Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Righteousness in the Hour of Stupidity
by Willis Gordon

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

It is very rarely the case that a malicious Eastern Wind comes to destroy everything you have harvested. That some unknown, outside force conspires to obliterate your ideology and disintegrate your core values. The forces that cause the most derision, division and destruction, are the ones closest to us. It is the people who believe they have the same goals as we do who tear our movements apart and cripple our progress.

These are not bad people. These are not evil people. But it is a good time to be stupid in America. Ignorance is in a renaissance. It is the perfect time for stupidity to hide in the near impenetrable forest of ignorance that is quickly overtaking the country. It is a great time to be misinformed. To have the wrong information and run with it as though it were undeniable gospel.

Now this is not another cry through the ether for a "return to common sense". This is not another lost soul praying to a dying god for the "good ole days" that were only really good for a few people, none of whom looked like me. This is an assessment of the present with eyes fixed warily upon the future. We stand at an impasse. We can either continue down the road into self parody and madness or we can start combating the crashing tidal wave of cultural nonsense in the most effective way... Dissemination of information and pure, unadulterated ridicule.

The specific issue I'm addressing is the overwhelming sense of false indignation a majority of the country is feeling at what seems to be any given time. This Tipper Gore like sense of righteousness or entitlement jus t because you find yourself offended. Offense does not procure you special rights. It is not fatal. You won't grow tits on your back, your feet won't fall off, and the troops won't lose the war. This country is built on a very fundamental freedom of speech, meaning any one opinion, popular or otherwise can be expressed freely by an individual and conversely, people have a right to bitch about said opinion.

With that being said, the latter is not more important than the former. They are of equal merit. 2013 seemed to be the year where most of us forgot that, clutched our collective pearls and gasped as mindless pop culture did exactly what it's been doing as long as it's been around. Here was a significant portion of the population acting like it was something new. Today it is cool to be uncool, essential to be an outsider, and absolutely necessary to never to anything ever that might rub anyone the wrong way... Unless of course you disagree with their fundamentals. Because in that case, You Go Girls are in order.

What pushed me over the edge like a wavering junkie tempted by another fix, was an incident in early January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "The Wrap's" Tim Molloy asked a very simple question which was met by an emotional and indignant explosion from the panel of Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow, and Jenni Konner. This is an abbreviated transcription.

Tim Molloy: I don't get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you particularly. I feel like I'm walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they're doing it. They're doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.
Lena Dunham: Yeah. It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that's your problem.
Judd Apatow: Do you have a girlfriend?
TM: Yeah.
JA: Does she like you?
TM: Sure.
JA: OK. Let's see how she likes you when you quote that with your question, and just write the whole question as you stated it.
TM: Well, tell me —
JA: Then tell me how it goes tonight.
TM: Tell me why it's wrong.
Jenni Konner: Maybe he's a misogynist.
JA: Let's move on to the next question.

Konner went on to say,

"I literally was spacing out because I'm in such a rage spiral about that guy that I literally could not hear. I'm so sorry. I really don't mean to disrespect you. I just was looking at him and going into this rage, this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea, it just makes me sort of sick, and so I apologize to everyone. I'm going to try to focus now, but if I space out, it will be because of that guy."

What happens when you don't know what to say? Like a spineless politician faced with a legitimate question, they feign rage and indignation and clutch onto a familiar platform for dear life instead of answering in an honest and genuine way. It seems they have forgotten. This. This is what it comes down to in the land of opportunity. It must've been 3am, and I'm enjoying the last corner of a bottle of Rye Whiskey, dragging the last of a fresh pack of cigarettes on a cold and restful night and my blood begins to boil. The incident itself wasn't even the most painful thing; it was the coverage of the incident as though the three tits jabbering away onstage were even close to the right side of that exchange. This pseudo-Feminist, loud-mouthed, empty headed buzzfeed bullshit is exactly what is destroying our dialogue as a nation. It's because the focus is directed at this sort of nonsensical tabloid trash that we can't come to a serious discussion about the issues facing women.

We concern ourselves with whether or not Miley Cyrus or Robin Thicke are bad for women and allow that to dominate the conversation as if a music video carries the sort of prevalence to stop the world from turning or cause tangible oppression for Women in America. Lily Allen's satire can burn the skin of some college sophomore who isn't sure whether are not its "racist" or "misogynistic" and therefore isn't sure whether or not they should be outraged...But they get outraged, just to be sure.

If we don't take control of language, if we don't take control of our dialogue, then the conversation on serious issues will continue to be poisoned. When Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and Lena Dunham are the people we are using to spearhead the issues of the day, I can say it's pretty safe to assume the bow is on fire and the ship is woefully off course.

Pussy Riot were arrested in Feb 2012. Their biggest news coverage and social media mention comes after they appear on the Colbert Report in Feb 2014... As much as I love Colbert, is this what it takes? We can spend an entire summer and deep into fall listening to Jezebel wheeze and scream about the Blurred Lines video, but scarcely a word is heard about the atrocities against women in New Delhi, or the fight to pass groundbreaking new laws protecting women in India. Maybe contraceptive policy in America? Hardly reported at all, but Paula Deen can be the talk of the town for month.

We live in a world of upwardly mobile sycophants and schemers, cowards and thieves. Incessant suck ups who praise Lena Dunham for showing her ass while blasting Taylor Swift for her lyrical content. Flailing impotently at indifferent gods, crying out "where in the world can a little girl or even a young woman find a role model in this world." If not at home, I have a suggestion. Instead of a fictional character like Katniss or Hermione (as brilliant as they were) perhaps she can look towards children's peace prize nominee Malala Yousafazi, a brilliant 16 year old Pakistani girl who not only survived a Taliban Assassination attempt, but continues to be a powerful voice for education around the world. Being a young Muslim Woman only adds to the gravity of her story. Keeping in the radical notion that not all female role models have to be white American pop singers or television personalities, Benazir Bhutto was a woman who was powerful, charismatic, a dynamic leader, and as a matter of fact, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, was the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim State. Though she had no shortage of controversy, she is without question a female pioneer who show you "it can be done". Or perhaps they could look to a prolific and fashionable Nigerian Activist and Author Margaret Epko for inspiration.

The absolutely urgent need of women's equal participation in our society is inarguable. In order to have any sort of thriving society, women need to not only have equal civil rights, but basic human rights. That may sound redundant in our western world, but it is not. This is a reality if you are a citizen of the world. If you don't let borders blind you to the plight of other people. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, remember?

Any society that wants to thrive and be successful in the modern world needs to do five things.

  1. Give Women Control over their reproductive cycles
  2. Allow Women equal civil and human rights and access to education
  3. Promote Education
  4. Spring for proper healthcare, for chrissake
  5. Push, Promote and Fund the Sciences. Advances in medical science, space programs, energy, anything you can get your hands on

That is how you pull a nation out of abject poverty and into the New World. This isn't some big secret either; it's what most countries that are thriving do... Most of them anyway.

In the UK and the US almost 50% of medical degrees and doctorate degrees are earned by women. Undergrad degrees in mathematics and the physical sciences are rapidly approaching those numbers. Let's have a discussion about getting those women paid the same as their colleagues and an equal chance at moving up. Let's try and push ourselves forwards and take control of the national conversation. Instead of making the cool thing to do whining and crying and pretending to be offended by simple questions or third-rate art or mindless pop culture. You are the result of 3.6 billion years of evolution and there is still work to be done. Act like it. Let's drop the act and do something while we still can...And oh, don't forget to have fun.

Willis Gordon

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