Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motivational History

So in the shower I fell into a philosophical trance. There's something about warm water on my bare skin that makes my synapses fire and the higher functions of my thought process activate, and in this particular instance the subject was something that I am calling motivational history.

I was thinking about how in elementary school here in the U.S. kids are taught history in the perspective of discovery, advancement, and innovation. Dates and historical figures represent the milestones of getting to the advanced state of "our modern times" from the earlier eras of backwardness and confusion. For instance 1776 marks the declaration of independence, which in itself is a massive mouthful. Wow! The Declaration. Independence. Or we might also think of Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telegraph and the rise of long distance and mass communication. Our first experiences of history are full of the wonderment of invention, declaration, even victory. And probably we are not taught about conflicts of interest at this tender age because it would not be easily understood by a young mind. However, I believe the history book writers are specifically attuned to keeping their audience captivated, interested, and motivated to learn history and to appropriate its facts for their personal use. So kids dream up the heroics of colonial battles, or earmark the milestones that interest them, and move right along in their education. And eventually conflict is introduced in their developing understanding of history. It is there where the road diverges. The facile thinker will cling to the wonderment of invention and the joy of victory and overlook the painful facts of history including oppression, corruption, marginalization, and error. Here an open-minded knowledge seeker will begin the arduous journey of reconciling the terrible and the wonderful points in a given history. Further down the line one would hope to learn about perspective, the divergences and convergences of historical accounts. History will become more and more fractured, and more diverse. As it becomes complicated the motivating effect we once experienced is worn down and what remains is analysis.

It was in college where history had, for me, digressed into stale and depressing analysis. Perspective was definitely a new focus for me, and I was glad to be enlightened to history that was closer to home for me ethnically, socially, and culturally. But in the shower I began wondering why my experience of history had become merely the records of protest against cultural hegemony. Is the shared history of my culture and subcultures merely an analysis of someone else's overinflated history? Where are the moments of victory, accomplishment, invention, or enlightenment? Are we so offended by the pompousness of some other's history that we deny ourselves the joy of a history that is motivational and wonderful?

So now that everybody has cleared the room . . .

I can't believe it is already September 20, nearly 10 months since I quit smoking and began this blog. It's nice sometimes to look back at life affirming decisions and take note of our progress. My buddy Ace just graduated basic training and is leaving for tech school soon. I hope I get to talk to him before then. Also I will soon begin an ambitious project of scanning every piece of artwork that I have kept since elementary school. I want to have an online archive similar to Alan Tew's original website. The one thing that scares me more than the actual work, however, is my indecisiveness about quality and file size. I tried scanning some artwork in this week, and I got hung up scanning them in at different sampling rates and levels of sharpness. And then, of course, there were more permutations of downsizing, level/curve tweaking, and color mode. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am a strange kind of archivist.

Its terrible. I have a box full of audio casettes! I don't even have a way of playing them right now. But they are in my mind irreplaceable--well, that is until, they are completely replaced. But to what extent is it possible to preserve complete fidelity? And to what end is it even sensible to persue?

I am sad to report the passing of Bernie Fuchs, a tremendous artist whose work will remain timeless.

This is inherently interesting as a record of tv shows that have actually come to a conclusion of some sort, though I find these Fine brothers tipping the scales in the delicate balance between obnoxious and funny.

Yes. I like this already.

Kickstarter is a great website and I think Minda Martin makes great films.

Sketches and proof that the forensics shows haven't left me alone yet.

I also had time for these zany things including a sketch on the back of an alignment test page, and one on the back of a gym membership coupon. There are, of course, more sketches but I only have so much space to be foolish.

Okay, that's all for now. Expect more foolishness less shenanigans next week!

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