So, yesterday was a bit rambly and probably a lot off topic, eh?. Truth is, I had two other rambly posts along the same lines lined up ready to publish, but it’s probably not a good idea to publish them, in the way that sending a drunk text to an old boyfriend is not a good idea – too much emotion and very little perspective to whatever message is fired out. I’m still really pissed at The State of Everything (Me: I want to shout at the internet! My son: And what do you want to shout at the internet for today, specifically…?) And I still like a lot of what I wrote, but I’m also probably mostly just pissed off that a bully gets to lead such an economically powerful nation.

As a lot of indigenous and women of colour were pissed that it wasn’t until their own sense of security was threatened for their white sisters to get out and march. And then being yelled at for it. ( Women of color are being blamed for dividing the Women’s March, and it’s nothing new.)


I’ve been thinking about that a lot.


activist art

All art is political, but it’s not all activist. Words are important, and I think sometimes we shout at each other over large divides that would be smaller if we understood our words better. Like privilege and racism. Privilege is not just about wealth, though it includes wealth, and racism is not just about active hatred, though it includes active hatred. But I’m meandering off.


Shepard Fairey’s art is activist. If the style looks familiar to you, he created Barack’s “Hope” poster also. He made three posters for the Women’s March on Washington, depicting a Mexican, (Arab? Farsi?) Muslim, and African American woman respectively. (Note: it pisses me off how Native American’s are so rarely seen or heard even amongst those who should know better, and I say that as one who is very acutely aware that I live in a big fat and terribly fragile glasshouse.) I especially love the aesthetics and the message of this one, and if I had the money I would have an enormous print sent over and framed and hung in the middle of my living room. Dignity entails the whole spectrum of human rights, I think. Dignity is ultimately about respect, about anyone, about everyone, being treated in both word and deed as worthy of respect.

Still meandering off. I looked up Shepard’s website because I was interested in other work he may have done; I doubted his activism only popped up every Presidential election cycle. Indeed not, as His tagline (Manufacturing Quality Dissent Since 1989) would attest. I was interested in the OBEY sticker campaign (though Shepard? I don’t think phemonology means quite what you think it means…) and I was also interested in the idea of a project like that (Edited: notes below*). In Shepard’s words: Giant stickers are both embraced and rejected, the reason behind which, upon examination, reflects the psyche of the viewer.

Which, yes, is in a sense reflexivity 101; nevertheless. The concept of a deliberate art project provoking the psyche is something that in these dark political times I would very much like to (somehow) adopt and adapt to the PhD project.

resistanceThe trick is in that somehow. I am running so very very late and need to get *something* in for enrolment, for scholarships, even if that something is nothing resembling the PhD that will eventuate. Just reminding myself, my bewilderingly resistant and silent self.

I’ve said it before, and I just want to say it again. If I’m privileged with a voice, I really do feel that it’s incumbent on me to use that voice.

And this last sign is just for the nerdy lols. (Artist, Hayley Gilmore). God, but I do love nerdy lols.

*Some random notes and highly generic ideas:

  • A study of protest art itself, as it appears in homes and streets and the media. Meh, but… did you see some of those signs protesters at the inauguration, and at the Women’s March were carrying? There were the usual angry, pointed, slogans, but some of them were so clever and funny (apparently, one read: women are the wall and Trump will pay…). I spent all morning reading different signs all over the internet. And I know, these are all about an American President, and most of the faces are white. It’s problematic on a lot of levels. But protest itself is a worldwide contemporary and historic phenomena, and the internet makes a big fat democratic mess out of us all. (Sometimes I tweet at Mr Trump to feel better about it all. It does nothing more than this, I know it). And Trump himself is not politics as usual, in a bad way. He is reality TV  with the backing of cultural hegemony, a powerful economy, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Or, as Clementine Ford put it, Hellmouth cracked open. Anyway, some of the better ones :







And finally, let us not forget the pussy hats themselves…


  • A fake website. Bear with me. I don’t know how it could work. It probably can’t work. But something ambiguous like the OBEY sticker campaign that is vague and in the vagueness reflects the individual’s own beliefs back to them. It’s too amorphous, I know, but in the era of post-truth and fake news and hacking and photoshop, there is something intriguing to me to use what is fake to gain access to what is true, or honest, or real. A kind of performance art, with academic exegesis.
  • I haven’t given up on portraits, it’s just that I want to go bigger (geographically and thematically) than what was feeling like a pretty ordinary thesis idea. It’s a rare thing, the opportunity to pursue one self-determined project for a whole three years and I don’t have much expectation of a career to come out of it (I’m old and itchy and who would want me?), which is to say, there is little for me to lose. Frankly, I don’t care what anyone thinks of what I’m doing, or have done academically. I know I’m good at it, that box has been ticked, and that one tick will do me just fine. So, if anyone has the opportunity to do something subversive and fun, without the weight of unimaginative supervisors to convince, or concern for how their work will be evaluated, it’s me. And so, why not?
  • Going with the whole fake theme, making some fake protest signs like the above. Things that protest stuff that’s not real or using images that aren’t real. It kind of ties into #2 somehow. I don’t know how, and I’m not making sense, even to myself. They’re just notes, cut me some slack.
  • None of these have much to do with health psychology. I think that because I am still trying to get through the vasculitis and the neuritis (it’s been two months for the former and 10 months for the latter, if you are asking), and I am also visiting a hundred new specialists (exaggeration) for a different daughter with different health problems, I am not sure I can focus my creative and critical thinking on the theoretical and lived experiences of other people’s health as well. I need some levity, or if not levity, then something different. Something motivated by something else other than empathy for physical pain, because I’m running low. Perhaps it is just temporary, but right now the idea just makes me feel tired. I’m a terrible person.
  • It would be kind of fun to make-up a whole doctorate, as the ultimate subversion, but I think that’s called fraud. Still. Lol.
  • These are mostly dumb ideas that aren’t useful to build anything on. I know it. But there’s something here. Protest art, material objects, subversion, portraits, resistance, minority voices, using the fake to access the psychologically true, stories and storytelling … there’s something here.
  • Damn that none of this really occurred to me months ago though and unfortunately I don’t have access to the University library at the moment to quickly throw together a more cogent proposal with actual real live details.
  • So, you know what really gets me double pissed off about the Great Orange Leader of the Free Twitterverse? Aside from the obvious. It’s the evangelicals. The majority of the US faithful voted for the man, the man who cruelly mocks and denigrades the poor, the meek, all the people Jesus spent his short career defending. I grew up with those guys, have been those guys, sent my kids to school with those guys, have beloved family members who still are those guys.  I’ve always defended their more idiotic idiosyncratic beliefs with the idea that they are, at heart, good people. And they are, most of them, though there’s a fair share of arseholes too. Like anywhere. But being good people is not excuse enough for voting such a cruel bully into powerful office. Or any office. I’ll stop here, or we could be at this a while, and not to mention the hidden (and open) misogyny that seemed to pervade debates on Hillary’s fitness to lead. In short, I’m angry, ropeable, damned furious, and also 1 John 4: 20.

portraits of seagulls*


This is Gary and Gary is quite certain that he is a very pretty seagull. One can’t really argue with the boy.


His friend Rona, on the other hand, will eat you in your sleep.


She’s training a mercenary army for the day when glory shall once more be hers, but so far they seem more interested in playing “balance on your bestie’s head” than practicing the lethal art of Muay Thai.


Though the marching drill went better in general, even if Gary did insist on singing the Hokey Pokey all the way through …


…which somehow devolved into hours of everyone playing “I am a tree”.


Rona was furious,


but Rona is patient.


Because when that great day of her rule as eternal overlord comes, she will be ready.

*I’m practising, it’s important.

safety first


Too much planning implies you’ve got it all under control. That’s boring, unrealistic, and dangerous. – Twlya Tharp.

Well, phew.

Because I’m not even sure I can tell my right from my left at this point. I’ve been looking at the things I need to get done this year, the things I want to get done this year, the obligations I have, and commitments I’ve made, the level of panic and overwhelm I have already, and it’s clear I’m going to have to drop some of the things I do so that I can focus enough time and energy on the other things I do.

But which things? There’s the rub. Will get back to you on that one. Perhaps too much planning is boring, unrealistic, and dangerous, as Twyla says, but a little may be a good idea. Also a good idea, hand-painted directions. Just in case.

I also decided that a new phase of my research needed a new header, and though it’s someone else’s (copyright free) photo, it was too perfect not to use. If I ever go mountain climbing with a camera and catch a flock of birds twirling through the snowy light, I’ll be sure to use that picture instead…

…it’s funny because it’ll never be true.

2017. Right. Here we go.