, which is in the Bible. The peace of Shalom, as Mr. Wilmerding explains, is the "presence of all creative powers." It contains wholeness, integrity, and other human virtues. "Shalom Justice" places a premium on human relationships, and only then mentions acts of individuals.

The Death Penalty fails to restore Shalom. What can restore it after murder is that the guilty may rectify crimes. Incarceration can certainly be a part of that, but more can occur between perpetrators and victims. Mr. Wilmerding writes of Victim-Offender Mediation. Family members thus derive benefits from meeting killers of their loved ones. In addition, the murderers may receive grace through transformation by way of the intervention of victims' families. In these transformative experiences, seldom though they may be, a small number of killers may become penitent for their crimes and then seek to restore Shalom. Putting criminals to death prevents that small number to find remorse and Shalom. There are no second chances.

The 1986 film, The Mission, by Roland Joffe follows Robert de Niro's character, a vial slave trader, also guilty of fratricide, finds redemption under the tutelage of a Jesuit priest (watch clip embedded below). He then repents in one of Mr. de Niro's best acting scenes. His redemption takes the form of serving the Guarani people in South America. When the church asks the priests to abandon their work and take up arms against the natives, de Niro's character becomes a freedom fighter for the natives. Out of his expiation comes a much greater good. He will try to defend more natives than the victims he created.

To draw out a religious view of justice further consider that, in a higher system of justice, a religious one, Heaven and Hell are fixed and timeless concepts. Why do we commit to Hell (or to oblivion in a secular view) a person who has committed a murder in a single point in time? What happens regarding the good deeds he has done in life or will potentially later do? Looking back in time, we might take into account that he was once an infant with no concept of right and wrong. Now that scientists are postulating as many as eleven parallel universes, we may consider the flaw of condemning persons in one place, in one time. Multiple universes suggest multiple perspectives.

Then there is the question of the legitimacy of our concepts of justice. The teenager who sports black clothing and claims to worship the devil might warrant a call to a psychiatrist. But in the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries, he would have been burned as a witch. This example shows the lack of stability and constancy of criteria by which we execute.

Don't we all have the potential to viciously kill? Consider those photos of towns in the U.S. from Reconstruction times right into the 1930's of towns people posing in front of lynching victims. (Warning: the preceding link contains very graphic and upsetting images of lynchings).

Are we to capture the few, albeit very old, surviving members of lynch mobs and arraign them with capital punishment being the ultimate goal? We won't. They were protected by the regnant and current system of justice at the time. It was not on the books to permit lynchings, but they were tolerated nevertheless.Yet it is alright for certain states to uphold the Death Penalty. This denies the Fourteenth Amendment of equal protection under the law.

Truth depends on what is currently held to be true, on the vagaries of fashion. Aspects of our justice system today will primitive in a twenty or thirty years. By then it will look barbaric to legally kill. If we perpetuate Capital Punishment, we deny the guilty the chance to receive stays of execution in the next few decades. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Monday, June 9, 2008

Red Sox Brawl - what would you and I get?

Fan outrage over the suspensions in the fallout from the Red Sox - Rays brawl runs pretty deep.
The devoted on both sides are licking their wounds over the decisions: Coco Crisp = out 7 games; John Lester = 5; Sean Casey = 3; 5 Rays suspensions. All tolled there were eight suspensions totaling 38 games. "Where's the justice?," ask some fans. Has anyone considered what you and I would get for taking swings at people in public? Huh? Hello, they call it assault and battery, and it often carries jail time.

Let's take another infamous donnybrook in sports: the 2004 Pacers - Pistons brawl. To summarize: Piston forward/center Ben Wallace was fouled by Pacer forward, Ron Artest. Wallace shoved Artest. An altercation ensued between several players. After shenanigans by Artest, fans got involved. One, John Green, threw a cup at Artest, and Artest took it to the stands. Other fans threw beer and soda; one threw a chair. Pacers attacked spectators, nine of whom were injured. The players got suspended totaling 143 games. A few got charged with assault and battery, out of which Bryant Jackson got two years probation. But John Green? Well, he was acquitted of throwing the cup but charged with punching Artest in the stands. He got 30 days in jail and 2 years probation.

I don't know, readers. Does something seem amiss here? Maybe you are spotting a trend when sports stars/movie stars/pop stars break the law. We should be asking ourselves about the double standard thing.

Take, for instance, the Russell Crowe arrest at the Mercer Hotel in New York City in 2005. The Aussie bad boy got into a lather because the hotel reception clerk could not connect him to his wife Down Under by phone. Crowe chucked a desk phone at the clerk, causing a nasty gash in his head. He was sentenced to conditional release and to pay $100,000 to settle the civil suit out of court. Jail time? Nope.

Leggy supermodel, Naomi Campbell's arrest for assault and battery against two London police officers made quite a stir this year. When hearing her bag did not make it on the flight to the U.S., Campbell kicked and spat at the police and had to be removed from the plane. Her sentence was 200 hours community service, 200 pound fines to each officer, and 150 pound to the captain. She might have gotten 6 months in jail. But she didn't. She's a celebrity.

The incident broaches another bone to stick in our throats. This is a case of Air Rage. Yes, Air Rage, that very unfunny bout of hysterics that is a little unsettling in this age of airtight security. One passenger was jailed for 12 months for assaults on a plane bound to the U.K. from Turkey. Campbell took off a few pounds - 950 to be exact - and has to dole out the cookies on Guy Fawkes Day. But, hey, she still looks terrific!

D.U.I., once earning a night in the slammer or stern warnings by the Highway Patrol, has become more crushing in the last twenty years or so. In California for first offense, non-injury, you could get 48 hours to 6 months in jail, fines of up to $1000, license suspension of 4 months, and 3 years probation. For the second offense jail time can be 90 - 120 days, fines same, and suspension of a year. That is, unless you are a celeb.

Lindsay Lohan's arrests for D.U.I. and hit and run in May of 2007 entailed a plea by the actress. The sentence was one day in the slammer, 10 days community service, and mandatory drug treatment (the last has become very fashionable). She was sentenced to 96 hours but had to serve only 48 of them. She lucked out with credit for time served and ended up with only one day more.

The plot thickens. Lohan was later that year charged with chasing her assistant's mother in her car, drunk driving, possession of Cocaine, and driving on a suspended license stemming from the May charges. She was earlier booked with the May charges. Wearing a SCRAM ankle bracelet and getting routine drug tests was part of the deal. Her jail stay from the May charges was 45 minutes long. What does M.A.D. think of her? I wonder.

In this time of Christian moralism at a high water mark, let's look at the embarrassments of Indecent Exposure. It may have gone over in the '70's on Broadway with Oh! Calcutta! and on a few California beaches, but it you are more likely to cool your body parts in a holding tank these days. Not so Janet Jackson. Her 'wardrobe malfunction', whatever that is, got her bosses at CBS appealing a $550,000 fine. The Superbowl half-time performance also featured Nelly and a crotch-grabbing performance. Jackson and Nelly get nuthin', but check this out: A court sentenced a Montana man to 225 years for indecent exposure. His three counts will run consecutively, not concurrently. He's locked up where he can do no more malice. Jackson is probably preparing her costume designers for the next 'malfunction'. And Justin Timberlake doesn't even get a dishonorable mention award for his 'shagadilic' behavior.

Where would American culture be without its pinnacle? I don't mean Moby Dick. I mean The Jerry Springer Show. Midget transvestites and a guy bragging about his relationship with his pet horse are protected under the First. But when it came to dust ups and chairs flying, the Chicago City Council took action. A 1999 hearing statement was to the effect that, if the violence were real, guests could be arrested for fighting. If it were fake, the producers should be exposed as frauds. The prod's toned it down after that. God forbid the Jerry Springer show should look like The Palace of Auburn Hills (see Pacers v. Pistons).

There goes that little question mark over my head. I mean there are still shoving matches and simple assaults on the Jerry Springer set, albeit minus the chair-throwing. Why is it that any time big money is involved the parties involved don't see or see for only a few days the beams of the jailhouse spotlights?

To be fair, I'll have you know Wesley Snipes was sentenced to 3 years for income tax evasion. Sure, but here's the diff.: The guvment wasn't getting its money. When Janet Jackson and the Red Sox do naughty, the cash registers are cranking.

Stuart Kurtz
June 22, 2008

The previously published photo in this blog was courtesy of >Boston.com. The photo was taken by the Associated Press.

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