Dream of the Dragon

Tag: salt in your eye

Black Fashion – Vogue and the Oil Spill

by Justin

There’s a fine line between opportunistic exploitation and timely, topical art. It isn’t very hard to be inciting and controversial in the interest of generating an audience – you don’t need to look past GOP campaigns and demagogues. But sometimes controversy emerges because the artist tapped smartly into the pulse of something unspoken and framed it just right to make people uncomfortable. It’s rare and wonderful when art (and journalism) does that.

This entry into the debate comes courtesy of Vogue Italia, pouncing on the BP oil spill catastrophe and marrying the harrowing imagery of a ruined coastline with high fashion. I personally appreciate how layered my immediate reaction was – I couldn’t condemn, endorse, or dismiss the spread right out the gate. That, at least, suggests that photographer Steven Meisel‘s work isn’t completely any one thing. It is absolutely morbid, and the use of inky feathers and a model coughing up water plants the shoot comfortably in the realm of the grotesque. But it’s also kind of beautiful if you’re down with the darker side of things. Read the rest of this entry »

David Foster Wallace on Reagan, Kennedy, and Leadership

by Justin

In response to yesterday’s ramble about Obama’s shortcomings and what he stands to learn from the skills of Reagan, a friend (and dedicated opponent of all things Reagan) sent me some selections from David Foster Wallace.

The catch here is that I’m madly in love with most everything he writes, reluctant to disagree with his opinions in the way the parishoners are with their priest. Not at all that extreme, actually, but I have great faith in his ability to think deeply and with great devotion to truth. So I’m inclined to set my prejudice aside and let his thoughts work on me. Miss E. Leas sent this selection to me, out-of-control capitalization her own:

“SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT RONALD W. REAGAN (1981-89) WAS OUR LAST REAL LEADER. BUT NOT MANY OF THEM ARE YOUNG VOTERS. EVEN IN THE 80S, MOST YOUNGER AMERICANS, WHO COULD SMELL A MARKETER A MILE AWAY, KNEW THAT WHAT REAGAN REALLY WAS WAS A GREAT SALESMAN. Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming Robots

by Justin

I worry about encouraging the seduction of the material world. The dichotomy of Haves and Have-nots inspires crime and prejudice, hatred and conflict. If a new pinnacle of physical achievement emerges that further stratifies the world, how dangerous might that be for all involved? I’m not so sure I’d sign up for what certain groups believe is the next round of evolution.

The New York Times ran a piece last week about the Singularity movement, interviewing some of the crazier geniuses and technophiles at the new university funded by Google founders and other Silicon Valley darlings. For a lot of people the concepts of transhumanism, of a post-human world of biotech and other science fiction wonders this isn’t a revelation. The fact that a university with extensive funding is actively pushing for the realization of that particular utopia may be a bit surprising. Read the rest of this entry »