SOCIETY

DEATH OF THE OCEANS

This very brief video should be enough to cause you a lot of concern. As the title implies, it points out that the coral reefs are dying, fish are migrating and a few other critical things that could radically change the ocean by 2030. I’m stunned people don’t talk about this stuff a lot more and with a sense of urgency.

Denial is one hell of a hard thing to break. I think it’s already too late to undo the damage and I hope that I’m wrong. From what I don’t see and don’t hear, I feel bad thinking that the planet is going to end up as a giant shit hole. We blew it.

FV

 

SELLING YOUR SOUL

I honestly don’t understand people. I’ve been back n forth in an online forum about photographers giving their work away for free. I guess Kodak is the latest one that wants you to do work and sign all the rights away to them. Kodakit I think it’s called. What does it matter? All these people flock to sites like them and give their hard work away for free or ridiculously small amounts of money.

For what? To say you’re a published photographer? To say you’re a pro? I’m getting tired of this argument. The photo industry is ruined permanently. Anytime you’re in competition with free I’d say it’s a safe bet to get the hell out and find something else to do.

This gig economy can kiss my ass. These will go down as some the most exploitative times in the history of labor. Nobody is impressing me with talk of being a professional [insert some easily exploitable gig here] anymore. Man, I’m so bummed out by all these people, I find it hard not to want to see the whole economy just crash and burn for good.

I can tell you one thing, the thing we’ve mutated into is ugly and doesn’t work anymore.

FV

 

SOCIALISM FROM PAST TO FUTURE

If you are still unclear about socialism, what it is, the ideas behind it, why it’s good or bad; then here is another video from Professor Richard Wolff to help you out. Few people of our times, in my mind, break things down easier than the good professor.

This is by no means a video to make any of us an expert, but rather an excellent overview that clearly describes the ideas, history and mistakes of socialism in the 20th century. It should peak your curiosity to explore more if you feel capitalism is a failed system or if you just feel things are unfair in the modern world.

If you love capitalism, I suggest you listen as well. There may be things you weren’t aware of or maybe you’ve misunderstood what socialism actually is.

FV

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR

Very few people in America and around the world for that matter, are not familiar with the great civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s epic speech, “I Have a Dream”. Delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in front of 10’s of thousands of people in August of 1963, it defines the aspect of his legacy for racial equality and the basic rights of all men, women and children to be treated with equality and respect. It is indeed one of the most important speeches of the 20th century.

Comedy duo, absolute masters of their craft, Key and Peele, remind us here of the unfortunate speaker who had to follow Dr. King’s epic words, the Reverend Robert Jones. As usual, the attention to detail and the absurdity of such a thing are amazing. I’m confident that Dr. King, were he alive, would find this every bit as funny as any K&P fan.

I hope you enjoy your day off in America and do take the time to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy. His words are as important now as they were over 50 years ago. Unfortunately, while much has changed in the time since this speech, quite a bit hasn’t and in fact what has changed is slowly moving backwards in many ways. What can you do to improve the experiment called America? Or what will be your role in a new America if things change very drastically, which is quite possible. In either case or a myriad of other possibilities, Dr. King’s words are always worth reflecting on and used for deep consideration.

And as always, no matter how bad things get, don’t lose your ability to laugh. Key and Peele and left a legacy of hundreds of hilarious skits to help us smile and remind us of the human condition in their own special way.

FV

 

SOLID

Back in the day this was a pretty common phrase. Let’s all work to together to bring it back in 2019. We need more positive things in the world, and this word exudes positivity. It’s not much but every little bit helps when it comes to making the world a more solid place to live in.

FV

 

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

The US press has been flooded with glowing homage to former President George HW Bush who died at age 94 a few days ago. I’ve avoided reading or watching any of it, except the headlines and blurbs that are unavoidable. Old enough to remember his presidency quite clearly, I always felt he was beneath contempt and his death doesn’t change that feeling.

If you’re feeling a little gauzy about “Poppy” now that the buffoon Donald Trump is president, you may have recent fond memories of an old guy with fun socks yucking it up with former President Clinton. Even worse, you may be suffering from “that’s when the office had decency despite political differences” syndrome. Worst of all you may feel guilty about pointing out the heinous shit he was involved in his life and feel funny about speaking ill of the dead, lest you offend his family.

As Mehdi Hasan writes in The Intercept:

“Nevertheless, he was a public, not a private, figure — one of only 44 men to have ever served as president of the United States. We cannot, therefore, allow his actual record in office to be beautified in such a brazen way. “When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms,” as my colleague Glenn Greenwald has argued, because it leads to “false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts.” The inconvenient truth is that the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush had far more in common with the recognizably belligerent, corrupt, and right-wing Republican figures who came after him — his son George W. and the current orange-faced incumbent — than much of the political and media classes might have you believe.”

He goes on to list Bush’s disgusting racist TV ad about “Willie Horton” during his campaign to be president. His cover up of Iran-Contra in which he pardoned six defendants in the affair who basically had direct knowledge of his involvement in that shit show. His war crimes in selling the American people false premises to bomb the hell out of Iraq in the first “war” we had there, killing thousands of innocent people.

This is a partial list that doesn’t include his time as Director of the CIA, his disregard of the AIDS epidemic, invading Panama to oust a paid crony gone rogue and ginning up the “war” on drugs which destroyed who knows how many families. This man was no saint. More importantly, this is all I know of the man and frankly, all I care about. I don’t care that he was married forever to the same woman or that he was a congenial fellow or that he brushed his teeth three times a day and had two solid bowel movements daily till the day he died. It means nothing to me nor should it to anyone outside his immediate family.

I only knew the man as a public figure, and one of great power who ruined many people’s lives needlessly. A man who came from a family of wealth and privilege which didn’t make life too difficult for him to navigate and gain power. Needless to say, I find nothing to mourn or feel sad about concerning George HW Bush. Those thousands upon thousands of people who lost their lives or families because of his actions, if you’re grieving the death of this man, try grieving the innocents who suffered under his watch. See how long you retain your sanity.

FV

 

DOG EAT DOG WORLD

Photographer Unknown

It really is a dog eat dog world out there!

Fucking end of November means we’re full onto the Xmas season and all the materialistic crap that gets thrown in our faces with it. Holiday seasons just suck overall. They suck the joy out of me, they try to suck the money from our wallets, the phony ass people acting nice for a few days suck.

No matter what they throw at ya, remember this picture speaks volumes about our modern world, which of course, sucks!

FV

 

BACK IN THE DAY

Photographer: Jamel Shabazz (?)

A couple of super fresh brothers reminding me how lucky I am to have seen all the wild changes over the years. Those boom boxes were the shit back in the day, whether you were a b-boy or a metal head. A vital piece of equipment for hanging out. Now you walk around with the world in your pocket. Which is fine, but I’m telling ya, if ya weren’t alive in those days, the whole vibe was different. Electric. Fresh. People weren’t so jaded. Not that things were great but you had to get out of the house and hit the streets. Interact with all types of folks. You had to wait to get back with your friends if you saw something crazy out there. Ah, I’m a middle aged fart stinking up the room with all this memory lane shit.

FV

 

TUMBLR

00203_TUMBLR.jpg

Man, I hope this news about Tumblr being blacklisted from the Apple App Store isn’t a sign the end is near. I hate nearly every social media site but Tumblr is still a place I roam, connect with a few people and I keep it all to myself. No friends IRL there.

I still find some really good art blogs, weird shit and lots of retro blogs that I like a lot. It’d be a god damn shame if it all just disappeared. I understand if there are some problems with content involving minors that there’s no room for that. I’ve never seen anything like that there, even accidentally (though that doesn’t mean anything). Hopefully it gets resolved hasta pronto.

I still have the app on my phone and nothing seems to have changed as far as changing any settings or anything. Guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and hope the thing survives. Gonna keep on top of this story for sure.

FV

 

HOCKNEY

David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972)

This painting by the British artist sold for $90.2 million in New York City, making it the priciest piece of art by a living artist. The brief description of the sale is nothing less than vomit inducing. As are the sales by other artists at the auction.

This isn’t a critique of the artists themselves but of the soul sucking process of the high end art acquisition world. At this time of crisis the world faces, very little comes close to giving the human race a giant middle finger than these exercises of vanity and excess. I’d just as gladly eat a high velocity bullet for breakfast then spend an hour with someone wealthy who would spend this amount of money on a piece of art.

The days are racing away to the point of humanity being on the brink of extinction with a large swath of people unsure of what it all means and with the super wealthy just not giving a shit. Look, I dig art as much as anyone but spending this type of money on a painting is not only gut wrenching for the reason mentioned earlier, but if you are unable to anything more creative than spend money, use that 90 million wisely. Like to commission a shit ton of artists worldwide to get the message across to the people who don’t have time to keep up with news or are just blind to how close we are to committing mass suicide due to…ah, never mind…it’s greedy, self serving, vane, psychopaths with all the money driving us off the cliff and buying stupidly priced art we’re talking about. What a coincidence. Well, enjoy your art psychopaths. Don’t hang it that Malibu summer house though as it it’d be a shame to see all that money go up in flames.

FV

 

BRAZIL

Brazil just elected a madman in my opinion in Jair Bolsonaro, a man who will be using some very extreme and deadly tactics in that country.

While I know about Brazilian politics as much as the next guy, which is likely very little, journalist Glenn Greenwald has been living there for some years now and being a smart guy probably knows of what he speaks on the subject. I don’t always see eye to eye with Greenwald but I trust his assessment here. Probably a good basic introduction to what’s about to go down there in the near future and a good reason for a lot of us to learn more about Brazilian politics.

I think income inequality globally is really driving these extremists into positions of power and that this trend is increasingly going to become more dangerous for the planet writ large. I don’t know the answer but I see the problem. I hope the young generation really starts to get political and rebellious, otherwise I don’t see mankind surviving on this planet through the end this century.

FV

 

HYPERNORMALISATION

This film by Adam Curtis is a look back over the last 40 years to give an idea of how the world is where it is today. People seemed confused, scared, angry and powerless in many societies worldwide. Curtis finds interesting points on the timeline to connect events and people whose agenda was to lead us to a time and place where nothing seems real, nothing is trusted and nothing is being done.

It’s a rather long film (just under 3 hours) and a lot to consider. Of course, it’s not a comprehensive complete picture of everything that’s happened but I think Curtis did a nice job selecting his spots and created a narrative that’s compelling. If nothing else it’s a good primer if you are understandably confused about the world at the moment. Whether you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with his premises, it should point you in directions to do your own research.

Well worth your time.

FV

 

THE HUMAN KEN DOLL

“Rodrigo Alves became known worldwide for his courage in reinventing himself with the help of plastic surgery. This has given him the confidence to express himself with a unique fashion style, and has led him to be happy to enjoy life and a better lifestyle. He is now outgoing, charismatic, and a truly passionate ambassador for the subjects of body image, plastic surgery, fashion, body image bulling, and equality.”

- from Rodrigo Alves’ website

I honestly don’t know what to think of people like this guy.

On the one hand I’m a fan of tattoos, which of course, is a type of body modification. However, tattooing is basically a one time procedure. And yes, people do go full on and cover every inch of their skin with tattoos. But, the thing about tattoos is that while they may make you stand apart from the crowd, or these days make you part of the crowd, the tattoo will fade, or stretch, get wrinkly with old age and turn into some ink blob. Despite that, it still holds meaning and isn’t meant to make a person look forever young or conform to society’s view of what is beautiful. Even periods when tattooing is trendy it still holds a unique meaning to each person.

On the other hand Alves and people like him are getting serious amounts of plastic surgery done, which is also engaging in body modification. I find it sad though. The surgery is expensive (although a good tattoo is as well) and more importantly dangerous. People die getting liposuction and other procedures which often require anaesthesia that can be very risky. And for what? The ultimate goal is to attempt to conform to a standard of beauty pushed upon us by big media corporations. The surgery doesn’t last and ages terribly, ultimately making the face void of expression, a mask that perpetually looks neither joyous nor sorrowful. It’s a face in limbo and doubt that I see. The story always seems to be the same with each person, unlike the tattoo, that they wanted to be young and beautiful forever.

But live and let live I guess. I should say that plastic surgery has a very important part in society. For those born with disfigurement, or have been victim to an accident of some sort, looking like most “normal” human beings (2 eyes, a nose, a mouth, etc) can be vital to self worth and social mobility. Those are not vanity projects.

In the end though, I wonder if my positions are hypocritical…

Just some food for thought.

FV

 

CRAVEN "A"

A cigarette ad from 1933. Seems like a fucking weird name for any product in any era, “craven, adjective; contemptibly lacking in courage; cowardly”. Not to mention this poor bastard probably died of lung cancer with that 2 pack a day habit.

I’m glad I kicked cigarettes around 20 years ago. With everything we know about cancer sticks these days it bums me out to see friends still smoking away. I understand and can’t say much as a former smoker but god damn. I can’t count the number of people I know who’ve died because of those things, one as recently as two weeks ago.

Life is certainly full of enough shit to get your stress level off the charts at any given moment. Advertising, warnings, public servant announcements; none of that is gonna change anyone’s mind who needs a little relief. And I’ll tell you, with all the deregulation coming back, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see these kinds of ads return.

Take Fred’s advice: kick those things to the curb, save some money and possibly avoid all the mind bending ways these things can put you in an early grave.

Or not, it’s your life not mine.

FV