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The Horror – Amidst Beauty

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[Update – wow. Did some Googling and learned that Ansel Adams did a portfolio at Manzanar. Look how he shot the same monument shot, slightly off center:

Monument-New-600x428Ansel Adams, Monument in Cemetery, Mt. Williamson, 1943, Gelatin silver print, Reprinted from Library of Congress

Here’s my┬ábest attempts at an imitation of that!

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~~~ end update]

I’m in the southeastern Sierra, at northern Owens Valley (high desert).

Had to come down from the higher elevations (8,000 feet), due to extreme weather (100 mph wind gusts, 11 degree cold, snow).

The sun is warm, the skies are blue, and the nights are cold and quiet, with the awesome snow capped mountains bathed in moonlight.

Yet still, just down the road, the horror remains. (Manzanar, WW II Americans of Japanese  descent Concentration Camp)

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[Update: I just got a question from a good NJ friend who basically asked me how I live with this.

This is my reply:

You should listen to Professor Brenner:

https://scheerpost.com/2022/04/15/michael-brenner-american-dissent-on-ukraine-is-dying-in-darkness/

He sees nihilism and US collective psychopathology (I think he’s driving at what Freud called “Thanatos”).

[Update 4/22/22 – David Sirota writes about the dangers of nihilism. ~~~ end update]

But the real importance of that interview is how he presented the US strategy in Ukraine, which is basically offensive, and the planned assault on the Donbass (see chart of data that backs that up).

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 2.25.50 PM

The only other person I’ve heard make that argument is Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector who blew the whistle on Iraq.

My kids have asked me similar questions about lifestyle and meaning.

Frankly, while I’ve always felt that suffering is an essential part of the human condition, I try not to think about those things.

I agree with Professor Brenner, and on a much larger range of issues – from the collective suicidal failure to address the climate emergency, to the war on the poor and homeless, to putting people in cages and letting them die in the desert (which is the official US border and immigration policy, called “deterrence” and it goes back to Bill Clinton).

My vision for the future is bleak – as Leonard Cohen wrote/sang:

“I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder” (listen)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFjVWYgSFcQ

But, I rely on more inspiring stuff from my youth: Neil Young:

“Don’t let it bring you down, it’s only castles burning”. (listen)

Wolfe

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