Friday, August 11, 2006

The Art Scene

One of the reasons why I blog anonymously is so that I can listen to all kinds of unguarded opinions from people I know. I received an email yesterday from a very close friend of mine. We are both a part of the fine arts world, with art in galleries in New York City, Seattle and Milwaukee. My friend is a celebrity of sorts -- some of you would know who he is if I revealed his name. He and I have been collaborating for years on artistic endeavors. We would both lay down our lives for each other if need be. He's like a brother to me -- I love him dearly. He's kind, thoughtful, loyal and earnest.

Politically, I am the one who changed since 9/11. My art friend seems content to rely on the same leftist conspiracies that sustained his political thinking since the 1970s.

Yesterday I received an email from him regarding the day's terrorist threats in England. None of what he has said is a surprise to me, but this time I thought I would share it with you here. It reads like it's right out of Democratic Underground, Common Dreams or Daily KOS.

I am sure you've seen the news today of the "liquid threat" to planes from the UK. I sure don't trust the official story. None of the coverage mentions any real evidence whatsoever. Seen any? I haven't. Its all hearsay from the governments so far. I am sure they will trot some "evidence" out by tomorrows news cycle, but so far it all looks like it's not what it appears to be.

Like that "plot" they found down in Florida recently that was pretty much nothing, but was trumpeted in a big way to ratchet up our fear level. This one smells similar, but it's on a much HUGER scale. Calling out the National Guard, the timing of the "revelation" for maximum media coverage, the press conferences, the talk of Islamic Fascism, the posturing of Bush and pals, going to code "red" for the first time ever, dramatically amping up airport security etc.

And it's right after Lieberman goes down, public opinion on Iraq is 65% against, polls show incumbents have a lot to be afraid of, and those November elections coming right up.... of course I expected Bush and Co to pull something huge to freak everyone the f-ck out before the elections. At the very least, they are jumping all over this story for political advatage. But if they are indeed escalating things so they can keep political control and keep us afraid, how much farther will it escalate beyond todays news event?

I guess I sound like ALex Jones here, sorry, but I read enough news to be able to notice how odd the coverage is of this news event. They are suddenly making all the airports change their security as if this plot just dropped on their heads this morning, when of course they woudl have been tracking this "plot" for weeks or months and there is nothing "new" or sudden about the story at all. They've done this a few times before where it will turned out the supposed "new" threat was really old news, but they made it public at a time that was politically advantageous to them.

And how in hell is it a revelation to them that people could make a bomb from stuff hidden in a hair gel or soft drink bottle and set it offf with an iPod or cell phone? They would have to have know this all along, so why suddenly change the security rules now, as if they just figured it out? Very weird.

This whole email leaves me feeling depressed. I love this guy. His art is ingenious. We've covered so much ground together, for so long. He's one of our best and brightest. And he doesn't get it. All problems emanate from the United States. The only thing we have to fear is ourselves, apparently. His denial of any kind of existential threat from the Islamic world is complete. I have no idea how to get through to him and I have long given up trying.

I wouldn't mind so much if I didn't love him, and if I didn't think that the millions of people like him are our Achilles heal in this war. While I think it's perfectly legitimate to be against the Iraq war for sound reasons, my friend and so many like him take such a conspiratorial view of our world that they offer little that is constructive to solving the problems of our time.

Our being featured in an art show last year in New York was really eye opening. The show was a great success. The opening night was packed with people. There was wine and cheese, and lots of posing and photos. I stood in the corner with my cocktail, watching the hip crowd impress itself. I felt that the gulf between myself and these people was epic. It's odd that I should be considered an artist, plying art circles, and yet I feel completely alienated from the people who support the arts.

And so I remain anonymous.