Dissonance

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Dissonance is pumpkin pie gone sour.  We are experiencing a massive dose of that now.  There are just too many inconsistencies between our Pumpkin Pie American Dream and images we see in the news. 

 

Some of the dissonance is simply that people who are supposed to be irrelevant are important to us.  People in unfamiliar settings in far away lands in cities we never new existed, places like Samara, Falujia, Basra and Sadr city.  How many of us have come to believe that our images of pumpkin pie America should be the only ones that matters?  Even with media censorship we see lots if a Arabic faces and dress, massive anti-US demonstrations, suicide bombers, car-bomb deaths, beheaded americans and war-injured kids. 

 

Those images are not in our pumpkin pie lexicon.  Some of my art in this gallery deliberately mixes the two kinds of images.  And you don’t have to go to Iraq to see the dissonance.  Detroit, Newark. Washington DC and areas of our other great cities, will also do fine with their wrecked buildings, empty lots and crack-house neighborhoods.  Definitely not pumpkin pie.

 

Then there is dissonance between images we should see on the news but don’t.  Like pictures of American coffins returning from Iraq and our soldiers enjoying torturing prisoners.  Not the good folk of apple pie. 

The most basic source of dissonance is clashes of world views, the absolute truth of fundamentalism versus the multi-faceted views of open democracy, scientific pragmatism and constant re-discovery and acceptance of what is.  Societies tend to create and reinforce images, dialogs and “evident truths” that serve as filters as to how people who live in them see the world.  Today, systems of evident truths are at war with one another.  They are separating us into mutually uncomprehending and increasingly hostile sub-populations.

Dissonance shows up when things don’t work out OK, like at the end of The Simpson’s eposodes.  Many things seem to getting worse and worse. Explanations born of illusion like saying the increasing violence in Iraq is because “these people hate democracy” are lame, insufficient to resolve the dissonance, and likely to make it worse.

 

There are countless dissonances of fact, perception and illusion out there today.  Such as between our economy being in high gear and the loss of 1.6 million (Or is it 800,000?) jobs, between bringing democratic values to the world and torturing our prisoners, between building more and more mansions while millions of Americans drop below the poverty level, between our love of SUV’s and gasoline prices headed up to $3 a gallon and beyond. 

 

The dissonance is too-often between our pumpkin pie images of ourselves, and realities we would prefer not to acknowledge.  They often lead us to feel weird and isolated, and some of my images relate to that theme.  The dissonance is perhaps seen most explicitly in the anti-war movement and in the election process, and some of my images are based on pictures I have taken at demonstrations.  Our flag in this context is more sinister, often as a symbol of a position that polarizes, that makes others wrong.

 

 

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