I fancy myself an artist. I don't make much art these days, however. I'm also cursed with the horrible burden of being responsible. That is why I don't produce much art. A good majority of the things I see around me appear as works of art wheter intentional or unintentional. I came to the realization a few years ago that the thing I liked most about machine shops, (I've worked only in machine shops since I left school) was the aesthetic. Primarily shades of grey, the machine shops of the old days were colored from black grease to the silver grey mettalic of the machine tables and spindles, to the stark white of the bare bulbs in bent metal shades hanging above a coolant nozzle. An errant red rag or blue chip thrown in to remind us that this is not a Lewis Hine photograph. The potential of a machine shop is just enormous with the ability to make parts for race cars, or a new part for your old boat, or most importatnly... motorcycles. Getting up and driving to work every damn day and seeing those machines crank out knife holders for food cutting machines or recoilers for the steel industry has a way of making me sad. As I said, I fancy myself an artist and it seems such a waste to see that kinetic artistic potential being used for something so piontless as commerce. I have a feeling some people may miss the point of that last sentence...
My Crazy Uncle and I have some very different ideas about certain things. I tend not to discuss religion and politics with anyone. My wife couldn't tell you how I vote or if I've been baptised. My Father's brother is pretty outspoken about politics and, at least within the family, is pretty adamant about his religious beliefs. I admire him in that he has made up his mind about how he feels in regard to these things. I will be the first guy to point out an interesting photo or see a line on a car that is just not quite right. These are the things that are constant in my life. Music is art and as I've said here, I play the drums and music is a huge part of my life. I have some friends that I only see on occasion. These friends are musicians. Some have fucked up personal lives, can't hold jobs, drug addicts... but we can sit in the grass on a hot summer night in the dark and hear a song that we've never heard before and the beauty transcends all the bullshit that goes on outside that. We get it. That thing the artist tried so hard to get across. The brushstrokes, the chords, the block of marble, the piece of wood, whatever it was the creator was putting into his art was not lost. Some may say this is a frivolous way to spend one's life. Perhaps. Politics and religion are very serious, important things that should be discussed.
A day or two ago, I left a comment on My Uncle's blog about him using a picture of Johnny Cash on his blog to illustrate a point about some political thing he feels strongly about. Like I said, his blog is political-mine is about art. Perhaps the art aspect does not come through like I intend but I don't post pictures of choppers because they are comfortable or well engineered motorcycles. They are art. My Uncle and I had a difference of opinion regarding politics and Johnny Cash once in the recent past. O.K. maybe it was more than a difference of opinion, he (actually his wife, HRH Queen Buffness) sent me an email and I went (admittedly) fucking koo-koo bananas about using Johnny Cash and politics. Unk remined me this week that Johnny was quite a political person and anyone who knows anything about Johhny Cash knows he was all about religion as well. My Uncle is quite correct about this but he sort of missed my point. I pointed this out, we agreed to disagree and the Uncle in our wonderful smart assed family tradition got the final jab by reminding me "I realise you are a member in good standing of the Johnny Cash Memorial Tabernacle" While I realize that he used the wrong spelling of one of the words, the comment was hilarious. Yeah, I can get a bid defensive about ol' Johnny. But then it hit me - Johnny was an artist. The thing about Johnny Cash that moved me first was his art. Not his politics or his religion. That's why I hold him so dear and other people are more into what the Pope has to say, or the writings of Ronald Reagan, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Karl Marx, or the Dalai Lama etc... You can argue all you want that politics and religion are much more important than what a cotton picker from Dyess, Arkansas has to say but the argument is moot. You have to define what important means to you. Art is important to me.
What have we all learned from this boys and girls? Without two sides to an argument, there is no argument and If we don't have these discussions we'll never learn a thing. So the next time someone disagrees with you remember you have a choice. He may actually be an idiot but you just might be the idiot next time. Yeah, I really am a member of the Johnny Cash Memorial Tabernacle and I take that shit seriously. Seriously?