Double Intuition

On Their Minds, 9-11
Happened Before 2001

After fifteen years, the tragic imagery of Sept. 11, 2001, has taken deep roots into the collective psyche of our era. It became a visual metaphor to every nightmare bred out of fear of terrorism, even as countless acts of extreme violence have followed that crispy, blue-sky Tuesday in America.
Even more intriguing are depictions of exploding planes and buildings that art and pop culture have produced before 911. Two works are particularly impressive: a sculpture by New York artist Michael Richards, killed that day, and a painting by British Willie Gardner.
Wisely ignoring conspiracy buffs, who like to dwell in a made-up reality with even more odds stacked against us, it’s still possible to appreciate the intuition that led these two black artists to conceive works of such haunting, and premonitory, quality, while sharing not much else in common.
To be sure, anticipation, and the ability to eerily foresee a world not quite here, are integral to creative expression, even when that’s not exactly the author’s intention. Also, it’s not unusual for life to emulate what art, and public sensibility had already made possible to conceive.
After all, we all breathe the same toxic, over-saturated environment, suffused through ages by human interference. And our brains are especially biased to see a connected world that does not exist outside our skulls; life happens independently of our will or whims.
The fact that the two works are not in the same level of artistic sophistication is irrelevant too. Richards was a rising talent, who perished when his studio was crushed by the destruction of the Twin Towers, while Gardner, who died in 2010 and only dabbled in art as an amateur, was thousands of miles away.
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Read Also:
* No Pics
* Flight, Interrupted
* Quantum Leaks

There’s no record that either one was imbued of any anticipatory penchant. Theirs was something out of a vision whose meaning they’ve taken with them. But that something inevitably tickles our minds, still eager to find significance, and sense, in that despicable tragedy.
Yes, there were many others for we are particularly good at inflicting progressively horrifying terrors onto each other. And we could be talking here about the victims, or the evildoers, or any number of the cliches that have piled up about that day. But we’re glad we have Richards and Gardner to memorialize instead.
Every year, we promise not to add anything to the meaningless cacophony of 911’s moaning and complaints. And every time we break our vows. It’s just as well. Art and reality are often unexplainable. We’re doomed to face terror over and over in our lifetimes. So at least, let’s try to do it with fresh eyes.

Double Intuition

On Their Minds, 9-11
Happened Before 2001

After fifteen years, the tragic imagery of Sept. 11, 2001, has taken deep roots into the collective psyche of our era. It became a visual metaphor to every nightmare bred out of fear of terrorism, even as countless acts of extreme violence have followed that crispy, blue-sky Tuesday in America.
Even more intriguing are depictions of exploding planes and buildings that art and pop culture have produced before 911. Two works are particularly impressive: a sculpture by New York artist Michael Richards, who was killed that day, and a painting by British Willie Gardner.
Wisely ignoring conspiracy buffs, who like to dwell in a made-up reality with even more odds staked against us, it’s still possible to appreciate the intuition that led these two black artists to conceive works of such haunting, and premonitory, quality, while sharing not much else in common.
To be sure, anticipation, and the ability to eerily foresee a world not quite here, are integral to creative expression, even when that’s not exactly the author’s intention. Also, it’s not unusual for life to emulate what art, and public sensibility, had already made possible to conceive.
After all, we breathe the same toxic, over-saturated environment, suffused through ages by human interference. And our brains are specially biased to see a connected world that does not exist outside our skulls; life happens independently of our will or whims.
The fact that the two works are not in the same level of artistic sophistication is irrelevant too. Richards was a rising talent, who perished when his studio was crushed by the destruction of the Twin Towers, while Gardner, who died in 2010 and only dabbled in art as an amateur, was thousands of miles away.
_______
Read Also:
* No Pics
* Flight, Interrupted
* Quantum Leaks

There’s no record that either one was imbued of any anticipatory penchant. They simply created something out of a vision whose meaning they’ve taken with them. But that something inevitably tickles our minds, still eager to find significance, and sense, in that despicable tragedy.
Yes, there were many others for we are particularly good at inflicting progressively horrifying terrors onto each other. And we could be talking here about the victims, or the evildoers, or any number of the cliches that have piled up about that day. But we’re glad we have Richards and Gardner to memorialize instead.
Every year, we promise not to add anything to the meaningless cacophony of 911’s moaning and complaints. And every time we break our vows. It’s just as well. Art and reality are often unexplainable. We’re doomed to face terror over and over in our lifetimes. So at least, let’s try to do it with fresh eyes.

Quantum Leaks

The Deaths of Two Pablos &
the Latin American Sept. 11

Just as the exhumation of Pablo Neruda’s remains got under way in Chile, Wikileaks has released another trove of U.S. documents. This time, they relate to the same period of the poet’s death, days after the Sept. 11, 1973 coup that ousted democratic president Salvador Allende.
As for the other Pablo, April 8 was the 40-year anniversary of Picasso’s death, who was also targeted by a dictatorship, that of Francisco Franco, but managed to outlive its reign of terror. Thus what took place decades ago remains relevant even to these indifferent times.
The 1970s was a dark period for most of Latin and Central America, with widespread military coups and disregard for human rights. It was a time when blood-thirsty rulers, under the banner of fighting a mostly fabricated Communist threat, were let loose to persecute and assassinate political opponents.
What’s disturbing is the fact that they may have had help from Washington and the Vatican, as the Wikileaks papers attest. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Pope Paul VI, both central to events of the period, are shown to be aware of what was taking place down South. They just chose to do nothing to prevent it.
Kissinger’s role has long been discussed, as there’s an overall consensus that the generals who disrupted by force so many democracies in the region could not have remained in power for as long as they did without political support and funding from Western powers. Despite all claims to the contrary, he’s staunchly denied any role in the Chilean coup.
But the papers also show that the Vatican had downright dismissed mounting allegations and evidence of almost indiscriminate murders and serious violations Continue reading

Flowers of Evil

A Convenient Hero Who
Became Our Boogeyman

In 1993, Osama bin Laden was referred to in the press as a ‘rich Saudi businessman,’ who was helping rebuild Afghanistan, after a bloody 10-year semi-occupation by the Soviet Union. ‘Rich’ was code for not being in it for the money; Saudi, that he was friends with many in the U.S. government. And businessman was meant as a compliment.
The bin Ladens did have business in the region and throughout the west. The conflict ended just before the 1989 Soviet collapse, one more powerful army, in a centuries-long list, failing to defeat the world’s biggest opium producer. The Mujahedin, the ragtag army recruited and trained to fight, now stood idle and able to new enterprises.
That December, The Independent ran a Robert Fisk mostly-supportive story on bin Laden’s presence in the mountains outside Kabul. Now that he’s dead, it may become even harder to determine whether he was already laying the groundwork for his evil masterpiece less than 10 years ahead. Or that he was even involved in the first attack on the New York’s Twin Towers, earlier that same year.
In a nutshell, that’s why the facsimile of the above Independent article is so eloquent, even after all this time from the tragedy of 9/11, of the way we easily fall prey to a manufactured version of reality. It’s also not hard to understand why so many conspiracies and falsehoods fester in the vacuum of such lack of transparency.
We still don’t know who was the monster who planned the mass murder of thousands of people, and that President Obama ordered killed last May. Then again, it’s obvious that he was much more than the act of unspeakable carnage that he’ll be forever known for. There was a time when he was even called a warrior for peace.
Many still think that to execute him, instead of bringing him to justice, was a missed opportunity to shed light on his particular leadership of terror, and the very nature of despicable acts of mass extermination. But chances are that politics and religion could have gotten in the way, and work to his advantage, and not to his victims.
THE HATE HARVEST
In the end, we’re now the ones sending our young to die in Afghanistan, which won’t ever be ‘fixed,’ in the way that some very powerful and very dangerous people would like it to be. And despite all contrition and promises of redemption, we remain utterly dissociated and puzzled by the factors that led us to what happened today, 12 years ago. And the word factors here is an overstatement.
We’ll dutifully remember those who paid with their lives on that day, and the ones that followed it, in U.S. soil and in the distant lands. But we can no longer pretend that the thread linking that infamous day with what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan hasn’t already been ruptured long ago.
We’ll pay our respects and meditate on those lives that were not meant to be. Just don’t ask us to forget that, given the right conditions, we may be willing to consider someone a friend, just because he could be a convenient foe to those we don’t like.
We’d love to think that there can be no other Hitler, or Stalin, or Papa Duvalier, or Osama bin Laden. We’re afraid, however, than in Port of Prince slums, or in Syrian refugee camps, or in the squalor dumps of Gaza, hungry little children dream of one day grow up and be given a weapon to fight for something, anything, that can pass for the empowerment stolen from them at such young age.