Posts Tagged ‘Iconoclash’

Newark Ohio Iconoclash

June 21, 2020

In past posts Analysis has been following the current Iconoclash rather marginally. Nationally (and internationally) the monuments and names keep coming down, the latest being Monmouth University’s building named in honor of Woodrow Wilson. No such bounty of figurative sculpture or names to be found in Newark Ohio; mostly religious icon’s or heroes of industry found on church or business private property. Why’s that? The bronze figures around the square are a pre-MAGA visualization of life as it ought to be; more a tribute to the effectiveness of Walt Disney “in reverse” surveillance technology (if you are good, Mickey will smile on you) than celebrations of any specific person or individual. And the building names, or buildings themselves? Analysis began this blog over 7 years ago enumerating who owns downtown Newark. Most properties are gov’t, church, or corporate owned, with many corporate entities established for that specific property ownership. Ditto building names. The culture has been efficiently anaesthetized through the removal of any structure strongly evocative of history, or the repurposing of those deemed “interesting.” The blog followed the demise of the old Children’s Home on East Main Street, and the repurposing of the downtown Gazebo as replacement. And what of the Roper factory smokestack, the railroad roundhouse, or the east end hospital? Evidence of the city’s actual history has been erased and replaced by branding icon’s like the Basket Building, Canal Market (next to the moldy old county jail), and The Works (Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology). The “branded history” names follow the same “made for general audience consumption” fantasy history as the bronze figures scattered around the square. Yet nationally (and internationally) the statues and names keep coming down. The Iconoclash grows more intense, threatening to topple a Presidency. The optimists point to all this as a beginning, the beginning of a genuine conversation of history, race, and the continuous effects of slavery. An uncomfortable conversation to be had, we are told. Certainly not what one would celebrate with bronze figures around the Newark Courthouse Square. Why Not? The history of slavery and the US, both AS the US as well as with the creation of the US, is premised in a conversation far more uncomfortable than race. THAT conversation IS celebrated continuously around the Courthouse Square in downtown Newark. No matter the volumes of philosophic tomes justifying the rational legitimacy of private property ownership (9/10ths of the law), in the end it comes down to the history and origins of Capitalism. At some point, somewhere, Capitalism requires that something has been acquired from nothing, which allows for the establishment of property and value; whether it be the resources of an entire continent where the inhabitants are not considered human, or labor as a resource, by being considered as owned property (or indentured — as family). Something must cost nothing (be there for the taking, with or without guile). And it is this “costs nothing” which makes the conversation so uncomfortable, and uncertain, in Newark Ohio.

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Decision 2020

May 28, 2020

5-25-20 AFP headlined: India yogi who claimed to live without food or water dies aged 90. “An Indian yogi [Prahlad Jani] whose claims he spent decades without food or water earned him a band of devotees and the scepticism of doctors died Tuesday, his neighbour told AFP.” “He told AFP in 2003 he got the “elixir of life from the hole in my palate, which enables me to go without food and water”. There was no way of verifying Jani’s claims, but doctors have said a person cannot go for long periods without food or water without organ damage and the body breaking down.” Who would you vote for, Jani or the doctors? Think carefully, decide wisely as this will be the foundations of the 2020 presidential election in 5 months. Back in 2002 European scholar and curator Bruno Latour organized an extensive investigation in what he entitled Iconoclash. It considered topics such as “Why do images Trigger so Much Furor?” and “What is Iconoclash? Or is There a World Beyond the Image Wars?” Etc. One of his prime examples centers on the Reformation, a period when there were wars fought over the appropriateness of statues, paintings, relics and other iconic images within the churches of Christianity specifically as well as within the religion generally. Writing at the time of these actual events Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) offers one description (amongst many): “To speak frankly, there seems to be great self-love and presumption in granting your opinions such esteem that you can justify disrupting the public peace in order to establish them.” Returning to present time, Analysis finds an analogous Iconoclash unfolding before our weary eyes. It may not be a disruption centered on imagery, but it certainly does involve a destruction of the previous regime that values science, research, statistical data, factual analysis and intellectual conclusions. Montaigne seems to speak to the present reformation when “there seems to be great self-love and presumption in granting your opinions such esteem that you can justify disrupting the public peace in order to establish them.” The evidence is overabundant with Dear Leader’s Twitter usurpation, extortion of North Carolina’s pandemic response for mass gatherings by moving the upcoming GOP convention (after promoting individual state response), disdain for following his administration’s own CDC guidelines and recommendations with regard to masks, forcing people to unsafe work in the midst of an “invisible enemy,” championing the ingesting of hydroxychloroquine proactively as well as injecting bleach prescriptively, etc. Analysis finds that in November of 2020 the choice will not be about an economy, or racism, or security (personal, national or international). The choice for America will be between Prahlad Jani or the doctors. Who will you vote for?