Lovely day in Kassel, at about 4:30 am, workers from a local construction company began dismantling Olu Oguibe’s “controversial obelisk made for Documenta 14, titled “Monument to Strangers and Refugees,” (“I was a stranger and you took me in”: Matthew 25:35) with two heavy cranes.
By 9:30 am, the obelisk was entirely gone, strapped to a flatbed truck and sent to a construction site on the outskirts of the city (where it now remains).
Because the premise is a lie … was always. Because family feuds are worse, civil wars not and because antisemitism is not exclusive when it comes to who the semites are … because Trump is, Netanyahu is … not …
And so people die. And live without hope … and now less … if that’s possible.
And not to aesthetisise anyone else’s pain, and not to ignore the ancient greek’s misogyny … why is this shit still going on … I’m not naive, just sad and angry.
I avoided it like the plague a few weeks ago but I had thought … and then thought better of it. Sig Sauer .45 and the Confederate Battle Flag — a toxic mix indeed.
Horribly evocative though it seems to be, it lets the rest of the US off the hook and demonises the working class white “yokels” of the South.
It’s just a month since Dylann Roof shot nine people dead in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, and it’s already dropped off the agenda.
But he was a brutal gift to smugness and white liberal superiority: we don’t do that here. Our agents and proxies, mind … and over there, wherever there is.
If monsters didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them to keep all the badness inside us safe.
And there are an awful lot of unpaid wages, relocation allowances, work-related injury awards, wrongful arrest and imprisonment compensation, and so on and so on. I didn’t do it and it isn’t about some vague guilt but don’t we have to pay our bills, take responsibility like grownups and stand on our own two feet, and not on other peoples’ hands. So when do we start paying back? And FFS, when do we stop?
I get where Andy Warhol was coming from — after all Valerie Solanas used a snub-nosed .22 to try to kill him in 1968 — it was also part of his “noticing” of Americans’ weird obsession with death and killing, to say nothing of his own.
Three decades later and things are not getting any better — indeed it’s been described as a war on the poor. And, in America, that often means by white people against black people, whether in suits or with guns.
There are some gruesome figures here.
I know many people here in the UK who believe whole-heartedly that everyone has the right to use lethal force against anyone who scares them or challenges them … I’m just really pleased that they don’t have access to the tools they want.
Tony Martin, who executed a 16 year old Traveller, Fred Barras, outside his house, with an unlicensed shotgun, for burglary, in 1999, in fact only served 3 years and is a hero and exemplar to many.
This is not at all a peace loving country. Go for a walk through Manchester, Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Plymouth, anywhere … on a Saturday night. And racism is not an American thing. And hopeless, half-educated people who can find no place in the world are everywhere and they rant and rave in the night. And privileged, privately educated people who have the world all sewn up are just as likely to espouse such nightmarish views and they have no need of guns.
But there are almost as many privately held weapons as there are people in the US: over 300 million — about half of all the guns in the world, even though they’re just 5% of the population.
About 20000 people a year in America kill themselves with guns and if you try it using a gun, you’re almost certain to succeed.
But nearly 34000 people died at other people’s hands and over 100000 people were shot but didn’t die in 2013.
And there’s no argument for self defence: for every person killed in self defence, 33 are killed criminally.
And so on and so on …
But the domestic arms industry generated $38 billion in 2013 — big business and it’s handguns they sell and it’s handguns that kill.
And you spend a bit of time, as an innocent Brit, surfing American websites where they review these things like toasters and $600 Sig Sauers are “decent” and reliable but not terribly sexy and where models are hyped with excerpts from action movies with macho thugs like Gibson, Willis and Renner wielding x, y or z. You too …
And it’s not as though there’s nothing to be done — Myths about gun control
And … I really don’t know.
I am just sad in the end. And sorry for those families in Charleston.
There’s a struggle for civil rights in America where Black Codes are still lethally applied, people are drowning in the Mediterranean trying to escape from the hell we’ve made of their homelands, and “we” chose to let them, oh, and there’s an existential election coming up at home … and I’m posting about putting up a portfolio of work on The Association of Illustrators website … hmmm … have a powerful need to eat this month.
Hollywood is to film what Detroit was to engineering … or Darfen is to art.
They produce and ship product.
And they do not care over much about quality by any definition.
But they do lay claim to “universality” … hmmm … Homer they ain’t … Shakespeare? One story is one story, not some Jungian Joseph Campbell crap.
Never mind the story tellers from Africa, India and Asia I have never heard of … oh, and never mind the story tellers from Europe and America who don’t make dodgy Mondeos.
But this year they have gone that extra mile to fight back against the SOCJUS nazis of political correctness …
this year because every nominated best director, screenwriter, screenplay adaptor and original score composer is a white man. All the nominated best actors and best supporting actors are white men. All but one of the best picture nominations are about how hard it is being an entitled, genius white man. All the nominated best foreign language film directors are men. All but one of the documentary directors – Laura Poitras for Citizenfour – is a man. In the best picture category, seven films are directed by white men and the eighth, Selma, is directed by a black woman Ava DuVernay, who was snubbed for best director. Bidisha
The diversity group Writers of Colour has highlighted this succinctly with an infographic from Lee and Low books.
It is after all just an industry awards ceremony, like an annual conference of tax advisors in a sticky-floored hotel on a roundabout near Gatwick.
OK … trying to be honest.
I posted just the Muslim part on my Portfolio and now I’m not sure I got it right.
UPDATE: (In fact I’ve swapped it for this “wider” version now.)
Essentialist crap — all muslims are … the jews are … is a major part of what got us into this cesspit … not to mention colonial wars, support for brutal dictatorships, globalisation, proxy wars and all the shit we’ve visited on “our” brown cousins abroad.
I’m accidently privileged — no-one’s going to ask me to choose just one allegiance to my country right or wrong, to a particular religious authodoxy, or to a specific racial identification for that matter.
I’d be hard pressed to find any values I do share with Cameron, Merkel or even Hollande but I pass … as “normal”, vanilla (though I’m not O).
Wow, Europeans have very short memories … all of ‘em 🙂
Still, a blood transfusion might well be a sensible precaution before visitng Birmingham again.
Two dream images, The Sphinx and The Eunuchs … both strangely mythic.
I’m not sure either of these really make a great deal of sense, intellectually, but both of them forced their way out and on to the screen unbidden and in their own ways are compelling so I’ve added both to my portfolio.
Dream images are the clearest, the purest … but also the hardest to predict or control.
The St Louis Police in Ferguson, NYPD in New York, police officers across the US “see” danger in black men, they are often genuinely afraid, they feel threatened and they respond with terminal force. Racial bias against black men is the norm in the US and probably here in the UK too. But it is not natural … it is half as common among African Americans as their Caucasian colleagues … it is cultural. And it can be changed.
Three brutalised eunuchs policing the streets on behalf of the ruling class, they do not betray; it is not their job to serve or protect the people who live in those streets.
They are almost blind but can see enough to discern the skin colour of the person in front of them.
They are both impotent and powerful, victims as much as victimisers, kapos … machine-like as well as human, white, Hispanic and African American and yet all painted white.
In my dream they were utterly terrifying and now they match the dream pretty well and yet they are ridiculous, strutting automatons. Well, I suppose they aren’t going to be beating me or anyone else.
And it’s not as though we (in the UK) have room to talk when you look at the figures.
Police routinely detain and search, and more and more, pepper spray and taser anyone who fails to comply, to offer complete deference … when did this become a crime?