nothing but the truth

June 21, 2012

It just so happens that yesterday Mr. Brown and I get into it. We always do. Impassioned debates on art and politics and beauty and life. And there’s this new subject, nothing I can mention here, but it sparked something in me. Why? I asked.

And he had his reasons and the thing that kills me is his logic is circular. And it’s based on generalizations. And it smacks of the Fascism he claims to hate. Everyone else’s Fascism is wrong, but mine is The Way.

Now see, I own it when I got on my high horse and charge. I know that I am on some dilettantish diatribe. I know I believe my argument, til I change my mind. It’s always about finding my way in the dark.

And some people shine a beacon through the void, and Mr. Brown has always been one of those people to me—and he is not the only one. And I am reminded of this when I step into envoy enterprises to see Brian Kenny’s show, The Hole Truth, and I stumble upon this American flag.

It’s but the bones of a piece of fabric held together by seams and nothing else and it hits me real hard. Why do I love this flag so much? Why does desecration look so fabulous? Perhaps it is because the flag means so little to me. I’m not for or against it. I don’t really vibe on the design; it’s much too busy for my taste.

It’s strange how something could hold so little significance when, for others, it is filled with hate or love, and driven by blindness into a kind of madness that bespeaks my disgust for groupthink. Perhaps this is why I have always refused to form an opinion besides anything other than the aesthetic. Symbolic imagery works for me when it feels exclusive.

To me the flag is only fascinating when it has been manipulated, when someone interacts with it to make a point and tell their story. And Brian tells me he learned to sew for this show, and I look at his remade American flags and I am loving the raw feeling that they have. They feel as American as American can be. Because on one side of the coin is this Fascist ideology where dissent is shut down immediately and on the other side is dissent sharpening its teeth.

And I think perhaps there is nothing so American as dissent. As critical thought. As thinking for yourself. As seeing your identity as an American and questioning it. As taking the most patriotic symbol of all and saying, This is how it appears to me. Because I am America and so is he. And his America is just as valid and fascinating as my own.

Ain’t no right or wrong. There’s just conversation. And that’s what I dig. Discussion. Argument. Ideas. Passion. I dig passion most of all, because without it, we’d all be beige.

And may I just add, Brian has the most incredible collection of drawings done on shooting targets and they are so beautiful and powerful and fresh and exciting that I could look at them for hours. And what’s amazing is, this flag keeps killing me. It’s not so much that I want to look at it as it is giving off an incredibly powerful energy. And maybe it’s because I spoke with Mr. Brown earlier and these ideas are fresh in my head. America, where subversion is my Constitutional right.

And you know, just writing that sentence reminds me that I love this fuckin fucked up evil awesome country. Cause we took the First Amendment and made it global and made it viral and we gave the world the Internet in order to make freedom of speech a way of life.

Brian Kenny: The Hole Truth

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