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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted May 14, 2001

No matter what you think, and what a good many artists will tell you, art is not a subjective experience. I know you probably have heard that art is supposed to stir strong emotions in you, but that is not its primary purpose.

Art is actually a statement or as Ayn Rand said, an artist's "primary purpose is to bring his view of man and of existence into reality; but to be brought into reality, it has to be translated into objective (therefor, communicable) terms." It's fine to have emotions because those emotions mean you are having a profoundly personal experience. Those emotions are telling you that what you see in the art is what life means to you. It is not an excuse, however, to give in mindlessly to those emotions. That's why movies like Titanic become popular.

Ormond: Talented...beautiful...and wrong
Ormond: Talented...beautiful...and wrong

It was also the bizarre criteria used by the 54th Cannes film festival in determining what movies would win awards. The jury notified journalists that they would only give awards to emotional films and not intellectual films.

"We don't have to make movies for the intellect. I would like us to choose films that talk with talent, emotion and professionalism," said actress Liv Ullman.

Echoing her was English actress Julia Ormond who stated: "I think the movie experience is a very complete one as it touches you on all sorts of levels. It's a very emotional one."

It is criteria like that which has pushed the insipid fare that passes for cinema, insipid fare that comes from all over the world, not only the "Dream Factory" in California. For all their pretentiousness, it's "good" to know that European artists aren't that much better than their North American counterparts.

web posted April 30, 2001

The dignity of the office. It's a phrase heard a lot over the past years. Bill Clinton was accused of diminishing the office of the president with the constant stream of scandals touching upon every sin imaginable: illicit sex, corruption, fundraising, the selling of the White House, the use of federal power to squelch opposition. He had a remarkable run in the White House, turning it into more of a Roman orgy then the seat of power for the United States of America.

It turns out CNN.com believes George W. Bush may be diminishing the presidency as well.

On April 29, the web site's poll asked visitors does he "run the risk of minimizing the dignity of the office with his self-deprecating humor?" At 10:20pm, over 21 000 people voted with 73 per cent stating that he did not run that particular danger. 27 per cent, presumably Democrats still smarting over Florida, believed he did.

Regardless of what the poll results are, it was the question itself which is offensive. Given the Nero-like presidency of Clinton, it's shocking to see that a man who is popular with Americans because of his classy personal style be subtly attacked for that style. When I saw the poll, it reminded me of a recent story I saw in the Free Republic web site and one I just happened to be recounting to my sister just a few days ago.

Being chosen for the Marine honour guard which protects the president and carries out certain ceremonial duties is undoubtedly one of the highest complements that can be paid a nation's soldier. Regardless of your political beliefs, it is your sacrosanct duty to pay the president the proper respect accorded that office. We had a saying in the armed forces: respect the rank if you don't respect the officer. You may not think much of the president, and many in the military cared little for Clinton, but it is ultimately the office which you serve.

One of the readers of Free Republic noted an interesting thing while watching President Bush disembark from an aircraft recently. As you may have observed, when the president disembarks from an aircraft or vehicle, he is saluted by stationary Marines in ceremonial uniforms. Every president is accorded that honor, even Clinton. Bush too receives these salutes, but at least one Marine went a little above and beyond his duty.

This one Marine dutifully saluted Bush as the president passed him but then did something that hasn't been regularly performed in a few years (read: during the Clinton years). As the president passed him, the Marine -- still saluting -- executed a turn to face Bush's back. The action means that no matter where Bush is standing or facing, the subordinate soldier will always be facing him, ready to receive any order that may come. It is a sign of respect.

Sounds to me like there is plenty of dignity in the office of the president. Even if CNN.com doesn't realize it, the Marines do.

Editor's note: There has been some debate about whether the Marines are actually showing Bush any more respect then they did Clinton. This story has been reported as an urban myth but others are claiming that it is indeed the truth. For the record, the Marine in charge of the honour guard has stated publicly that the same protocol is being observed for Bush as was for Clinton.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

No Vinegar in Freedom Award was handed out in May.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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