Esteemed thinker: Edgar Allan Poe

Blogging Einstein

raven Producers of creative works, may they be literary, visual, theatrical, musical, or any other artistic forms, are all open to interpretation. There are no disclaimers on their product such as those printed on food labels containing peanuts: “this product may cause allergic reactions”. Rather, the work is completed and delivered like an artist stepping out of the shower nude; for without any coverings or explanations the receiver simply accepts or rejects what is presented to them.

The hurried visitor at a museum may scan the walls as one may scan the shelves of the grocery store looking for just the right item that will satisfy their gastronomical craving. The patron of the book store may glance at the illustrations on the book covers searching for just the right image that catches their eye, and the driver in the car may select a song to listen to at the same pace…

View original post 694 more words

Esteemed wonder: The Moon

almost full moon_compressed

Scarcely is there a person who is not awed by the moon; and unlike many of the celestial treasures, it shows different phases of itself throughout the month and then starts all over again.  If we had to select a gender; many think of it as a male…the man in the moon, although I imagine some may find the feminine side to this lunar beauty.

Even the ocean are “moved” by the moon…well that is more literally than figuratively as we recollect that the “motion of the seas” are caused by the gravitational forces of its lunar overseer. (Quite a wily fellow isn’t he; and without us looking, too!)

And how we all must agree that the moon is a romantic; flooding beams of light over the earth in the darkest time of the day…night. It permits us to stare upon its continence without finding us rude. I suppose it is use to such gestures for its wonderment invites us to gaze. Even the animals find the moon intriguing; the wolf bays, owls are more chatty, while all the while humans become more nostalgic.

It is not hard to see why all the arts have paid homage to the moon in all the forms that we humans can muster.  A mere sampling back in time journeys us to Paul Delvaux, Belgian artist’s 1939 painting Phases of the Moon; Spanish artist Joan Miró’s  lithograph (1952) Dog Barking at the Moon, Antonin  Dvorak’s Famous Czech Opera  Rusalka  in 1901, which included  Song To The Moon , while in 1964  the airwaves played Frank Sinatra’s version of Fly Me to the Moon. Then there is the literary fiction The First Man on the Moon by H.G. Wells (1901), and the classic French film Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902) written and directed by Georges Méliès both.  Miro moon litthograph

Adding to the moon’s allure, on August 21st, 2017, it will conduct its own celestial event;  a solar eclipse in which it will pass between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.  For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. A spectacular show.

And so, today’s post will pay homage to the moon; I present a poem dedicated to this Esteemed wonder by yours truly, simply titled…”the moon”…

The Moon

It appears nobly without proclamation nor edict

and rests valiantly against the backdrop of an ebony sky;

a perfectly round head of silver shimmering brilliantly 

surrounded by a crowd of stars that

wildly glint in the wind like crooning peasants.

The hours pass and blackness turns to dusk 

and as sharply as a guillotine slices

it bows and silently kisses the night away …

                                                     Nanette Avery

 

 

First image: drawing by NL Avery @https://audiothoughtbubbles.wordpress.com/

Second image: Joan Miró’s  lithograph (1952) Dog Barking at the Moon

Political cartoons and World War I

War bonds

In all families there are relatives, some are old, some are young, some are funny and some are stern. Each of us has a story to share, and many times at least one relative takes part in that very tale. However, in the United States we all have one Uncle who has been part of the history of our American family since the War of 1812: Uncle Sam.

Linking the name Uncle Sam with the federal government dates back to a businessman  Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the “grub” as “Uncle Sam’s.” When the local newspaper wrote about his supplies, Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

After that newspapers across America have used the image of Uncle Sam; a most familiar face that has seen us through good and bad times.

Today’s blog brings to you the political cartoon Bringing the Truth Home to Us by Jay N. Darling and first published in the 1918 in Des Moines Register. It is a depiction of Uncle Sam carrying a dead soldier, representing the first reported U.S. casualties from World War I.

Bringing_the_truth_home_to_us_-_Jay_N._Darling

 

 

And so, we can agree that the saying, “a picture speaks a thousand words” is all too true.

The stark reality of war is part of our history and regretfully exists in our present. Hopefully, the future can find a way to have it be a sad memory and not one to repeat.

 

 

 

 

First image: 1917  lithograph

 

Political cartoons and freedom to express

mast head

Political cartoons have been around since 16th century Italy, satirizing their political personalities by caricatures of often unflattering likenesses. The addressing of political issues and events have since persevered and continues to be a niche through which visual rhetoric takes on observer’s voice, visual tokens of attitude, and persuasion. For the recipients, the interpretation of the cartoons is often a process necessitating a broad knowledge of past and current events, awareness with the cartoon’s genre and cultural symbols, and analytical thinking about real-world events and situations. Well- aware of its ability to influence, the cartoonist has the ability to impact a country’s brand or a person’s reputation; all the while, one may not assume that the encounter will produce the same reaction. For some it is baneful, for others it is poignant.  In a world of deep pluralism, the right to voice ones’ freedom of expression has sometimes been viewed as less than a mirror of our times and more as a hand- grenade.  join or die

And so, today’s post will take the jesters’ approach to politics and bring to you what is touted as the first American political cartoon, Join, or Die. First published in an issue of Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, it was his warning to the British colonies in America “join or die” urging them to unite against the French and the Native people. Toward the head of the snake, “NE” represents New England, followed by “NY” (New York), “NJ” (New Jersey), “P” (Pennsylvania), “M” (Maryland), “V” (Virginia), “NC” (North Carolina) and “SC” (South Carolina).  Although there were four “New England” colonies, Franklin grouped them into one category to stress the need for colonial unity. At the time, the colonists were hotly debated the expansions ion westward into and past the Appalachian Mountains and fighting the French and their Indian allies.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a renaissance man of vision. Having had the foresight to use the power of images to create political conversation among the population, Franklin, through his “Join, or Die” cartoon, secured a strong opinion in a subtle, persuasive, and ingenious way.

First image: Masthead and part of front page of The Massachusetts Spy, or, Thomas’s Boston Journal showing a female figure of Liberty in upper left and rattlesnake labeled “Join or Die” symbolizing the 13 colonies, challenging a griffin, across the top created by Paul Revere on July 7, 1774.

Esteemed thinker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK_memorial_scuplture

MLK Memorial Sculpture

A prize is an honor that from the earliest stage of our remembrance we have yearned to receive. Some prizes are earned after long and arduous work and commitment, and then some prizes are received after very little work or accomplishments. A prize can be given and accepted as a token, or it can live out well beyond the life of the receiver. Some prizes are cherished and others prizes such as laughter and happiness are seldom acknowledged as such and rather taken for granted.

We find prizes are consumed such as candy which pours out from the innards of a “pinata” after it receives quite a beating and then tumbles down like hail and gathered in a frenzied scurry, while other prizes are worn like jewelry around the neck such as a medal earned by an athlete. Some are prizes are trophies to be displayed on the mantle and others are plaques that adorn the wall. Some prizes such as gold have been fought over, plundered for, and even annihilated others for its possession.

And then there is a prize rewarded to those who have accomplished the greatest of deeds, given to one who has dedicated his or her life for the betterment of others. It is a prize distinguished above the rest in hopes that we, humanity, can carry on the work of these individuals. Such a reward is honored and revered and ever so noble; the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a prize that is presented to one that *“shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Peace… a most cherished prize for us all. Funny, something so valuable is basically a state of being, an idea, a solution, and ever so sensible….

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

1964

Today’s post is dedicated to a man who is synonymous with peace, the esteemed thinker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King was a paramount figure in the twentieth-century and a pivotal force behind the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Dr. King’s noted idea of somebodiness gave black and poor people a new sense of worth and dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent action, and his approach for rational and non-destructive social change, awakened the conscience of the United States and redirected the nation’s priorities. His life was tragically cut short when in 1968, standing on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, he was assassinated… To this day the nation continues to mourn his death and the loss of a truly great man.

I invite you now to take time out of your hectic day for the words of the illustrious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is a portion selected from his 1964 Nobel Peace Prized acceptance speech….words of wisdom, indeed…

“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold…”

* Quote from Alfred Nobel
First image: 1973 steel memorial sculpture by William Tarr