ARTvision-5 is in full swing! Make sure to check it out... We’ve got Julia Murney’s photography, new artists Delia Cochran and Jason Maynard - and the list goes on! The below post is from one of my pieces, available now. Here is the related post:
(CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA :: 13 DECEMBER 2010) Bullying in schools is on the rise. More and more soldiers return with PTSD from Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of inexplicable flashes of violence have soiled our social landscape - most of them random and bloody, tearing apart families and communities alike.
Here’s another shade to add to 2010’s dark side: the spate of youth suicides this year within the gay and lesbian community.
So what’s actually going on?
There are myriad reasons for this and the other, aforementioned issues - not the least of which is understanding, or lack thereof. Put simply: we do too much shouting and not enough listening. Without bearing true witness - to our surroundings, our family, coworkers, our environment, our internal balance, to name a few - our understanding becomes deeply diminished. Extinguished, in some cases, like a flame in a harsh wind.
And it’s to our societal detriment, for sure, this penchant for applause lines to an enamored audience; or a deaf ear to different opinions. Do we hear each other, even in disagreement, or do we just passively and disconnectedly tolerate each other when mystery or unfamiliarity arises? (Check out Frank Rich’s piece on the Smithsonian’s capitulation to just such a power.) Contrarianism is on the rise, and yet it’s not giving us the spark of change that the effort seeks.
Holding your nose while someone else opines just cuts off your breathing - and you forfeit the chance for greater learning.
“The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” one of my pieces for ARTvision-5 this year, was created as a message to persuade those who might choose to bully, to invade privacy, to deny rights, or just simply be an asshole to stand down and rethink their actions. (It’s a reminder to me, too, to stay on the path I’m on, and to constantly improve.) People are not “haters” because they disagree with something you’re doing or saying; in the same way, someone isn’t likely to incite violence just because they own a gun.
”The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” by Will Pollock
“Carefully Orchestrated” was shot in Augusta, Ga., while on location at St. John United Methodist Church. While Jason’s orchestra was rehearsing for Westobou Festival, I listened to the gorgeous acoustics of the church and photographed a stained-glass window to capture the emergent glow behind the beautiful colors - and its understated illumination spoke volumes. It was at that moment that I realized how important it is to actively observe as a means to develop understanding.
This isn’t about political correctness. No, it’s about putting the English language to its best use. “Tolerate,” my friends, is a dead, nefarious and empty word when used this way. We should discard it like the ratty, used hanky that it is.
What should be in its place? “Acceptance.”
One tolerates chemotherapy - you do not tolerate someone’s lifestyle, someone’s opinions, someone’s soul. Some politicians and pundits proudly say “tolerance” is part of how they deal with differences as if it were badge of honor, and that’s a whole steaming pile of horseshit. And they know it, yet they keep using that word as if it were Gandhi-esque.
Even when well-intended, “tolerance” feels hollow and strange. We should retire it in favor of acceptance. Along the lines of: “I accept you. You are a child of the universe, and deserve to be here just like anyone else. I can disagree in quiet, direct ways without hurting you or others around you. I understand.”
Young men like Tyler Clementi, the promising musician and student at Rutgers, could have used that sort of understanding, that type of care with actions and words, but he didn’t get it. So, this piece is dedicated to him and other gay youth who should know and have been reminded this year that life does, in fact, get better when you take the time to live and speak with dignity and understanding.
Just making the effort will speak volumes. - WP
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