At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.
I would hope that nobody needs me or anyone else to explain why this assertion of power is so pernicious — at least as pernicious as any power asserted during the Bush/Cheney years. If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn’t he have the power to do?
I’ve sent ya 3 bubba, one just the other day that should have arrived (one in the post from carrie was just sent earlier this week). Perhaps your address that you gave me through kickstarter is incorrect? Also, the USPS is shit. A friend in Canada hasn’t been getting hers either.
I have a lot of love in my heart for inspiring people. I don't know much about you, but you seem like an inspiring person, and driving to Alaska is a personal dream of mine. No point to this, really, just keep on keepin' on.
As for keeping on, and I’m sure most everyone knows this by now, I am. When I got to Alaska I wasn’t planning on leaving for a long time. At least a winter, ya know? Well I couldn’t find any work here. I applied at a bakery in town to try and get set up here, but someone more qualified got the position, which is fine. I had a backup plan that was emailed to me when I went from Fairbanks to Talkeetna.
A good friend of mine emailed me about 100 miles south of Fairbanks and offered me a great position with some awesome people. I drove for another 50 miles without reply, one because I went remote and two because I needed some time to think about it. Is this what I want? Where I want? Who I want?
I emailed him a tentative reply and said that it was in my back pocket after another few exchanges. He said not to get too worked up about it but options and money were both running out.
A few days pass and I talk it over with a few close people and decide that its the best option, and nearly the only option, so I call him back and accept the position. In New York. For 3 months.
I don’t know what to think just yet. NYC is the last place I want to be right now, but its also a great job and I’ll get to work with some awesome people on a sweet project for a few months. Afterwards, I come back here to Alaska and move into a cabin in Fairbanks (hopefully, its tentative) to house/dog sit for the winter.
So to answer your question, drive to Alaska. Its the best thing you’ll get to do for a long time ( I have no idea who you are either, so maybe you’ve already done some cool shit, but I’m just throwing out an assumption)
I have a lot of followers. I’m not saying this to brag, because I seriously doubt that most of you are following me because you just really like me. I know most of the appeal of my blog is the fact that I post a lot about human rights and humanitarian issues, and there are a lot of people out there who really do care about these huge problems our world has yet to solve.
I also know that a lot of what I post is extremely depressing.
But here’s the thing: I have some amazing people following me. No, I’m not just saying that to flatter you. I really mean it. I have entrepreneurs, designers, lawyers, health professionals, religious leaders, and god damn rocket scientists following me and engaging in these conversations about all of the fuckery that happens in this world. I have some smart as fuck teenagers following me, kids that make most of the adults I know look like absolute morons. I have fellow political bloggers following me that have more sense and integrity than any of our political leaders.
I know we all think of ourselves as just average people on the internet, griping about the stupidity of this world and celebrating all of our silly fascinations. I don’t mean to sound cheesy, but if there’s anything that I’ve gotten out of being a member of the Tumblr community, it’s hope that our generation, with all of its collective potential, can do some really incredible things if we just go for it. Hell, if nothing else, we have the power of the internet on our side. And who here is going to argue against the almighty internet?
I know it’s daunting, but we cannot rely on the governments and current development establishment to tackle everything. What’s been done in the past just isn’t enough. Our generation needs to take an active role in being the problem solvers, in coming up with new solutions and approaches to human rights and development. And we’re entirely capable of doing exactly that. Our generation has proven an incredible capacity for innovation, as well as compassion and concern for those in need. With these qualities, we can change the world for the better.
So here’s what I’m trying to say: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to go off on your own and figure out ways to solve problems. Don’t let anyone tell you that your efforts are wasted. You have ideas? Talk about them. Brainstorm with others, network with people who can help you get the job done. Come up with solutions and try them out. Take a scientific approach and find the solutions that yield the best results, not just the solutions that have been traditionally employed.
Don’t ever underestimate yourself. Have the courage to speak out, to be a little weird and to get shit done.
And since this was kinda long, here’s some cuteness to make up for it:
What does something do for you? If it does not move you, move on. Do not waste words and time discussing why you are not moved. To do so, is to counteract your initial instincts.
It obviously moved me, or the discussion wouldn’t have spanned emails, tumblr asks, texts and even your response. Read the discussion again, and you’ll see. It was sparked because I didn’t understand why the whole ‘campbells soup’ thing was still around, but with the help of some friends of mine we discussed and firgured it out.
Now if you’ll excuse me my phone battery is low and the wind broke a tree in the yard and it needs to be removed before falling into the power lines.
I think ever since after post-modernism art is way more heavily subject based, with pieces completely gaining notoriety not on their form but their context (e.g. "Piss Christ," Serrano), or based on the reaction of the audience, etc. Whereas if you think about the thousands of years of art preceding this past century, the balance (for "fine" art anyway) was much, much more heavily form-based. When I find myself overanalyzing something, I tend to think about an essay called "Against Interpretation" by Sontag. Interesting read.
None of this is really a question, but it goes in your Ask anyway...
The form thing has always been my opinion, that’s what I enjoyed in art history and humanities.
I think that most everything today has to be done for some sort of a controversy. Look at lady gaga, david lachappelle or the presidency. Everything has to be for something or say something, which is an arguement for and against Sachs’ piece at the same time.
Question, and not in an antagonistic way, something to really consider. Why does any work have to exist? What makes it art? How are we better on an individual level or as a society for an Ansel Adams photo of a shack in the desert? Or impressionist paintings of rich people hanging out?
If process is important, then isn't the Sharpie (and his Like A Leica) more important as a concept and process than a product? Re: Walter Benjamin's Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction? I really like Sachs and I like this piece, I like the conversation it inspires (this is a perfect example where it became a Magritte-esque "Ceci n’est pas une Sharpie," and I think "post mod apologists" like the question you just answered are pussies.
This is no longer a question, but I also passed on that "make a picture / take a picture" bullshit a long time ago, either the photograph is good or it isn't - I don't think the Sears Glamour Shots are more art than Mathew Brady because they spend more time considering the picture.
San Dimas High School Football Rules!
You know, I thought about that in my initial response. I worked at glamour shots and didn’t consider any of that rubbish art at all, but the people buying it sure did. They thought it was fantastic.
As for what makes something art, its the viewer. I could sit where I am right now answering questions on my blackberry looking at one open closet and one closed closet and the light from the alaskan fall coming in through my one window on the west side of my cabin and take a picture. To me, emotions are evoked, even though the subject matter would be dull and boring to many, but also exotic and interesting to another.
I think what ruckus was saying about ‘making/taking’ is still important, and process to a degree is important as well, but accidental art can be just as beautiful. Something that is important to me, as a photographer, is the ability to expose light properly. Now, that’s not artistic in the slightest, its actually mathematical, but the combination of knowing technique and executing it, and also then knowing what rules to break to make the photo more constrasty or interesting is what make it different. Also being in the right places helps a bit, but we all know how I feel about that.
And as for the weight of Sachs’ sharpie, I suppose, now, I may need to edit original judgement, because it did, in fact, inspire quite a bit of debate, and there are people on both sides (yes its art because it exists, no its not because its boring and shit) and that’s what makes the piece good. You’re right. However, personal opinion of mine still standing, I think its boring :-/
It's fun that my little sharpie thing spawned some internet interest for a minute. I am glad that you are actively engaging the discussion because it's an important one to have. That being said, do you have $12 I can borrow so I can pick this up? I'll cover the S&H.
I’ll send you a paypal here in a few days, kiddo.
And yes it is important to discuss art because for many, or most, its extremely personal what constitutes beauty or art. I mean just look at your past girlfriends or boyfriends and then compare them with others. Its all personal and that’s what makes it interesting!
I think this work by Piero Manzoni sums up what you are saying about artists' production quite nicely. You've probably heard of this before, but I thought it was relevant.
Yes. And I love that he equated the price of each can with the price of gold.
tom sachs has plenty of great work (the sharpie is NOT one of those great works) but i totally agree with the post-pop-art bullshit that people get all boned up over. i love print making but god damn, if the subject is shit then it's garbage. its like the difference between 'taking pictures' and 'photography'.
I’m sure if he’s making something like this, he’s gotten bored with the whole thing and has resorted to scamming the people who buy art, which that in itself is brilliant, but I agree about printmaking and photographing. I love art and the whole process and all of that, but you’re right: subject shit, garbage.
You should probably failiarize yourself with Tom Sachs before passing judgement on a joke piece he did.
Guy has a similar sentiment to you, you just don't realize it. Checkout his Canon rebranded to 'Leicas.'
Also apparently in this piece he erased the printed type and rewrote it with sharpie. Thus, making his statement. Also, Alexsis told me this piece was around $12, and a joke. Still, and you’ll learn more with the next question I answer, I don’t get why it has to exist or what makes it art
In my analysis, a key metric to judge the overall economic security and hardship level of a country is the percentage of the population living paycheck to paycheck. Anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck can tell you about the stress and psychological impact it has on you when you know your family is one sickness, injury or downsizing away from economic ruin. The employment company CareerBuilder, in partnership with Harris Interactive, conducts an annual survey to determine the percentage of Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck. In 2007, 43 percent fell into this category. In 2008, the number increased to 49 percent. In 2009, the number skyrocketed up to 61 percent.
In their most recent survey, this number exploded to a mind-shattering 77 percent. Yes, 77 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin.
So when I hear the government and media tell me that 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty in 2009, while that is horrifying enough, I get extraordinarily frustrated knowing that even that sad statistic is putting a major positive spin on this economic disaster that is still far from over. While the economic top half of one percent now fears a “double-dip,” the overwhelming majority of Americans are still in the same downward spiral they’ve been on.
For one last missing piece to this equation, corporate profits are soaring while all this is devastation is occurring. Despite this economic crisis, it’s not like our country doesn’t have the money. A recent study done by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management found that a mere one percent of Americans are hoarding $13 TRILLION in “investible wealth.” Yep, one percent of Americans are hoarding $13 TRILLION in “investible wealth,” and that doesn’t even factor in all the money they have hidden in offshore accounts.
As famed American philosopher John Dewey once said, “There is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group, or class, except in relation to the liberties, the effective powers, of other individuals, groups or classes.”
The United States now has the highest inequality of wealth in our nation’s history.Tens of millions of Americans are stressing out wondering how they are going to keep their bills paid, and the people who caused this crisis are rolling around in $13 TRILLION. The Robber Barons have been displaced as America’s most despotic and depraved ruling class.
The folks who deliver beer and other beverages to liquor stores have joined the fight against legalizing marijuana in California.
On Sept. 7, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors gave $10,000 to a committee opposing Proposition 19, the measure that would change state law to legalize pot and allow it to be taxed and regulated.
The California Police Chiefs Association has given the most to the Proposition 19 opposition with a contribution of $30,000, according to Cal-Access, a website operated by the secretary of state’s office.
Rhonda Stevenson, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors political action committee’s coordinator, was out of the office on Wednesday.
Nobody else from the group was available to comment.
“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in statement. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”
Something I’ve been wondering the last few months is where all you people come from. I mean, I’m just this dude doin my thing and I only follow like 80 tumblrs and I have all these people, from all these places, encouraging me and believing in my chosen life and what I do and supporting my crazy ideas of art and enduring my political rants and all of that crap and there’s just this constant stream of people that still continue to contribute to my external sources of encouragement. Sending tumblr messages, liking posts, finding my photographs and blogging them and just all around being awesome and I just have no idea.
I don’t understand what you see and why what I do is inspiring and why it resonates with you, but whatever the reason, and whatever the source, I just want to say that I notice, and I appreciate it. I notice, and if it doesn’t show, I’m sorry. I notice the likes. The people who don’t know of this blog and post my photographs on their tumblrs with words that make me feel like what I do is important, I notice. The reblogs of things that I get passionate about and sort of stream of consciousness rants about my ideologies and get a real response, I notice.
And I just want to say thanks, and to keep it going, because sometimes, and you may not understand, but sometimes, seeing that someone hit that stupid little heart, hits my real heart and gives me the drive to get up and keep doing what I do.
Hey man, I've just started reading (and can't stop) and wanted to say that I love your blog. Sounds like a real adventure! I have two questions though:
Why did you disapprove of the reference to Christopher McCandless? (I'm not asking because I think you were wrong to, I'm just interested)
When did you know that this was what you had to do?
Well thanks. Lifes been pretty fun so far.
Into the wild has been a thorn in my side ever since I began telling people that I wanted to drive to Alaska. I suppose there are some similarities, but the end result is much different. I don’t like when people bring it up because I did a hell of a lot of planning for the trip, didn’t get my car washed out in a flash flood in the desert, didn’t burn my money in some dumb political move, didn’t have to resort to then working on a wheat farm or a burger king since I burned my money, and then I didn’t walk into denali national park without a clue as to how much bigger the river would be when the snow and ice melted. Just sayin.
I went to Alaska last year and when I went back to NYC I didn’t feel right. Had a lot of jobs that took me to some interesting places and kept not wanting to go back to NYC. Eventually I started planning and made a decision that I’d start driving and see some new places and take my time doing it. I traveled for work all the time and only got glimpses out van windows of places, so it was annoying to have been there with no value. I sold my shit in NYC, lease expired, packed the car and drove away. I think I knew that it was what I had to do when I drove out of LA. It didn’t really sink in till then. When I fell asleep under the stars high above the Pacific Ocean with nothing but tent mesh between me and beauty, I knew that I made the right choice.
Recently I’ve had quite a few conversations with friends about how thereputic it is to play with Legos or Play Doh or glow sticks. I’ve found that taking a little time to play with inexpensive things that no one takes seriously can totally change your mindset when approaching the other creative things you have to do. So I’ve got a project for you.
Go spend 5-10 dollars at the dollar store or a similar venue where you can find a broad assortment of inexpensive things ranging from useless to incredible. Then take that bag of stuff and make something cool out of it. When you’re done, photograph it, tag it with “a project for you” and that’s it. It goes back to the whole thing where the last year has destroyed my ability to do things that I like and think are smart because I’m afraid to share them.
This stuff is so minor…so it’s easier to start than a big project. Honestly, who gives a shit about Play Doh and googley eyes unless you just so happen to make a cool monster out of it or something, right? So there’s no pressure. Plus that Play Doh smell is just great, isn’t it?