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Jul 12, 2017

"News" Is No Longer Good Enough


In these times of fake news and alternative facts, it's not often that we get exactly what we expected! Case in point: our Dear Leader. Despite speculations of what sort of president Trump would be (having never exhibited any convictions about anything other than his own image), he turns out to be exactly what he presented in the campaign: a caricature of narcissism. Now the US has somehow elected him (through a process we now regret was not more democratic!) and he is the face of the US across the world, embarrassing us all day after day. And we deserve it!

I look back with great nostalgia on the Obama administration. No matter how you feel about his policies, he tackled serious business every day. When you picked up the newspaper (you know, that thing you line the birdcage with) you could read about actual national issues, as has been the case almost always throughout our history, instead of lurid White House gossip that has even conservatives calling for impeachment. Now we've elected (ok, the Electoral College elected) a leader that quite appropriately stars among a true basket of deplorables that we also elected to congress. (Forcing through a healthcare bill that has only 17% approval? REALLY?) What we have here is not a government that can see to the needs of the nation but a reality show that keeps us all riveted to new and surprising plot twists every day!

Meanwhile, there's a reason why political satire has replaced the news: it is a more appropriate response to current events. In fact, the cool, detached neutrality that news assumes simply is not appropriate for dealing with what is happening to us. What satire accomplishes that is so wonderful is that it acknowledges part of the larger truth that is subtext. In a democracy, any anti-democratic news item is actually two items. But it can't be reported that way. Satire reports both truths at once. Of course in comedy you can make stuff up, but in satire that only works if the audience KNOWS you're making it up. It's not that satirists are biased; they are human beings, who tend to outrage at outrageous events! On the other hand "neutral" news comes across as inhuman by not being so, thereby coming across as strangely mechanical. If you are not outraged at what is happening to our democracy, you're either an authoritarian or don't understand the situation!

My solution: please, let's not drain the swamp. Instead let's give them an HBO special, starring Trump! "Tremendous!" Then elect––without the help of the corporations this time, (which only amplify our basest desires as a means of stealing both our money and our government) a new serious government that can represent the people and actually tackle real problems! Satirists should go with the reality show to remind us that yes, this is ridiculous behavior that we would never tolerate in public life. And journalists can return to reporting the real news, where their skills are still as valuable as ever. Wouldn't that be a great America!
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.