fiendish art plot exposed, railroad autumn wallpaper, dandelion rubber

Barack Obama’s Art Brigades Are Coming for You

Matt Drudge is playing up Andrew Breitbart’s latest Obama conspiracy theory—that he is enlisting the aid of the all-powerful visual arts cartel in support of healthcare reform. How long before artist thugs are dragging conservatives from their homes?

The diabolical alliance between Obama and his art-gangsters was struck in two shadowy conference calls last month, one allegedly hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the other by the NEA-funded Americans for Arts. Both calls invited artists to discuss ways to “make change happen” and featured representatives from the White House’s Office of Public Engagement.

So Matt Drudge, Andrew Breitbart ( and his sycophants at Big Hollywood) admit that they are so weak minded, have such decrepit wills and character so shallow they live in constant dread of seeing art that might make them more virtuous human beings. Art can be powerful, but it does not always have the desired effect. Just a few weeks ago we had the controversy of the day with the white-faced Joker poster of President Obama. If the artist’s intent was to alienate Americans of color or piss off liberals, the poster was a success. If the goal was to win people over to tea bagger Conservatism or get people in general to pause and carefully reflect on some issue, it failed miserably. Agiprop can be good for venting, for rallying the all ready converted, but doesn’t have a good record for creating converts of any persuasion. On the other hand advocacy in art can get people to think about issues. Such art has to be more then pretty or shocking, it has to reveal some truth.

I’m not much into predicting things, but this is a pretty safe bet. The Joker white face will be co-opted by liberals eventually to use against a Con like Limbaugh, Malkin or Newt Gingrich. That will turn around the concept of the semi-original work, much like the gay community did by embracing the word queer.

The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell. Rockwell was and still is considered overly sentimental about life in America, but this painting among others shows that in addition to his fawning and sometimes comical salutes to middle America, he could render some very moving agiprop. The Problem is a depiction of federal marshals walking Ruby Bridges to school in a newly integrated America. The wall featuring a scrawled racial epitaph. The Problem conveys ideas and ideals that will last for as long as there are people that care about such things. The Joker poster is a mere footnote of the kind of hate that Rockwell showed was so pitiful. Maybe Rockwell’s depiction of racism and its companion willful ignorance is the kind of art that Drudge and Breitbart fear. They should.

railroad autumn wallpaper

The world runs on lots of things: greed, sex, fear of death and rubber, Dandelion rubber

Most natural rubber comes from rubber trees in Southeast Asia, but this source is now under threat from a fungus. Researchers have optimized the Russian dandelion to make it suitable for large-scale rubber production.

Anyone who has picked dandelions as a child will be familiar with the white liquid that seeps out of the stalks as you break them off. Viscous, sticky – and a much sought-after material: natural latex. Around 30,000 everyday products contain natural rubber, everything from car tires, catheter tubes, latex gloves to tops for drinks bottles. Car tires, for instance, would not be elastic enough without the incorporation of natural rubber. The bulk of this material comes from rubber trees in Southeast Asia. Rubber produced in this way can, however, cause allergic reactions, which is clearly an issue with clinical products. A fungus is also creating concern for rubber cultivators. In South America the infection is now so widespread that large-scale cultivation has become virtually impossible. The disease now also appears to have taken root in Southeast Asia’s rubber belt. Fungicides still provide at least temporary protection. But if the fungus disease was to reach epidemic proportions, chemical crop protection would be rendered useless – experts fear that the natural latex industry could collapse if that were to happen.

Dandelion in the greenhouse. (© Fraunhofer IME)
Dandelion in the greenhouse. (© Fraunhofer IME)