Responding to injustice and other topics with art — a better way of responding than protesting? I would argue that it is. People who see art exhibits on specific topics, even violence, are able to react more slowly, to think more deeply, to ponder meanings, without the gut reaction to a protest (often a negative reaction or at least a tense one) that usually occurs. There is also a more thoughtful call for understanding and empathy for the victims of violence in an art exhibit than in a protest.


Smack Mellon’s RESPOND and the New Imaginary
by Joel Kuennen

There is no better point in time to enact change than during a cultural rupture. Popular culture—the expressions that bind a collective group—is a smooth stream of images and ideologies that flows at an overwhelming and indomitable rate. This is part of the mandate of contemporary culture: to express with as many images and words as experienced time will allow.

Smack Mellon, a New York venue in DUMBO that supports emerging and underrepresented artists put its exhibition schedule on hold this month to present RESPOND, an exhibition in reaction to the nonindictment of Daniel Pantaleo, the Staten Island police officer who murdered Eric Garner. Opening night saw lines around the block and a packed gallery for the salon-like exhibition. Artists from around the world responded to the open call the gallery put out on the heels of Pantaleo’s nonindictment and the exhibition is at once sobering and jubilant. It exhibits, with force, an imaginary that confronts head-on a unidirectional, racist regime of popular images. . . . .

Most works in the exhibition directly addressed the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin. In the annex of Smack Mellon, a more intimate installation housed some of the most enduring artworks. One of the most powerful was a painted transcription of Eric Garner’s last words by Atikur Abdul.


Read more about this exhibit here.


Out of this World Artist

Anti-war artist Mary Perry Stone (1909-2007) has been submitted to Carnegie Science and NASA’s project to name major craters on Mercury.

Below is a short biography on Mary Perry Stone from the Oregon Encyclopedia.


Over the course of her ninety-eight years, artist Mary Perry Stone tirelessly combated war and injustice. Her weapons were the stroke of a paintbrush and the artful collision of color, creating art she hoped would “transcend [society’s idea of] the pretty to hit the soul.” In her long career, she produced sculptures, paintings, and over fifty murals.

It was in Oregon that she gained the inspiration to produce a large majority of her murals. In fact, while living in scenic Ashland, Stone produced such an abundant amount of artwork that she literally painted her way out of her bedroom and was confined to sleeping on the couch. Her daughter fondly reflects that her own husband is “the only man who has single handedly moved an entire art gallery.”

Born in 1909, Mary Perry grew up in Rhode Island. At the age of fifteen, she enrolled in the Art Students League of New York City. She then finished high school in Rhode Island and returned to New York to attend the Traphagen School of Fashion and Design. Graduating at the beginning of the Great Depression, she was first trained as a sculptor and quickly evolved into a versatile painter, well versed in a variety of mediums. She later taught in New York’s Harlem and East Side amid producing a sizable body of work.

Stone believed that as an artist it was her obligation to create art that “says something about the world.” She did so by showcasing the horrors brought on by war and prejudice, taking a stand that demands social change. Her work was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, New York University, and Rockefeller Center, and she was one of forty women sculptors on the New York City Federal Arts Project in 1937. After the eruption of World War II, the Federal Arts Project was discontinued, and many works of art were lost. Rumor has it that the missing works were pitched into New York’s Eastside River. Tragically, none of Stone’s WPA works remain.

Following a 1946 marriage to Ed Stone, the couple had a daughter, Ramie, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1953. There she continued producing and showing her artwork and maintained her own galleries in San Rafael and Mill Valley, where artists could show for free. Her work was shown at Telegraph Hill, the Artists Cooperative, and the Oakland Museum, and she held a solo show at Dominican College in San Rafael.

In 1992, in pursuit of a more family-friendly environment, Stone moved to Ashland with her daughter. She remained active as an anti-war artist, and a retrospective of her work, History on the Wall: 60 Years of Protest in 2000, was exhibited at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center in Medford. In Oregon, her work also appeared in the Grants Pass Museum, Jega Gallery, the ArtSpace Gallery in Bay City, and the Southern Oregon University Thorndike Gallery.

Stone died in 2007, leaving her legacy in bursts of color and art that demands a peaceful call to action. Her papers are at the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Sonoma State University.

Mary Perry Stone was submitted to the Crater project by Universal Concepts Art. We will publish the news here if she gets her crater. If you know of another prominent artist or author or painter, etc., who should be honored with a crater, see this website to submit your choice,

You can see many of Stone’s works here.  (Stone’s new gallery on this site is here.)


Men and War


There is a lot of speculation as to just what exactly makes men wage war. There are a lot of theories and of course there is no one single answer.

We do know that modern warfare is initiated by organized groups of men, usually for political, religious or economic reasons, or a combination of those reasons and other more childish reasons such as retribution/vengence. The common  ingredient is that it is men who begin these wars and women and children suffer the most.  A recent opinion piece from al Jazeera refers to the recent Israel slaughter of Gaza civilians as a basis to explore the subject.

On men and war

Misogyny and racism run parallel to Israel’s militarism.
An excerpt: “Similar misogyny and racism was also expressed on social media with Gaza portrayed as an erotic woman to be violated.

This projection of male domination into collective violence and hatred through terrible physical abuse is widespread in the United States and Israel. In the latter, 61 percent believe that forced sex on an acquaintance is permissible. Indeed, Chris Hedges, in his two recent contributions: War is a Force That Gives us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, attempts to understand why support for war is so pervasive and how for men, war and pornography are intertwined. In both cases, violence or abuse is endemic.

Porn has always primarily involved the eroticisation of unlimited male power, but today it also involves the expression of male power through the physical abuse, even torture, of women. Porn reflects the endemic cruelty of our society. This is a society that does not blink when the industrial slaughter unleashed by the United States and its allies kills hundreds of civilians in Gaza or hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan.” …

Read the entire article here, which starts out with a scathing comment on entertainer/comedian Bill Maher.

His article indicates that there may also be a strong relationship between sex and violence as seen in modern porn.

Does an acceptance of modern porn, which contains a lot of violent behavior (esp. toward women), mean people are being desensitized to violence?

Bolivia Labels Israel as Terrorist

Israel-MapwithskullMedSouth American leaders have cut  ties with Israel over the slaughter of civilians in Gaza. Evo Morales has gone a bit further than other world leaders.

Bolivia’s president has declared Israel a “terrorist state”.

“The South American country [Bolivia] hasn’t had diplomatic ties with Israel since 2009, and announced Wednesday that Israeli citizens would need to obtain permission before crossing its borders.

Anyone who has done any backpacking knows that young Israelis are avid travelers. It’s traditional to take an extended tour of the globe when done with mandatory military service.

It’s doubtful that a visa requirement from one South American country will prompt Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cease his war in Gaza, but perhaps it speaks to Israel’s waning popularity on the world stage. According to The Associated Press, “Other South American countries, including Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, have recalled their ambassadors from Israel in protest over the fighting in Gaza.

In the absence of more traditional diplomacy, it may be that Israel’s youth, crossing the globe, will bring back some insight into the international repercussions of the occupation.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

How many decades has it actually been since Israel was “popular”?  They have been killing innocent people in Palestinian land for years.

Original story.

Women Against Violence


At least some Israeli people are against the horrific violence their government is unleashing on innocent people in Gaza, and they are women. Below is the statement released today by the IDF military reserve women who have decided that killing innocent people is not the way to resolve problems in a civilized world.

We are Israeli reservists. We refuse to serve.

“Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves — which are made up of ex-soldiers — there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war. Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are refusing to take part.

We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation. But most of the signers below are women and would not have fought in combat. For us, the army is flawed for reasons far broader than “Operation Protective Edge,” or even the occupation. We rue the militarization of Israel and the army’s discriminatory policies. One example is the way women are often relegated to low-ranking secretarial positions. Another is the screening system that discriminates against Mizrachi (Jews whose families originate in Arab countries) by keeping them from being fairly represented inside the army’s most prestigious units. In Israeli society, one’s unit and position determines much of one’s professional path in the civilian afterlife.

To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

This petition, long in the making, has a special urgency because of the brutal military operation now taking place in our name. And although combat soldiers are generally the ones prosecuting today’s war, their work would not be possible without the many administrative roles in which most of us served. So if there is a reason to oppose combat operations in Gaza, there is also a reason to oppose the Israeli military apparatus as a whole. That is the message of this petition:

We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.

Many soldiers who serve in non-combat roles decline to resist because they believe their actions, often routine and banal, are remote from the violent results elsewhere. And actions that aren’t banal — for example, decisions about the life or death of Palestinians made in offices many kilometers away from the West Bank — are classified, and so it’s difficult to have a public debate about them. Unfortunately, we did not always refuse to perform the tasks we were charged with, and in that way we, too, contributed to the violent actions of the military.

During our time in the army, we witnessed (or participated in) the military’s discriminatory behavior: the structural discrimination against women, which begins with the initial screening and assignment of roles; the sexual harassment that was a daily reality for some of us; the immigration absorption centers that depend on uniformed military assistance. Some of us also saw firsthand how the bureaucracy deliberately funnels technical students into technical positions, without giving them the opportunity to serve in other roles. We were placed into training courses among people who looked and sounded like us, rather than the mixing and socializing that the army claims to do.

The military tries to present itself as an institution that enables social mobility — a stepping-stone into Israeli society. In reality, it perpetuates segregation. We believe it is not accidental that those who come from middle- and high- income families land in elite intelligence units, and from there often go to work for high-paying technology companies. We think it is not accidental that when soldiers from a firearm maintenance or quartermaster unit desert or leave the military, often driven by the need to financially support their families, they are called “draft-dodgers.” The military enshrines an image of the “good Israeli,” who in reality derives his power by subjugating others. The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrachi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.

We all participated, on one level or another, in this ideology and took part in the game of “the good Israeli” that serves the military loyally. Mostly our service did advance our positions in universities and the labor market. We made connections and benefited from the warm embrace of the Israeli consensus. But for the above reasons, these benefits were not worth the costs.

By law, some of us are still registered as part of the reserved forces (others have managed to win exemptions or have been granted them upon their release), and the military keeps our names and personal information, as well as the legal option to order us to “service.” But we will not participate — in any way.

There are many reasons people refuse to serve in the Israeli Army. Even we have differences in background and motivation about why we’ve written this letter. Nevertheless, against attacks on those who resist conscription, we support the resisters: the high school students who wrote a refusal declaration letter, the Ultra orthodox protesting the new conscription law, the Druze refusers, and all those whose conscience, personal situation, or economic well-being do not allow them to serve. Under the guise of a conversation about equality, these people are forced to pay the price. No more.

Yael Even Or. . . . “

. . . and many more signatures.

To see the other signatories to this manifesto/petition, see the story here.


Israel’s Gaza Killing Spree

Every israeli bomb murders Gaza civilians

Every israeli bomb murders Gaza civilians

Remember when the Israeli excuse for murdering scores of Palestinian citizens was retaliation for the 3 kidnapped teenagers that were found dead several weeks ago?   Yesterday, Israel air strikes murdered four small boys on a beach in Gaza.  Today the ground invasion to “close the tunnels” with bombs started.

Netanyahu’s excuses for the ongoing killing has already changed several times. At one point the excuse for Israel’s killing spree was to strike “military” targets or “terror targets”.

Then it was because Hamas, an elected group,  reportedly didn’t agree with their so-called cease fire proposal. Then it was to eradicate Hamas, then it was to close the tunnels. The tunnels only exist because Gaza is under siege by Israel and Israel has closed their borders, including the border with the ocean.  (Hamas does not live in the tunnels. The tunnels bring medical supplies, food and other necessities of life into Gaza.)

Everyone wants a cease fire to the violence, but make no mistake, Israel began this particular “war” as they always do, and they expect Hamas and Gaza citizens to sit back and take it and not fight back? This is a false expectation. The false choice just the other day was an amazing one by the Netanyahu government:  Because Hamas did not honor the ceasefire that Hamas never agreed to, Israel had no choice but to hit Gaza even harder.

Even in a crazy world, that is particularly insane “reasoning”.  Israel gave Hamas a six hour ultimatum and then resumed killing Gaza citizens at random, willfully killing civilians, when Hamas didn’t respond to Netanyahu’s demands. It’s well past time for the United States and its people to stop supporting the Israeli government in all matters of war and militarism.  Stop giving them money, stop making excuses for their murders of Palestinian people. It’s time to boycott and divest.

And see this story for the horrifying manner in which Israel is getting away with murder — supposedly, in a legal manner, but a method called a “roof knock”.  A roof knock is a non-explosive that goes through the roof of a civilian house to warn them to leave immediately, and if they don’t get out, they are killed.  Israel believes this warning method is a legal way around murder. Imagine if your neighbors did this to you: knocked on your door, telling you to evacuate and if you don’t immediately evacuate, then the hail of gunfire you die in is your own fault.

It’s amazing that any American with a conscience could defend any of this.



Why are Americans so Obsessed with Guns?

A: The NRA Culture, a culture of machismo, and the politics of the GOP and the Tea Party. But it has recently been brought to my attention that a bunch of white women are also doing the gun-obsessions-open-carry thing.  *Note these are all white women. (If a brown or black women openly carried a weapon anywhere in the United States, I doubt she’d remain out of jail for long. All of these roving packs of gun-toters are white or appear white, come to think of it.)

Why do they do it?

“Low self esteem and feelings of inadequacy. [let me add – deep cowardice]

A gun in the hand gives the bearer an inflated sense of self esteem and power and they can’t live without it. It’s a drug to them which is why they get so uptight when questioned or challenged about their addiction.

… and before someone else brings it up the constitution gives the right to bear arms. Nowhere does it say gun, aassault rifle or 20,000 rounds of armour piercing ammunition. Carrying a stick is bearing arms!”

Continue reading

Why Are Men So Violent? | Psychology Today

It will not have gone unnoticed that men are more violent than women. Men perpetrate about 90 percent of the world’s homicides and start all of the wars. But why? A recent article in a prominent science journal contends that evolution has shaped men to be warriors. More specifically, the authors claim that men are biologically programmed to form coalitions that aggress against neighbors, and they do so in order to get women, either through force or by procuring resources that would make them more desirable. The male warrior hypothesis is alluring because it makes sense of male violence, but it is based on a dubious interpretation of the science. In my new book, I point out that such evolutionary explanations of behavior are often worse than competing historical explanations. The same is true in this case. There are simpler historical explanations of male violence, and understanding these is important for coping with the problem.

via Why Are Men So Violent? | Psychology Today.

MSNBC Guest Says We Should Profile ‘White Men’ as School Shooters | Video |

MSNBC Guest Says We Should Profile ‘White Men’ as School Shooters | Video |

Mass Shooters Usually Men

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current, joins Thom Hartmann. Since the shooting massacre in Connecticut – debates have heated up across the country on gun control – mental health services and the level of violence in our culture in general. But – as those debates are going on – one very important characteristic of mass murders in this country is being overlooked. In 31 of the school shootings that have taken place since 1999 – the shooters were all men.

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