Thursday, August 31, 2006

Children's Lessons for Adults

Dr. Suess political cartoon August 13, 1941

For those who think that there is no real fascist threat from the minority radical strains of Islam, a lesson of history from the good Doctor.

Appealing to the good intentions of those who have admitted their goals of wiping Israel off the map and killing as many Americans and other westerners as they can is impossible. Those who choose to believe such an appeal is possible need a children's author to explain reality to them, since they seem unwilling to listen to adult sources.

H/T Charles Johnson via Sissy Willis.

Dr. Suess political cartoon July 3rd, 1941

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Treasures of Yellowstone National Park

These are some of the images from a souvenir book by Haynes Inc. Yellowstone Park, Wyoming (according to the back cover) that my Great Grandfather Andrew picked up on his trip west to see his brother Alfred in San Fransisco sometime in the '20s. I'd had the book for a while, but hadn't looked at it, expecting the typical black and white illustrations of the time. Instead, it had eighteen gorgeous lithographs, on a linen textured paper. Except for a small stain on the cover, the book is in excellent shape, and looks as though it has hardly been handled.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

For my .025 loyal readers...

Go read the latest bleat by Lileks. He skewers "the perpetual adolescent strain in post-WW2 culture."

Money quote, There’s a clinical psychological term for all this, and it’s “Pissed at Daddy.”

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

LaShawn Barber posits an interesting question...

...what were you doing seven years ago?

In a world that seemingly undergoes radical change everytime the ball drops in Times Square and Dick Clark says ...3,2,1! it's worthwhile to think of who and where we once were. In some ways we find we are not much different than we were, in other ways we may be completely different. Taking a sober estimate of such things can show what is good, and what is not.

The answers are not always what we may think at first.


the etchings of James Skvarch

I came across this site through the ever diligent and ever digging BibliOddessey in one of his blog posts/arcana dumps. Skvarch sites Piranesi as an inspiration. Piranesi is also one of my favorite artists.

Go take a look at Skvarch's work, and bookmark BibliOdessey while you are at it.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Birthday

I am now officially a year older. I won't give the actual number, but let's just say I'm old enough to remember Studebakers as new cars...

...and young enough to enjoy saying that.


Friday, August 11, 2006


"Tower of Babel" Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

"The Triumph of Death" Prado, Madrid

"The Massacre of the Innocents" Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

I have not much to say about current events, but these images seem appropriate.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thoughts for today...

Today, everyone has been talking (with good reason) of the foiled terror plot in Britain.

I have nothing to add. If you want information see Michelle Malkin or Charles Johnson for roundups, links and commentary.

With the president of Iran making repeated existential threats towards Israel, and the Jihadis' view of the US as the Great Satan to Israel's little satan, I would like to bring your attention to the artist Samuel Bak.

Bak has been an artistic hero of mine since I first ran across his work at Pucker Gallery almost fifteen years ago. His work is intensely spiritual, and revolves around his Jewish heritage and his survival of the Shoah (the Holocaust). He was only eleven at the end, when the Soviets liberated the 200 survivors of the 70 - 80,000 Jews that had been in Vilna before the Nazis came. Now he lives and paints in Boston.

(images and text from the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies)

Now to a few thoughts about my "ongoing journey" through the difficult terrain of art that stems from, and relates to, the Holocaust. Years ago, when my art had reached something of its present form, I was nonetheless plagued by an incessant feeling of contradictions and shied away from admitting a direct connection with the Holocaust.

I feared that a Holocaust-related interpretation would narrow the meaning of my work. After all, I am trying to express a universal discomfort about our human condition, and the experience of the Holocaust, which sheds such a cruel light on the entire catalogue of human behavior, is specific, despite the vastness of its lesson. Wouldn't it become a factor of limitation? Being a survivor, I was familiar with the world's reluctance to listen to our harrowing stories. People needed time to study the Shoah and to grasp all its implications.

This reluctance to expose ancient wounds might also come from a fear of being thought to solicit commiseration. We live in a society that hungers for sentiment – worse, sentimentality. And sentimentality perverts truth. Furthermore, most of the art that I then encountered on this theme, art produced in the sixties and seventies, was to my eyes less than acceptable. Surely, some powerful works must already have existed, but I was unfamiliar with them.

Fortunately, the situation has changed. At present, the challenge of anchoring art in meaningful themes does not scare away talented artists. And the present conference is proof of a substantial change of attitude.

In 1978 a retrospective of my work was planned to take several years and to travel through a number of German museums. I was torn between two opposing feelings: my willingness to grant permission to show the work, and my reluctance, or rather my total unwillingness, to bring myself to revisit Germany. I never made it to Heidelberg's museum to attend my show's debut, and it took me months to decide to come to the festive opening in Nuremberg in the German National Museum. Nuremberg, a city in which the ghosts of my murdered father, grandparents and decimated family clung to me with an uncanny force. It wasn't an easy task, but this time I made it!

The day after the opening, when revisiting my show and stumbling on a visit of high school youngsters, I learned something of value. Listening to a capable instructor and to the young people's interaction with him, I understood how important it had been to bring my art to that place. I was witness to a process of their coming to terms with a terrible past. It was a courageous course. Not too many people in other European countries have been up to it. Suddenly, letting my work be seen explicitly in the context of the Holocaust made a lot of sense. To my personal view the walls of the German National Museum transformed my paintings, and I realized that my artistic choices "worked."

As you have seen, my work refrains from imagery that is overly explicit. Everything in it is transposed to a realm of imagination. This transposition must have echoed in the souls of the young Germans to whom -- as I have described -- it gave access to a past that was loaded with guilt. To a painter who creates in the solitude of his studio, such an expression of solidarity is a blessing.

What an irony, and at the same time what an emblem of the extremes of human behavior –and yet also of coming to terms, of accepting change, even, if you wish, of redemption. (speaking, I believe, of the cross in the painting)

The Jewish People faced one genocidal threat in the last century from a tyrannical philosophy bent at dominating the world. Now we have the Mad Mullahs and the Jihadis.

Mark Twain said "The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes."

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

UPDATE, bumped to top

Celebrity Anti-Semitism

A lot of folks have been commenting about remarks allegedly made by Mel Gibson during his arrest for DUI. Besides the legal standard of "innocent until proven guilty," there is nothing I can say about Mr. Gibson's arrest. However, on a moral scale there is an obvious observation to make about a man who claims to be a Christian (in his case, Catholic).

Luke 6:45 "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

I am reminded of how often I have spoken rashly and regretted it later. The words we speak are a reflection of ourselves.

Any rebuke I could send to Mr. Gibson would be redundant at this point. If he has said such things then there is every reason for his speech to be condemned. All such hateful things deserve condemnation.

UPDATE For a much better take and and excellent essay on sin, repentance and the mote-in-the-eye see Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker

UPDATE 2 As always the Anchoress places things in worldly and spiritual perspective, all at once.

UPDATE 3: Hugh Hewitt, If you could save the victims of one of the following four events, which group would you save?

1. The victims of Fidel Castro's "revolution?"

2. The victims of Hezbollah's ambushes, rockets and missiles over the past three weeks?

3. The victims of the Seattle attack on the Jewish federation?

4. The victims of Mel Gibson's repulsive outburst of anti-Semitic venom?

Mr. Hewitt goes on to say, We are, it seems, in danger of losing any sense of priority, of scale, of genuine importance.

What has started as a window into the troubles of one man's soul is rapidly becoming a reflection of our society's moral relativism and philosophic bankruptcy.

UPDATE 4 And the press hardly notices vitriolic anti-semitism in Brussels.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gobs Of Tolerance in Boston

Yep! Boston is such a open-minded town.

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