Monday, March 4, 2024

Stupid things, Skools, Bodies of Water, Covid Apps, Communists…and the First Amendment

“Blessed are the forgetful; for they get over their stupidities, too.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

No, this is not the time to go to law school. I’m aware that artists are losing their jobs and income, and some are currently experiencing an existential ponder that usually ends with wanting to “change the world, fight the system,” or get a new career. Good luck. Aside from enjoying the Socratic method via Zoom—tantamount to painting with an I-Pad—I’m not sure now’s the time to go on an existential cruise for $175K. What will the world be like in 3 years, when you’ll be graduating with debt, an uncertain job market, Biden or Trump as president, and wondering if it was all worthwhile. The art industry certainly will have changed, and most likely much, much leaner and meaner. But, if you’re thinking of practicing in areas such as employment, insurance, mergers or patents, for example, this just might be the time. And, you’ll be able to do so in the comfort of your pajamas. Pretty good!

On the subject of What Your Kids Learn In College, hundreds of communist “academics” threaten to not bless the universe with Marxist musings if their demands are not met. According to one soon-to-be-unemployed PhD grad, Covid was “the straw that broke the back of higher education in this country.” Apparently CUNY Grad Center is still issuing PhD degrees to writers who use well-worn metaphors.

Speaking of “doing stupid things,” with the recent lifting of stay-at-home orders, how many of you are ready to go out and waste your day away? I for one am not rushing out for burgers, beers, art or the beach anytime soon. But how about an outing in New Mexico?

With much of the country under stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, what do these orders mean for the six freedoms of the First Amendment? (First of all, how many of you can actually list the 6 freedoms of the First Amendment?) Can government force us to download a “Contact” app that warns others if you happen to be infected with Covid-19. Constitutional law expert and law professor Josh Blackman breaks it down on this podcast. Blackman uses the classic example that one may protest and do as they wish, similar to swinging your fist left and right, up until the point that you intend to or actually hit another person. Similarly, the issue during Covid is not as simple as “being ready and willing to work” or claiming that government is restricting one’s ability to operate and profit from their business (i.e.- economic engine). The issue is when does that “willingness to work” and “business activity” actually harm or have the potential to harm or kill another person. Incidentally, I find it curious that many of the same people that, before Covid (BC), complained that working was pure Capitalist exploitation now complain that they’re being kept from working, i.e.- being exploited by Capitalists. Interesting times indeed.

How many of you would download a Covid-App that would track who’s infected and your proximity to it? Reason magazine quips that “It probably won’t be long before police use the logs to answer questions like ‘Who was within Bluetooth range of the bank teller during the robbery?’” How would this app impact race and ethnicity? If it’s true that Covid tends to impact more brown and black people, it’s going to seem a bit “odd” when, if Covid infected, people start moving away from black and brown bodies in galleries and art museums. Or not.

Please enjoy this interesting photo from my good friend, artist, and fellow bandmate, Melinda Shades. Taken somewhere in Central Texas.

Speaking of erasure, Georgia’s Mercer University recently destroyed a Black History mural. What does this mean? Lawyers and moral rights. Apparently, the mural depicted “Rosa Parks, black Civil War soldiers, 19th-century doctor Martin Delaney and Sam Oni, Mercer’s first black student.” The school refuses to comment. Axl was right, nothing lasts forever.

On the subject of personhood (or not), I promised I would point you to an answer as to how a body of water obtains personhood. Here it is. If you’re into dense, rigorous and worthwhile reading, here’s a great law review essay on property and personhood, by the formidable Janet Radin. On how corporations obtained personhood, here’s another phenomenal read I highly recommend, We the Corporations, by UCLA law prof, Adam Winkler.

How many of you are watching, or re-watching, The Walking Dead, and finding eerie similarities with our current condition? Do you also wonder where in the heck do they get toilet paper for so many people?

If you’re still thinking of donating a few bucks to an organization or venue in need, check out 2020Solidarity’s poster project. 2020Solidarity is a Between Bridges project aimed at helping cultural and music venues, community projects, independent spaces and publications that are existentially threatened by the current crisis. Over forty international artists come together to design one poster each, which can be offered on different crowdfunding sites as a reward for donations.

I leave you with Eddie Van Halen’s eruption. Cheers!

‘til next week,
-Sergio Munoz Sarmiento


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