sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 24, 2011

Vacation Propaganda Review

We have wrapped up our summer travel season with trips to Sonoma County and Monterey.  Sonoma was supposed to be our anniversary wine tasting getaway, but our plans fell through when my parents, who were supposed to babysit, got sick.  They had some sort of a cold, which is nothing major for younger people.  Something to consider in deciding when to have children: older grandparents are less reliable.  So we ended up taking the kids with us, which made it a different trip altogether.

Although we mostly did tot things, we did manage to visit two wineries.  Both were touting themselves as kid-friendly, and one, Cline Cellars, was very nice.  We did a flight at a counter outside the main tasting building, and the little ones were playing maybe twelve feet away from us.  We had to watch out for bees flying around the flowers, and, of course, my two-year-old wanted to rip all sort of greenery.

Cline is known for zins, and we brought a bottle home.  They grow eucalyptus trees around their property, and the soil is infused with eucalyptus.  As a result the grapes have a very interesting minty taste.  The staff was very personable.  I give Cline a lot of points for not growing biodynamic wines.  Biodynamic viticulture is all the rage in Sonoma and Napa right now, and it’s advertized as one step above organic wines.  What’s one step above organic wines, you say?  Wicca.  Biodynamic viticulture involves some interesting practices, such as putting cow dung in cow horns and burying them in soil.  It’s not just Barack Obama that Northern California geniuses fall for.

The kids can check out the birds and the donkeys the vineyard has on it’s property.  They also have a model of California missions, but our children are too young for that.

The morning after our return from Sonoma we went on our yearly trip to Monterey where we meet up with my sister-in-law and her family.  We went to the aquarium, the main attraction there.  It was nice, but pricy.

The problem with aquariums is that they have walls.  Zoos are outdoors, so they house animals and have nice lawns.  American zoos have tot areas, with some sort of sculpture the little ones can clime.  It’s understood why they do it.  Aquariums, on the other hand, are located indoors, which means that many of them can’t merely house fish; they have to decorate the walls.  And so the jelly fish exhibit has a hologram of jellyfish swimming really fast.  Why?  Do the curators feel that the real thing is not interesting?  The seahorse exhibit has a seahorse video game.  Again, why?  Are kids today that uninterested in nature?  I kind of can’t stand this gimmickry!

All this available wall space is crying out for a display of propaganda, and so Monterey Aquarium has a show on global warming.  I snapped some pictures.

What a good propagandist needs is a good proletarian. Workers of the world unite.

The poster is based on the Bolshevik by Kustodiev, I believe:

The Bolshevik, 1920.

Kustodiev’s painting doesn’t quite have the easy glory of Nazi/Communist propaganda. The style is practically impressionist, and the expression on the Bolshevik’s face… well, he could well be Raskolnikov.

This muscular handsome worker/peasant has a French kind of look.

Lets call it Germinal.

No propaganda exhibit would be complete without an homage to Lili Brik.

The original was used to advertize books:

1924 poster by Rodchenko.

Lili Brik was wrong about a lot of things, but not about her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, who was one of the most important poets of the era.  And she was no shrinking lilly either.  She certainly deserves credit for canonizing Mayakovsky’s work, about whom she wrote to Stalin when he briefly fell out of favor.  Whoever did the global warming poster above is a tool.

Multiculturalism and global warming are birds of a feather — because white people are fond of both.

And no multiculturalist extyravaganza is complete without Islam.

Actually, the only two religions represented in the exhibit were Zen and Islam.  As for the Bridgeview Islamic Center, it has all sorts of terrorist connections, from terrorist fundraisers to glorification of terror to a member making it to the FBI most wanted terrorist list.  But, you know, throw a little bone to global warming and all is forgiven.  Actually, it’s not even that we forgive said mosque for terrorism because forgiveness implies working through the crime.  We are much worse, we simply ignore the crime and focus on the facade this organization built for us.  Go back to drinking your biodynamic wine.

Speaking of multiculturalism, does this seem a bit anti-Japanese?

I mean, with all those posters the only negative one is Japanese.  Or is it negated by the Zen poster?

Of course there is a call to fathers:

There are also posters directed to mothers and grandparents to “do something” about global warming.  I can’t get my outrage on because I kind of doubt anyone but the most brainwashed will take it seriously.  It’s just too ironic.  More irony:

Even a housewife can “do something”.  She’s still worried witless, of course, come on, she’s a housewife, but not about the climate.  That’s a relief!

The exhibit is several years old; it was around last year, so there is this hippy:

Inhabiting the cultural space between John Lennon and Barack Obama.

After passing through the poster gallery, visitors are asked to press a button that most closely corresponds with how they feel about global worming.  Evidently, 11% are unconcerned:

Maybe they need to recruit artists who have their own ideas.  Obviously inferior imitations of early Soviet art and little Roy Lichtenstein-like doodles suck.  On the other hand, if children weren’t bombarded with global warming propaganda so much, maybe they’d actually learn to love nature.


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