The people who condemn my work as the dreaded political art which should be banned see no problem with photos of Bald Eagles layered over the American Flag. One is good (bald eagles, flags unfurled, kittens and puppies and rainbows) the other is bad (the truth). I must step down to a more gut level now and say what is really on my mind. I am not at all surprised that many of my images are received with vehement opposition. The weak minded person never wants to face the truth, and does not know how to think for themselves. It is easier to beach themselves on the easy chair, watch the evening news, and let the politicians work it all out for them. Well that is not for me; not now, not ever. I want the America I was promised. I want what I was told I was entitled to by virtue of being born an American. I want my fucking freedom to say the word fuck and to criticize my government. I demand equality. I expect dignity. I deserve some respect. I will be damned if I will sit by and watch this country continue to go to hell in a hand basket because of reactionary fear mongering by corporations whose next quarter profits depend on America buying their war goods. Many of us have experienced suppression of our dissenting voices at least once in our careers. We will experience personal attacks and oppression in the future. Let us stand together in peace against those who would silence our voices. Fight back with your art and with your writing.
From various experiences, disagreement with the dominant view comes with danger or risk (personally and professionally). Some artists and writers refrain from creating or releasing work which demonstrates society’s undesirable or negative qualities. Often, a portion of members within the prevailing creative community attack the critic’s ideas that go against the dominant ruling theory. Members may also attack the artist personally by various methods, including (but not limited to):
1. deleting parts of writing 2. obstructing publications 3. forced withdrawal of art or writing 4. denying work in a particular field 5. ostracization from social circles and 6. dissemination of rumors
Artistic freedom is the freedom of all creative persons and artistic institutions to pursue knowledge wherever it may lead, without undue or unreasonable interference.
Freedom is more than a word, it is a way of life. Think free. Live free.
In an essay by the same title as this writing, I call for people to open their eyes; to stop being blind sheep; to recognize that criticism of the United States government is not an attack on the people suffering under that government. Criticism of Iraq War is not an attack on the individuals who are serving as soldiers. Art that addresses a political issue or calls for awareness and change is art even if you don’t like it.
Many people who condemn political art as a divisive evil which should be banned are in love with images of bald eagles layered over the American Flag and the words “God Bless America” boldly emblazoned in the manner of a recruitment poster. Is it because images of unfurled flags and glorious eagles warms the cockles of their hearts, that they do not recognize their own political statement?
I have asked myself the following questions on many occasions:
How long should I suffer the blind who will not see? How long should I endure insult and attack? I have seen work on this site that is far more critical of the United States than I have been, yet those works and artists are not subjected to the violence of language that I endure. Is my work targeted because I am female and women should not hold strong opinions? Is my work attacked because I am an American, and it must be attacked because my criticism is more credible given my citizenship? Perhaps the question I should as myself is why do I endure insult and attack on RedBubble because of my art and for my art?
Hardly a day has passed since I joined RedBubble when someone has not made a personal insult, an attack on my character, or invited me to get out of the country if I don’t like it. Despite the clarification by Peter Styles in his journal Controversial Homepage that ”. . . politics, religion and other such ‘hot’ topics are often very important components of our world and our lives. As such I think they deserve to be the subject of artistic reflection – and subject to debate and discussion” some members of RedBubble continue to insist that this site is for art only and no place for politics. Some members frequently insist that I should do art and quit bitching.
My friends and supporters in the real world have advised me to delete my account on RedBubble. I must admit, removal of my work seems like an attractive proposal. The benefit is that I would be insulated from insult and attack by people who I would expect would behave more civilized if they had to face me in person.
People who view my work in the real world manage to control themselves and behave in a manner consistent with intellectual discussion and critical examination of my work. And while they do not necessarily agree with my views, I have never been insulted or attacked.
I have tried various methods of dealing with those members who respond to my work with argumentum ad hominem. First I tried defending my views, but that was a dismal failure. Then I attempted to defend my right to express my views, that met with some moderate success, but the attacks continued. I have tried reporting offensive personal attacks to RedBubble under the umbrella of the Please Play Nice Policy, and that has been a failure as well. I think perhaps the best course of action for me, if I am to continue as a member of RedBubble is to completely ignore the argumentum ad hominem since it is invalid from its inception. I can not delete comments, even invalid personal insults, since to do so is contradictory to my concept of free expression. The ignorant and wise receive equal opportunity to display their character and minds on my work.
So how will I answer the question why do I endure insult and attack on RedBubble? I think that I do not have to endure anything. I made the choice to allow people to come to my work and openly express themselves without the threat of my censoring them. In the future I will not endure insult, I will ignore it, but I will NEVER delete it. The insults will continue to be displayed in all their glorious ignorance, but I do not have to respond to you. Henceforth, you who have engaged in such practice may continue to insult and attack, just do not expect to receive my attention.
aRae, 2 days ago
wish i knew how to send a link…just wanted to add my support and admiration lolhttp://www.redbubble.com/people/arae/art/1770116-2-tick-tock-tick-tock
Roy barry, 2 days ago
Helen- you forgot to mention those people who wrote anonymous hatemail to your blog- you know, the ones’ whose ip addresses match some of the members here-now that is a seriously lowlife, scumbag way of going about things…......
Michael Brennan, 2 days ago
Tom Broderick IPA, 2 days ago
love ya helen fuck what others think. tom
Henk Stolk, 2 days ago
You endure insults because you love your country, love the people..
Bill Gamblin, 2 days ago
Helen…the people who are attacking you are some of those Kool-Aid drinkers who have messed up this country to begin with. It is a shame that only 20 to 25 percent of those who are elligible to vote exercise one of our biggest rights. And at the same time we have political parties who sell out not only their party, but the citizens of the United States every single chance they get. I am all for freedom, but I do not agree with the ACLU, who was founded by a professed Communist, taking the freedom of using our constitution and their interpretation of it to further their cause. But worse yet most of us idlly stand by and watch this go on without saying a word. Keep the faith and tell them how you feel…if you don’t then these idiots who condem you without listening to what you are saying will continue to jiggle the handle until they flush our entire society.
Keep going Helen…give them Hell
Gregory John O..., 2 days ago
Well said Helen. I thought the United Staes of America prided itself on free speach and openess in debate, particularly about politics, human rights, and freedom. It is a pity that it sometimes appears that it is only incouraged and tolerated when it agrees with the administration. The USA would still be a colony of England if people did nothing and just accepted the rule. I think the community on Redbubble would be greatly deminished if you ever deleted your account. I know I would be disappointed if you ever did. Fight the Good Fight. Uphold the Right.
I am sure you heard that Prsident Bush, Rumpsfeld, Cheney, and Cilin Powell new they were to lieing to the USA and the world when they presented their arguements for the war in Iraq. They report that quite often here in Australia. It hasn’t put me off Americans, just those liers.
I forget which president said ” I may not agree with you but I will defend your right to say it.”
Gregory John O..., 2 days ago
Sorry, just noticed a few spelling mistakes in my reply. Such is life
Tom Broderick IPA, 2 days ago
love ya greg thats why there is spell check. lol as i fuck up all the time on my spelling. sorry to see helen have such a hard time but freedom of speach can be a bitch. tom
debteraI, 2 days ago
You yourself have notice the key points to the situation itself. The internet is deeply loved by those who can simply masked their identities with a simple picture or none, and therefore feel secure enough to express their true opinion without a face to face confrontation.
You yourself must also be prepared to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly of the internet world when voicing yourself before the very open yet very hidden world of the internet.
With the passion you show in what you betrue( don’t like believe that much) , it is also wise to develop a certain amount of detachment, for those who are just as passionate about their own views.
Don’t take it personal. Agree to disagree. Focus on the positive and not the negative. You get allot of support as well, I’m one of them. Peace
Jessie M, 2 days ago
Do what YOU have to do Helen (don’t let anyone else influence your decisions, even the RBr’s)... But I understand where you’re coming from… you can only take so much of something until our heads explode and then you snap… and then everyone else is like “what’s wrong with that bitch?” What’s wrong is the insults, the demeaning, the condescending, the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitudes… Its like people now-a-days don’t know how to discuss things anymore, especially via internet… whatever happened to netiquette (etiquette on the net)? What ever happened to the saying ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all’...
Jamie Luning, 2 days ago
I’m not a supporter of your views, but I’m not going to insult you for it.
The person above me, debteral, is very wise. That of course is my personal opinion. I would take to heart everything that they said. I was sad to see the comments made on the Egg picture posted from both sides. It’s a wonderful thing to have passion about what you believe in, but insults and sarcasm will never be taken seriously. Live life with a sound mind.
HOOK STUDIO, 2 days ago
The Link for aRAE HERE
Heres my take on it.STEVE HOOKS GW
I lived in the US for 14 years. there are so so so many great souls in the US. The vast tundra wastlelands of the Mid West and Deep South and Texas have some funny individuals I found.
GW Got in with his Brother Jebs Help in Florida.
the US was fun under Clinton and the World did prosper from a Make Love not War President. The Hawks of Power plant Bushes they spread war and make Gun manufacturers and Airplane makers lottsa cash. Hey its like Star Wars, Just the Bad Guys are still in Power. Though there energy is waning now thank goodness. Use The force I say. Keep the Hope alive… that in the next stage the real will of the people will be heard and The Government will do as is the best for all in the US and The World.
Steve Jobs for President is my Vote Maybe in 10 years if not sooner. ( ’ – ))
Dont go.. Your input is valuable. Ciao Steve An avid US watcher.
Paul Alleyne, 2 days ago
Helen, thanks you for your effort. It is always difficult to take a stand and he the one waving the banner. Turth is never popular to those who are like thieves in night try to steal your soul. Politicians are never revolutionary and they always disappoint. A big example of this is the last Presidential debate. Neitrher candidate, the so-called agent of change, or the country first candidate. those who sacrifice for the good of all man are the true revolutionaries, because they undersatnd and act as they believe and are not swayed by polls and outside influence, but by their own deep committment to real ideas which move us all forward.
MillicentMorrow, 2 days ago
From an outsider looking in… I personally have always had problems with the USA’s constitution…All men are born free and equal. Some of the gentlemen who wrote this were some of the largest land owners of the day and of slaves! mmmm. Then, all men have the right to bare arms…when this was written all men did not have the right to bare arms it was only white men that had the right so it excluded a lot of people including woman. I know it’s history and we here in Australia have a terrible history too. If only we learnt more from the wrongs committed in the past.
Anne van Alkemade, 2 days ago
So eloquently put and so true. Helen, you are a woman of principles. Those who attack you instead of responding to your art – especially those who do it anonymously, clearly do not have integrity or principles. I hope and wish that the support you receive far outweighs the crap (whether it be quality, content or quantity). xx
G. Merrick Jus..., 2 days ago
Helen, as Anne says above, this opinion based analysis and personal diagnosis of the epidemic which RB had long faced – blind, empty, or rude/cruel, responses to works of writing – is of eloquence to prove your merit. Remember this though, sadly, those who seek to condescend are of a mind capable of shallower access than the rest, and will likely be unable to compute or manage through this post (which they should achieve the understanding of more than anyone). Those of us who have a passion for the art of prose are all nodding ruefully and wishing we had better compliments to give and a/any point missed by you that we can add to pad our at the expense of your thread. I jest, partially about the ego part), but I am stone cold sober in my feelings about this issue. Thank you for having the gut, shamelessness, will, and Muse-At-Hand to record it autobiographically. It makes the message just that much more earnest.
mmargot, 1 day ago
The initial question posed by you, Helen, has been asked and answered by you. In my humble opinion, you have reached the only possible answer, i.e., Ignore; because when one feels strongly one cannot be inactive and to be active one sets oneself up for opposing opinions and, unfortunately, ad hominem attacks and gut responses based on a mindset which will not be changed by any argument. Many of us came to know you through your art which also makes statements on current affairs and beliefs. Some sublte, some in-your-face. For many, you are preaching to the choir and are saying nothing frightening. If those who insult your writing would peruse your art, they would get a more complete and complex insight into your world view and let go of the “-isms” that are so easily thrown in a psychological panic fueled by anonymity. Leaving RedBubble because of a few would deprive the many who will ponder their own opinions because of what you have written or shown visually.