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San Francisco 2008 Gay Pride Parade.

Under here.

August 31, 2008

This State Of?
Sunday. I left the bedroom window and the sliding balcony door open wide last night and awoke this morning with a nice brisk bite to the air, getting dressed quickly and heading for breakfast with the Sunday paper. Back now feeling much better, the night's sleep excellent, no question about it, having had two flasks of sake as I watched my one remaining Japanese soap of interest last night, Princess Atsu recovering from the death of her husband and preparing to do battle with the entirely male power structure of the Shogunate. Feminism in 19th Century Japan? Well, when you make it into a fifty chapter television series in the twenty-first century I would think you would, what with the condition of women in modern Japan at the moment.

The condition of women in modern Japan?

Young women are evidently looking at what it means to be a married woman in a culture where they now must have both a nine to five job in addition to taking on the entire responsibility for the household and children and saying “fuck this”. The birth rate has dropped to the point there aren't going to be any Japanese left. Well, an exaggeration, of course, but that pretty much says it.

I'll take another crack at Art & Soul today, yesterday being something of a bust. Yes, I got out the door, headed downtown, got there too early, I would think, and wandered around with camera and a 70-200 lens (much too big and bulky for my condition), so today I'll bring something light and frothy like the 18 - 200 that fits nicely on the D2Xs and shoot pictures as I find them. Art & Soul, for some reason, has always been difficult. I'm not interested in photographing people on stage, I have more than enough pictures of people in front of a microphone, and getting into the faces of folks who wonder why you may be shooting their picture requires a certain level of crassness and over the top energy that's difficult for me to maintain. Or something like that. It came right off the keyboard. Must mean something.

An interesting series of “events” in St. Paul as we build to the Republican convention, one of the more interesting being the raid on a house where members of I-Witness Video out of New York City were staying and the arrest of six of their members who, under law, can be held without charge of any kind until this coming Wednesday. I-Witness is what its name implies, a collective of video people, mostly young people, with video cameras who've been video taping police arrests and incidents during street demonstrations. Over four hundred police “arrests” have evidently been overturned in court when videos, many of them shot by this team, contradicted the police description of the incident.

What I find fascinating is how the proliferation of inexpensive video cameras and the advent of YouTube on the web has allowed individuals on the ground to end run police harrassment. The mass media does very little to cover this; their stories, when they run them, referring to “radicals” and the like busted for, well, all kinds of nasty stuff and nobody thinks about the ramifications of stifled dissent. Hordes of people with their video cameras, if only video cameras in their cell phones, alters the field.

One of the lone mainstream media stories describing one of the incidents coming out of Minneapolis - St. Paul appeared in today's Chronicle couched in terms that allow the reader to understand these are suppression of dissent raids against ordinary people who plan to carry on perfectly legal demonstrations, quoting one participant who urges all within driving distance to come to St. Paul to protest this suppression of dissent: “It was a tactic to try and take out the leaders," he said. "I know some people don't like to go out in the streets. But when anybody within a 12-hour drive hears about what's going on here, they're going to want to be here with us on Monday.”

There were incidents similar to these driven by the Democrats in Denver, although nothing, to my knowledge, to this degree. It would be nice to think all things good happen on one side of the political spectrum and all things bad happen on another, but the world, unfortunately, doesn't work like that. Well, perhaps at the moment. Again, seeing this, reading about incidents such as these makes me want to order a proper video camera and set forth, not to Minneapolis, but to, say, exotic lands such as San Francisco and Berkeley and add my own video two cents. Sacrilege for a still photographer to say such a thing, but I'd know what I'd be doing now if I were a bit younger and had time on my hands to travel.

You can't do it now that you're sixty-five?

Boy-howdy have I thought about it. I'm wrestling with the idea of taking a bus some mile and a half down the road to an Art & Soul festival at the moment. Where is St. Paul again? How far this state of Minnesota?

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2008 Gay Pride Parade with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/320th second, f 2.8, ISO 100.