“ These numbers show that mankind has not understood yet that security
does not result from a multiplication of the weapons but from a multiplication
of the loaves of bread:”
President Abel Pacheco de la Espriella of Costa Rica called for a fairer world
economic system, noting that in 2003, the world reached a new record by devoting
$956 billion to military expenditure. That is 17 times the amount
of resources devoted to development assistance and more than the sum of the foreign debt of
the 64 countries with the lowest GDP, he said.
“Your dreams are more ferocious the further you fly from home”
What is art?
In 1977 At Rice University in Houston Texas, a student asked Garry Winogrand
that question. His reply:
“Art makes you question your conceptions. That's what puns do. You don't really
laugh at a pun because anything's funny. You laugh because you realize you're
not getting killed. Basically, a pun upsets you. Language is basic to your
existence and a pun calls into question what you believe a word means and you
On Brutality and Good Fortune
I had a brief, amazing conversation with my dad today. He was upset about
the double standard implicit in characterizing the “bad guys” in Iraq
as “murderers.” Hearing about the brutality of the latest hostage beheadings
fellow soldiers beheaded by “friendly fire” during his tour of duty in the
Korean War. He talked about how white phosphorous grenades had been used —
the phosphorous would burn clean through a person's body, and sometimes they'd
find the corpses still burning.
He went on to observe that the brutality of our
modern weaponry against “the enemy” and those unfortunate innocent civilians
who happened to be in harm's way was no less brutal than the beheadings we
decry. When bombs explode, they shred and often incinerate
their victims. This may be lost on the average Fox-News-sedated citizen,
but it's not lost on any war veteran who's seen front-line action.
My dad was in the infantry. There are times that I'm amazed that he survived.
I'm very happy and fortunate that he did.
News is Entertainment
first, I thought it was just a technical glitch, but the more I thought about
it, no, I think it was intentional. Instead of running another picture of Saddam
Hussein or of Ayad Allawi, the CNN folks ran a picture of a fashion model next
to this "success story" about Iraq.
The implication of the story is that the coalition has
broken Hussein's spirit, and that Ayad is a man of conviction considering that
he's survived four assassination attempts so far, blah blah blah...
But, meanwhile, it's Fashion Week in London: “Model Jodie Kidd is seen
on the catwalk ... Monday
2004, featuring clothes by a variety of designers, and in aid of the British
charity Clothesline. (AP Photo/Myung Jung Kim/PA)” Running the photo next to the unrelated story with
a link to a bigger version of the picture with a caption might be a variation on the idea of
crawls that have become ubiquitous on the news channels. It's a way of squeezing
more story leads into the same visual bandwidth.
Then, there's Dan Rather... Boy, did he blow it with that
memo story. I think the pundits are out to do some damage control for the news
industry as a whole. What Rather did may have been unusual for the likes of
CBS to date, but it's indicative
of the state of television news. If you haven't seen “Outfoxed,”
you may not be aware of how far journalistic and editorial standards have
been eroded and undermined in the last several years. Stories are ignored because
they would be expensive to pursue. Opining and rehashing of press releases
and talking points briefs have replaced careful analysis and investigation.
Even though the “news” typically distorts and misinforms these
days, it's still entertaining, and even addictive. The news folks may have
learned from the roller coaster makers that people will actually pay to get
scared out of their wits. Just don't look too closely; the guts of the news
business might just gross you out.
What's [with] the frequency Kenneth [Lou]?
A friend of mine was interested in William Gibson's book “Pattern Recognition,”
so I looked up Gibson's site. I was happy and disappointed to see that Gibson
had blogged for a while, but quit blogging on 9/12/03. Here's part of what
he had to say:
LAST POSTCARD FROM COSTA DEL BLOG
Time for me to get back to my day job, which means that it’s time for
me to stop blogging.
I’ve found blogging to be a low-impact activity, mildly narcotic and
mostly quite convivial, but the thing I’ve most enjoyed about it is
how it never fails to underline the fact that if I’m doing this I’m
definitely not writing a novel – that is, if I’m still blogging,
I’m definitely still on vacation. I’ve always known, somehow,
that it would get in the way of writing fiction, and that I wouldn’t
want to be trying to do both at once. The image that comes most readily to
is that of a kettle failing to boil because the lid’s been left off.
I haven't given up blogging, but as you can see, my frequency has decreased
much for the same reasons that Gibson cites. I've never been a big fan of the
one-liner blog entry, and the time and focus that it takes to craft an entry
often competes with the time and focus needed for other activities, like my
Unlike Gibson, though, my “day job” isn't writing novels, and I actually find
that blogging serves as a different kind of journaling activity for me. So,
it actually has a positive impact on my creative process. In other words, while
I may never blog with the frequency I once did, I will continue, and I'm glad
you've taken the time to read me.
a lot of fun. The process has a bit in common with shooting sports: You need
to remain calm and steady in the midst of sometimes chaotic action.
Don't shake the camera when you squeeze the shutter. You need to anticipate
where the action is headed, and once you think you've
got a good shot, keep shooting.
Shooting digital gives me a hunch — but only a hunch — of what I've managed
to capture. It allows me to change direction if I don't like what I'm seeing,
but I never really know what I've got until I open the file on my computer.
There's a lot you don't see on that little postage stamp of a monitor.