It's been a minute since I've found the time to journal, working round the clock on the art for an animated music video. The animation itself however will be done Paul MacLachlan, otherwise referred to as The Wizard for numerous legitimate reasons.
Also, I have another virtual talk coming up! This time for The Society of Illustrators together with Kickstarter's Oriana Leckert who graciously asked me to present with her on alternative comics' place at Kickstarter! December 8th the day and 6:00pm EST is the time. Don't miss it!
Work aside, the wife and I managed a short getaway to Austin over Thankstaking weekend, where we stayed in an utterly pleasant artist-run AirBnB. To enter the house, you have to walk through lush a glasshouse. There were many paintings of flowers and fauna, and chickens freely roamed the property.
A different kind of artist than myself or anyone I know. The kind that lives in the imaginary when we think of the term “artist”. Apparently, she lives and thrives outside of the imaginary as well.
Out by the barn we have a stack of felled birch trees. The previous owner was unable to prepare them before he died, and until now we'd written them off as unsalvagable. Figuring that a year of mold growing had done its worst.
This week we decided on a closer inspection, and were pleasantly surprised to discover they're still in good condition. Before the damp of this Winter season sets in they need to be cut and and stacked to dry though — work that is now taking up most of my time.
A sane person would do this job with a chainsaw, but I'm choosing to do it manually, using a handmade bow-saw that probably dates back a 100 years or so.
For me, the barn itself is a symbolic building. Its foundations are embedded in the working of the land, and the tools inside it — made by several generations of families — are an extension of those memories. Solid moments of frozen time. Working artefacts.
I feel it's important to respect the history of the land here, especially as we move forwards with our new management of it. I enjoy utilising these old tools where possible — there's memory ingrained in them, and ritual in using them.
Temperatures have firmly settled into the minuses this week. There are fire pits set around most of the lakes here, which makes them perfect for a warm fika in the brightness of the low winter sun.
On walks, a stillness pervades the forest. Frozen moss cracks underfoot. Non-migratory birds go about the business of fattening themselves up. We all await the snow.
from Sim Show
Indi Samarajiva says that a coup in the US has already happened. He explains why no one is able to notice it—and the reason is not too different from why most people couldn’t see Trump’s victory coming in 2016.
“Two years ago, I lived through a coup in Sri Lanka. It was stupid. The minority party threw chili powder at everyone in Parliament and took over by farce. Math, however, requires a majority and the courts kicked them out. They gave in. We’d been protesting for weeks and yay, we won! No.”
Samarajiva argues that people are too baffled now to realize what they lost. Recognizing the new reality is hard because coups don’t look like a coup and feel, well… stupid.
“It felt like what you’re feeling now. Like watching something stupid and just waiting for it to go away. But it doesn’t go away. You can forget about it, but it doesn’t go away.”
Does he sound like an alarmist? As someone who lived through Silvio Berlusconi’s 20 years of governance in Italy: he has a point.
“I expected more epaulets and tanks, but this is all you get. A bunch of dumbasses throwing chili powder. Someone at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, next to a dildo shop.”
The farce is a distraction from painful truths,** **says Samarajiva: trust in institutions has been damaged. Some people stopped believing in elections altogether, going as far as not recognizing the results. That, he says, doesn’t go away. Uri Friedman agrees saying that “the precedents recently set and the doubts sown will linger”.
Italian satirists forged two terms to describe Berlusconi’s decades of cultural change: “Guerra Civile Fredda” and “golpe al rallentatore”. Or “Cold Civil War” and “slow motion coup”.
Sounds familiar? Over 90% of the “slow motion coup” happens before you realize it. The remaining 10% takes an indefinite amount of time, sometimes forever.
It’s easy to be sarcastic about Giuliani’s dripping hair dye. It’s a comforting laugh to overlook the real, long lasting impact of other actions.
“Your government, the very idea of governance is fatally wounded.”
It’s not fatally wounded: the article features large amounts of anger and alarmism. But it also expresses honest disbelief coming from someone who has seen the gradual deconstruction of their local institutions. This is the warning we should value. “America has seen worse, we’ll get through it!” Maybe. We have not gone through it, yet.
Looking at other countries’ experiences and discussing recognizable social patterns is a decent way to improve and steer society. It’s dialogue.
Dialogue can only happen when both parts are open to it. Rebecca Solnit shares interesting thoughts in On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway:
“When only half the divide is being tasked with making the peace, there is no peace to be made, but there is a unilateral surrender on offer.”
She also quotes a P. Waldman’s column on the Washington Post from a few years ago:
“The assumption is that if Democrats simply choose to deploy this powerful tool of respect, then minds will be changed and votes will follow. This belief, widespread though it may be, is stunningly naive.”
Naive optimism and underestimating tragicomic politicians is a favorite activity of left media.** Trump was derided—until he won**. It’d be foolish to, once again superiorly discount, or naively approach, social divide. Comedy obfuscates long lasting efforts to undermine shared belief in institutions. Indi Samarajiva is asking to take dripping hair dye more seriously, so a slow-mo coup won’t happen.
Suggested update for the Washington Post’s grim slogan: from “Democracy Dies in Darkness” to “Democracy Dies by Hair Dye”.