Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Immediate vs. Delayed Gratification

What good is it to be right? I remember how much I respected Jimmy Carter because he told the truth and didn’t sugarcoat the problems our country faced. The majority of Americans preferred the Hollywood Ending, which was more fun and full of immediate gratification. And thus you had Ronald Reagan and his “feel good now” message, which removed fiscal oversights and planted the seeds for the jungle we are in now.
Immediate Gratification is a need that we as a country have to get over. I am often reminded of a research project that took place in the 1940s or 1950s. A researcher met with preschool age or Kindergarten age children. There was a marshmallow on a plate. She said “I have to leave the room for a brief time, if you can wait to eat our marshmallow until I return, you’ll get another one.” The reward was double, yet many children gobbled up the treat right away. The hidden camera showed that others tried to distract themselves by singing or getting up and moving around the empty room. A few stared longingly and some gave in and grabbed it and others were able to wait. Some thirty or forty years later, the researchers questioned the members of the study on things like happiness and contentment, finances, career satisfaction and relationships. There was a direct correlation between being able to delay gratification as a child and adult.
But we are the country that could rather lipo our fat rather than diet. We charge things we can’t afford on our credit cards and live beyond our means. We buy houses we can’t afford and then are surprised when the people who have lent us the money go under. Their bonuses and golden parachutes are funded by the poor slob taxpayers who are underwriting this debt.
We are not smart as a country sometimes, and that is why I worry that the sugary McCain-Palin ticket (“Tax Cuts!” “Huge Tax Cuts for the Richest People!!” “Bigger Deficits!!” “Drill, Baby< Drill!!!” “Cuts to Silly Programs Like Head Start and the Like!!!”) doesn’t prevail.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Poem

Salvation Army Skirt

Your history
is written into this skirt
with its tear from the gate hook,
the elastic stretched out just a bit
at the waist.

I can darn
and know how to sew an L-shaped rip.
I can tighten the waist
and carry on
where you left off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Wish I Knew How to Feel Good Again

Is is just me, or are we in a mood/state that is affecting many of us? I don't see any good news coming from anywhere. Even the Olympics were tainted with a murder, underage competitors and a government crackdown. Bush is ineffective, as always, and we still have a messy war we didn't need to get into, stock market woes, mortgage woes, joblessness on the rise, a huge national debt and Palin as a possible next President. This has become a very stupid country. We are so worried about gays marrying and yet we can actually have people in power who think that global warming is not man-made.

I grew up with born-agains. They never got out of their miserable existences because they rationalized that everything was God's plan. My dad couldn't control his violent behavior and my mom couldn't leave. "God is testing me" was her mantra. She was so indoctrinated she was able to witness her children getting beaten up over nothing. I still have a startle mechanism that makes me jump in the air if someone walks in a room and simply says something while my back is turned.

A born-again truly thinks we are headed for an Armaggedon--indeed, they welcome it. They believe God is on our side and that non-Christians (read: most of the world) are going to Hell and that is God's Plan, too. They believe in predestination and therefore what is the use of trying to end human suffering or treating animals better? We don't need abortion rights, a cleaner planet or scientists who think the world is more than 6,000 years old.

If I dwell on this, I will get more depressed. It's enough to make me want to leave or at least hide my head under something. I actually went online to see if my Landed Immigrant status in Canada was still in effect. It's not, but it looks like they would at least consider having me back.

So I'll write a few checks to my candidates of choice and hunker down at school and in my studio, trying to be the best I can be at what I do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nature at the New

So the New Museum has Nature in their galleries right now...some of this show is powerful, indeed with the usual ho-hum here and there. For my money, the Herzog film of Kuwait from 1991 is the star of the show. I was riveted. The images are so gorgeous and horrible all at once. I wish I had a remote and could stop and rewind and such. It all went by too fast, not to mention that there was another noisy piece nearby which may it hard for me to hear any dialogue.

I'm currently painting a forest fire, which is going slowly, so destruction is on my mind.

Quick dismissal: Unibomber cabin. And?
Liked: weird, sewn creepy figures, horse going into wall, writhing figure near stairs (although this doesn't probably work in NY as well as elsewhere).
Grossed out: AIDS masseuse mom video. The close up of the feet was truly horrible. How stupid did that artist look with his weeds in his hair in the park and the other antics?

This museum was so missed and I'm so glad it's back. I need indignation as well as quality to fire up my creative furnace.