08 September 2013

Well, I've Done It Again

What follows is a cut-and-paste transfer from FaceBook. I'm giving it space here because, in some ways, it feels like the story of my life:  making what is for me a "neutral" observation and watching people go off the deep end in response to it. Often, when it happens, partly to soothe my own discomfort, I remind myself that Beethoven and I share a birthday and he was notoriously difficult to get along with and famous for offending people. (See excerpt from his Wikipedia listing at the foot of this post...)

If I haven't already said this in a previous post, let me go on the record now:  I am in agreement with a school of thought that advises taking nothing that anyone else says personally. If I am personally offended by something I read or hear it is because I believe it to be true on some level. Otherwise, from what would the comment derive it's power?

A component of the discussion below glances at "art" and the appropriate way to consume it. The suggestion is made by the woman who re-posted the photo that it's necessary to temper our reactions and impressions of an image to "fit what [you're] seeing." In a private message to her, I confessed I have no idea what that means or how one accomplishes it. So, I'm looking at Van Gogh's Starry Night. Is she saying I should refrain from public comments like "Makes you wonder what it would be like to see through his eyes" or "I actually feel high when I look at this painting"? Because the first comment infers he didn't see things as I do and, perhaps, there's something "wrong" with his vision and the second comment because it could be seen as condoning the use of illegal (in this country) hallucinogenics?


I am ready for us all to grow up and grow deep and take a breath and trust the divine energy underlying this great circus experiment we call Life. You'll be OK. Even if the world stops revolving around you and your needs. Nobody gets out of this thing alive anyway....
Debbie  shared Vickie's photo.
I think I see a fashion trend! You look so awesome, Vickie and Cosette!

  • 6 people like this.
  • Alex Mercedes: Very provocative photo: natural hair.....to altered hair.....no make up.....to full make up. Food for thought. Thanks!

  • Vickie:  i have to correct you on the hair...my hair is not altered as you so speak of...that is my natural hair.
    Vickie:   this photo has nothing to do with natural hair vs altered hair or no make up vs full make up.....this photo IS about two beautiful women taking a picture together with some BEAUTIFUL artwork by our own beautiful Debbie at the studio of an amazing photographer....to make a presumption as you have made Alex Mercedes just shows how closed minded you are....have a nice day!!

  • Debbie:   Whoa, Vickie! Though Alex's comment was assuming too much she is hardly one to be called closed minded. Alex is one of my extremely contemplative friends whose artistic vision and analytical mind sometimes gets ahead of her commentary. You are very passionate. These qualities don't always mesh on a forum as limited as Facebook.

    Be aware, everyone. I enjoy spirited discourse on my Timeline (formally Wall) but because I am blessed with a wildly diverse Friend base everyone must be very judicious in their comments. Courtesy, restraint, consideration and netiquette are always advised.

    Carla:      so well said!
  • Alex Mercedes: Thanks for the follow-up, Debbie. To be clear, my comment was just me saying what came to my mind when I looked at the picture. I don't know either woman and was not making a personal statement about either of them. I meant what I said -- it was food for thought. I currently live in the Deep South and these are issues that I face in a REAL way every time I step out of the house. I looked at the photo as art, as an extremely timely posting, and I was sharing my impression. I appreciated Vickie informing me that her hair is natural. That only deepened my contemplation of the image and my response to it. Surely we're still allowed to look at art and have different impressions of it in this country? I hope....

  • Debbie:  I think this lends itself to thinking about imagery on social media. There are so many types of pictures presented on Facebook in particular that I sometimes have to temper my responses to fit just what I'm seeing. Surely, a picture of someone's favorite aunt may differ significantly from a picture of, oh say, the exquisite Maya Angelou? ...unless it's a pic posted by Ms. Maya's niece.

    Is a picture of a cute kitten different to me than pictures of my cat, Lucy...to you? Are your responses to my posting pictures of cute cats different than my postings of pictures of Lucy?

    This fascinates me.
  • Vickie:   well the comment offended me simply because I have to fight comments like that all of the time and I still stand by what I said in my response.....your comment should not have been said period because it was out of line and uncalled for!!!!

  • Karen:  Debbie, I agree.
    Fascinating inquiry about images in media. The ear ornaments are lovely, the two women are lovely, the love between them is evident. The question of choices we make, to alter appearances or not, to determine how we wear our hair, to add ornament or not, to use cosmetics, the clothing choices.
    Also, the question of ---
    you can't always trust what you see.
    you can't always trust the ideas in your head.
    you can't always trust your first impressions.
    even when you think you see a relationship,
    and you know it's some sort of love not war,
    you can't tell if it's sibling, friend, or lover ...

    I remember during one phase of my grad school addiction, I was following a feminist criticism of literature, or history, or print media depictions of women, of women of color, of arctic peoples.
    These are important questions that are mostly 'in-visible' to us, because we are accustomed to making our way through social settings based on what we see.

    Some of the reactions hit close to home, because of cultural or ethnic differences that are also in-visible to us, like the water to the fish: we can't step outside of where we live.

    I often can't distinguish, in some issues, if my dealings are because I'm my mother's daughter (like all the other mother/daughter issues) or if because I'm part of a cultural thing: my mom is Alaska Native and I'm a 'native Mainah!' --- what ever those two things mean, and how do I feel both Alaska Native, and not?

    And now that I have a son who came to us with an extra gene ... I have observed sometimes that people take pause, when they see him: hmmmm .... does he have Down Syndrome or does he simply look 'native' like his mother?

    fascinating if difficult inquiries.

    Beethoven's Character

    Beethoven's personal life was troubled by his encroaching deafness and irritability brought on by chronic abdominal pain (beginning in his twenties) which led him to contemplate suicide (documented in his Heiligenstadt Testament). Beethoven was often irascible. It has been suggested he suffered from bipolar disorder.[88] Nevertheless, he had a close and devoted circle of friends all his life, thought to have been attracted by his strength of personality. Toward the end of his life, Beethoven's friends competed in their efforts to help him cope with his incapacities.[89]
    Sources show Beethoven's disdain for authority, and for social rank. He stopped performing at the piano if the audience chatted amongst themselves, or afforded him less than their full attention. At soirées, he refused to perform if suddenly called upon to do so. Eventually, after many confrontations, the Archduke Rudolph decreed that the usual rules of court etiquette did not apply to Beethoven.[89]
    Beethoven was attracted to the ideals of the Enlightenment. In 1804, when Napoleon's imperial ambitions became clear, Beethoven took hold of the title page of his Third Symphony and scratched the name Bonaparte out so violently that he made a hole in the paper. He later changed the work's title to "Sinfonia Eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire d'un grand'uom" ("Heroic Symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man"), and he rededicated it to his patron, Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz, at whose palace it was first performed.[citation needed]
    The fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony features an elaborate choral setting of Schiller's Ode An die Freude ("Ode to Joy"), an optimistic hymn championing the brotherhood of humanity.