Word and Image

Archive for January 12, 2021


“Last minute changes (tot he Article of Impeachment) were made late Sunday to include a reference to the 14th Amendment, the post-Civil War era addition to the Constitution that prohibits anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from holding future office. Lawmakers also decided to cite specific language from Mr. Trump’s speech last Wednesday, inciting the crowd, quoting him saying: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

No one, certainly not me, could have imagined the trump era would end in more reality show drama. Nightmare, a national nightmare, his own words tell everyone what they must do. Sometimes you must fight for democracy. Many have considered leaving the country. Are we to be Nazi Germany redux? We face many difficult decisions in the coming days and months. This is not over. We will not be able to defer. We will have to settle the argument on freedom of speech and what are the limits of news reporting and the boundary of propaganda and lies.

“How did Justice Potter define obscenity?”Obscene” speech is “unprotected” speech as ruled by the Supreme Court. … In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain “hard-core” pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced… [b]ut I know it when I see it …””

Either way, we can no longer be on the sidelines. The country will not survive by letting the weight of government carry itself along. If we want democracy, we will have to work to keep it. Armed extremism is a threat to:

“”Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the unalienable rights which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect.””

I cite Al quaeda and the Taliban as recent examples of an armed minority subverting the will of a peaceful majority. Take heed the warning. The enemy has stormed the gates of our Capitol. It feels radical to write this, but truth is in the images we saw last week.

It ain’t easy

Ho hum. We see a photo and it’s just commonplace. We hardly pause to consider the technical skill needed to get the shot. Sometimes it’s just luck and happy circumstance. Trust me. It ain’t easy to photograph a spider web. Sure, you’ve seen a million of ‘em. I will readily tell you that the web is so fine, your spiffy camera does not want to focus. It will focus anywhere but upon that fine thread. We had a couple of big ugly spiders slumming on our deck this past summer. I don’t like bugs to begin with. But I got shots. Fighting backlighting is another challenge in getting the “shot.” Spiders eat bugs too. Ain’t that grand? My point? Getting an image of a web is hard to do!

Apropos to the day: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

And in case you don’t get it: “Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive’ means that when you lie or act dishonestly you are initiating problems and a domino structure of complications which eventually run out of control.”