When I left the studio of which I was a partner for so many years, I established my own site and with it a blog, although I admit more for reasons of SEO than any passion to swim in the waters of social media. Then, as now, our country was immersed in a political campaign, and because I find the process as fascinating as nauseating, I used the blog as a forum for political commentary instead of the more responsible purpose of selling myself. Now as then, I presume that the general public within and beyond the bounds of my profession have far more important things – like focus groups – to attend to than reading the blog of yet another photographer/videographer. So I will avail myself of this space, isolate space of the digital universe to comment, rant, pontificate….in short, follow the habits of the pundits and the ignorant alike (although confessing that at times, the difference between the two is marginal at best).
What fascinates me most of all about this season of political reality TV is that as much as I exoriated Mitt for his hypocrisy as much as his projected policies, I now look upon that campaign with a certain nostalgic glow in light of the travesty we are witnessing currently. Of course we are once again confronted with this country’s greatest irony; having the whiteness of Iowa set the tone of a campaign to elect a president to govern a nation of many colors. (The second greatest irony is that the Republican anti-government rhetoric finds such a following in one of the most subsidized (or to use the “w” word, welfared) state in the country). However, the fact that the campaign is devoid of meaningful debate is not the fault of the candidates; it is the result of a population that has lost its sense of self, that finds its identity in the platitudes of a snake-oil salesman, that refuses to accept that the word is made up grays, rather than the simplicities of black and white. It is the same populace, comprised of educated and uneducated alike, that thought an invasion of Irag would bring relief to its comfortable world view without even trying to understand the enormous complexities of Sunnis and Shiites and Baathists and etc. because to do so becomes just too sticky. A world order of black and white allows for an unrepetant blame claim and renunciation of facts (ignoring Moynihan’s famous dictum – paraphrasing – that everyone is entitled to their opinions but not to their own facts). Climate change is not a question of science or fact – yes, Virginia (and apologies to all the Virginias out there), the waters are rising and the earth is getting warmer – but another trench on the battlefield of this ideological war where stalement is not an option. It is a mindset that confuses education with wisdom, fostering the absurdity that having an advanced degree from a university imparts wisdom instead of just a degree. Wisdom, if it is ever attained, often has little to do with formal education. Indeed, from what we know, Salomon didn’t even attend school. So, once again, we find ourselves falling down, ever deeper, in the rabbit hole of ideological stupidity and sadly, for the most part, we seem pretty comfortable with it.