Saturday, January 28, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Trump Mandate ...

... as wide and deep and strong as a paper cup.  Maybe we can beat this.

A fact from Friday's inauguration parade.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Women's March in New York January 21, 2017

Looking west on 42nd Street.

I went to the New York version of the Women's March taking place nationwide (and it turns out world wide).  The March was YUGE.  Forty Second Street was so packed with people -- and more coming in -- that the march could hardly march.  We walked very slowly from First Avenue to Grand Central.  The march continued up Fifth Avenue to the the Joker's Lair high over Gotham City, but I never got that far.  After about 3 hours down 42nd Street, my back was killing me and my dogs were barking, and so I bailed at Grand Central Terminal.  I salute all who made it all the way uptown.
The trains and buses coming and going were packed with protesters, many carrying signs and wearing pink (dudes too).  Even in my neighborhood as I was walking home, I saw lots of people with signs going to and fro on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn (Williamsburg).

I had a great time.  I went with 5 friends.  We met for lunch in the East Village and then traveled by a bus packed with protestors (and I mean packed) to 42nd Street and First Avenue where we caught up with the march.  The official rallying point of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was so full of people that no more people could get in.

These are my pictures from the March.  They are freely available.

First Avenue looking north

Low clouds moved in our sunny day, and the temperatures dropped rapidly.

As you can see, the march in New York was vast.  Looking west toward Grand Central on 42nd Street.

The top of the Chrysler Building.

Looking west toward Grand Central.

And of course, what is a protest march without signs?

A lot of kids at this parade.

A lot of daughters riding parents' shoulders in the march.

I saw a lot of these hats at the march, and beyond.

This Queen of Diamonds refers to a famous movie, The Manchurian Candidate.

The crowd behind us stretching all the way back to First Avenue in the east.

The Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt in bronze, scornfully disdains the rabble.

Fellow rabble rousers:  Weiben Wang, Paul Lane in back, Cindy Brome, Julia Alberino, and Suzanne Pyrch

Julia Alberino, Paul Lane, and Weiben Wang

Weiben's photo of Julia, Yours Truly, and Paul

Weiben's photo of me photographing the march.


Norman Rockwell's painting of Rosie the Riveter for the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.
He had a 19 year old girl named Mary Doyle pose based on Michelangelo's Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Rosie rests her penny-loafered foot triumphantly on a battered copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf. The reflection in her visor resembles a halo; a female Saint Michael with Satan beat down under her feet.

If men don't have the heart to resist and fight back this venture into fascism, the women clearly do. As far as I'm concerned, Trump did not become President of the USA so much as king of all the white people who voted for him. His inaugural address (mostly written by Steve Bannon) was full of fascist appeals: the nation is under threat from within and without; only a strong leader can save the nation; solidarity with the tribe, the race, the sect counts for more than the rights of a few puny individuals.  Trump used the term "America First" in his speech.  That was the slogan of Charles Lindbergh's movement to stay out of WWII, a movement with barely concealed fascist sympathies and more than a little antisemitism. Already in the first press briefings, some Goebbels wannabes are trying to threaten the press into parroting the official story of events.
Women -- half the population of the USA -- were singled out by Trump for scorn and humiliation. Fascist and theocratic ideologues for years wanted to return women to a servile and subordinate status. Women have a lot to lose from this new regime, and so they've stepped up to fight it.
 Who knows if this gigantic protest will make any difference in the end. Maybe the energies released here will go the way of too many left wing grass-roots movements; dissipated in factionalism or impotent anarchism. But then, it might also mean the beginning of the end of this new dictatorship. Women might save liberal democracy if for no other reason than they stand to lose so much if it is destroyed.
Dictators thrive when their opponents feel isolated and hopeless.
Sure rallies like those today are mostly symbolic, but symbols matter and they have their power. A big power that they have is a vision of movement and community to battle the isolation and division imposed by oppressors. Marches, rallies, and "zaps" -- public political disruptions of official business -- played a vital role in early gay liberation showing people who felt isolated and alone that there was a community waiting for them and that they didn't have to accept the hardships and humiliations imposed upon them.
So too I feel much better and more hopeful today.

The March of the Women (Shoulder to Shoulder) from Wild Love Music on Vimeo.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

I didn't bother to watch the coronation today.  Instead, I thought of Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land. ‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.’ I still believe that We Shall overcome!"   

-- Martin Luther King Jr., from his Nobel Prize speech, 1964

I understand that the Psalms were quoted at the Inauguration ceremony.
This one has always been my favorite.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord.[a]
      Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;    
      I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,    
      in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;    
      on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,    
      whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,    
      the sea, and everything in them—    
      he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed    
      and gives food to the hungry.
      The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
      the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,    
      the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner    
      and sustains the fatherless and the widow,    
      but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,    
      your God, O Zion, for all generations.
      Praise the Lord.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany 2017

Happy Three Kings Day!

From the annual parade sponsored by Museo del Barrio in New York.

Happy Epiphany in an ever darkening world.  Today in a world coming apart along national, ethnic, sectarian, and racial lines we remember Christ's manifestation to the Gentiles.

There are a lot of great paintings of the Visit of the Magi from the Renaissance, but my favorite of them all is this painting by Rogier Van Der Weyden, the Columba Altarpiece from around 1455.
It was painted for the family chapel of Goddert von dem Wasservass, a burgomaster of the city of Cologne in the church of Saint Columba.  The painting stood on the altar of that chapel until about 1821.  Since 1827, The Alte Pinakothek in Munich housed the painting.

Here are my photos of it from 2014, an encore presentation.

My nomination for the most beautiful of all Flemish Madonnas.

The Flemish tradition of showing the Christ Child as a frail newborn probably began with Robert Campin, Rogier's teacher.  This one is the best of them all.  The hands and feet are wonderful.

The figure of the youngest of the Magi, a tousle haired young man with magnificent clothes.
Legend says that the young Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy was the model for this figure.

The star hiding behind the roof of the stable is a real stroke of imagination.

As was the custom of the day, Rogier locates the story not in 1st century Palestine, but in the here and now; here and now for Rogier was 15th century Flanders.  He gives us a glimpse of the Flemish countryside with a town in the background.  That might also explain the striking anachronism of the small crucifix hanging in the stable.  Also, Rogier inherited that kind of heavy-handed symbolism from his teacher, Robert Campin.

My vote for the most beautiful of all Renaissance Annunciate Virgins, certainly in Flanders, and maybe Italy too.