Sunday, November 07, 2004

existential detectives

"In this day and age of selling out to the Bushes and being corporate and acting like the industrial, plastic American lifestyle is the greatest thing that ever hit the planet... a movie like I ♥ Huckabees —a 60’s movie, whether it’s Asian, Zen, Tibetan Buddhist, Hindu ... reinforces some sort of hope for life and human integrity."
- Columbia Religion Chair Robert Thurman in an interview with the New York Observer,Oct. 4, 2004

existential detectives - i heart huckabees

In David O Russell's new film I ♥ Huckabees, Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) hires two existential detectives Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to help discover the significance of three chance meetings with an autograph hunting Sudanese refugee (Ger Duany). Dustin Hoffman's character is loosely based on the director's friend and mentor Robert Thurman who is best known as a colleague of the Dalai Lama and the father of Uma Thurman. Robert Thurman is currently the chair of the religion department at Columbia University. Jason Schwartzman's character can be seen as a fictionalized portrait of the director. In the film the existential mentor helps his client grapple with the concept that everything is in everything else. This idea of interbeing seems so far from our contemporary American culture of strip malls, suburban sprawl and traffic jams that it is comic. And the film is funny. Richly, smartly, philosophically funny. I ♥ Huckabees is a romp- a sort of philosophical, spiritual road movie. But in this film the road is not an exterior ribbon connecting two disparate realities. Instead the road in I ♥ Huckabees is the interior path of interconnectedness.

  • existential detectives:jaffe & jaffe
  • Thursday, November 04, 2004

    first thoughts after the election...

    Arlington 48

    Arlington 48” x 36” oil on linen 2004

    From the funeral of Chanawongse Kemaphoom 22, of Waterford, Connecticut. Killed in action during operations on the outskirts of An Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. Chanawongse was assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

    A Painters Light and the Enlightenment

    we have met the enemy and he is us

    "America, the first real democracy in history, was a product of Enlightenment values - critical intelligence, tolerance, respect for evidence, a regard for the secular sciences. Though the founders differed on many things, they shared these values of what was then modernity. They addressed "a candid world," as they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, out of "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind." Respect for evidence seems not to pertain any more, when a poll taken just before the elections showed that 75 percent of Mr. Bush's supporters believe Iraq either worked closely with Al Qaeda or was directly involved in the attacks of 9/11.

    The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies."

    -Garry Wills, adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University

    garry wills' op-ed piece in the new york times hits hard on the anti-intellectualism and anti-historicism that lies at the heart of the christian fundamentalists backing bush. wills observes that enemies come to resemble each other and in their misguided bloodlust and immoral war in iraq contemporary fundamentalist christians have created their own jihad.

    this is not about mere politics but instead a clash of rational minds against the forces of ignorance and superstition.

    as americans. as artists, as philosophers, scientists, doctors, writers, musicians, poets, actors, historians, free-thinkers and members of the world community now is not the time to acquiese but instead the time to remember and declare our american roots in the enlightenment.

    as a painter i believe in light- not just light that bathes us in a warm glow of beauty but light that also reveals and creates a path to understanding.

    do not let them take the light from us

    stand strong


    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    today in america

    Wings of Desire

    "i think the truth is, that nobody, inside or outside, can accurately portray a country. We can only paint what we see….this land of plenty is a vacuum inside, a land of drought and poverty: mental, spiritual, social, political poverty.”
    -wim wenders on america

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    vote- in your own backyard, in your own hometown

    as i'm sure you would agree - never before have we been more aware that every single vote counts. Godspeed as you vote on Tuesday, November 2nd

    "I don't think it has made America safer . . . How many of our best young people are going to die? Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time....There is a long tradition of the artist being involved in the life of the nation. For me, it goes back to Woody Guthrie, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan . . . The artist is there to open up discourse, to get people thinking about American identity: Who are we? What do we fight for? What do we stand for? I view these things as a fundamental part of [the artist's] job."
    -Bruce Springsteen
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