Posted tagged ‘celebrities’

Helsinki Moment

July 19, 2018

A few days ago, one of my friends brought me a small gift – a bumper sticker that she thought I would like, knowing my political compass. On a white, frugally used space you can see two rhyming words in dark caps – DUMP TRUMP. No exclamation point, just a straight message. I loved it and immediately thought that it should be distributed around. “Perhaps we should reproduce it in large numbers and pass them out in supermarkets and other public places?”

Later that evening I thought about that sticker again. “OK, it is cute, it is clever, and it feels good to have it, but in the reality of today’s political situation in our country, how could Trump be dumped?!  Impeachment comes to mind, but… it’s a very lengthy, complicated process and with today’s Republicans infected by the Trumpism disease and their self-interest… forget it!

I recall numerous slogans, propaganda statements, and political posters from the time of my growing up in post-war Poland controlled by Soviet style Communist apparatchiks. I developed a strong dislike of propaganda that stayed with me till today. After years of living in this country, I learned to accept the fact that propaganda is alive here as well, but it’s called “political advertising.” However, I like bumper stickers, and when I am touched by one, I put it on my car or on my studio’s wall like this one: DUMP TRUMP.

Like many, I have been very frustrated, stressed, and politically angry from the day Trump got elected and became the 45th President of this country! Trump’s domination by creating chaos and entering our lives every day with his bombastic personality, lies and endless tweets made me sick and evoked a form of political lethargy. This is similar to the response by many of us living in Tucson to its powerful sun generating almost unbearable heat in summer – it evokes physical lethargy with a desire to sleep and wait for cooler days. And they do come – with the monsoon’s rains! The lethargy disappears and new energy emerges! But that is the work of Nature. Political lethargy is much more complicated to deal with because is it caused by man-made politics and, in this particular case, Trump-made confusing politics. The cure has to come from us – society.

Then came the 16th of July 2018 which we Americans and the entire world will remember for a long time – the Helsinki Summit of Trump and Putin.

Helsinki Moment

In truth it was not a Summit, but a two and a half hour private chat of the two most powerful leaders of the world: President Trump and President Putin! Such a private chat should take place in a bar and focus on their wives, lovers, children, pets, or favorite sports, but NOT on matters concerning world politics! Such private chats are fine for us, the ordinary people. However, private chats of Trump and Putin are a totally different matter because they have great consequences.

You can imagine that I watched that Helsinki press conference glued to our TV – making notes, taking photos and recording words of Trump and Putin. Like many I was out-raged.

I will not repeat the epithets or statements the press and some political figures addressed towards Trump at that time. Those opinions are flying like small and large birds on the world’s political sky. However, I will share the one text I immediately sent to a close friend, “Trump’s ‘performance’ was a great embarrassment to this country!”

Let’s face it; Putin definitely won that “match”! With his characteristic calm confidence he presented Trump with a soccer ball from the World Cup, which Trump quickly tossed to Melania as a gift for their son Baron.

Tossing ball

World politics is not like a soccer game, a business deal, or a TV entertainment show – it is more like a very sophisticated chess game! In such a game Putin is a much better player than Trump, who most likely couldn’t beat Putin in a game of checkers!

I have been living here long enough to notice that this society does not like losers – the focus is always on the winner. So why not to DUMP TRUMP?!

Helsinki’s 16th July event will not be forgotten. It was proclaimed by many journalists, diplomats, and politicians as one of the darkest moments in American history.

The Helsinki sky on that memorable night did not get dark. There was a penetrating, gentle light diluting the sky’s darkness. One who does not live there might be surprise by that. But that is Finland – light is always present on summer nights! It might be hard to sleep on such nights, and that specific night was sleepless for many, especially journalists like Anderson Cooper and others.

Helsinki Moment 2

Poetically and politically speaking, I see that gentle light as a symbol of an awakening. Perhaps that Helsinki event will be an awaking moment for our society to see this divisive President in a new light. Perhaps we will unite and decide to DUMP TRUMP.


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Text and photos copyright © 2018 by Alicja Mann,

Violent Imagery Shapes Our Reality

January 26, 2011

Deadly wounds are healing slowly in Tucson. More than two weeks have passed already since Black Saturday (as one of my friends called the 8th of January) and most conversations and local news are still wrapped like tangled ribbons around that tragic event. People’s responses are amazing and in overwhelming numbers as always when great tragedy is encountered. The evidence of it is visible in front of the University Medical Center where the injured were treated — masses of flowers, notes, candles, photographs, and stuffed animals left for our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the shooting.

Memorial to Gabielle Giffords

The word “love” is visible and has surfaced very strongly in response to that tragic event.

Yes, Tucson is healing indeed, but an important quest now should follow. How do we prevent such tragedies in the future?

Almost everybody agrees that we have to be more civil in our political debates. I am also sure that there will be a lot of discussions concerning the gun control issue. I already received a letter/petition from Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts gently addressing the very issue of gun control in this country. “Look,” the letter says, “this isn’t about taking guns away from anyone who wants to buy them legally. It’s simply a plan to fix the system we have so that it respects the rights of stable, law abiding citizens but keeps guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”

Such debates likely will take place in other states, but I doubt they will in Arizona. Here in Arizona too many believe that possession of guns is the basic right of a citizen and that it represents one of our fundamental freedoms.

“Guns do not kill, people do,” I hear, and there is some truth to it. Of course, there are exceptions, like the recent accident at one of LA’s schools where a gun fired unexpectedly in a student’s backpack and wounded a couple of other students. The presence of guns in schools is an absurdity, but it is today’s reality.

Why is there so much violence in our country?

Michael Moore in his movie Bowling for Columbine addressed that question several years ago. He spent a lot of time wandering from place to place in search of an answer. Then to his surprise (and ours) he found that our Canadian neighbors, like Americans, own a lot of guns, yet they don’t shoot each other nearly as often or as violently as we do. So what is the problem? It is clear to me that the answer is attitude — the attitude of righteousness, arrogance, and intolerance mixed with a desire to solve any problem by using power.

Such an attitude is nurtured slowly in the average American from an early age by constant exposure to an immense variety of violent imagery — starting from the war toys and electronic games to violent images pouring from our TV and movie screens.

"The American" DVD cover with George Clooney "Salt" DVD cover with Angelina Jolie

Let’s look for instance at the very popular movie Salt starring Angelina Jolie. The plot is very naïve, outdated, and hard to follow. The speed of the action is so high and intense and predictable that it might as well be no action at all. There is no question that watching Angelina Jolie full of amazing energy is the major attraction. Her skill in beating, kicking, jumping, and shooting is astonishing and the ridiculous ending of the movie strongly suggests that some day we might have Salt II to entertain us more.

A beautiful woman better trained and fit than any man, superior, and unbeatable. How very sexy! Yes, she is very sexy with or without guns, but being angry and running with a gun seems to be the new image of an exciting, sexy woman.

Just watch out (soon) for new and dangerous gangs of angry, ticked off “girls” on your street. Aren’t we — women — finally equal? Sure! How exciting!

Violence is glorified in this society; celebrities are almost worshipped or at least strongly occupy the minds of many. In the age of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter everyone seems to want to have a piece of fame! A desire to be noticed, to be followed, to be more popular than others, to become a star even for a short moment.

Impressionable people (including “unstable minds”) want to have a piece of fame, too, without much work. Doing something outrageous and very noticeable seems to be an easy way. A political attack can fulfill that desire even more effectively.

We need to address the issue of glorifying violence sooner rather than later — before we find ourselves again in another “time for healing.”

Our society has changed its attitude towards many important issues, like the environment, smoking and eating habits. If we can change those, we can change our attitude towards violence, too.

Don’t you agree?

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Copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

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