Friday, 18 December 2009

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Films perhaps worth watching

Battleship Potemkin
Solaris (the Tarkovsky version)
Duck Soup
Horse Feathers
Citizen Kane
The Third Man
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
An American in Paris
The Searchers
All That Jazz
The Three Days of the Condor
The Outfit
All That Jazz
King of Comedy

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Importance of Being Allowed to Be a Pest

Two related stories: Boing Boing reports here on the arrest and alleged beating of the Canadian sf writer Peter Watts by US border guards, while The Guardian has video taken by one of its photographers challenging security guards, police officers and Special Branch about his right to film in a public place.
Of course, I don't know what happened in Dr Watts's case, but you can read his account, which seems plausible enough, here. If you're minded to, you can donate to his likely legal expenses here under the Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund.
In the case of The Guardian's reporter, he was clearly trying to challenge and test the response of the authorities, who seem, on the basis of the film, to have behaved reasonably well (ie, they didn't beat him up, or contradict his assertion of his legal position). That makes him sound like a bit of a pain for them, as he no doubt was. I think it's quite likely that Dr Watts seemed a bit of a pain to the US border guards. Hardly a justification for assaulting him, though.
What the commentators questioning both men on the various comment groups, blogs, twitter & so on seem to have forgotten is that they have not only a cast-iron right to stand their ground, however awkward & unreasonable that may make them seem to the authorities, but – I would argue – a duty to do so, which we all share.
If any illiberal law creates a restriction, whether it is access to sites where it is allowable to protest or report, or the right to behave in any other way (dance, smoke, drink alcohol, create public art, assemble in public) is introduced, you should complain loudly. But you should also make a point of challenging authority when you are, entirely within your rights, challenged for doing those same things one foot on the other side of line.
It makes you feel as if you are being unreasonable. You are not. You are defending the line which legislation (even legislation of which you disapprove) has drawn. That is supposed to protect your rights. To make sure it does, you must stand up for them, even at the cost of being thought a pain by those charged with enforcing these rules. Only when they are clear on how far they may or may not go will this sort of abuse be halted.
If it turns out that Peter Watts's account is accurate, I hope those who arrested and struck him are charged with assault. In the case of the Guardian's man, I hope it makes the British authorities realise how stupid that particular anti-terrorist legislation is.

Tree acquired & decorated

Posted via email from distantcities

Friday, 11 December 2009

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Copy of Edgar Hunt (detail)

Posted via email from distantcities

This is what I'm working on copying, though it is itself a copy (& not a very good one). Even at this level, the absence of technical aids makes you realise how very hard you have to look. The whole thing could be easily copied, I assume, with a projector, or simply by glicee print to canvas. Looking is much harder. (This picture is about 8' by 6')