Saturday, August 04, 2012

Things I Think About While Running: Hit "Like" If You Remember Edition

A number of my Facebook friends have been showing their age reminiscing about the past and posting pictures of Captain Kangaroo and those swirly plastic inserts from 45 rpm singles as a way to show how incredibly old we they are...  :-)  Of course I remember those things, but I got to thinking about the images that stick out in my mind as defining the world during my childhood.

The picture of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of one of the victims of the Ohio National Guard at Kent State.

A Vietnamese girl running and crying trying to escape the napalm flames that had already burned her clothes off her body.

Burning school buses and protests in South Boston and Louisville after court-ordered desegregation (proving that the deep South didn't have a corner on bigotry)

A "Whites Only" sign over a drinking fountain

Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald

People lining stairs to the top of an apartment building in Saigon to be airlifted out ahead of the fall of the city

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s companions pointing from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to where they thought the shot came from

Most of those you can visualize as well because they were still images that everyone saw.  Think about the power of that.  I didn't include the images themselves here because I didn't have to - I'm fairly certain that any of you that are at least 45 years old will know exactly which images I'm talking about, even if you see them again and realize you don't remember them quite accurately.  While that's not the type of photography I do, I have no doubt that it is the impact of still images like that are what inspired (and inspire) me to take my own.
I don't want this to make it sound like I only remember the trauma of the 60s and 70s from my childhood.  I'll add the following that have a similar impact, although oddly most of these I remember as moving images rather than still:
The last appearance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in '65 (I can't swear that I remember the first one)
Anchors smoking like chimneys on the evening news
The 'simulations' that CBS used to run during the Apollo missions and of course the actual images of the soundstage in the Arizona desert moonwalks and the splashdowns. 

Joe Willie limping off the field victorious after Super Bowl III (I was never a fan of him or the Jets, but damn...)
And of course Captain Kangaroo and "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Gunsmoke" and "The Wonderful World of Disney" and "The Wide World of Sports" and all the other stuff that we all watched separately together since we only had 2 or 3 choices of programming.

But in this age of a video camera in every phone and YouTube becoming the repository of our shared visual experience, it is still possible to create iconic still images - the forking smoke plumes of the Challenger disaster, the second plane hitting the World Trade Center.  Maybe it's just the way I'm wired, but the right single image hits me much more strongly than 10,000 frames of video and I suspect it always will.

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Friday, August 03, 2012

The First Amendment and Chick-fil-A

I haven't posted anything about the Chick-fil-A kerfuffle since a) I don't eat chicken and therefore don't patronize chicken restaurants and b) I didn't think there was anything particularly surprising about the political leanings of the ownership.  The only aspect of the whole thing that I'll comment on is the defense of the First Amendment that some Chick-fil-A supporters are shouting about.  Huh?  I haven't heard anyone say that Dan Cathy has no right to express his views on homosexuality.  What I have heard and seen is people who refuse to spend their dollars on a product that, in whatever small amount, produces profits that are then donated to hate groups.  Seems perfectly reasonable to me and has nothing to do with free speech - in fact, it's helpful to know these things so that we can spend our dollars more conscientiously. 

For those who are taking Rahm Emmanuel and other mayors to task for suggesting that Chick-fil-A might not be welcome in their communities, I'll posit the following:  if we were looking back at, say, 1969, and a mayor of a major city spoke against welcoming businesses whose owners actively, financially supported segregationist groups, we'd see them as heroic.  I don't know anyone that regrets having boycotted corporations that supported the government of apartheid South Africa - I'm not seeing a big difference here.  Money talks.

As for the numbnuts that are harassing Chick-fil-A employees, leave the kids alone and stop embarrassing yourselves.

The Return of the Attack of The Terror of Half-Life and Times

Yeah, it's back.  After joining Facebook I got a bit lazy and dropped the blog, but I'm finding FB a bit constraining.  I'm planning to start blogging again for thoughts and discussions that are going to take more than a line or two.  Because, you know, with only the additional job responsibilities I've taken on, settling Dad's estate, maintaining two houses, trying desperately to exercise enough to stay healthy and spending time with my sweetie to occupy my time, I was getting a little bored.

I realized that I've had some sort of presence on the Interwebs since belatedly discovering Usenet in the mid-90s and occasionally contributing to, and a couple of comic book newsgroups.  I did some proto-blogging in the late '90s as an exercise in developing a website for my photography before finally starting this blog in April 2004.  And as further evidence that stuff on the web never goes away, my blog from my sojourn in Chicago a few years ago is still out there as well - Southern Boy in ChiTown.  I don't have any idea what any of that means, other than my profile in cyberspace, as low as it is, is probably higher than it is in meatspace.  I'll leave that for others to decide whether that's sad or not.

I'll spiff up the links on the right someday soon - I think I at least cleared out most of the dead ones.