Thursday, May 31, 2012

Medals for Killing, Discharged for Loving and Other Randomly Related Thoughts

People sometimes think bloggers are on the cutting edge, but let me tell you, this blogger feels like the edge is cutting me.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get the most out of Facebook.  There are a couple of long lost students and others who found me through FB, and there are some people I can find often in chat if I need to talk to them.  But I wasn't pleased when my FB picture and link showed up on a comment on a totally unrelated blog.  On the other hand, Skype makes sense to me, but maybe that's because it's relatively limited in scope.  Tweet?  I don't get it.  Is that a blog for people with short attention spans?  And then there's Tumbler - which seems to be for people to blog in pictures.  And they tend not to be their own pictures.  Photographers seem to have no control at all over the pictures any more.  It's fine if you just want to spread a message or like knowing so many people have seen your picture - even if they don't know you took it.  But what about photographers who make a living taking pictures?

Mark Myers who seems to have changed the title of his blog from A Genius So To Speak For Sauntering, to Mark Myers Photography: Photo Blog and one of the most thoughtful Alaskan bloggers mused on the future of professional photographers two weeks ago.   Another Alaskan photographer whose work I ran into after he left a short comment on one of my posts - Stephen Cysewski - has great pictures of 1970s Anchorage and more recent shots of Bangkok and Sukhothai - all places close to my heart. (My Peace Corps home was in the southern border town of the Sukhotai kingdom and so the Buddhas are the same style.)  But how does one find him without being pointed there?

All that is lead-in to a couple of  pictures I saw on tumbler yesterday.  To be precise, this one is from Obsessive Cumpulsive Disaster:

"They gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one"
If this were a perfect picture, I wouldn't have to write the words of the T-shirt in the caption.  But it's pretty powerful nevertheless.  What more perfect commentary can there be on the world today?  Technologically in the 21st Century, emotionally still in the dark ages.

And this one is from Come On Home:

I think the issue is that we all now have so many different tools - whether programs on our computer which are constantly changing, phones, cameras, sound systems, microwaves - that all come with (or even worse don't) extensive instructions manuals.  It's impossible to just sit on your old technology, because soon it won't work with the new versions and so you have to update.  And all your routines are thrown out the window because they work differently now. And dollars change hands too. Considering that humans went centuries with relatively minor systemic changes (no I'm not asking to go back, many were locked into grinding poverty and oppression) I'm not sure we are wired for this rapid change.  It may be a reason so many people can't cope and drop out and/or turn to alcohol, drugs, or Fox News to inure them to such rapid change.  Maybe the guy hanging on to the balloons is hoping to escape the modern world. 

When I read in the history books about the changes of the industrial revolution, I didn't dwell on the disruptions in people's lives that we've all eventually become the beneficiaries of.  But now that we are going through that again, I think about whether there are ways to do this without as much social upheaval.  Which, is nothing compared to the upheaval we're part of in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Think I'm wandering a bit?  Everything is related. 


  1. May be the best opening paragraph of any essay I've ever read here, Steve. I feel some of the same challenges but have never been able to express it nearly as well.

  2. Thanks Phil. I think this one just resonates with you.


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