Saturday, October 28, 2006

Not abstract?

I get confused when people ask me what kind of art I do. I want to say abstract, but that no longer means what it used to. From Wikipedia:
Abstract art is now generally understood to mean art that does not depict objects in the natural world, but instead uses color and form in a non-representational or subjective way. In the very early 20th century, the term was more often used to describe art, such as Cubist and Futurist art, that depicts real forms in a simplified or rather reduced way—keeping only an allusion of the original natural subject.

... So my question is, what is that kind of art then called now? Anybody know?

It bugs me when important words are used totally incorrectly, like "vagina" and "literally". "Vagina" is the internal passage, but people use it as though it means vulva. "Literally" means Fully as Stated, but people use it like it means "practically". And "to abstract" means to pull an essence from, and non-representational art does not do that.

Easy come, easy go

This morning, somebody had put a blank envelope in my mail box. No writing on it whatsoever. That made me curious. So I opened it, and inside was fifty pounds in cash! (Call it ninety dollars.) I can't think of anybody around here who owes me money, so I'm just assuming somebody felt generous. We should all have neighbors like that!

Chapter two: in the same mail round was a letter from the Samaritans, the big British suicide hotline outfit. I respect their work, and I took it as a sign, and donated the fifty pounds to them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The appeal of fakeness

It is true that making or selling something which is fake is not a big crime, if you don't misrepresent it as the real thing.

There is nothing to stop people from liking Elvis impersonators. Or silicone breasts. Or plastic "wood" paneling on their walls. Or women with big hair, inch-thick make-up, lots of plastic surgery, corset, etc.

But it still rubs me the wrong way. There is a tendency amongst some types of people to even seemingly *prefer* fake things. They drown themselves in fake guilding, fake jewelry, and fake people.

I think that what is really bothering me is that it seems these people (and to a lesser degree, most people) can't tell the difference! To them, a silver-colored plastic mobile phone is as good as a metal phone. A sincere sounding politician is as good as an actually sincere politician. And plastic tits are as good as real ones.

Either they really can't tell the difference, or they really don't care. And I am not sure which is worse.

Pascal comments:
Late porn actress Lolo Ferrari was French, and as such I knew a bit about her. She held the world record for chest size... a record that was the cause of her death. She ultimately had 3.5 kilograms of silicone in each breast. That's 14 pounds in all! (The Wiki articles states otherwise, but I heard it from official sources.) Hello, back pains.
Once, in a debate about plastic surgery, she stated she had had about... 18 operations maybe, on her face alone. Of which seven just for her nose. She stated she had two fantasies :
1 - Look like a Barbie doll.
2 - Michael Jackson. Why? Because "he looks so un-natural now, it's like he's made of plastic, I find him just gorgeous!"
She already looked faker than Jessica Rabbit. Poor girl...

On Danish TV in the late nineties, a small TV channel made a big name for themselves by making a documentary on a stripping service, following the girls and the owner around, and of course having a bit of nudity. (Nobody would even have noticed Janet Jackson's nipple in Scandinavia.) One of the girls, Simone, was nearing the end of her career, she already had implants which were giving her back problems... and she still wanted bigger implants! Unbe-friggin-lievable. Fortunately the doctor talked her out of it.

Also, the really, really lovely Jenny/Marketa (link has nudity), when I was photographing her in the Czech Repuclic, told me that she wished she had bigger breasts. I swiftly told how crazy that was, and recruited everybody around me to support me in this.

Film censorship

The reviews of This Film Is Not Yet Rated contains a lot of interesting information and commentary.
I've long been concerned about censorship. I used to think it was always done by small minorities in power, but now I'm of the belief that powerful censorship forces (like other forms of oppression) come from sizeable parts of a population, even if they are seemingly wielded by small groups. Which changes the whole picture. It means large numbers of people have to develop their awareness. But it also means that when they do, nothing can stop the positive change.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fake beauty

This video is making the rounds, and it is pretty remarkable too.

While I don't agree that fascination with beauty is the source of low self-esteem amongst normal people (if so, then very sporty or intelligent people should make us feel clumsy and dumb too), I always had a strong preference for real and solid things. If something only looks good through fifteen layers of fakeness, what good is that?

Daylight Forum

A new social/political movement, Daylight Forum. (Site is only in a beta version.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jim's painting

I think this painting by Jim (a friend) is pretty special. (Click on it for larger version.) Copyright Jim St John 1991
Jim tells me everybody from toddlers to pensioners love the painting, and he has a standing offer of $18,000 on it. So it you want it, just offer more than that. :)
(Am I the only one who sees the white vortex center "blink" when I look at the left side of the painting?)
Visit Jim's site.

Universities and guilt

Political correctness, no matter how well intentioned, is still an attack on freedom of speech. - The Disappearance Of The Universe, Gary R. Renard

Lucid commented:

""My" girl, "my" man... I don't get those terms. Who wants to own another person?"

Wonko commented:
While I can see where that point of view is coming from, using the term 'my' to refer to your partner does seem to be very common. And you can go too far the other way. There was a famous example of a University in the UK that banned its staff from using terms such as; 'my wife' or 'my husband' because they implied ownership. Instead they would have to be intruduced thus: "Hello, this is [insert name], the woman/man to whom I am married." Trips off the tongue doesn't it?

Universities do seem to be rabid breeding grounds for Political Correctness. While they may be both good and necessary for higher education, they often seem to be demonstrations of what happens if people Think Too Much. They are often at the spearhead of campaigns like not calling women 'girls', always using 'he/she' instead of 'he', and calling blacks 'African Americans' (I suppose even if they come from Australia or Haiti or whatever), etc etc. They tend to suffer from the Intellectual and Liberal Guilt syndrome. If a person belongs to a minority which has been wronged in the past, you don't dare do anything harsh to him which you'd not hesitate to do with most people (like fire him if he is incompetent).

Education and civilization are the salvation of mankind. But you have to beware that the sensitivity and empathy that come with them don't bleed you of all your power.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I have posted a couple of comments Pascal mailed to me, because he can't access any Blogger sites today at all. It is looking like his ISP or other forces in his country Lebanon have censored Blogger. Does anybody know a technical way to get around such a block? (For him, I mean.)

Uncertainty or Faith

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
-- Bertrand Russell, "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?", 1947

I think ole Bertrand was right. At least at the moment I do. I hope it isn't a permanent condition, because I find uncertainty to be very uncomfortable indeed. I really hope we and I can evolve to a point where good certainty is possible.
But at this moment in human development, total certainty gives us any of a great number of people who are willing to lie and cheat or even kill if it furthers a purpose which they are so certain about that everything else is unimportant.

A nun who worked at the infamous Irish Magdalene convents/slave camps said they could do what they did because of absolute certainty that they were right.

I have a strong suspicion that a very, very firm belief is a mental construct which has been erected as a defence against a crippling uncertainty. And it works too: most of the really effective people in the world have very strong beliefs. And don't get me wrong, most of them are very good people, no matter their faith or beliefs. And most of them accomplish excellent and worthwhile things. But it does not change the matter that faith may be an artificial construct. And I think we have to work towards a higher state where it is not necessary.

Lucid commented:
I don't think of certainty as you described it (willingness to lie, cheat, kill and steal for the validation of personal truths) to be anything close to faith or even strong belief.

People go to such lengths not because they feel strongly that what they say is unedniably and unequivocally true, they do it because deep down they themselves doubt their words and the rest is mere justification to eliminate this uncertainty.

On the surface, this appears very similar to what you actually said, but turning within one will find there is a huge difference between absolute, clear minded certainty (even of things unseen) and insecurity which masks itself as self-righteous bigotry and wickedness. The biggest difference is that the latter is much more complicated. The pure heart is simple. Not naive or unintelligent; that's a misgiving born of further justification on the side of the corrupt. Simplicity equates to minimalism. As few mental, emotional and spiritual resources are expended in each area as possible.

The righteous man knows what he believes and does so with a certainty. He has no need to convince the rest of the world that he is right, and contrary to his firm belief he is open to new ideas. He cares little about actually being right no matter how deeply held his convictions are. If you can demonstrate that he has made an error he will welcome correction. He never uses force unless he must turn away an aggressor.

Quite so. I just think that a righteous man who accomplishes great things without a very strong and basically artificial belief is very rare. Ghandi was probably one.

Terry commented:
But faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR and the EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. Without faith in anything you might as well live in a cave and eat berries the rest of your life.

Good point. What I am lamenting is the amount of things unseen. Why the hell do we need faith to believe in god, good, beauty, etc? It is a pitiful state and a pitiful world. These things should be present like the sun in the sky. And I do think they will become so one day. That is what I mean by evolve to a higher state.


I get the impression that many (most?) people get upset if their spouse looks at another person of the opposite gender, or if he/she gets hit on by somebody, no matter if there is any reason to believe anything would happen.
Am I missing something, or is this not just insecurity at a level bordering on insanity?


I just started watching "Elizabeth" with Cate Blanchett.
Seems powerful.

Who were the three heretics burned in the opening, and where did that fit in the timeline?

Man that church certainly knew back then what "Christian compassion" was all about, didn't they? But that seems to be true of all the religions I know of. They all preach compassion and forgiveness, and the churches all practice the most heinous acts of intolerance and violence and oppression you can imagine. I don't think this is a testimony on religion, but rather on human beings. Not that we are basically bad, but that we are going through a millennia-long process of learning to handle our emotions and savage side.