Tag Archives: Culture

Super Bowl 2013 commemorates American warrior culture minus wounded vets

nfl--tv-nmt
TV NATION- Can Americans no longer embarrass themselves? This year’s pregame holiday extended to Super Bowl Eve with an un-ironic commemoration ceremony, an all-star gala tribute to football, acclaiming it a venerated touchstone of the American character, the public mob like drunken monks feasting the humanitarian contributions of the Spanish Inquisition. Football celebrates America’s cultural blood lust, a surrogate for our preemptive senseless war making, whose shared cartoon violence is expunged of its real antisocial inhumanity. Probably owing to this season’s pre pregame homophobia scandal, where collegiate casualty Manti Teo showed signs of early onset Mohammed Ali’s disease, fans learned about the concealed football side effect of compounded concussions, akin to IED survivors’ collateral brain damage. Next we’ll probably hear that footballers’ home lives spread PTSD. As football injuries become more difficult to hide from battle-weary audiences, fans will be calling for more Kevlar and then of course commensurate armor piercing anti-Kevlar. I already think football offensive lines look spectacularly under equipped without drones. Or would that position be pretended to play defense?

And I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse.

I thought for a long time that some of Shakespeares classic works, those of which are so tragic in scope that it’s worse than dating a Goth on downers, couldn’t possibly be given the Disney Treatment.
Then, they popped off with “Gnomeo and Juliet”.
If there’s any small mercy to be had there, it’s that somebody sobered up enough to refrain from making it “Julielf”.
But then, they’ve given the Disney Treatment to such wonderful objects of literature as Grimms’ Fairy Tales and anything by Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little Mermaid” they even made a sequel to it. HOW? In the book, Ariel’s prince charming got killed in a war and she couldn’t go around anywhere on land because (like all good fairy-tale spells) her enchantment that changed her fins to feet didn’t go far enough, and it hurt to walk. So she sits on a rock in Copenhagen harbor looking out to the sea to which she can never return, and the land that causes her excruciating pain, then she dies the end.

And that’s one of the nicer ones. What next, Hamlet starring Porky Pig? Oh, wait, that’s Warner Brothers.
Imperial culture degenerating before our eyes.

Ol’ Momma Karma she’s a MEAN byotch

Saw another bumper sticker “I Will NOT be forced to learn a Foreign Language to accomodate Illegal Aliens in MY Country.” First off, it’s not YOUR country. You don’t own the whole country. Too bad if your nasty little Klansman feelings are hurt. There were people speaking Spanish and French and Native languages HERE, in Colorado Springs, until the English came with their retarded ass “Manifest Destiny” and not only killed most of the Natives,they forced the rest of us to learn THEIR Language. The better to “accommodate” our Bigoted English Masters.

Too damn bad y’all English-only Racist Freaks are getting back a small measure of what you dish out.
You don’t like it, move back to England.

The English Nation appreciate your ill humour at those Bad Ol’ Wicked Naughty Foreigners refusing to learn the tongue of their “betters”. They had to murder Irish people for four centuries getting to speak English to their English Masters. And then the Irish INGRATES actually Rebelled against their Rightful Masters! How Very Dare They!

Of course, the British would compel you to learn actual English grammar, spelling and usages.

On the tea-horse road to Tibet

China-Lijiang-roadLady, lady, I take you today. No ticket! No tourist!

I’m standing in the town square reviewing my inventory of polite rejections when, lo and behold, my rogue sense of intuition wrests its way to the forefront and I hear myself saying, “Okay, so where are we going?” An abnormally large Naxi woman emerges from the shadows and sizes me up. “You ride horse?” she asks rather skeptically. “Sure, I ride horse,” I respond indignantly, at once calling to mind a favorite movie, True Grit.

Rooster Cogburn: Mr. Rat, I have a writ here says you’re to stop eating Chin Lee’s cornmeal forthwith. Now it’s a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of the same. See, doesn’t pay any attention to me.
[shoots the rat]
Chin Lee: [Runs into the room] Outside is place for shooting!
Rooster Cogburn: I’m servin’ some papers!

Okay, I know that had nothing to do with anything, but I liked it.

Anyway, thanks to trusty intuition, and the kind attention of my guides Richard and Li, I had a most magical day. I rode a shaggy little horse four hours up a steep mountain trail — the very path that for hundreds of years has linked southwest China to Tibet. At the summit were views of the Yangtze River and the breathtaking Snow Mountains, known to us as the Himalaya.

When the blue haze lifted, I could see all the way to everywhere.

China-Lijiang-mountaintop-village
TO THE LEFT OF THE CENTER PEAK IS THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE
China-Lijiang-meadow
ALPINE FLOWERS AND CROPS
China-Lijiang-marijuana-1
MARIJUANA MAKES A PRETTY CONTRAST
China-Lijiang-village-on-mountain
THE NAXI VILLAGE
China-Lijiang-Lashi-Lake
VIEW OF LASHI LAKE
China-Lijiang-Marie-on-pony
ME LIVING LARGE ON A TEENY TINY HORSE
China-Lijiang-pepper-berries
PEPPER BERRIES
Naxi woman harvesting berries
China-Lijiang-mountain-ladies
NAXI WOMEN PICKING PEPPER BERRIES
Naxi boy and cabbage
A BOY HIDING BEHIND HIS CABBAGE
Naxi boy without his cabbage
AFTER TEN MINUTES OF CAJOLING HE’S READY TO POSE
Naxi doghouse
ALPINE DOGHOUSE
Naxi tent
THE MASTER’S CAMPSITE
China-Lijiang-Yangtze-again
FIRST BEND of the YANGTZE RIVER
China-Lijiang-Yangtze-vista
LOOKING TOWARD TIBET
China-Lijiang
MY TRAIL GUIDE
China-Lijiang-trusty-steeds
OUR TRUSTY LITTLE STEEDS
China-Lijiang-silhouette
MARIE AND RICHARD INCONSEQUENTIAL
Lijiang men
THE NAXI MEN AFTER I BLEW THEM A KISS!

Poetry Slams slam poetry

Poetry Slams have reduced our most elevated literary genre to the arena of Hallmark Cards. Can you imagine compelling Longfellow to extemporize on the spot, faced with one-upping a fast-rapping carnival barker? Perhaps Oscar Wilde could have risen to the challenge against a ghetto phoenix such as Eminem, but Eminem is not representative of the norm. We have to acknowledge the aberration of genius.

These days we are prepared to recognize the profound in autism. Improvised mental acuity may be the specialty of some few, but it will remain a statistical improbability that such genius resides in your neighborhood. I’d say poetry voice-offs in malls or coffee shops, with contests open to all comers, are most likely efforts in philistinism. Like all things pop, crap for crap tastes.

Poetry appreciation in common circles is for reading not writing. Poetry writing is therapy fodder, meant for no further than the support group circle.

I say more art appreciation, less gluing of noodles to paper plates painted gold. Otherwise to a passerby, unschooled like the majority have become, poetry is an abysmal cacophony of disjointed near-sighted observations, shall I compare thee to a navel on the half-gazed?

Ancient Costa Rica for sale

Denver-Art-Museum-LibeskindThe kids are still on Christmas break and are starting to show definite signs of cabin fever. To stave off a domestic implosion, we took a trip up to the Denver Art Museum yesterday. The DAM recently opened a spectacular addition designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect chosen to rebuild the World Trade Center site. But I had an ulterior motive. I’d recently read about the DAMs 16,000-piece assemblage of pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art, including one of the world’s largest collections of Costa Rican artifacts, nearly 2,000 items, donated to the museum by Denver businessman, Frederick Mayer, and his wife. I wanted to check it out.

We’re planning a trip to Costa Rica. Although not much is known about pre-Columbian Costa Rica in comparison to the high cultures of Mexico and South America, recent excavations have uncovered numerous artifacts, including jade carvings. Jade is green and pretty and shiny, perfect for an art lover of my caliber, so I wanted to see it for myself. Call it a bit of research before hitting the craft markets in Sarchi!

Sure enough, Eric and I lost ourselves in a huge room filled with thousands of artifacts. Stone, ceramic, textiles, gold and, oh yes, jade. After an hour or so, we’d barely made a dent in the pre-Columbian collection. Vowing a subsequent visit to the Spanish Colonial galleries, we left to collect the kids before their art experience became Night-mare at the Museum.

As always, looking at ancient artifacts leads me into lofty reverie of past worlds and bare-chested warriors. But this time I couldn’t help but wonder about Jan and Frederick Mayer as well. Certainly amazement and appreciation for their commitment to art and to philanthropy. But really, how on earth had one couple managed to collect this much art from a small Central American country? And why aren’t many of the beautiful pieces residing in Costa Rica, teaching and providing inspiration to Costa Ricans? Especially because Costa Rican pre-Columbian history is not nearly as well-documented as that of its neighbors.

Costa Rica has taken significant measures to protect their natural environment from exploitation. Nearly 20% of the land is set aside for preserves, parks or refuges of some sort. But after my trip to the Denver Art Museum, I’m thinking that perhaps Costa Rica should endeavor to protect other national treasures, especially art created by the hands of largely unknown ancestors, from passionate and well-meaning American oilmen.

Jade museum Costa RicaI will visit the museums in San Jose and let you know how they measure up against the breathtaking Denver Art Museum, with its encyclopedic collection of pre-Columbian Costa Rican artifacts–and hopefully return with a few shiny jade replicas of my own!