Emily Good is the only challenger to the Republican incumbent for County Sheriff. When given the opportunity to reach readers, she makes a strong case for restorative justice, and points out ways that we could be participating in local governments and communities, but do not -- and the reasons why we shirk these duties. She is also very well versed in the corruptions that take place under the current status-quo-maintaining administrator.
Having gotten to know Good over the past few years, I've begun to understand the vast difference between how she is portrayed and who she really is. Whatever your feelings are about Good, the driving force behind her decision to run for sheriff deserves a closer look.
Dear Mr. Jack Russell (and anyone else who cares to comment):
It's unfortunate to hear that you view these art endeavors (which are very much attempting to unite different communities within Rochester and to promote a grassroots, honest, medical philanthropic endeavor in third world locations) as mere "self-righteous bullying," as you called them. The project is still in its infancy, is making attempts to encourage Rochesterians to become more aware of their surroundings, for better or worse, and ultimately is driven toward promoting the charity that Dr. Ian Wilson and colleagues have founded.
I wonder what you would point toward as an example of a genuine open dialogue. I don't recall being consulted about many of the public artworks which have gone up in Rochester. I am not impressed by many of them, and if there was a committee involved in putting them up, those committees certainly doesn't represent the majority of the city's tastes by any means. This is hardly democratic, and hardly a dialogue with the citizens.
I am tempted to say "Not everyone will like everything in the public realm. Too bad." And also add that I have personally noticed that quite a few of the most outspoken people critical of the murals are themselves local artists, and many have used this opportunity to promote their own work. That will happen. But this discussion is complex, and extends beyond art.
Art just happens to be the thing that we seem to pick on the most ferociously, likely because art is the most powerful and artists themselves are the least. By this I mean art has the potential to have a greater impact than most things do, and, save a very few, artists don't tend to have a lot of personal political clout or resource.
Speaking of citizenry not being consulted when the aesthetics of their cities shift:
What have you to say about the thousands of billboards, or even the selection of particularly hideous newer architecture, or the vulturous chain stores not owned by locals, which are all imposed upon the residents of Rochester?
It would be fascinating to have a dialogue with the community regarding this matter.
Is this so-called imposition limited to art? Are your aesthetic tastes offended when it comes to these billboards and predatory stores, or just when the projects are specifically labeled "art?"
Are these murals really egotistic impositions or could they be construed as an offering, or an attempt to open a dialogue within a city?
If you insist upon labeling the paintings egotistic impositions, are they worse than the abundance of shameless and greedy advertisements of things that are physically/morally/spiritually bad for us?
Do we feel motivated/empowered to protest and call out the corporate offenders, or is it just easier to pick on the efforts of not-so-wealthy little guys?
Is it possible to be offended by something and then moved to examine the self, i.e. what about this is offensive to me? Is the factor that I find offensive present in the art, or did I interpret it a certain way? (we all bring something of ourselves to the table when looking at art) Is it possible to have another look? Is there a possibility for dialogue and growth?
My point in writing this and all art articles is not to stand on a pedestal and tell people what to revere, but rather to provide a space for conversation about art and culture within our city. I am most delighted when we are able to approach these matters in a levelheaded, open, and civil manner, and least pleased when emotions and stubbornness reign. That gets us nowhere.
Though I can't speak for the festival organizers regarding why some artists are chosen to participate and others are not, it's worth mentioning that the artists you speak of specialize in wheatpaste, not murals.
Thanks very much for your comments, Larry!
I think we should clarify that while race is a cultural construct, the construct does have real effects in the world. The ways in which people have decided to define themselves are a defensive reaction to being defined, often by an oppressor. It's a way to navigate a world that has been constructed in the oppressor's image. People adopt the definitions and tweak them, as a way to exist within the label that is thrust upon them.
This goes for any "underdog" group you can find. There will always be a push for defining an identity for oneself after those in authority or those who think of themselves as the majority created categories and shove people into them.
That being said, I do think that all existing categories fall short of defining the reality of people, even the good categories. When sitcoms such as Will and Grace hit the air, it simultaneously served to ingratiate "gays" to mainstream America, defining "them" in a much nicer light than they had been, while also severely limiting the definition of "gay." Many, many, many people did not see themselves reflected in those characters.
For now, the language we use, the categories we form, serve to unite people and hopefully create a positive movement, but are no more accurate definitions of who each person is as an individual than simply calling someone a man or a woman. I hope we can get to the point where we describe people in terms of how they are to each other, which is all we really need to know about a person.
If I'm understanding you correctly, Darius, you are saying that it's only okay for the members of a religion to talk about or criticize the religion, even if said religion's doctrine has influence on how non-members are allowed to live their lives (see the Mormon influence on Prop 8, please)? That amounts to nothing more than PR, and doesn't serve to introduce the public to the reality of the religion.
The Mormons don't need our support if they are the object of satire. The gays kids who are born into the religion and cast out of the house need our support, for example.
Allowing religious doctrine to be immune to discussion and criticism is a very dangerous stance to take.
Thanks for your post, but according to the Blue Cross Arena website as of now, the game is hosted in Rochester tonight:
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