“The major stressors of the twenty-first century—a fragmented media environment, profound demographic shifts, artificial intelligence and other technological advances, economic inequality, centralized power, and climate change—require a fundamental reassessment of U.S. political institutions, civil society ecosystems, and civic norms. If this was not already clear before COVID-19 revealed the strains on the body politic, it is painfully evident now.” The Challenges, by Our Common Purpose, American Academy, 2020 Continue reading The U.S. Congress is my hero (for the moment)→
“Instead, the president’s worst impulses were neutralized by three pillars of the unwritten constitution. The first is the customary separation between the president and federal criminal prosecution (even though the Department of Justice is part of the executive branch). The second is the traditional political neutrality of the military (even though the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces). The third is the personal integrity of state elections officials. If any of these informal ‘firewalls’ had failed, President Trump might be on his way to a second and more autocratic term. But they held firm, for which the Republic should be grateful.” What Really Saved the Republic From Trump?, by Tim Wu, NYT, 10 December 2020 Continue reading Blogging cannot exist without the feeling that somewhere, in some way, you are justified→
“Founded nearly 250 years ago, the United States of America is the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. Its infancy, under the Articles of Confederation, was turbulent. Its early prospects, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, were very much uncertain. At the Convention, Benjamin Franklin—catalyst of the Revolution, leading citizen of the republic, enslaver turned abolitionist—wondered as he observed the conflicts, compromises, and contradictions of the process: was the young nation’s sun rising or setting? With the signing of the Constitution, he concluded, the sun was rising.” Introduction: Our Common Purpose, by American Academy 2020 Continue reading I like two types of blogging – domestic and foreign→
“The Commission spent two years engaging with communities all over the U.S. to explore how best to respond to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our political and civic life. Its final and bipartisan report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, was released in June 2020 and includes six strategies and 31 ambitious recommendations to help the nation emerge as a more resilient democracy by 2026, the nation’s 250th anniversary.” Our Common Purpose, by the American Academy (yes, we have one), 2020 Continue reading People only blog what they are prepared to blog→
“50 students and graduates from the animation department at Lodz Film School have mobilized their medium to protest Poland’s Constitutional Court ruling that forces people with uteruses to carry pregnancies to full term, even if the foetus won’t survive outside the womb. Co-founder of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, said in 2016 that ‘We will strive to ensure that even in pregnancies which are very difficult, when a child is sure to die, strongly deformed, women end up giving birth so that the child can be baptised, buried and have a name.'”
“Responding to the visceral sensation that accompanies the prospect of losing bodily autonomy, animators from Lodz have united under the banner of #sprzeciwpolek (Polish women defiance) and released the video below within four days of the Constitutional Court ruling. This is quite a feat. Given that animation is typically 8 to 12 frames per second, this means that between 3 840 and 5 760 images were drawn by 50 artists within four days to make the eight minute film.” Polish Animators PiS Off Law and Justice Party, by Amanda Barbour, Senses of Cinema, November 2020
This is is magnificent and not easy to watch, in the way powerful protest art usually is.
“Asking voters to repeal or overhaul a law passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature is becoming a common strategy for corporations financially threatened by progressive policies coming out of Sacramento. Ride-hailing companies succeeded at it this week, too, convincing voters to pass Proposition 22 and exempt Uber and Lyft from state labor law.” Corporations Don’t Like A Law? Just Pay Millions For A Ballot Measure, by Laurel Rosenhall/CalMatters, LAist, 05 November 2020
“Comics and graphic novel sales had their best year ever in 2019, according to the annual report just released by ICv2 and Comichron, with sales topping $1.21 billion.” Comic Sales Report, by Heidi MacDonald, Comics Beat, 02 November 2020
“Given the attitudes of the day, it may not have seem strange, then, that Los Angeles County appointed an official witch in 1968. Louise Huebner was born in 1930 in New York City. In the 1960s, she moved to Los Angeles, where she began making regular appearances on KLAC in 1965. In 1968, Huebner was hired to help promote a series of concerts called Twelve Summer Sunday Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. The first concert was Folklore Day, and after casting a spell, Huebner was presented with a document certifying her the Official Witch of Los Angeles County. It was stamped with the seal of the county and signed by then-Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, Ernest Debs.’ Los Angeles Gothic, a Holloween and Dia de los Muertos Fantasia, by Eric Brightwell, 28 October 2020
I never thought about LA County having an official witch. Huh.
Could LA sports fans please stop rioting when our teams win? Please?
“Now, the lost letters of JM Barrie to Robert Louis Stevenson – missing for over a century – have been found in a cardboard box in a library archive and will be published for the first time in a forthcoming book. The letters reveal how ardently the young Barrie both adored and admired Stevenson, who was an older and more established writer. A year into their friendship, which was initiated by Stevenson, Barrie wrote to him: ‘To be blunt I have discovered (have suspected it for some time) that I love you, and if you had been a woman…’ He leaves the sentence unfinished.” Lost letters reveal JM Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson’s mutual affection, by Donna Ferguson, Guardian, 25 October 2020
“Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.” Biden wins White House, vowing new direction for divided US , by Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller, AP, 04 November 2020
Yes, I know, it’s not over, and it’s not going to be pretty until after the inauguration, but 290 on the dreaded Electoral College. BIDEN WINS!!!
God bless Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania… for now. BIDEN WINS!
The banana bread will ease the Meddle-ophatic(TM) procedure.
“Katharine, a 14ft-plus great white shark with a Twitter following, appeared again off the US east coast this week. A transmitter attached to her dorsal fin had not sent out a definitive message for a year and a half.” Katharine the great white shark resurfaces off US east coast, by Martin Pengelly, Guardian, 07 November 2020
“Past, present, and future on view in a wondrous machine. Everything everywhere in every universe. Better than YouTube, but can this device bring happiness to a young slacker looking for love and life’s meaning?” Storylandia, Issue 32, Drunk on Time, by J. H. Malone
“Haunting and harrowing in its portrayal of supernatural creatures, “A Route Obscure and Lonely” explores the road less traveled by restless ghosts, sexually curious aliens, cunning vampires, transgressive angels, regretful mermaids, defiant witches, surly goddesses, mysterious phantoms, fearless fortune tellers, and “goth’s Mr. Goodbar” himself — — Edgar Allan Poe. The boroughs of the dead invite you to approach the gate guarding their abyss.” Poetrylandia, Issue 2, A Route Obscure and Lonely, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Storylandia, Issue 33, short stories, by Jim McCullen, Jason Feingold, Alice Wickham, Chip Jett, and Arthur Davis
“Nopalito, Texas—1965, 1985, 2005. An aging liquor store proprietor faces the confines of small-town life 5,000 miles from the one place that offered happiness. A young man evades attraction to his charismatic but erratic cousin. An elderly widower is beset by visits from the dead in the aftermath of a near-fatal heart attack. Albert, Dusty, Berndt—each one faces a wordless question: how to live with an impossibility that cannot be changed.” Storylandia, Issue 34, The Distance Between Here
and Elsewhere: Three Stories , by David Meischen
Finding the late Mrs. Taggart’s missing jewels had made Freddie Babington famous. People with problems began to come to him, hoping to engage his services as a private detective. Freddie expected his new career to involve thrilling cases such as restoring diamond necklaces to Duchesses and secret plans to government ministers, perhaps rescuing a kidnapped heiress or two. Most of his cases were more mundane–but every once in a while, a client with a truly strange and interesting problem came to his door.
Publishes in November 2020 Storylandia, Issue 35, Odd Goings-on at Ferndell Farm and other Stories, by Kathryn L. Ramage
“Zumthor is seventy-seven, and oversees a thriving boutique architecture practice, with three dozen employees and projects on three continents. Though he has never built in the United States, he is known throughout Europe as the creator of exquisitely stern structures with jewel-box proportions; in 2009, he won the Pritzker Prize. lacma belongs to a vast public—the ten million people of Los Angeles County—and sees a million visitors each year. It shares a park with the La Brea Tar Pits paleontological site, and occupies a position at the midway point between downtown and the coast. Because of the building’s prominence, scale, and cost—some six hundred and fifty million dollars—Zumthor’s lacma is poised to be the most significant architectural addition to Los Angeles since Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall opened, two decades ago.” The Iconoclast Remaking Los Angeles’s Most Important Museum, by Dana Goodyear, New Yorker, 05 October 2020
We. Are. So. Fucked. Also, if LACMA isn’t the largest encyclopedic museum west of the Mississippi, what is it?
“Asked recently at a dinner party what he thought of the new building design, Frank Gehry simply draped a napkin over his head.”
“The second is the demolition of the museum’s very mission. LACMA’s director, Michael Govan, has officiated over an aggressive proposal that will dismantle and relegate to storage collections that for decades have distinguished the museum and established its standing. Govan’s plan is at once grandiose and diminishing—and, above all, needless. The institution didn’t need fixing because it wasn’t fundamentally broken.” The Demolition of LACMA: Art Sacrificed to Architecture, by Joseph Giovannini, NYR, 02 October 2020
Govan’s plan makes it so that going to LACMA won’t be like going home (as it’s always been) and finding a few new items. It will be like going to whatever carnival has just blown into town. Why did this grifter get a hold of our beloved LACMA? Why did not one with power stop this? Also, is a museum the building or the collection? Seems America has gone swanky building mad, and needs to get some perspective.
So many great artchitects who not only understand LA and like it, and we got Zumthor. Oh were have we sinned? Oh why must we suffer?
Well, too bad about LACMA. Even the best of friends have got to part one day.