Violence Meets Violence

Although my adoration for Ayn Rand and her philosophies is often met with challenge, certain aspects of her convictions and novels seem to play out in our modern society.  In Rand's lexicon, she often returns to the motif of violence.  If you have read Atlas Shrugged, perhaps you recall the scene (without giving too much away) where Dagny Taggart must enter a building immediately to save the life of an individual, but she is first met by a guard who enters a paradoxical episode when he cannot decide if he should let Miss Taggart into the building or choose death.  Needless to say, he chose death implicitly by not choosing to act rationally.  I understand that this is an extreme, but the moral point of this scene is one that reflects todays society (which I will touch on momentarily).  

One quote came to mind which inspired this post, "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may only resort to force only against those who start the use of force."  I cannot recall where Ayn Rand said this, but it reminds me of the scene described above.  Just as an aside, I have read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem, and I recognize that her philosophies fall under unpopular opinions, but I do wish to only highlight this one aspect of her ideology.  To put quite simply, Rand expresses incessantly that violence is never warranted unless it is a response to violence, or more metaphorically, in response to a threat to one's life.  Perhaps this is only my interpretation of her novels, but I find it relevant and rational.

To those who act irrationally and disrupt the lives of those who choose to live and to live as rational beings, they are a disruption that cannot be penetrated by rational behavior.  White nationalism is the posterchild for irrationality.  I think it goes without saying that our society needs diversity to thrive, that deep down the family tree, many of our ancestors were black or jewish (focusing on the groups which neo-Nazis and the KKK specifically hate), that this country itself was taken from Native Americans by a group of immigrants and has been welcoming in immigrants since its conception, that the color of your skin, your religion, your beliefs, do not have an implicitly hierarchical nor contrived system in society, and that no one singular group has historically or sustainably thrived.  White supremacists are irrational, and when they appear before us with shields and bats, they are warranting violence in response.  

And Mr. (not-my-president) Trump who can proudly state to this country that there is "blame on both sides" is fervently wrong.  For a moment he showed courage when he condemned the alt-right groups who have been supporting him throughout his campaign and presidency, but he quickly retreated to his cowardice that marks him in the irrational category alongside these extremist groups.  If he wants to define the "alt-left" as "very violent", look at the sources: police shooting unarmed black men and women, hate crimes against muslims, LGBTQ community, blacks, and other minorities, and now white supremacists objecting the removal of a symbol of a time of hatred towards black people.  If you want to define the alt-left as a violent group, then you are damn right they are, and Mr. Trump has done absolutely nothing but allow it by perpetuating hatred and implicitly encouraging violence by lacking to condemn these hate groups and acts of racism.  

I cannot believe that so many people in this country supported the election of such a heinous, irrational, racist, etc etc etc etc president.

Dreams like Lynch & Mangum

Yesterday I saw the David Lynch documentary.  I was surprised to find that his artistic roots lie in painting and sculpting.  I was not surprised to find that he has a dark sense of humor and a very dark and repeating theme of fear in his upbringing and artwork.  I find overlapping themes between the work of Lynch and the work of Jeff Mangum, who has openly described the nonsensical nature of his work and the inspiration coming from his dreams (see Pitchfork interview ca. 1997).  Horror is erotic and fascinating to me.  This element resonates in many of my photos, in a subtle way.  My dreams generally take place in familiar places,  homes to be exact, usually of people that I know.  I am crawling through the walls of these homes and squeezing my body into unknown passages.  Lately, I am focusing on just photographing suburbia.  We all build these boxes that we live in, build connections in, face horrors and realities in, and in the suburbs, two drastically different stories sit just a few feet away from one another.  While my photos are colorful, they feel underscored by darkness.  Perhaps this has to do with my own upbringing and dark childhood memories that were contained in my home.  However, we all have these memories.  One of my favorite Neutral Milk Hotel lyrics reads:

Blister please with those wings in your spine
Love to be with a brother of mine, how he'd love to find
Your tongue in his teeth in a struggle to find
Secret songs that you keep wrapped in boxes so tight, sounding only at night as you sleep

And in my dreams you're alive and you're crying
As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet
Rings of flowers 'round your eyes and I'll love you
For the rest of your life when you're ready