Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is David Duke Free for Tea?

Is it true that one should keep one’s friends close, and one’s enemies closer? If so, I ought to send a wee note to David Duke to see if he’d like to have a cup of tea upon his return from Iran, where he is among his good friends.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

May These Words

Nigerian poet, Tanure Ojaide, now teaching at the University of Charlotte in North Carolina writes powerful poetry.

“To the Janjaweed”
in Per Contra is addressed to those responsible for executing the ongoing massacres, tortures, and rapes, their villages sacked,—in the Darfur in Western Sudan. The victims are also subject to starvation.

In Ojaide’s poem the Janaweed and those in power in who choose to support their actions are both culpable:

"May the fire you spread gleefully this way
scorch you and your family at the other end

may your patrons in government corridors
become dead vultures to the entire world"

The rest of the poem is equally strong.

Food Supply Safety

Recent e-coli incidents have dramatized what some folks have been saying for years: that the food supply in America is difficult to protect. And these incidents have nothing to do with an attack on America by terrorists.

Time to re-read Frank Norris' The Jungle. Or watch Willy Wonka.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not Propaganda, but Art with a Purpose

When new media pioneer Lynn Hershman Leeson makes art, it has a purpose, but that doesn’t make it propaganda.

In her interview with Miriam Kotzin in Per Contra, Lynn Hershman Leeson talks about a number of her works—including her feelings about her Roberta Breitmore performance. [The work was ended with an exorcism.]

“MK: You went to some trouble to establish a separate identity for Roberta; did you expect that the project would be as sustained and complex as it became?
LHL: Absolutely not. Had I known I don’t think I would have done it, but she needed the time to flesh herself out in the real world, and that took a good part of a decade.
MK: How did your relationship with that performance change over time?
LHL: It was more Zen-like as I watched things happen to her and understood more deeply the alienation that single women in our culture suffer from.”

The current project on which she is working is a documentary. She says, “The story is about freedom of speech, first amendment rights and the growing erosion of autonomy in our culture.” But based on the complexity of her other works, I’d wager that it’s not propaganda.