Archive for the Pop Culture Miscellany Category

Hope and Despair (and Géricault) in 2012

Posted in Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting, Pop Culture Miscellany with tags , , , , on January 9, 2012 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER
© Liz Hager, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1819
Oil on canvas, approximately  16 x 23.5 feet
(Louvre, Paris)

Over most of my adult life, I have habitually devoted sizable chunks of time at year’s end compiling a well-reasoned list of New Year’s resolutions. The best intentions were poured into these annual exercises.  Not surprisingly, however, very little ever came of my earnestly-wrought declarations. Invariably, by mid-to-late January I had put most resolutions quietly aside. In February, the lists themselves had become loathsome to me, glaring signposts on the pathway to personal defeat.

This year I finally resisted the urge to make a list.  Perhaps not so coincidentally, on New Year’s Eve, in a last ditch effort at helpful guidance, a friend suggested he read the Tarot for me.  Three cards pulled from his Buddhist-inspired deck provided an elegant composite answer to my burning question: “What should I focus on this year?” In order, they were:

Patience
Alertness (Technically, the card is “Laziness” but, ever the optimist, I prefer a more positive meaning. . .)
Inner Voice

We flail about during our blip of a physical lifetime.  Julian Barnes forcefully captured the emotions that shape our existence in his fictional treatment of Théodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa (from  A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters)

All that straining—to what end? There is no formal response to the painting’s main surge, just as there is no response to most human feelings. Not merely hope, but any burdensome yearning: ambition, hatred, love (especially love)—how rarely do our emotions meet the object they seem to deserve? How hopelessly we signal; how dark the sky; how big the waves. We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us.

In point of fact, M. Géricault, the real Medusa castaways were, at long last, rescued.  Fittingly, my Tarot reading suggests hope in the face of existential despair. Snippets include:

We have forgotten how to wait; it is almost an abandoned space. And it is our greatest treasure to be able to wait for the right moment. This card reminds us that now is a time when all that is required is to be simply alert, patient, waiting. . . The poolside resort is not your final destination. The journey isn’t over yet. Your complacency might have arisen from a real sense of achievement, but now it’s time to move on. No matter how fuzzy the slippers, how tasty the piña colada, there are skies upon skies still waiting to be explored. . . There are times in our lives when too many voices seem to be pulling us this way and that. Our very confusion in such situations is a reminder to seek silence and centering within. Only then are we able to hear our truth.

My takeaway for 2012: The seas of life may toss me, but all there is to do is wait patiently, on alert, for the arrival of my next Argus. My life raft is beneath me.

Wider Connections

“Art & Perception”—The Raft of the Medusa
Adad Hannah’s Raft of the Medusa tableau vivant
Osho Zen Tarot CarddeckOsho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen

The Still Life Examined: Asparagus in Art

Posted in Christine Cariati, Female Artists, Fine & Decorative Arts, Flora & Fauna, Food, Painting with tags , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by Christine Cariati

by Christine Cariati

Édouard Manet, Asparagus, 1880
Oil on canvas
Musée d’Orsay, Paris

In honor of the arrival of spring, I thought I’d continue my exploration of the art of the still life by concentrating on images which depict that quintessential spring vegetable, asparagus. The subtle whites, mauves, purples and greens of asparagus are beautifully portrayed in this famous image (above)—Édouard Manet’s single white asparagus, which was a gift from Manet to Charles Ephrussi. Manet had just sold A Bunch of Asparagus (below) to Ephrussi for 800 francs. When Ephrussi sent him 1000 francs instead, Manet painted this single white spear and sent it to Ephrussi with the note: “There was one missing from your bunch.”

Édouard Manet, A Bunch of Asparagus, 1880
Oil on canvas
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

Through the use of subtle color, volume, atmosphere and light, a beautifully rendered still life takes something that no longer exists—and shows it to us as a palpable, living thing. The Golden Age of still life painting was  1500-1800 and flourished in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Still-life painting was not merely an aesthetic exercise, although technique and composition was extremely important. It was also meant to provide a record of familiar objects—china, flowers, vegetables, fruits, dead birds, game and fish, et al—and to provide reference points for the flow of the seasons, the passing of time and mortality (tempus omnia terminat—time brings an end to all things.) Still life painting also reflected the wealth and social standing of the patrons—and often the sources of that wealth and position were depicted in the work: exotic spices, Venetian glass, porcelain from China.

Cornelis de Heem, Vegetables and Fruit before a Garden Balustrade, 1658
(detail)
Oil  on copper
Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Art historians like to ascribe an iron-clad iconography to still life painting, where every element is depicted for a specific reason, each with absolute symbolic meaning. This may be largely true, but I believe that individual artists also included objects based on aesthetic and personal criteria that superceded the established iconography.

Asparagus has been around a long time. The oldest known recipe for cooking asparagus appeared in Apicius’ De re coquinaria, Book III, in the third century. Since the 17th century, it has been highly valued for its culinary and medicinal properties.

The only painter I have come across, prior to Manet, who made asparagus a primary subject in his work, is Adriaen Coorte (active c. 1683-1707.) This 17th-century Dutch master, whose work was largely unknown until the 1950s, painted many pictures where asparagus is a very important—or sole—element in the composition. This was unusual among his peers, not least because asparagus was a luxury item in the 17th century.

A. Coorte, Still Life with Asparagus and Spray of Red-Currants, c. 1696
Paper on cardboard
Pieter C.W.M. Dreesmann Collection

Adriaen Coorte, A bundle of Asparagus, 1703
Paper on canvas
The Fitzwilliam, Cambridge

Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with Asparagus, Cherries and a Butterfly,
c. 1693-95
Paper on panel
Private collection, Switzerland

Many 17th-century European artists painted asparagus in combination with other still life elements. The painting below is one of almost two identical compositions by German painter Peter Binoit (1590/93-1632/39)—only in this version, he added a squirrel.

Peter Binoit, Fruit and Vegetables, Roses in a Glass Vase, and a Squirrel, probably 1631
Oil on wood
Private collection

Isaak Soreau, Basket of Fruit and Vegetables, c. 1628
Oil on wood
Private collection

François Habert, Kitchen Bench with Carp, c. 1645-1651
Oil on canvas
Hessiches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt

French artist Louise Moillon (1610-1696) had a long and successful career as a painter of Naturalist still life. She was noted for her sensitive rendering of plants and her exceptional use of chiaruscuro. Moillon was raised in a family of painters and her father also owned a prominent art gallery on the Left Bank.

Louise Moillon, Still Life with a Basket of Fruit and a Bunch of Asparagus, 1630
Oil on panel
The Art Institute of Chicago

Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670), known as the miniatura (miniaturist)  was an accomplished still life painter who had a long and successful career. Her paintings, mostly gouache or tempera on vellum, were collected by the Medicis and other aristocratic families and were highly prized and valued. This painting, unusual with it’s white background, has an extremely light and contemporary feel. A contemporary art historian, Emanuele Tesauro, wrote that Garzoni had the ability “to penetrate the most minute and subtle causes underlying every subject.”

Giovanna Garzoni, Plate of Asparagus with Carnations and a Grasshopper, undated
Gouache on vellum
Private collection, Italy

I will close my homage to the asparagus with this amusing 18th century etching which I found on Bibliodyssey. Elaborate wigs were all the rage at the time and many satirical artists found it irresistible to parody them. Among the vegetables and herbs adorning this creation, note the large bunch of asparagus at the top.

Wider connections

The Magic of Things, Still-Life Painting 1500-1800, edited by Jochen Sander

The Still Lifes of Adriaen Coorte 1683-1707 by Quentin Buvelot

Inauguration Fever: Proud to Be an American (Again)

Posted in Liz Hager, Politics, Pop Culture Miscellany with tags , , on January 21, 2009 by Liz Hager

“. . . On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. . . “

 

 

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photo ©2009 Liz Hager


As shots appear on the Jumbotrons, the enormity of the visual impact made by 1.8 million of us on the Mall was clear. The symbol of hope seen ’round the world.  On the ground, the crowd sizzles with pent-up energy.  Eight am rolls into 9 am and 10 am; the Mall filled. The rainbow coalition is reporting for duty.  The weather oscillates between biting cold (wind chill in action) and almost tolerable. People shuffled and marched to stay warm, aided by Sunday’s concert re-play on the Jumbotrons. 

With the arrival of dignitaries on the podium stage, we forget all about our frigid bodies. Anyway, the sun has come out, a portend of things to come. Random and large cheers rupture, ripple, reverberate. John Lewis, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Puff Daddy come and sit.  Cheney rolls in on his wheelchair—what righteous symbolism!  With the announcement of the man soon to be “Formally Known As,”  the crowd sends forth loud boos, chants of “Good Riddance,” “Go Back to Texas”and choruses of “Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.”  The party is underway!

And then The Moment arrives. Our Man waits for the Chief Justice to get the words straight; alas he is unable, so our Man, poised as ever, repeats the wrong sequence.   “Congratulations, Mr. President.” The crowd goes wild.  Ding, dong the witch is dead!

 

 

. . . The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. . .”

 

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©2009 Liz Hager

 

“Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

 

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©2009 Liz Hager

 

“All this we can do. All this we will do.”

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Inauguration Fever: Martin Luther King/National Day of Service

Posted in Liz Hager, Politics, Pop Culture Miscellany with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2009 by Liz Hager

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Moving in a Straight Line ©2009 Liz Hager

We brave Massachusetts Avenue and the traffic jams at Union Station (hoards of people arriving today), then head SE down Pennsylvania Avenue and cross the Anacostia River. It’s a part of town none of us have ever been in. From the elevated overpass, we can see a small part of Anacostia Park below us. Anacostia is a very large park, which hugs the river for miles upriver. The park looks bleary in the hazy low-slung sunshine of the afternoon. The Pennsylvania Avenue overpass bisects the park, creating a no man’s land underneath it.  A collection of shabby buildings huddles together at one end of the park  and a sorry playground sits forlornly on the downriver side. With some trees standing along the river, this part of the park seems to be holding on to a last shred of dignity.  The river, industrial structures lining its shores here and there, chunks of ice bobbing along, definitely gives this area an aura of bleakness. It’s the dead of winter on the Eastern Seaboard.

We turn into the park and head towards the parking lot. 

Anacostia borders one of the poorest districts in Washington, DC.  The Anacostia River was once referred to as “DC’s forgotten river,” because of its state of severe pollution, caused by the dumping of raw sewage and industrial waste. Since 2004 a coalition of the willing—including No Child Left Inside, the National Park Service, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and a number of Senators and Congresspeople—have banded together to spearhead clean up efforts. It seems that the Park too has its share of the audacity of hope.

A lot of us have come for speeches and a tree planting on this National Day of Service.  Senators Steny Hoyer and Ben Cardin are here. (Hoyer gives a truly impressive speech linking Martin Luther King’s legacy to all of us.) The formidable Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC’s representative without a vote) is here. Even former Mayor Marion Barry is here, his drug-related problems apparently behind him.  There has been a rumor that Obama might show up. That would be truly exciting, but we’re content to support No Child Left Inside and the Park Service, even if he doesn’t come. And, as big fans of Friends of the Urban Forest back in San Francisco, the idea of participating in a tree planting feels like a way to be a good national neighbor on this National Day of Service. 

A local gospel choir kicks off the event; their undulating sea of rhythm is infectious. Speeches follow—most are

Inauguration Fever: The Pre-Game Show

Posted in Liz Hager, Politics, Pop Culture Miscellany with tags , , , , on January 19, 2009 by Liz Hager

 

With this post Venetian Red begins coverage of the Inauguration. 

 

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Shot Rings Out  (photo ©Liz Hager)

It’s Sunday mid-afternoon in our nation’s capital. The temperature is warming. 

As our afternoon activity, we’ve opted for the National Gallery, not the Reflecting Pool. (Need to store all of our crowd-coping reserves for Tuesday’s event.) After a wholly-satisfying perusal of the East and West buildings (more on this in later posts), curiosity about the outside world has gotten the better of us. We head along the short block from the Gallery to the Mall. 

The Capitol building is festooned with garlands of flags, its stage visible visible from the first two Mall “yards.” Phalanxes of port-o-potties stand at attention along the edges of the Mall, their virginity preserved by plastic clasps. The feed towers, news stages, and Jumbotrons are all up.  A few thousand people have gathered together in loose clumps in front of the immense screens. As we round the corner of a supporting vehicle, we look up to see Bono’s be-spectacled face beaming down at us.  It seems we won’t miss a concert experience after all. 

The crowd is a joyous one, shuffling around to the beat, many singing along. More of us sing along with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen. When Byoncé appears on the screen, she transfixes us (that girl has a set of pipes!). By the end of her performance our crowd has erupted in cheers.

And then the Man himself appears on screen to give us a sobering and uplifting pep talk. More than a few eyes are brimming with tears. 

We feel a disembodying sensation to be outdoors with thousands of people (truly a rainbow coalition) WATCHING TELEVISION. Though the concert is a short, straight shot away at the Lincoln Memorial, our gathering has its own unique make up, emotions, rhythms. But one thing is for sure, we’re all in this together, and that’s an expansive feeling.

This afternoon we’ve had a small preview of what will come.

Ringing Out the Old Year

Posted in Liz Hager, Photography, Pop Culture Miscellany with tags , on December 31, 2008 by Liz Hager

No doubt we’d all agree that this year has been an exceedingly difficult one. (Well why not say the last eight?) At Venetian Red we’re looking forward  to the Year of  Obama with much anticipation.

Tonight, let us raise our digital glasses in a toast . . . 

martini2

©2003 Liz Hager

Creative Food Play: Adventures With Buddha’s Hand

Posted in Food, Liz Hager with tags , on November 24, 2008 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER

buddhas-handBuddha’s Hand. Photo ©2008 Liz Hager

Over the weekend, while in the process of hunting and gathering in the gargantuan fruit section of my favorite market, I had noticed a middle-aged woman lingering in the vicinity of my shopping cart. As I returned to the cart and attempted to reach for its bar, thinking it was somehow blocking her way, she accosted me. “What do you do with THAT?” she asked, pointing to the yellow, squid-like fruit whose tentacles were peeking up among the bags of pears and apples. I saw no reason to lie. “I have no idea,” I grinned. “I’m using it for a photo project.”

Fortunately my traveling companion for the day was Tia, who is an expert on all sorts of food. Turns out, this thing—this Buddha’s Hand, aka citroncedraCitrus medica var.sarcodactylusis an ancient relative of the lemon. It has the rind of a lemon but not the pulp. It’s used in Asian cultures to freshen rooms. In the Western world, outside of a few daring chefs, who use it raw, it’s mostly used for making candied fruit. Those little cubes of succade in fruit cakes? Some of them originated from the rind of this strange-looking life form.

Armed with that knowledge, I put the Buddha’s Hand out of my mind as a reliable food source.

A day later, however, my penurious nature got the better of me. How wasteful to throw out the carcass after the photo shoot! Nature had designed something more beautiful than any human could have invented—a fruit with gorgeously gnarled fingers. Think of the presentation possibilities. The ooo-ahh factor spurred me on.

I consulted Tia. She attempted to instruct me on the details of preparing candied citron by phone. She went over the instructions a second time, making a few modifications.  I should have taken notes. I’m not a novice in the kitchen, but I absorb new concepts best visually through interactive watching. I hung up the phone, a bit fuzzy about the numerous and seemingly-complicated steps that would allow me to candy the fruit properly, while leaving the fingers whole. They are fairly thick, was our method going to cook them all the way through?

I consulted the internet. The scant recipes out there are all slightly different and none of them mention a way to do it so the fingers stay whole.

This afternoon I decided just not to worry about the whole thing. I cut into the fruit, running my knife along the grove that separates each finger. I carved out some of their pulp, but left the fingers whole.

Buddha's Hand

They’re in their third boiling bath. Stay tuned for results.

Wider Connections

Chris Minnick’s recipe

Carolyn Carter’s recipe

Sky Gyngell’s chocolate dipped recipe

Hangar One Buddha’s Hand vodka

Savory Recipes using Citron

Buy a Buddha’s Hand tree

How to Loose It

Posted in Fashion, Liz Hager, Pop Culture Miscellany, Textiles with tags , , on November 23, 2008 by Liz Hager

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“How to Loose It,” Digital Illustration (©2008 Liz Hager)

As I fanned the Oxford pink sections of the weekend Financial Times across the breakfast island, I unexpectedly discovered an edition of the newspaper’s glossy monthly supplement How to Spend It nestled inside. A moment of confusion ensued. Normally this section arrives with the paper on the first Saturday of each month, but wasn’t Thanksgiving just around the corner?  A moment later the subhead registered—“how to spend it special celebration edition.”  Mystery solved, serious senior moment averted.  

It was thoughtful of the FT editors to issue an extra measure of cheer this holiday season. I mean this with all sincerity.  

I used to derive good amusement from the rag’s round up of über-glitz trends in European (mostly British) fashion and design. I used it as fodder for my design scrapbooks.  Inevitably, while perusing pages of the magazine, my initial scorn at its joyous touting of the chic accoutrements of the ultra-wealthy would end in unabashed admiration for much of the design aesthetic displayed on its pages. There was something to like in just about everything there. 

In a perverse way, How To Spend It convinced me that my own life, although a trickle-down version of the opulent lifestyle conjured up on its glossy pages, was still pretty darn good. 

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that my interest in the magazine grew more tepid with each passing month of disarray in the global markets and inexorablew rise in the unemployment rate. By the end of October, nearly 40% of my own savings had evaporated. Like everyone else, I was anxious. I found increasingly less delight in scrutinizing the design elements offered up by HTSI and became ever more obsessed with the obscene prices of things— “bespoke” (custom-made) stationery at £587 ($869.52), a Hermès pocket watch (£995/$1473.89), or Pippa Small’s yellow gold and Tibetan diamond ring for £14,600 ($21,803). All that came to mind was whether the people who bought these things before the meltdown were still buying them. Do the ultra-rich cut back in recessionary times? Do they “do without” (albeit on their own level) like the rest of us? I was downing in the myopia of money or, more accurately, the loss of my money.  I could no longer contemplate design for design’s sake. 

Something induced me peak inside the cover of this Saturday’s issue. Maybe it was the “special”-ness of it—a free gift during hard times—or perhaps it was the cover model’s dress with her Elsa Lancaster-like hair. Once inside, I found a lovely feature pronouncing “Velvet is Back,” and had a look at the dashboards of antique Aston Martins (the DB4 GT is valued at£1m+). Before I knew it, I had ripped out the review featuring the new Flip Mino.  

No doubt the path to collective economic recovery will be years in the making.  Despite this disheartening thought, there was a small seismic shift in my life yesterday. As a result I’m back to being a peeping Tom in the world of luxury design. I’m confident I will never purchase the vast majority of things promoted in HTSI, but the joy of design consumption has returned.            

In an odd way How to Spend It taught me how to loose it (money), and ultimately how to find it (the unhampered joy in beautiful things). Now that’s liberating.

Why We Love (Kae-Sa-Luk) Watermelon

Posted in Food, Liz Hager, Sculpture with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by Liz Hager

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Kalaya Tonghcareon Paragas, “Thai-Styled Watermelon Carving” (photo © Saveur Magazine)

A few months ago the September issue of Saveur arrived on my doorstep. On its cover was emblazoned the confident tagline—”Why We Love Watermelon”—a pugnacious answer to an unbidden question. Personally, I prefer the more meaty varieties of melon, such as cantalope and honeydew. As a result, I had every intention of skipping the article. But that was before my eyes came to rest on a page-size resolution of a this watermelon carved to resemble a camilla, or perhaps a lotus?   

What a tour de force of ornamental embellishment! It caused me to turn back the pages and read this article on the global joys of watermelon.  Well, read superficially anyway. What hooked me, though was the following little tidbit from Saveur author Katherine Cancila—

In Thailand. . . the elaborate carving of watermelon and other fruits is a long-standing and respected tradition that dates to the 14th century, when the art evolved in the court of King Phra Ruang. Chefs for Thai nobility and royalty were expected to make food that was not only delicious but also beautiful, even fantastical. Today in Thailand, carved fruits and vegetables are presented as religious offerings, used as displays at weddings and banquets, and entered into judged competitions. 

As I discovered through additional digging, the carving of fruits and vegetables (Kae-Sa-Luk), has a long history in Thailand. Legend suggests that the tradition was created during Loi Kratong (Krathong), a popular festival during which Thais launch krathongs—banana leaf boats filled with incense, flowers and other offerings—as inducements for the water spirits to carry away their troubles. The story tells of one of the King’s (though not specifying which one) servants, alternately referred to as Nang Noppamart, Lady Nopphamat, and Thao Sichulalak, who, wishing to please the King, distinguished her krathong by carving beautiful flowers and birds from fruit.

Reality is no doubt more prosaic. Many believe the artform was adopted from the Chinese, although scholarly sources on the subject are difficult to find. It may well have originated, as Ms. Cancila suggests, under Phra Ruang, although this was not one king but a dynasty of kings, which ruled the in north-central Thailand from 1238-1368.  The dynasty is generally considered to be the forerunner of modern-day Thailand, because its first ruler, Phokhun Si Intharathit, led the rebellion against the Khmer regime that established the first independent Thai state.  The appellation of their kingdom—Sukhothai (Dawn of Happiness)—derives from the dynasty’s capital city. Today, Sukhothai is a UNESCO World Heritage site; parenthetically UNESCO sites are always well-worth the visit.  In its short 100+ years, the Phra Ruang dysnasty successfully expanded its territory along the entire Chao Phraya River basin (to present-day Bangkok, situated at the delta of the river), and is credited with lasting influence on Thai culture and political custom. 

In her description above, Ms. Cancila may actually be referring to Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng (Ramkhamhaeng the Great), the third king of the Phra Ruang dynasty, who ruled the Sukhothai from 1277-1317. Ramkhamhaeng is credited with establishing the Khmer-derived Thai alphabet, still in use today, and with promoting nascent Thai art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, and of course fruit & vegetable carving.

Kalaya’s other watermelon carvings

Kalaya is a 55-year-old Thai immigrant (she lives in Long Island, NY), who has been carving fruits and vegetables since her teens. 

Master Pam Maneeratana Carves a Pumpkin (and other things)

Vegetable and Fruit Carving Book

Indian Food Kitchen Blog

The Art of Thai Food Carving

The News That Fits

Posted in Liz Hager, Politics, Pop Culture Miscellany, Words & Symbols with tags , , on November 13, 2008 by Liz Hager

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Yesterday on the streets of New York pedestrians were surprised to receive a special edition of The New York Times, free of charge.  The news on its pages seemed almost too good to be true. . . and it was. At least for now. 

Dated July 4, 2009, the front page of this New York Times blared out in four-column headlines an end to the Iraq War; reported on an apology by Condoleeza Rice for WMD scare; and announced that oil companies had been nationalized to fund climate initiatives.  Inside was coverage of the passage of the National Health Care Act, as well as the end of tortue and Gitmo. On the Editorial page Thomas Friedman came forth with his own mea culpa and a vow to put down his pen (and take up a screwdriver).  

Though humorous, this special edition doesn’t quite qualify as parody. Its independent editors were not mocking the Times, only imitating its content and style, to make a serious point. Stay involved.   A few paragraphs from embedded in their Editorial elaborate on this: 

The dozens of volunteer citizens who produced this paper spent the last eight years dreaming of a better world for themselves, their friends, and any descendants they might end up having. Today, that better world, though still very far away, is finally possible — but only if millions of us demand it, and finally force our government to do its job.

It certainly won’t be easy. Even now, corporate representatives are swarming over Washington to get their agendas passed. The energy giants are demanding “clean coal,” nuclear power and offshore drilling. Military contractors are pushing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. H.M.O.s and insurance companies are promoting bogus “reforms” so they can forestall universal health care. And they’re not about to take no for an answer.

But things are different this time. This time, we can hold accountable the politicians we put into office. And because everyone can now see that the “free market” has nothing to do with freedom, there is a huge opening to pass policies that can benefit all Americans, and that can make us truly free — free to pursue an education without debt, go on vacation every once in a while, keep healthy, and live without the crushing guilt of knowing what our tax dollars are doing abroad.

While the news reported in the 7/4/2009 edition may not qualify as “fit to print” in the legit paper, it is the news that fits the nation’s present mood. “Too good to be true, but not impossible to imagine” was one woman’s response to the paper. She reflected the majority sentiment of those who received the paper and, dare I say, of a lot of us who did not. 

The audacity of hope is still riding high. 

 

Leisurely Morning Read

PDF file

Online version

 

Cut to the chase—Venetian Red recommends

Court Indicts Bush on High Treason

Congress Passes Maximum Wage Law

Thomas Friedman op-ed

McCain Leads Charge to Humanize Corporations

Harvard Closes its Business School Doors

Out on the Street (videos)

 

Work for Change  The Fine Print

Links Beyond

The Gothamist—behind the Scenes at the Hoax

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