SWM Archive: Politics

Collection by John Powers

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Here and there I write about my ideas on politics. I am an artist, and it is only as an artist that I make any claims to any sort of authority, but I am also a member of a democracy, and believe strongly that speaking clearly to one another about what we believe is the bedrock of civility.

John Powers
History of the official Nazi font and Helvetica, by Erik Spooner Star Wars Poster, Best Blogs, Vintage Posters, Fonts, Geek Stuff, Politics, Graphics, Stars, Tv Series

Helvetica Is Not A Fascist Font.

[Editor's Note: Erik Spooner is guest blogging this post. He wrote his essay out in Helvetica, but ironically (I know, I know that's not what that word means, but that's what we all mean when we say it) Helvetica is not available on Blogger so I used Arial. Dang, like rain on your wedding day.] Suzy Rice claims that she designed the Star Wars logo, and that George Lucas wanted something fascist for his movie Star Wars’ logo. She also claims that Joseph Goebbels designed typefaces and that…

 Women of the 2010 Whitney Biennial In Bill Bartman , the founder. Modest Proposal, Moma, Athletics, Sports Women, Women Empowerment, Museums, Equality, Archive, University

A Modest Proposal: Title IX MoMA's 501(c)3

Bill Bartman with Elizabeth Murray [image by Bill Zules]; Women of the 2010 Whitney Biennial In 1999, Bill Bartman, the founder of Art Resources Transfer, told me an idea of his that I still believe is one of the best I have ever heard: art museums are 501(c)3 nonprofits, by merit of the exact same quality that makes universities eligible: they are educational institutions. Bill's idea was to sue art museums under Title IX; to force them to give female artists an equal portion of resources…

New Ideas Need Tall Buildings: Gentrification vs Integration - Flying Wedges vs Rooted Anchors Anchors, Integrity, Buildings, Archive, November, Politics, Wedges, Writing, News

New Ideas Need Tall Buildings: Gentrification vs Integration - Flying Wedges vs Rooted Anchors

Alfredo Brillembourg presenting Torre David at this year's CTsummit Last week I wrote a post for ArtFCity titled "A Look at The Creative Time Summit: Gentrification, Gentrification, and Gentrification." I was asked to do something relatively short and straightforward but managed to write myself into a corner, turning the post into something long, difficult, even a little scary. "Gentrification" is an umbrella term that covers a constellation of assumptions and biases - the great majority of…

On ArtFCity: A Look at The Creative Time Summit: Gentrification, Gentrification, and Gentrification Thats Not My, Archive, Politics, Creative

A Look at The Creative Time Summit: Gentrification, Gentrification, and Gentrification

Generalizing about gentrification.

As the Supreme Court hears arguments for, and against, gay marriage, some thoughts on gay Marriage from my father, the Rev. Selma Alabama, The Rev, Martin Luther King, Supreme Court, My Father, Archive, Gay, Marriage, Politics

Gay Marriage is The Future

Rev. Robert L Powers (far right) singing with his fellow clergy in Selma Alabama, showing their support for Martin Luther King (1965) Three years ago, almost to the day, I posted a text my father, the Rev. Robert L Powers, wrote based on a homily he delivered at a wedding he presided over (and which I attended as his assistant - in full alter boy drag) early that year. As the Supreme Court hears arguments for, and against, gay marriage, I felt it was important to repost my father's thoughts…

Image of Democracy: Why I Want to Build Nine Freedom Towers in Tiananmen Square Park Benches, Place Holder, Lawns, Dividers, Towers, Flower Arrangements, Architects, Concrete, Things I Want

Image of Democracy: Why I Want to Build Nine Freedom Towers in Tiananmen Square

Introduction

Anglo Spring: Why We Fight - What every critic of consumerism misses, & that its defenders miss as well, is that what is extraordinary about consumer culture is not it's obvious excesses, alienation, moral confusions, or shallowness (those traits are hallmarks of any and all human culture). What is extraordinary is that consumers will fight, & fight hard. Fight Fight, Consumer Culture, Consumerism, Defenders, Critic, The Past, Archive, Politics, Spring

Anglo Spring: Why We Fight

Love in the social network free riots of Vancouver; Hate at the Twitter and Facebook fueled UK riots. When the riots broke out in Tottenham this summer two very different stories leapt to mind. One was Jonathan Franzen's commencement speech tirade in which he warned a group of freshly minted BAs against, consigning themselves "to 10 years of merely taking up space on the planet and burning up its resources." He was warning them against being - "in the most damning sense of the word"…

Wisconsin's "unseemly Gustave Courbet, The Burial at Ornan When Gustave Courbet showed his painting, The Buri. Gustave Courbet, It's Meant To Be, Consumerism, Wisconsin, Vineyard, Cities, Thats Not My, The Past, Archive

Anglo Spring: Sociopathocracy

Wisconsin's "unseemly circus"(2011); Gustave Courbet, The Burial at Ornan (1850) When Gustave Courbet showed his painting, The Burial at Ornan, in 1850 it upset his Parisian audience. The historian TJ Clark explains that Courbet refused to depict peasants at pious and simple, instead he "painted worship without worshipers." But more maddening still, Courbet painted the peasants fashionably dressed, undermining the Parisian's patronizing vision of country people. Adding injury to insult…

Downton Abbey Irascables The painter Jasper Johns famously observed that, “artists are the elite of the servan. Jasper Johns, Modern Artists, Consumerism, Fails, The Past, Archive, Politics, In This Moment, Note

Anglo Spring: It is time for this unseemly circus to stop.

Downton Abbey (2010); Irascables (1950) The painter Jasper Johns famously observed that, “artists are the elite of the servant class.” What Johns fails to note however, is exactly which servant artists most resemble. In the BBC series Downton Abbey we are reminded how clearly the roles of butlers, footmen and maids were defined. Each has very particular expertise and places within very old and explicit hierarchies. The only premodern equivalent to role of the modern artist meanwhile is a…

The Future is Feminist - a remembrance of seeing Judy Chicago's monumental installation "The Dinner Party" in Judy Chicago, American Women, Archive, Politics, Dinner, Future, Party, Dining, Future Tense

The Future is Feminist

American Women: "There was no underwear in space."; Gail Collins In the mania leading up to the millennial-new-years I heard someone (after a decade I cannot remember who) say that feminism would be remembered as the most important intellectual breakthrough of the 20th Century, topping heavier-than-air flight, the nuclear bomb, and dwarfing the Internet for its impact on human history. Having grown up in the immediate wake of the second-wave feminism, it stuck me at the time as a solid…

fascism Set In Futura - Fonts, politics and the Star Wars Logo Michael Bierut, Star Wars Film, George Lucas, Documentaries, The Past, Politics, Author, History, Fonts

fascism Set In Futura

At this point I have watched the Helvetica documentary back to back easily five times in the past two days and I still love everything about it. As it turns out, it is an excellent shorthand account of how Modernism developed into Post-Modernism, and Post-Modernism into whatever it is that is happening today (Post-Star Wars-Modernism floats my boat, but I understand that I am a very special case). While I am not sure if he would describe himself as a Post-Modernist, in the documentary the…

The Communist Manifesto Turns The NeoCons are Sith Lackeys - Unpacking the political iconology of A New Hope, and the difference between capital-"F"-Fascists (Nazis) and lowercase-"f"-fascists (Chicago cops). Star Wars Film, A New Hope, Sith, Oppression, Cops, Archive, Chicago, Politics, Author

The Oppression of the Sith

When Bill Kristal explained on Special Report last year, “So Thursday we will have Obama versus Cheney, which is going to be fun, don't you think? Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, you know. And I want to say that I was always on Darth Vader's side, even when I saw the movie. And I'm sticking with him.” I think he intuitively got his and the other NeoCon’s place within the Star Wars Universe almost exactly right. They are Sith all right; but they are not Sith Masters, just latter-day lackeys…

John Powers, untitled block arrangement I woke up this morning to the names of the dead being read on the local NPR statio. John Power, September 11, World Trade Center, Eid, The Locals, New York Skyline, Archive, Politics, Thoughts

World Trade Center 1995, Eid 2010

John Powers, untitled block arrangement (1995) I woke up this morning to the names of the dead being read on the local NPR station - I was shocked how deeply this annual ritual continues to move me. This year the anniversary coincides with the Muslim celebration of Eid, and is marred by a bigoted protest against a proposal to build a Mosque and cultural center two blocks north of the World Trade Center site. I found the photo posted above recently and had planned to post it without comment…

 alternate Earth's NYC skyline on Fringe . After reading " Memories of the Gore Administrati. Tomer Hanuka, Nyc Skyline, State Of The Union, Editor, Archive, Politics, Sketches, Memories, Magazine

MEMORIES OF “MEMORIES OF THE GORE ADMINISTRATION”

POTUS, Alt Gore's State of the Union Address; alternate Earth's NYC skyline on Fringe. After reading "Memories of the Gore Administration" in the Dec 13th issue of New York Magazine, I asked Kurt Andersen via Twitter how the piece was constructed (it was done as an exquisite corpse), and tweeted that it would be interesting to read about how he and Glenn Beck ended up writing an alternate history of Al Gore's presidency together. Andersen put me in touch with Christopher Bonanos, who…

Michael Moore is the Lamest of All Jedi and Sarah Palin is nothing more than a Sith Lackey Jedi Cosplay, Jedi Costume, Star Wars Jedi, Star Trek, Jedi Council Members, All Jedi, Jedi Sith, Galactic Republic, The Phantom Menace

Michael Moore is the Lamest of All Jedi and Sarah Palin is nothing more than a Sith Lackey

A gaggle of lame Jedi, including the lamest of them all, Michael Moore. You cannot live in America without having lots of friends on the far Right of the political spectrum. For those of you wringing your hands in Europe about the rise of the Right, you have no idea what Right Wing actually means. Anti-immigration fear-mongering is kid stuff - little more than distracting hand waving. Europe hardly ever gets past that hand waving. Here in the US, we get to see what is behind the waving hand…

Why is there no misogyny on Star Trek? - The short answer is: Because it takes place in the future. Star Trek Crew, Mad Men, My Friend, Archive, Take That, Politics, Future, Stars, Future Tense

Why is there no misogyny on Star Trek? (Dick 5.1)

Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek crew; The men of Mad Men. The short answer is: Because it takes place in the future. My friend Joanne McNeil wrote a fuller answer on her blog Tomorrow's Museum: "There are no sexist men in the 21st century, only stupid men." I read Joanne's post on the heels of posting a piece about my "girl phone" and a very confusing argument I had about feminism recently. It also coincided with some recent stuff I read on the subject of manhood now, and as it is…