Posts


Tom & Don: Deep Fake

This was my view earlier this morning. I shot it through a window using an old camera from 2013. A Fujifilm x20. Digital cameras don’t age very well, but the x20 is still fairly capable and useful. There was a beautiful full moon when I took the shot, but the camera just couldn’t capture it the way I’d seen it. So, I took a close-up of the satellite that orbits our planet with a 400mm lens and then superimposed it on the above composition. Deepfake or ShallowFake?

If you’ve seen the deepfake videos of Tom Cruise and know a little about the real Tom Cruise, you might find it interesting that the people behind these eerily accurate videos chose him as their subject matter.

I mean, not only is Tom the actor most famous for his leading role in the Mission Impossible franchise, a series of films brimming with deep fake tech. But the man behind the mask is also a devoted follower of the Church of Scientology – which some would argue is a totally fake religion.
I’m now looking forward to seeing a deepfake video of Donald J Trump recanting all of his thousands of doubt-sowing statements and completely renouncing his tentative plans for running for president in 2024. That would be a really cool deepfake video.

The Donald Effect

Well, it’s finally time for the 2020 Presidential Election. Not that you hear much about it, but there’s are actually a lot of other elections going on today, too. The Senate could flip and the Dems might end up “owning” Congress. At least for a couple of years.

I spent a few hours walking along the beach earlier today. Instead of listening to a podcast or music, I just let all thoughts that flew into my mind flow freely there. The point was to just contemplate, not try to resolve anything. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently and I am finding the results interesting.

Today, being the “E Day”, I spent considerable time thinking about the two candidates and how unbelievable it is that there are millions of supporters that back a man so far removed from what I think is decent and presidential. A man so full of his own loud-mouth, bullying bullshit, it’s impossible to conceive that he’s ever anything but disingenuous. Talk about fake.

I’m not saying Biden doesn’t produce or represent a great deal of bullshit as well. He is, after all, a seasoned politician. But at least he’s not doing his best to instigate hatred, promote division and be a total dick like Trump is time and time again. I get that he likes to fire up his “Tumpsters” while simultaneously provoking the Democrates. But could he also just try to be a nice guy once in a while?

A surprised as I am that so many can cast their vote on the most blatantly insincere president in modern history, it still ain’t nothing compared to how strange it is to know that I have family members who are wholeheartedly supporting Trump.

How does one deal with that, I ask you? Aside from the fact that we are related, what could I possibly have in common with someone that truly believes in their heart of hearts that this vulgar and crude populist is worthy of their love and vote? What can possibly bridge our divide when so many fundamental human values are swept to the wayside? What do you talk about? The weather? No, cause that will certainly lead to a discussion about climate change. Travel? Nah, cause that too will lead to a discussion about how piss-poor the federal government has and continues to manage the pandemic, making it impossible to travel to the States. Politics? Uh, no. Health? Maybe. But that too would surely lead to a discussion about how shitty the American health care system is – and the cesspoolian orgy in which insurance companies, private hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and doctors participate frenziedly. No, I don’t think I have that much to talk to a Trump supporter about. *

Hopefully, this family conundrum might change once he’s actually out of office in a couple of months.

Am I worried that there might be a civil war? Nope. Most Americans are too old, too fat, and way too dependent on their entertainment addiction. The mighty few remaining activists, those that are really engaged, well, they’re just too few to initiate and fulfill the demands of a full-on civil war. Civil unrest? Yep. That’s for sure.

My biggest concern isn’t about Trump losing or the potential for wide-spread, civil unrest. Both of those things will likely occur within the next 72 hours.

During my walk today, I spent time pondering what the heck Donald is going to do between his concession speech and the time he has to pack his stuff, check out of the West Wing, leave town with his tail stuck between his legs and retreat to the Sunshine Orange State.

One really interesting theory I’ve heard is this: To avoid prosecution for crimes committed prior and during his presidency, Trump will strategically resign ahead of Biden’s inauguration, enthusiastically handing over the reins to the East German bad guy dude aka Mike Pence. This so that the new President (taken from Central Casting of Die Hard VI), can exonerate his ousted predecessor. We shall see…

The Donald Effect is part of my ongoing art series “Resurfacd”.

 


The Known and Unknown

From yesterday’s walk along the beach here in Vejbystrand. Cold, windy yet stunningly beautiful. So far, far away from the turmoil and chaos of many of the world’s great cities and many of my favorite destinations. Thankfully, neither Charlotte or I know of anybody that has caught the virus yet. I doubt that statistic will hold indefinitely. It’s kind of like with Trump supporters, you know they are out there, in droves, even. And one day, you might actually meet someone that has been infected with his venomous rhetoric. If and when that day arrives, I’m guessing it’s going to feel a lot like being in an episode of the original Twilight Zone.

I speak to a lot of Americans – wherever I am. I just can’t help myself. As soon as I hear an American accent (or, a Canadian), I’m in their face asking them where they come from, where they’ve been and where they are heading. Yet oddly, so far, I’ve not come across a real-life MAGA supporter in any of my travels. Not that I survey the political views of people I meet when abroad…but still.

I’m well aware that there are tens of millions of “normal” Americans among his base. Most seem to cherrypick the stuff that serves their personal narrative and agenda and just ignore much of what comes out of his chaotic, erratic and dysfunctional administration, and the endless flow of mostly degenerate, often racially charged, quips and tweets he heaves round the clock.

I doubt I’ll meet a Trump supporter in Vejbystrand. The locals here are way too sensible to bite into the pile of crap he’s trying to feed the rest of the world. No, to get someone that can coherently defend the blustering, self-congratulatory, master conman, I’d have to fly to the States. And that ain’t going to happen for quite a while. Hopefully, by the time it becomes doable, there’ll be a new president. An older dude, for sure. But at least one with the right stuff: decency, empathy, and intelligence.


Idiocy & Kleptocracy

Ok, here we go…my Tuesday rant…

You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon, a political science major at a community college or even a uniquely intelligent goldfish to grasp that Donald J. Trump is failing miserably and will prove to be the worst possible president a country, any country, could ever have during a crisis – any crisis.

Not only has he consistently politicized his more or less coherent virus briefings, some of which have been chock full of thoughts, ideas, and analysis that make the man seem as if he’s been snorting huge quantities of bleach, he is now also attempting to cleave the nation even further by openly deciding which states to provide financial aid to based on if they are red or blue. Really? The reoccurring question: is there really no limit to how much shit a 73-year-old can discharge?

From today’s New York Times:

Mayor Bill de Blasio accused President Trump on Tuesday of “stabbing his hometown in the back” by saying that states hit hard by the virus and run by Democrats should not count on what the president called “bailouts” from the federal government.

In an interview with The New York Post published Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump said that it would be “not fair to the Republicans” to give large infusions of aid to states with Democratic governors “that have been mismanaged over a long period of time.”

Like almost no other country in the world, the United States has been hit remarkably hard by the Covid-19 virus. And now, as the pandemic is spreading throughout the country, way beyond big cities and their urban sprawl, some predict that the worse is yet to come.

And while Trump & Co are trying ever so hard to deflect their gross negligence and cavernous ineptitude by blaming China as well as the Dems (clearly interchangeable enemies), the weight of the country’s fragmented, profit-driven health care industry is clearly showing an inability to provide necessary help to the tens of thousands of diseased patients – many of which are among the poorest of the poor. Which in itself is probably the main reason why so many have been so incontrovertibly devastated by the virus in the first place. I mean, it’s not like the healthcare was functioning before this all happened, or, that there wasn’t already an opioid epidemic, a mass-shootings epidemic – not to mention a poverty crisis which has largely been driven by racism – which in turn has only been made worse by the current bigot-in-chief.

It seems pretty clear to me that if a country like India has the ability to contain the virus more efficiently than a developed nation like the US of A, the world’s (former?) most powerful economy, there’s something fundamentally awry with the management team running said country.

Sure, we can all play along with the blame game and point fingers at China, Iran, or even North Korea until doomsday knocks on our doors. But it still doesn’t remove the fact that it was Mr. Trump calling the shots from the Oval from the getgo – and that he has proven time and time again to be too asinine to helm the country – even under “normal” circumstances.

Let’s get one thing straight. I think the United States of America is a great country. I mean that with 100% sincerity. The US has always been a fabulously interesting experiment with tremendous ambitions, incredible successes, and a plethora of unbelievable failures and ongoing shortcomings. The cultural multiplicity and geographical diversity are among many, many allures. But politically, at least on a federal level, the country is in really, really bad shape. Not just because the dude in the White House is a narcissistic kleptocrat, either. Much of those on either side of the aisle in Congress are so out of touch with reality, at least the reality that most Americans live within, so filthy rich and corrupted by their power addiction, they are clearly disinterested in creating any real change that will provide long-term, positive impact. Congess is too focused on reelections, pleasing lobbyist, and political mud fights. And I think millions of Americans are getting to the point where they’re just fed up with well-crafted rhetoric and the political tug o’war that leads absolutely nowhere.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if when fall nears and the election craze kicks into full gear, there will be social disruption like we’ve never ever seen before. And I’m actually a bit worried, cause I don’t think it would be beyond Trump to ignite a fire in order to stay in power – regardless of how it goes for him electorally. I’m predicting here and now that as we move closer to November, we’ll also see several political movements stemming from States that are seeking to sever ties with DC and secede the union. Why wouldn’t California or Texas want to become independent nation-states?

I don’t know exactly why, but somehow the Guggenheim in New York photographed October 2018, seemed like a fitting image to accompany today’s rant.