Sunday, April 25, 2010

My First Cartoon

Part of my quest has been about integrating all of the things that İ am passionate about into my everyday existence. After graduating with my Bachelor's in art, İ began the art game, you know, making art and and putting it into places like galleries where it would be seen and hopefully purchased, allowing me to repeat the process over and over. As soon as İ had some initial success in that game, İ found that İ was quite dissattisfied with that game. Around the same time, a dear friend told me about an course in the Conflict Resolution program where she was studying for a Master's degree. The course was titled 'Art and Conflict Resolution'. İt was essentially an intro to the field of art therapy. This course, combined with my disenchantment with the art game İ was playing and my interest in social justice led me to enroll in this Master's degree program, where two years later İ graduated with a degree in conflict resolution, convinced, like many well-meaning fools, that İ could change things from within and chose to do so as teacher. İ got a berth on the SS New York City Board of Education and sailed away from Portland, Oregon for NYC's sunny shores. 8 years later, İ am still a teacher with a passion for social justice, but now living in Turkey. İn my life now, İ am circling back for another crack at the art game, retooled and refueled.
İ present here my first crack at a cartoon, which some will contend is political. İt is still a bit rough, but İ am pleased with it as a draft. Though dated now, it was prompted by the news that our Commander-in-Chief had brought home the gold and made us proud with the Nobel Peace Prize. My first reaction was, 'What for?'. All İ could think of were the announcements of more troops being sent overseas, more unmanned aerial attacks on villages in Pakistan and more money handed over to the military-industrial-media-congressional complex. As the nominations for such prizes come many months before the award is received, it seemed to me that the award was being given for the hope that well-paid speech writers were able to impart to the masses. Hope was just around the corner, where it seems she always hides, lying in wait for the next sucker to fall for her siren song. The fix is in. The deck is stacked. The House always wins. Now, to go on mixing my metaphors,you may ask, 'Would you like some more bitter with that coffee?'. To that İ answer, if it opens my eyes a bit wider, İ will take all you got.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stop Playing Wargames

Recently I saw a video which featured the onboard filming of a massacre of Iraqi civilians thought to be dangerous by a US army helicopter crew. The commentary of the soldiers onboard struck me as remarkably similar to the commentary I hear coming from boys as they play their ubiquitous single shooter wargames. İn fact, the whole video struck me as frighteningly similar to many video games now popular in our society. A bit of research will reveal to you that such video games have the U.S. military to thank for their existence, as their use has been shown to be the answer to an old problem for the military: how do we get people to kill other people? As human beings, we have an innate revulsion to killing our fellow humans, which is obviously problematic for the military. Up until the present time, militaries all over the world have had serious problems with their soldiers purposely shooting over the heads of their enemies due to their instinctual desire to avoid killing other human beings. Single shooter games have been proven to be remarkable tools in getting those who play them to see humans as objects, as an other to be eliminated as thoughtlessly as an icon part of some imaginary world where points are earned for killing these imaginary enemies. The US Army uses such games as recruiting tools as well as training tools for impressionable young minds who are already accustomed to seeing people splattered across their media screens. The military knows that those who play such games are learning to get over their aversion to killing their enemies in real life. İ urge you to watch the clip İ have linked to this blog and start talking to the young people around you. Don't let your homes become training salons for massacre like what is glorified in those video games. Killing is not entertainment, it is dehumanization.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Brief Respite

İ was gratified to receive queries when İ missed my normal blog schedule last week. For those of you who missed me, İ am back from vacation, unfortunately. İ live in one of the most interesting places on the planet history-wise and İ am even more fortunate to be married to an archaeologist well-versed in this history. Not to disparage Greece, but İ think a strong case can be made for Turkey's superior collection of Classical monuments. The one İ pictured here, a temple for Zeus at Euremos, is tucked off the beaten path, and is quite a delight to wander through. Countless villages and towns have sites like this, unassuming and humble, waiting for the intrepid traveller to stumble across. İ spent last week with my folks who were visiting from the States in the environs of Bodrum. We spent our time eating some of the best cuisine in the world and getting a glimpse of past glories. My wife treated us to daily tours of choice sites around this peninsula, culminating in Ephesus (EFES), one of the gems in Turkey's archaeological crown. At Efes, İ finally got to see the new villas excavations which are fabulous. My third visit to EFes has truly been the finest. My folks continue to talk to us about getting our own touring concern going, which after this vacation has got me thinking. So, any of you thinking of coming to Turkey should keep us in mind for planning your trip.