Category Archives: politics
by anti-folk hero
Yesterday, Yahoo! posted a story discussing Republican Senator John Sununu’s call for the dismissal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The story was originally titled “GOP Senator Sununu calls for Gonzales’ dismissal,” but was changed within the hour to “Senator Sununu calls for Gonzales’ dismissal.” I think this is a blatant form of political pandering and shows that there is some kind of political authority at Yahoo! making sure that news stories don’t reflect badly on the Republican party. Disagree? Agree? Comment.
by missus boobella
For the two or so years I’ve been living in Los Angeles (and despite my complaints, I consider myself a dedicated transplant), I’ve noticed an increase in tagging, especially but not limited to politically-minded tagging.
The tagging I’ve noticed isn’t just located in Southeast Los Angeles; it’s everywhere. Anti-folkhero, my lovely boyfriend, attributes the rise of tagging in West LA to local middle schools that bus in students. While I may not agree, it can’t be argued that 14 year olds may be the contributors of much of the graffiti around Los Angeles. Just read this article from the LA Times about a young student who tagged a bus while the mayor of Los Angeles was sitting inside.
My attitude towards tagging is conflicted. If 14 year olds are wandering the streets of Los Angeles with a can of spray paint, I do think whatever artistic credibility can be attached to adding some color to the city is better than ingesting drugs, though the two probably have a strong correlation.
I also realize that tagging is just the edge of a very large movement in art towards legitimizing what has often been considered debased and amateur, much like comic books have been making the shift towards literary recognition in the past 30 years. So large is the movement, there is no way I could address the artistic and cultural ramifications of ‘street art’ except to say that, as I’ve already said, I’ve been noticing more and more of it on the streets of Los Angeles.
Below are some samples. First, standard tagging on Main Street in Santa Monica. This wall faces a main intersection and was originally painted to imitate, I guess, the front of a Mexican home. I took this picture because this intersection is in a nice area of Santa Monica, if there even is such a thing as a bad area in Santa Monica.
A few weeks ago, there was a protest on Westwood Blvd against the possibility of military action in Iran. I’ve read statistics that Iranians comprise around 30% of the population of Westwood; and Los Angeles has the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran. The day after the protest, I noticed these:
What I find interesting about these two tags is the question of who spray-painted the messages? I watched part of the protest and the majority of those walking the street were elderly Iranians. It was led, as far as I could tell, by an old Iranian man in a wheelchair, flag of Iran proudly in hand. Whoever tagged this was not the 14 year old boy who scribbled an indecipherable word onto a bus window.
Finally, for some comedic value, Anti- found this message on our garbage dump. Behind his apartment is a long alley that stretches much of the length of Little Santa Monica, and has been home to countless wandering homeless. We’ve also noticed infrequently young boys running around with pellet guns and expensive zip up hoodies. They might be the culprit of the surrounding tags; but the street artist responsible for the centerpiece of this picture? Probably a neighbor in his or her early twenties would be my guess.
I would like to agree with whoever added that sweet little message to the ongoing conversation on our garbage dump, but judging by the emergence of these kinds of artistic endeavors as ‘street art’, it may not necessarily be true. Just look at Swindle Magazine, a magazine begun by Shepard Fairey and Roger Gastman, both graffiti artists of different sorts. Or check out this exhibition in Brooklyn about graffiti art. Examples of the rising legitimacy of ‘street art’ is abundant and indicative of a different truth: tagging may very well get you out of the ghetto.
by anti-folk hero
First, read this article.
The following is a quote.
“Gingrich was an outspoken opponent of Bill Clinton, frequently attacking the President on his lack of morals. But Gingrich had more than his share of skeletons in the closet. Gingrich has been divorced twice and married three times. He called his second wife in the hospital while she was recovering from cancer treatment, to tell her that he was filing for divorce.
While the GOP-led Congress was crucifying President Clinton for carrying on an affair with Monica Lewinsky, Gingrich was busy carrying on an affair of his own. Gingrich was having an affair with a Congressional intern who would eventually become his third wife.”
This goes right back to the discussion of morals we were just having. Claiming to be more moral than someone else is just a form of posturing that in reality has little to no effect on policy decisions. If anything, those who try hardest to be seen as moral are the ones who are most likely to be hiding their immorality. Normal people don’t need to regularly assert their moral superiority, as they are quite comfortable in expressing this through their actions instead of through their words. The next time you call someone else immoral, think about what you’re saying and see if you’re actually speaking your mind or just trying to inflate your reputation. If its the latter, then you are an actor playing a role and not a human making a decision.
ewwwww, who would want to have an affair with this guy?
by anti-folk hero
I’m not sure if this particular theory of politics has been posited before, but I’d like to take a moment to address something that I call “Good Guy/Bad Guy politics.” This is a form of political bickering wherein two sides of an issue are considered not only for what they actually state, but also for where they fall on an artificial scale of morality. Take a heated issue like abortion; pro-lifers are anti-abortion not only for religious reasons but also because they take certain religious tracts literally. As being religious necessitates believing you have the one truth, those who disagree with you are telling lies and thus bad guys. In response to this blanket stereotype, pro-choice advocates return the favor by depicting pro-lifers as religious fanatics devoid of decision making skills outside of exact Biblical text. This is the good guy/bad guy aesthetic at work. It is a reactionary technique used to polarize large groups of people into opposite sides of a particular issue.
Take Karl Rove’s strategy as Bush’s advisor. Rove tells Bush to take a far right stance on an issue, rather than a more centrist, cooperative stance; this immediately offends centrists and leftists who then chastise Bush for being divisive. Then, in retaliation to this flood of insults aimed at republicans, moderate-right and right voters move to the extreme right to support Bush (and in effect, pridefully defend their original support of Bush). Now we have people on the far left and the far right exchanging stereotypes and refusing to listen to each other’s points of view. Isn’t this a bit childish?
Occasionally, good guy/bad guy politics can be good. Take our long overdue switchover to an ecologically sustainable environment. This is a more clean cut issue where those who want to shut down polluters and move to sustainable fuels and organic foods are considered to be the goods guys and big industries are considered to be bad guys. Switching to sustainable fuels and organic foods would have mainly positive affects for the country and will be necessary to stop a complete meltdown of the planet. The wars in the middle east would become unnecessary and we would be able to keep more of our money in the country and put less of it into the hands of rich contracting companies like Halliburton and women-abusing-warlords in the middle east.
Until we can move away from good guy/bad guy politics, however, we will be stuck in a political world where hurling insults from either side of a fence has replaced conversation and logical debate. All of our beliefs are reactionary and based on the frustration of having an opposite side that won’t listen to what you have to say. In the end, we have to remember that we are all Americans before we are Democrats or Republicans, and if we want America to remain the greatest country in the world, we need to take each other seriously and place a higher value on cooperation. Otherwise the corrupt politicians and terrorists will have won.