Sunday Facepalm.

Students protest for tighter gun laws in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2018. (Photo: Bradley Williams for People For the American Way).

Students protest for tighter gun laws in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2018. (Photo: Bradley Williams for People For the American Way).

Master of rabid frothery Kevin Swanson is upset about guns, sort of. He can’t seem to figure out why those meddling kids are upset, but da youth is going to destroy Amerikka, yessir, just like every generation gone before them.

Radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson was not impressed with yesterday’s nationwide walkout in which thousands of students left school to protest gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting last month at a Florida high school, saying that the fact that the movement is being led by young people is a sign that America is under the judgment of God.

[Snips irrelevant passage from Isaiah]

“In other words, the young folks have all this revolutionary zeal but no real wisdom to govern what they are doing,” he said. “This is the result of the breaking of the commandment of God. Things are not going well with us in the land, we are not seeing things going well for tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people across the country largely because the massive violation of the Fifth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.”

Oh, the same old shite argument: you don’t have experience! Taking action is one way to gain experience, Mr. Swanson, and all kids need to start somewhere. Also, I am sick to death of these self-righteous assholes acting as though all the high school students are toddlers. A good many of these young people are mere months away from legal adulthood and voting. Others are quite a few years away from that, but you don’t get to act as though they have no right to think about issues and come to a conclusion about them. As issues go, guns are an easy one. We don’t need the fucking things, they should be under strict control, if for no other reason, to prevent more young people from needlessly dying. Most of these kids are in favour of gun reform, so they don’t even want to completely take your lethal toys away. The kids are alright, they are doing the right thing. As for your commandment, did it not occur, Mr. Swanson, that the majority of these kids have parents who stand behind them one hundred percent? Parents who are proud of their children for taking action and refusing to back down?

I’ve always hated that idiotic commandment. A lot of people end up with shit parents, you know, and no, they aren’t deserving of honour, or obedience, or any other thing. When it comes to parents and children, that whole ‘honour’ business needs to work both ways. Parenting is a difficult business much of the time, but you are supposed to be raising up individuals who can think for themselves. Well, at least if you’re not an asshole christian, who is more into brainwashing and numb obedience.

“Young people need to come to grips with the fact that they have not honored their parents’ wisdom,” Swanson said. “For this, God is bringing his judgment upon these individuals and upon this nation.”

Uh huh. Perhaps you’d like to say that to the parents who have lost a child to gun violence. Seems to me that a lot of parents are embracing their children’s wisdom, and they are acting together for the greater good. They don’t want more dead children and parents lost in a lifetime of grief, which is more than I can say for you asshole christians, who think some dead kids here and there are an acceptable price to pay in order to keep your lethal toys.

The whole thing is at RWW.

Katastwóf Karavan.

Kara Walker with her “Katastwóf Karavan” at the Mississippi River Trail on February 23, 2018, in New Orleans. Josh Brasted/Getty Images.

Kara Walker with her “Katastwóf Karavan” at the Mississippi River Trail on February 23, 2018, in New Orleans. Josh Brasted/Getty Images.

[…] Walker titled the whole montage the Katastwóf Karavan, or Caravan of Catastrophe, the use of Haitian Creole signaling the mix of Caribbean and Southern histories that shaped New Orleans. Walker’s first public installation since the 2014 Marvelous Sugar Baby — the enormous Sphinx-like mammy figure that she built out of sugar in the now-demolished Domino factory in Williamsburg — the Karavan went up for the closing weekend of the Prospect.4 triennial, which ran for three months at multiple sites around New Orleans. The installation was freighted with layers of site-specific symbolism — none of it subtle if you knew a bit about local history, yet all of it obscured by years of avoidance or, at best, awkward notes in the narratives delivered by school curricula or tourist brochures.

Thus Algiers Point: Here, in the eighteenth century, traders warehoused disembarked captives — those who survived the Middle Passage — before selling them on the opposite bank in the markets that dotted the French Quarter and surroundings. This is where families were rent apart, humans assessed and packaged as commodities. Thus, too, Walker’s tableaux, relevant across the landscape of chattel slavery but especially here.

And thus the calliope, a direct retort to the one on the Natchez — “the OTHER calliope,” Walker called it on her handout for the event — and its sonic broadcast of a whitewashed history. Several times a day, the vessel’s instrument blares out to the city (there is no such thing as a quiet calliope) items from a hoary playlist such as “Old Man River,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “God Bless America,” and, yes, “Dixie’s Land.” […]

You can read and see much more about Kara Walker’s latest piece here.

Everyday American Hell.

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

[…] Williams uses caricature to invite viewers — whatever their political persuasion— to reflect upon how they see people of a race different from their own, as well as underscore the intolerance, distrust, and fear running throughout our everyday lives. A brave and intrepid curator ought to buy “Mass Murder” and install it near the entrance of a museum.

Walking home, I remembered something a black artist friend told me about raising his son in New York City: “I told him never to run down the street.” This is the reality we inhabit. There is nothing “united” about the United States, something artists as different as Jasper Johns and Peter Williams have known their whole lives.

Peter Williams: With So Little To Be Sure Of continues at CUE Art Foundation (137 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) through March 29.

Hyperallergic has an in-depth article on Peter Williams’s latest works and show, well worth a detour in your day to read and see many more art pieces.

The Migrant Quilt Project.

TUCSON SECTOR 2004-2005, 282 deaths.
Made by Carol Hood, Sunny Klapp, Phyllis Sager, & Virginia Wenzel, of Prescott, Arizona.

Picked from the desert, I’m gazing at the tiny pieces of Jeans. These are what’s left of real lives. They had hopes and dreams of better and safer futures. (Virginia Wenzel)

There is a wealth of heartbreak at The Migrant Quilt Project, but it’s heartbreak all should feel. No one should be able to turn a cold heart and hateful mind to the mute witness of so much death.

The Migrant Quilt Project.

The Anti-Trump Hotel.

Oh, this place sounds fabulous! From what I’ve read, I might want to live there. :D

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Eaton Workshop, a hotel opening in late spring 2018 in Washington, is a custom-commissioned video art installation by AJ Schnack, shown on a series of vintage-style television screens. All day long, it’ll broadcast a montage of footage from the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016 that’s built around one pointed question: How did our country get where it is today?

It’s not a subtle statement, and it’s not meant to be.

In Trump’s Washington, Eaton is planting a clear flag as a haven for Democrats. It’s the world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement. And it comes with a pedigree: As the daughter of Ka Shui Lo, the creator and executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group Ltd., founder Katherine Lo knows a thing or two about luxury hotels and world-class service.

Lo firmly believes that hotels ought to be catalysts for good. In a world where we can be conscious consumers—of everything from clothing to food to baby products—she argues there’s a place for conscious hotels, too. This isn’t a revolutionary idea: Already, 1 Hotels has built a small collection of luxury properties entirely around the idea of sustainability, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has made a significant, brand-wide commitment to bolster community programming for disadvantaged children in all of its destinations. It’s one of many five-star brands that have a conscious ethos but choose not to flaunt it.

Eaton Workshop is different. With a premise that’s built around liberal activism and civic engagement, the brand will weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience, some more obvious than others.

[…]

Among the Washington location’s programming signatures will be a sort of TED talk series driven by the liberal agenda, consisting of fireside chats and rooftop lectures that Lo hopes will be free, open to the public, and streamable as Eaton-branded podcasts. Then comes the art program, which—aside from the political statement piece at check-in—will include commissions from at least a half-dozen up-and-coming local artists and a street-facing exhibition window curated in partnership with local museums and institutions. A co-working space will prioritize memberships for progressive startups, activists, and artists, while a wellness program will offer “inner-health-focused treatments” such as Reiki and sound baths, rather than facials and massages. (Some of these features will roll out a few months after the hotel opens.)

Just as important, partners and staff will be brought on board, both for their skills in the food and beverage worlds and their activist track records. For instance, Lo saw the cocktail director of the famed Columbia Room, Derek Brown, as a perfect fit to be the hotel’s beverage director—not just because he’s won such awards as Imbibe magazine’s Bartender of the Year but because he “cares deeply about social justice.” To wit, Brown actively champions policies that fight sexual harassment in the bartending industry and acts as chief spirit advisor for the National Archives.

Similarly, Lo says that the “amazing life story” of house chef Tim Ma “perfectly expresses our brand ethos.” The Chinese-American culinary up-and-comer was an engineer at the National Security Agency for years before discovering his true passion in food. At Eaton’s to-be-named restaurant, Ma is planning a menu with a heavy focus on vegetables from an on-site garden.

A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission, says Lo. “We plan to have new ideas in the minibar—an activist toolkit, for example, that includes sheets with information to help you call your congresspeople. And if we’d been open during this year’s Women’s March, I could have seen us putting poster boards and markers in the rooms!”

Political statements such as these will be tailored to each property. In Hong Kong, for instance, Lo says she’d like to replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers with copies of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights.

Raw Story and Bloomberg have this story.  Eaton Workshop.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, have a book! Nothing like some good reading. Give As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson a read, you won’t be sorry! Ms. Simpson’s site is here, Peter d’Errico reviewed here, and the book can be purchased direct from UMN press.

Peering Down Trump’s Lie Hole.

Kate Kretz, “Lie Hole IV” (2017), colored pencil on black Rives BFK paper, 10 x 8 inches, from the “Lie Hole” series.

This mouth has bullied and cheated its way through the world.

This mouth has claimed self-invention, but was born gnawing a silver spoon.

This mouth blusters and brags.

This mouth promises to pay the builders of its empire; then refuses, counter-sues, and laughs.

This mouth can’t suppress its instinctive, arrogant sneer.

This mouth incites hatred and violence, spreading intolerant aggression like a cancer.

This mouth expresses glee at its own retaliatory cruelty.

This mouth will say and do anything to win.

This mouth is oblivious to its own stupefying ignorance.

This mouth, wet with slime, has forced open countless unwilling lips.

This mouth degrades the women he can’t manage to get  his tiny, swollen hands on.

This mouth has a predatory predilection for young girls (daughter included).

This mouth…

Head on over to Hyperallergic to read the rest of Kate Kretz’s piece. Blunt, and brilliantly done.

In other Trump-based artwork, check out ‘As a satirist, I can barely keep up’: the stories behind the Trump magazine covers.

Targeting Twitter.

A man takes pictures of “hate tweets”, a part of the art project “#HEYTWITTER” created by Shahak Shapira, outside Twitter office in Hamburg, Germany August 4, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Youtube via REUTERS.

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German-Israeli artist who accuses Twitter of failing to delete hate speech tweets has taken matters into his own hands – by stencilling the offending messages on the road in front of the company’s Hamburg headquarters.

A post on video-sharing site YouTube showed Shahak Shapira and fellow activists stencilling tweets saying “Germany needs a final solution to Islam” and “Let’s gas the Jews” – clear references to the Nazi regime’s World War Two genocide of Europe’s Jews. [youtu.be/jzMTBINlLFU]

Shapira said he had reported some 300 incidents of hate speech on Twitter but had received just nine responses from the company.

“If Twitter forces me to see these things, then they should have to see it as well,” he said in the video, posted on Monday, describing the comments as violations of the social network’s community guidelines.

A very clever idea! You can read more about this at Reuters.

Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal.

Aidan O’Shea, Regina Strayhorn, Ayun Halliday, and Ben Watts in Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal (all photos by Jonathan Slaff).

We do not live in a time of subtlety. If you need evidence, take a look at the news. Shaded, nuanced criticism of President Donald Trump would sound like a whisper next to a tornado. It was refreshing, then, to see a play that dispenses with elegant critique of the president in favor of a gloves-off battery. Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal combats Trump’s logorrhea of vulgarities with its own. Trump is never actually named in the script, but the title alone tells you who it’s about, and the text gives plenty of indications. It is replete with scatological jokes; the story tells of a society that makes a Faustian pact to choose a king who will supposedly better their lives, but then shits on all of his subjects. Having made this deal, the citizens are forced not only to live under the shitty reign (and rain) of this despot, but also to pretend they love it, even as the king ends the world in nuclear war. To describe this play as a scathing satire of Trump would be putting it mildly.

[…]

In addition to adopting the rhetorical position of Biblical prophecy, it also plays with Biblical material in clever ways. Jesus’s lines from the Gospels are articulated as ironically inverted versions that resemble Trump’s likely misinterpretations of them, such as: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall save it, and whosoever shall lose his life is a loser and deserves it.”

[…]

The piece is not subtle, and that’s probably fitting. When the president of the United States of America has condoned sexual assault, has publicly said that he would date his own daughter were they not related, has boasted about the size of his penis during a debate, and has both said and tweet-spewed other horrors too numerous to name here (I won’t even go into policy), comparing him to Caligula and Nero doesn’t seem so far-fetched. A play like this would have been too heavy-handed if it were directed at any other recent president, but these days, the rules of public discourse seem to have been thrown out. Now is not the time for art to play nice.

Performances of Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal continue through June 26 at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, Manhattan).

John Sherer’s full review is at Hyperallergic, and well worth reading.

Nurturing Hate.

Christian Picciolini, founder of the group Life After Hate, is pictured. | AP Photo.

If there is one thing the Regime is good at, it’s nurturing hate, encouraging bigotry, and fomenting unreasonable fear. Life After Hate is a small organization dedicated to de-radicalizing those in violent, extremist groups. They have lost their funding, because the Tiny Tyrant & Co. don’t believe in domestic terrorism.

The Trump administration has dropped federal support of an organization dedicated to countering white nationalist and neo-Nazi extremism, a Politico report revealed on Friday.

The organization, Life After Hate, was founded in 2009 and is run by a small staff of men and women who were once part of racist activist and extremist movements, and who now work to de-radicalize others involved in violent extremist groups.

In its final days, the Obama administration awarded the group a $400,000 grant as part of its Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Life After Hate was the only group dedicated to fighting white nationalist extremism to receive a grant under the program.

It’s also in increasing demand: Picciolini told Politico that since President Trump’s election, Life After Hate has seen a 20-fold increase in requests for help, coming “from people looking to disengage or bystanders/family members looking for help from someone they know.”

But Life After Hate Founder Christian Picciolini told ThinkProgress in February the group never received its check from the federal government. And now, the organization has been dropped altogether from the list of grants associated with the CVE program, which the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday.

[…]

“It sends a message that white extremism does not exist, or is not a priority in our country, when in fact it is a statistically larger and more present terror threat than any by foreign or other domestic actors,” Picciolini said at the time.

[…]

“We can simply look at recent history, from Dylann Roof to Wade Michael Page to countless others who killed innocent victims in the name of white supremacist ideologies,” Picciolini added. “We have hundreds of thousands of homegrown sovereign citizens and militia members with ties to white nationalism training in paramilitary camps across the U.S. and standing armed in front of mosques to intimidate marginalized Americans. The terror threat is already within our borders, yet we refuse to even call it terrorism when it happens.”

Picciolini told ThinkProgress that the Trump administration’s decision to shift away from efforts to combat far-right hate could actually make future terrorist attacks more likely. And, the shift comes at the very moment that reports indicate far-right hate is on the rise.

Think Progress has the full story. Life After Hate.

Pollution Popsicles.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Initially appearing to be a new artisanal food trend, these popsicles are actually a creative approach to spreading awareness of Taiwan’s issue of water pollution. The project, entitled ‘Polluted Water Popsicles’, was initiated by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti–a group of art students from the National Taiwan University of the Arts. To create the popsicles, the young artists collected water samples from 100 locations in Taiwan, with each sewage specimen then frozen and set in polyester resin for preservation. The project is successful in its innovative and deceptive conceptual approach–each counterfeit ice treat contains waste and domestic refuse extracted from the samples, 90% of which was plastic. The students also designed wrappers for the popsicles, and their work has been recognised by the Young Pin Design Award, as well as being exhibited at Taipei World Trade Center’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Polluted Water Popsicles.  Via iGNANT.