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Thursday, 29 August 2019


Insisting that we only ever interact with or listen to saints is raising the bar a little high. Now and then, everyone acts like a jerk.

It seems to me that the greatest interest and pleasure of most of us is to argue about completely subjective subjects like Art or cameras. Would we have ever heard of Mapplethorpe without the controversy? However, I agree that the Art and the Argument should be separate concerns. Reality is basically ambiguous anyway - enjoy it!

I don't do politics. ANY politics.

Does it matter who did the art? Does it matter who financed the art? Hell no. It's the art that matters.

Politics. Controversy. Nuts.

Nothin' to see here...move along.

I've been to both Frick museums (NYC and Pittsburgh), and yes, he was not a nice man, but the Art is awesome. The Vermeers alone are worth the trip to NYC, as are the Turners. In Pittsburgh, our visit was timed to an exhibit of Iriving Penn's work that was exquisite. Historically those in power have always funded the Arts (Think Michelangelo for example). Art was often an investment /tax write off, and not necessarily a reflection of the investors politics or taste.
As to the Sony....yawn. Just another variation to still frustrate users hoping for more.

As far as does it matter who/what the artist is when consuming their work - It does, especially if they stand to profit from it. Don't give horrible people money isn't a bad stance to have, and 'but they made great films/art/music' shouldn't be an indulgence.

Part of the karma of being a horrible person should be that your works and legacy are judged with that filter - there is so much great work out there are we really suffering from a lack of input to celebrate?

Yes, great art can be.. redeemed? by an audience investing their own meaning into it - but that should not mean its origins should be forgotten.

There's an article and followup out now from a former Google employee speaking about the culture of privilege adopted and enshrined by the male C-level team there. It's a good example of the tendency we have, culturally, of excusing horrible people because they made something great, and it enables a new generation to keep on being horrible and even aspiring to be horrible as if it's something they're due.

Coming to last column late, but let me say that (a) I think yesterday’s was extremely well written, i.e., the investment of time shows; and (b) both columns, yesterday and today, are absolutely worthwhile and, if I may be so bold, germane to the art of photography and to the exploration of art more generally and, therefore, columns for which I am thankful.

“Politics” is a much misused and misunderstood term. At least one reader felt that this site ought not to address politics and s/he’s planning to take a sabbatical from reading, helping me to make this point — “politics”, including especially so-called “identity politics” is a means to drive us apart/keep us apart to the benefit of those united by money and power.

But I won’t explore this point further. Instead, apropos today’s column, I will acknowledge that the sins of the auteur is an issue about which I think from time to time. I’m generally inclined to Mike’s POV even if I am sometimes disappointed (and thereby disaffected) by learning of an artist’s sins and, perhaps more tellingly, often applaud and feel invigorated by an artist whose work rails against those injustices which I, too, perceive as injustices. But I consider the latter a gift (for me) and not something which ought to be forced. To Gordon Lewis’ comment in respect of last column, as an example, I don’t believe he should feel any responsibility to be a Black Photographer (whatever that might mean to him or me or anyone else).

I'm not much into art criticism so I bailed halfway through reading the linked article, primarily because it annoyed me.

To the question of what to do about the works of artists of bad (or good) behavior. Part of this is a question of whether you are looking at a historical work - which presumably has no financial/political impact on the artist. In cases like that I think it is easy to evaluate "art for art's sake"

But when it comes to living artists I think the question is if they are of "known bad character" whatever that means, and I think should be a purely personal evaluation. You should vote with your pocketbook; Don't visit the gallery/theatre/Movie/buy the book etc.

The question I don't think you explicitly asked is what to do with art that was created in the past where the art is now considered generally offensive, particularly if it is in the public eye. Frankly I'm thinking this is a case of "tough luck" We shouldn't bury our history but learn from it.

Which very tangentially leads into your Sony news. I recently bought a Sony 6400 and have no real interest in the new devices - I bought when it met my needs and requirements and I'm happy with that - frankly at this point the camera is not likely to be the barrier to my ability to deliver the work I want to do. If I was in the market for a new camera it would be just another data point in my decision tree - really new I don't care. What are the feature/price/benefits of these and other cameras that is when camera news is important to me.

So to recap I'm not so hot on reviewers/art critics who are trying to get me to buy for buying's sake or not think for myself.

”He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: general Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.”
William Blake

When asked, most photo enthusiasts (for lack of a better term) will clamor that they all want to see more posts on the art and philosophy of photography- while it's gear talk that supplies the real click bait. Likewise, most will insist (as do I) that it's the photographs themselves that should do the talking. And while we would sometimes be best served by learning to separate the art from its maker, one cannot deny that to better understand a specific body of work, one would be best served by knowing the background of its creator and the forces and influences that drove them towards its creation...

I am struggling through these issues in conversations with my 19 year-old daughter, Mike. She is very aware of the political moment in which we live and doesn't want to enable any more Harvey Weinsteins or R.Kellys. My position about art is almost identical to yours, insofar as "the art is its own thing" is a position.

However, the present moment distinguishes itself because the Internet has lowered the barriers to entry for artists and other personalities. This means that a Cosimo di Medici, or a Queen Elizabeth, or even a William Randolph Hurst, Aurther Ochs Shultzburger or Rupert Murdoch -- or their minions -- are no longer the cultural gatekeepers they once were. The sword cuts both ways, though. R.Kelly's art may be "it's own thing," but the consumers of his music have a moral choice before them when they click the "buy" button (or simply stream his work). My daughter, for instance, is perfectly comfortable with her judgment that certain public or artistic figures do not deserve her support, regardless of what art/commerce they produce.

And there is a nexus there, right? If the purpose of art is to take the audience out of themselves (struck by the beauty or the horror of the art in question) and facts about the artist keep the art from having that effect, then the art is dead -- at least in this generation. Example: Watched "Manhattan" lately? Over time? Who knows. We are probably lucky that we don't know too much about William Shakespere's personal life. A little, but not too much.

So we are in this moment when 1600's-style public shaming has been effectively wielded against those who depend on the public for their daily bread, but perhaps with less so against folks in economic sectors less fully in the public eye. And my sense is that we are at the very beginning of this conversation, which will (I predict) veer into every aspect of our civic lives before a new consensus emerges.

[Interesting aside: In the US, we have a right to "free speech," as interpreted by the Supreme Court; in European countries that derive their laws from the Napoleonic code, there is a "right to reputation," which is really the mirror image of a free speech right. It will be interesting to see where that goes as our mores develop on this front].

The fact that we all know more today about the true nature of the Medicis probably has more to do with the art they commissioned than the historians who followed them. So being an enabler of something great does not imply that any of that greatness will be reflected on the enabler, other than over a very short time. If some person or organization that I would regard as depraved, wants to initiate some great work, be it artistic or technological, I say "Have at it! The truth will out!"

As for the cameras you mention, each round of new products is less interesting than the one before. I can't be bothered looking up any of these so see what "features" they may offer. On the other hand, photographic techniques, photographic art and the motivations to produce it will always be interesting.

I love this discussion, even if it's not directly germaine to the kind of photography I most enjoy.

I have met some of the best contemporary American landscape painters, and most (though not all) are delightful people of great integrity. I do find myself involuntarily cringing when I see a beautiful landscape painted by an artist I know to be less than admirable in terms of personal life. Kind of like viewing wonderful work by well known photographers who have been busted for ruthlessly exploiting interns. Does it change the way I experience the work of art? It certainly does. Is that right or wrong?
Beats me!

I think in this case we are speaking less about the artists themselves as individuals, but how we have represented groups of people in art and how the artists' identities factor into that.

We know for a fact that a lot of artists have been jerks of one form or another. I worked with a share of them, and the nice and decent ones really stand out. You are correct in saying that ultimately doesn't matter, the art does.

But that latter dismissal conflates the representation of people by artists and artists as jerks (or not). This former question is important, because it speaks to culture more broadly and how cultural norms and tropes can modify how we view an entire race or people. We think in the context of culture. Unpacking these "hidden" (actually, they are not "hidden" at all!)codes informs us as humans. Not becoming aware of these issues when they are readily available for consideration is at best blinkered. At worst, willfully not being willing to look at these things is worse than head in the sand, it's a form of complicity.

That said, I also have little patience with zealots. All zealots are cut from the very same, ugly cloth if you ask me.

Full disclose: I have an MFA, used to teach art in a college, work in a museum now, my wife has worked in a museum since 1984, and my daughter is a PhD candidate in Art History at Berkeley.

"In later generations, the monument is visited and admired by millions of tourists."

In real life, the are numerous examples of such monuments being toppled over for they represented a glorification of an anti-democratic regime.

I greatly enjoyed yesterday's post and today's.

I have a related question: Is it acceptable to avoid or ignore specific art if one is unable to disassociate it from its provenance (as in your examples)? What about if one is simply unwilling to do so?

I can see a victim of sexual abuse might never be able to tolerate the work of a person known to have participated in such abuse. But I would argue it's also fine if something simply bothers you enough. Good art will find its audience. Life is short and the world is big; if you eschew art that disturbs you because of its background you'll still never run out of other art and artists to appreciate.

Mike, I think yesterdays column was 'on point' for your site. I like knowing such things, even though I disagree with museum's or curators' striving for attention to the detriment of the Art they present.
I think it could have been reported in much shorter form, because A. there is not much we can do about it, and B . as you point out today If we expect congruence of points of view between our own and those of museums & curators we are S.O.L.
Let the Art stand on it's own.
Yet todays column is essentially a continuation of yesterday's (with a brief mention of a few different cameras. To me, that was not very satisfying. I can see new camera announcements anywhere, I'm more interested in your insights into the things you report. Weather I agree with a specific point or not is irrelevant to me because I know and respect the deep expertise you bring.
Today's was a mash-up and extension of yesterdays which in your words "it didn't improve my brand or make me any money or further the site's mission."
It is your blog, only you can decide those things.
I say just be well, and be yourself.
PS How's your new camera ?

I might have shared this on TOP before, but many years ago I was approached by a man at my Church. His niece was having an art show. Her uncle brought me the catalog and asked what it meant.

It was written in the most pretentious example of Art-Speak I had ever seen. I tried to translate it as best I could, and he replied something like "But why do they have to write it this way?"

I have a drawer full of Sony APS-C cameras starting with the NEX-5 and ending with the A6300. I passed on the A6500.

After watching a B&H video that talked about the 0.02 second focusing speed I tried to order an A6600 and found that they won't be in stock until November 29 (2019 fortunately).

I'll buy one but they'll have to wait a little while for the order.

I'll comment on yesterday's essay a little later. Not a comment to take lightly.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Sounds like good advice to me. But it is human nature to want to gore the other guys bull ...repeatedly.

I have several grumpy EF-S lenses in storage, so I looked at the 90D. But I think, foe now, I'll pass.

Well, "John's" partial comment proves a few things.

Yesterday's post obviously strikes a chord in many, dissonant or otherwise and that's rather self-evident from the comment. It also proves the importance of the discussion And, perhaps it also proves that you have a broader audience than you believed.

Yesterday's discussion needs to occur, and in a respectful way, if this country is to move out of its current culture wars box. There's a bit of truth on most people's views, right or left, but each group too often engages in hyperbole and, worse, starts to believe it. In the quest for "identity" we are in danger of losing proper perspective through the fashionable proclaiming of victimization on the one hand (Tom Wolfe was so right in his various 1970s writings)and thoughtless knee-jerking on the other.

So, I applaud your thoughtful discussion and the many civil comments.

As whether "art" and discussions of embodied cultural values remain important, I would simply note that I did my undergraduate and graduate degrees at MIT, one of the most technologically focused places in the known universe. MIT required, and still requires, many courses in calculus, physics, chemistry and experimental design, etc. to graduate with ANY undergraduate degree. However, it requires even more semester courses in creative subjects such as art, music, etc. MIT's stated reason is that it wishes to educate the "creative engineers and scientists" who will make tomorrow's breakthroughs.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not an effete coastal liberal but have lived in a rather rural part of Alaska for over four decades. Yes, out of self-defense against very big bears, I do carry a Magnum-caliber rifle when we are out hiking and fishing.

I'm sorry to use a non-descriptive account name but the trolling from those sort of folks can be too disruptive. It's a true shame it's come to this.

"Who cares about this crap? You wrote you spent four days writing that uninteresting work of garbage, why? Because you lost your train of thought regarding photography?"

This is what's wrong about photo websites, and the internet in general. Photography has many parts, just as other art forms. Fine art (although I abhor that label) contains things from frescos to beautiful paintings, sculpture, glassware and more right on down to Thomas Kinkaide and the stuff on a box of cornflakes. Music includes everything from inspired pieces of early music to Beethoven, Mozart, inspired Jazz musicians, All the way down ot Justin Bieber, and the Winston Tastes good jingle. But they all have on thing in common, they are all a part of art.

Many on another website that I sometimes visit when I feel like my blood pressure is getting too low, try to turn photography into mechanics.Too many of us dwell on the variety of meaningless details in equipment to chasing fruitlessly for the perfect lens, or the maximum number of pixels in a sensor, all to no avail.

Take my advice, go out and make art. There's non formula, test or graph to determine its quality, it's all subjective. And remember something I learned as I was completing music school, good music needn't be pretty. That applies to art and photography as well.

But I will say that I find art criticism, as well as music criticism, film reviews and other such things as very very tedious.

I have a hard time knowingly rewarding terrible people, financially or otherwise. So I won’t see a new movie by a director who is reliably reported to have taken sexual advantage of young actors, even though I enjoyed his work before I became aware of it. I decline to visit museums funded by living tyrants (financial or political) to deprive them of the satisfaction of thinking that they bought redemption for their sins. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the art, it means I think we need to stand for what is right against evil-doers.

If they’ve been dead for a suitable period, my reluctance fades. They are but dust in a grave and get no reward from my “consumption” of their art.

Per your last two posts. Please go back to talking about pool, where you live, and the occasional mention of photography.

[What, you don't like the nutrition posts? --Mike]

Sony lost me with Betamax. Nothing they do excites me.

It's your blog, write what you want. Also be prepared for the consequences, good or bad.

The masses have been lured by media to only focus on "politics" and not governance. Politics is the BS used by politicians to get elected and stay in power. Governance is what they are suppose to be doing which sadly is one of the last things they consider. If the media would focus on governance rather than politics much of the current political strife would be avoided. But that doesn't sell advertising. Strife, hype, fear and polarization attracts eyeballs and sells advertising.

Keep up with the political and diet posts and eventually you will see the consequences. That most likely being reduced revenue.

Can we all bid a fond adieu to John?

Put me down as one of the people who very much appreciated the previous essay. The web it littered with gear-related material, we don't need more of it (although I sympathize with your need for viewers, this being your job and all.)

I don't think it's a question of one thing or the other.

We can appreciate Art on its own terms, and also appreciate Art taking in to account who made it, who commissioned it, when it was made, the social context of then. We can also re-appreciate Art in the context of now, in the context of the current social milieu. There's no reason to limit ourselves, there is no one formula for evaluating a piece of Art.

If a piece matters enough, I think we should approach it in all these ways.

I find, interestingly, that while photographers tend to be among the more vociferous members of the "Art Should Stand Alone" camp, they're astonishingly bad at actually looking at a picture. To be fair, actually looking at a picture is hard, but it does strike me as a bit of a conflict.

The problem is that we humans focus way too much on the people when we should be focusing more on the work and actions instead. Who cares about some dead men, it's the outcomes that are more interesting. For living artists (or any people for that matter) we should maintain certain standards that we expect them to adhere too, simply because that's what it's about being civilized. But standards should not be overly harsh, to err is human also.

As for the Sony A6600, the criticism of it seem to all be about it not offering enough new high end features. But I don't understand the logic here, would it be better then that Sony release nothing? Isn't an incremental improvement already valuable for buyers? If we look at the development in this decade or century, it has been very rapid, especially comparing to other products than cameras. Perhaps the rapid development has introduced a certain blindness to speed and nothing except significant changes are considered worthwhile anymore?

Political correctness it's all BSI to me.

Did you know that MAD magazine came into existence because politicians were attacking other forms of comics in the 50s. All I want to say about that is: Thank-you.

I explain BSI in a previous comment in a previous post.

I think that the issue of the separation between the artist and the art is a fraught one. I can sometimes neglect the personal deficits of an artist when viewing their work, but other times, my knowledge that they are hideous people will poison their work in my mind. I will say that, personally, there are a number of living artists who will never receive another penny of my money, since I have no interest in contributing to the enrichment of the vile if I can easily avoid doing so.

On a side note, kudos on your hypotheticals: I can think of at least two examples for each of the categories.

I have the a6000 and the a6500—each bought within a year of release. If I needed new cameras (which I don't) the a6100 and the a6600 would be in my sights. They are not so much new cameras as model refreshes. Car manufacturers do this all the time (for more than a decade with some models) so it has the legitimacy of familiarity.

One of my favourite artists is Caravaggio. There's a strange story :-)

A large proportion of the artistic greats suffered from what would now be diagnosed as some form of acute mental illness or even psychosis.

Never meet your heroes. You might be disappointed.

I'd have guessed Hitchcock on No. 4.

There have always been social, economic, and cultural filters to a good degree controlling who gets to develop as an artist, what’s expressed, and where the work is shown. During the 90s I was neighbor to 2 Corcoran instructors and was acquainted with students and others in that community - painters mostly. There was variety, but typically it was contained within a profile that wasn’t hard to spot.

The Whitney simply decided for once to go against the current of the usual inflow to see what might be found. I doubt that they sought or expected identity work.

You’ve noticed that art communities can get pretty inbred.

"The whole question of who makes the art and which political group's "experience" they are said to represent is unfortunately absolutely irrelevant in my opinion. "
I often say in lectures that "all generalizations, with the possible exception of this one, are false," a paraphrase of Kurt Godel's philosophy. It makes it safer to express opinions.
Having almost 60 years experience looking at art, and having met and known a lot of artists, my belief is that most artists put their beliefs right there in their art. And understanding their belief systems is important to appreciating their art.
It isn't always political, but more often than not it's at least cultural. Strangely enough, when I see artists just in it for the money (I'm talking about you Jeff Koons), it affects how I consider their art. When I see exhibits that show how art has been used to fight oppression and violence, I can understand the art better.
Here in LA we have a wonderful and gigantic culture of art, much from some of the ethnic groups being vilified today. Well, that was being done long ago too. And their art reflects their repression, their struggles and their successes. Knowing that makes me appreciate their work and their culture much more.
Big, rich museums tend to avoid conflict, but smaller galleries and university art museums like the Hammer at UCLA embrace it.
As a footnote, we saw the Gordon Parks "Flavio" exhibit at the Getty last week. It's about a poor family in Rio that ran as a series of stories in Life magazine in 1961. http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/gordon_parks/index.html It was more than a story about poverty in slums of Rio, it was used by the US government to further their agenda in South America. Life was pressured to expand the story to meet political goals.
So there....
BTW, I have a series of photos from the exhibit I will post sometime to show how Parks and his editors evolved the cropping of the photo in the link above.

3 things.
1. A while back (quite a while), I sent you a USD$50 donation and a deeply thought out thanks you message. Also, USD$50 costs me a lot more in Australian dollars. You never sent me even a quick - Thank you! :-(

2. The man who wrote ""Who cares about this crap? You wrote you spent four days writing that uninteresting work of garbage, why?..." - I thought Trolls existed everywhere but here. Again, :-(

3. I missed yesterdays post, but am glad it lead to the opportunity to read Robert Roaldi: [this time, :-)] "The Rebel Sell by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter has a lot to say about 'nonconformity' and 'outsiders.' The culture we live in absorbs all of this and packages it back to us as products to buy. It's easy to look at suburban streets and come to the superficial conclusion that all those people are leading 'Leave it to Beaver' lives, but it isn't actually true, is it? Many of them are wife swappers, they take various drugs, they watch a lot of porn, etc. We draw these imaginary lines between progressive and not, but even the most right-wing person in our culture probably thinks it's OK to marry for love, or that we should be able to work at whatever job we like, or that women should vote. Those ideas were rebellious not that long ago. PC culture can get silly, but lots of ideas at the fringe are silly. They get modified a lot before they migrate throughout society. It makes for interesting argumentation but it's not worth freaking out over, in my opinion."

[Regarding 1.), so sorry! Really, that was wrong of me and I'm very sorry. No excuse for that. If I may, belatedly: thank you very much! You're very kind indeed. --Mike]

I'm 100% in agreement with John Camp regarding Sony, and they're being in it only for the money. They won't have any second thoughts about bolting from this market when, as John says "they appear to be losing money or not making enough"

Just for grins, here is an unenviable list of products that Sony foisted on customers that were utter failures or unsuccessful in the marketplace and abandoned:

1 VAIO computers
2 Mini-Disc
3 Memory Stick
4 Betamax
5 PS Vita
6 EVilla
7 DAT tapes and Players
8 NW-HD1 Audio Player
10 Airboard
11 Aibo robot dog
12 Mylo
13 JumboTron
14 Vaio Musiclip
15 Qualia
16 PSX
17 Rolly
18 UMD disks
19 PressPlay Music Service
20 Super Audio CD (SACD)

Just another comment on the new Sony APS-C camera: Sony has stolen a march on the field with its new AF trickery. Reviewers struggle to not gush about it. Phrases like "best in class" and "amazing" echo through the intertubes. But Sony has a problem, namely that this new AF wonder requires the newer processor. It can't be done as firmware so that means that it is a go for the A9, the A7Riv and, more germane to the topic in hand, the a6400. But the APS-C range has three step. So the a6100 is a replacement for the a6000 and the a6600 is a replacement for the a6500 for those who need/want the new AF capability. And Sony had no other way of delivering that other than by releasing "facelift" models.

I don't know what to say except that the last two essays were absolutely brilliant Mike. Worth the effort,spot on and thought provoking. As for the Sony - boring. To make a general comment about Sony, they have been the most innovative camera maker in recent years. I believe that is because they are an electronics company, not a camera company. This has shown in their products though, some of which have been badly flawed. I gave up my Sony A99 when it became obvious that they were about to ditch the mount for something new. I think it is clear that their apsc line is not considered important.

When people don't understand artistic work they fall back on the stories about artistic works. Works often become popular because they have an interesting backstory (or the artist has an interesting backstory) and not because of the intrinsic qualities of the work.

In order to attract a significant number of people (most of whom having limited exposure to art), art galleries create themed exhibitions with very hip "socially significant" sounding themes. People can understand the social theme and can feel like they understand art by focusing on how the art relates to the social theme. Their efforts are aided by captions next to the artworks that talk about the relationship of the art to the theme.

The person writing the review is also part of this process. In order to have an article that connects with a significant number of people, the reviewer must focus on the social statement and not the intrinsic artistic merits of the works.

I applaud the eclectic mix of subjects on this blog and have read every post since I first discovered TOP a long time ago.

I commented on the A6600 because I was waiting for that combination of features in a Sony crop camera, especially the larger battery, as I can standardise on batteries, chargers, cables and familiarity with menus, etc... That is a big deal for me.

I am not a big fan of art /photographic critics. I prefer to make my own mind up. I am more interested to understand the background to interesting artists or photographers.

I could see immediately that a lot of work had gone into the first section of the article and I give a big thumbs up to Mike for his background knowledge and ability to translate his thoughts to the written word. But, discussing critics or art sponsors is not of prime interest to me.

I still look forward to the next blog post, whatever Mike decides to write about. You are a true hero.

"is the Sony A6600 really "new" in any meaningful sense, or it is merely another reheat in a string of updates to a well-established (let's not say old) design?"
Isn't that a fair description of most new Leicas? Though, admittedly, the Sony ones do come closer together...

I admit to having a pretty relaxed attitude towards the relationship between an artist’s work and his life. The art pretty much has to stand on its own two feet as it were. Living an exemplary life certainly doesn’t give any guarantee of “good” work. In fact I have a rather large mono print on my living room wall by an artist that I personally know to be a jerk and a sleeze, but it is a really nice piece. That said I am pretty sure that I would have a difficult time viewing the Moscow Metro knowing that it’s building was supervised by one Lazar Kaganovich, read his Wikipedia biography. Such is the playground of situational ethics.

Very interesting timing here. Aside from my photography jones, I also read a lot of science fiction and have for nearly 60 years. There is an award named for John W. Campbell, who was the editor of Astounding Magazine (later Analog), where many well-known SF authors made their early appearances. The award is for best new writer in the past two years and has been given out since 1973, two years after Campbell's death.

Campbell was a bit of a loony, but also more than a bit of a racist (rejecting a story by a black write because he felt the readers could not relate to a black protagonist) and had other negative qualities. However, he was editor for nearly 40 years and did help launch the careers of many writers. According to writers who worked with him, you knew what you were getting and took the good with the bad.

The most recent winner of the award, Jeannette Ng, started her acceptance speech by saying the award was named for "a fucking fascist" and there was wild applause (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ58zf0vzB0 -- text here: https://medium.com/@nettlefish/john-w-campbell-for-whom-this-award-was-named-was-a-fascist-f693323d3293) -- too bad she said he was editor of Amazing, not Astounding in her spoken remarks, corrected in the text.

She went on in other conversations to call him an obnoxious man who committed this, that, and other sins. While I could not find out her age, I doubt she was born before he died and it is almost certain she never met the man.

In response, the current editors of the magazine (now Analog) announced that the award's name would be changed to the Astounding Award since his views do not conform with modern sensibilities.

Some online comments compare the name change to something out of Orwell's 1984 (Campbell becoming a non-person, etc.).

Despite her excoriation of Campbell, Ng accepted the award.

A few years ago, a similar long-standing award for horror writing, which was a bust of H.P. Lovecraft, was redesigned because of Lovecraft's similar racist views.

Bill Cosby's skit about going to the dentist is no less funny than it was 30 years ago. The art didn't change, our perception of the artist did.

Art comes from pain. Sometimes it is the realization that although everything is perfect it won't last. More often it's about finding the good in a bad situation, even if its just to say this sucks, this is why, stop it, and don't do it again.

Lots of artists are broken in one way or another. No normal person would want to go through what some artists go through, and no normal person would want to put up with being around some artists. Yet some people do and would not have it any other way.

And in the end the artist is dead. First metaphorically when they lose control of the art by making it public and it takes on a life of its own, then literally dead as when their thoughts if they are lucky survive in the minds of others but their body and mind do not.

So yes, art and beauty are made possible by some pretty bad people and or broken people, some of whom I know and love dearly, and some who are real jerks and may kill us all.

Entropy always wins, the point is to play as long and hard as possible.

You know this post and the previous post have the longest and shortest titles of all your posts.

John Camp wrote (in part, in a featured comment) about Sony, "About one nano-second after the cameras appear to be losing money or not making enough, they'll be ditched. In my humble opinion."

Thankfully that is true. Otherwise we'd be stuck with the NEX-3. Or the NEX-5. Or the NEX-7. Or the A6000. Or the A6300. Or the A6500.

Re: Product Failures

Jeff Bezos has said that Amazon has had failures worth billions of dollars. He has called Amazon "the best place in the world to fail."


Amazon Spark
Amazon Restaurants
Amazon Storywriter
Pop-up Stores
Dash Buttons
Amazon Tap
Instant Pickup
Amazon Tickets
Whole Foods 365
Amazon Fresh's Local Market Seller
Amazon Webstore
Amazon Destinations
Amazon Local
Amazon Wallet
Amazon Local Register
Fire Phone
Amazon WebPay
Amazon Askville
Amazon PayPhrase
Amazon Auction


This is my third comment on this post.

I have since had a chance to check out the details of the Sony 6600. Despite the larger battery and other new features, it fails miserably on features needed for real world usability.

1. Only 1 control dial.
2. No focus position controller.
3. I abhor the af/mf switch. It is always in the wrong place.
4. Old evf.... expect better for their APS/c flagship.

And lots more usability issues. Looks like I will have to wait for the eventual APS/c version of the A9.

I thought the ergonomics of the original A7 were a disaster. This has too much in common with that camera, so I will not touch it with a barge pole.

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