The Sun-Times laid off its entire photo staff yesterday, some 28 full-time people. Among them is Pulitzer Prize-winner John H. White, one of the first black photographers to work for a daily paper. He had been there forty-four years:
Writes Whet Moser: “…it was White, a deeply religious and philosophical man, who made the deepest impression with a moral committment to his profession that went down to his bones. The Tribune’s Scott Strazzante got to spend time photographing White himself, a peer and competitor, on assignment, and came away with the same impression: ‘John likes to say that he sometimes is given “assignments from God.” Well, I can honestly say that my time spent with John H. White was a gift.’”
“Humanity is being robbed,” White told Kenneth Irby of Poynter, “by people with money on their minds…It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture of photojournalism.”
A slideshow of his powerful work can be seen here.
Andy Bachman, rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, nails the BDS-Brooklyn College Controversy with what it deserves, a little humor:
Part of me wants to actually delve into why Alice Walker and Roger Waters care so much about Israel and not, for instance, Mali or Syria. But most of me just doesn’t care. And I loved the Color Purple; and I certainly remember hearing the Wall on the radio tons. And as for Judith Butler, like I said, whatever she’s talking about I’m sure means something, I’m just not sure what, so, in essence, I defer to the Democratic Ungapatchka Meandering Bovians of the American Society of Semioticians (DUMBASS)….
While Israelis and Palestinians struggle mightily to come to an understanding and a just peace for both peoples, worse and more dangerous problems plague the city, the nation, and the world. In a perfect world, most sane people would understand that. But some don’t. So the dramas continue. But in reality, most people are not really listening. Because they know that life is much more complex than a spectacle on a college campus somewhere. And there’s rent to make this month.
This summer I had the privilege to play with a saxophonist whom I’ve long admired: Charles Owens. Here are some excerpts from our performance at Smalls Jazz Club, featuring Andrew Jay Randazzo on bass, and Devonne Harris on drums. I hope you enjoy.
“‘…reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage: there was not an atom of foresight or of serious intention in the whole batch of them, and they did not seem aware that these things are wanted for the work of the world.’ Does this refer to our financial and political elites? Nope. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, on the Belgians in the Congo.” – via Francisco Goldman
These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinja?a), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Baki?, Miodrag Živkovi?, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanovi?, Gradimir Medakovi?…), conveying powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. In the 1980s, these monuments attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their “patriotic education.” After the Republic dissolved in early 1990s, they were completely abandoned, and their symbolic meanings were forever lost.
The prologue to Bernard Henri Levi’s book “Left in Dark Times” recounts the author’s frequent conversations with French candidate for President Nikolas Sarkozy as he tries to solicit support from the philosopher and figure of the (interventionist) left (he supported Segolene Royal, if I remember correctly). That had me thinking this morning about how connected BHL might have been to Sarkozy’s leading role in the recent and continuing actions in Libya. Coupled with the return to prominence of Samantha Power within the Obama administration, a fortunate return in my view, had me pondering the shift in Western attitudes toward human rights intervention in the post-Bush era. And what do I see this afternoon? The following interview with B.H.L. from the LA Times:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy shocked the world by leading the push for a United Nations resolution to use force against Moammar Kadafi in his battle with rebels, and then unleashing French jets to launch the first airstrikes against the Libyan leader’s forces.
Perhaps more shocking, a celebrity French philosopher has been given much of the credit for sparking the chain of events.
A dandied-up French slant on Hemingway, in his bold activism, literary prolificacy and habit of baring a tan chest in unbuttoned white shirts, Bernard-Henri Levy never goes unnoticed.
Levy (universally known here as B.H.L.) is famous for his go-it-alone activism, about which he writes furiously. But the astonishing story of him marching across bombed Libyan cities (in a suit) to meet rebel leaders and, in short, making history on behalf of the French government (without the knowledge of its Foreign Ministry) has many especially fascinated and infuriated here.
At a posh hotel in Paris, he sat down to discuss his role. But first he had to take a call on his cellphone. « It’s Sarkozy, » he said, before excusing himself.
I was listening to this bootleg of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters yesterday. And today, coincidentally, the great pianist and organist Mike LeDonne commented on it on a FB link: “Herbie’s funk recordings were to that genre what his jazz recordings were to jazz. Deep into the real thing. I can’t think of any other jazz musician that came off that real when they crossed over to the funk side.” True. Something’s in the air, so here it is. Please pardon the bad quality. Headhunters, Live in Denton, Texas, 1974, playing “Actual Proof”:
The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance.
A Hundred Tacks Copyright 2013
Banner Image, Romare Bearden, Wrapping it Up at the Lafayette, 1974