The Great Wall
The Great Wall of China
Nicole was instrumental in helping me complete my trip around the world. Without her aid I am sure I would not have been able to visit many of the places that I wanted to see or would have had to do so on a shoe string budget. But as it turned out Nicole and I were very interested not only in each other, but in travel and so we decided to travel together to see and explore many wondrous places that we each wanted to see and had previously only read about in books or seen on television.
One of our first trips together was to the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China some 42 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Beijing.
I must confess that I was a bit paranoid of going to China, given it is ruled by communists. But I decided to not let politics get in the way of a great life experience so I made a note to keep my political and religious opinions to myself while traveling in China. The Chinese people are the ones who are going to have to decide what form of government they will live under. With a history spanning thousands of years many of which have been dominated by one doctoral dynasty after another, the Chinese people know where they stand. It will be for them, ultimately, to decide when the time is right to chop off the heads of those who rule them, should not the heads of state learn how to adapt to the will of the people and provide not only security, but freedom and liberty for all.
It should be noted that during my visit to China I was well aware of the fact that the influence of the red communist government was everywhere. So I took to wearing sunglasses with dark polarizing lenses that made all the red look dark green. Hee, hee, this was my little trick on the communist government so as not to be influenced on a subconscious level by their propaganda. However, when it came to doing a "Been There Done That" design for the Great Wall of China, I think that all the paranoia blocked up inside me flowed out and filled the virtual canvas, flooding the sky with crimson that emanated from a central red star. In other words, no matter how much I tried to bury the fact inside my mind that communism is a form of tyranny which exploits the masses, I could not do so. Red filled the sky over the Great Wall of China just as it dominated and controlled the lives of the Chinese people. This design I hope will be embraced by all who share my vision that China will one day become a more free people, that the bright red over the sky of the Great Wall of China will serve as a reminder that communism is a passion which cannot be ignored. If you ignore communism it will rise up and spread like a deadly virus and creep into the minds of children corrupting them as adults. So it is with any ideology which indoctrinates people and purges itself of all who do not follow the leader. And that is the greatest evil of red communism and why even if we are just tourist or traders with China, we should never ignore the fact that China is ruled by a government which seeks that all people embrace its doctrine or parish.
Nicole and I debated this issue to some extent after we left China. She does not enjoy talking about politics or religion very much and seems happiest when we are just making love. That is fine with me but life is not all about pleasure of the flesh. Who rules, who has power and control, who says who will live and who will die, are large factors in human society and culture. As an artist and philosopher these issues concern me for surely I'd be the first to go if my own nation were ruled by dogmatic tyrants or right wing fundamentalists.
In fact, I believe it is the objective of Islamic fundamentalist to destroy America and wipe it off the face of the Earth and that their plan to do this includes allying with communist nations to secure weapons of mass destruction. Should this occur it will make 9/11 look like child's play. That this threat is real is inherent in the fundamentalist belief of many Islamic fundamentalist that, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," such that this dictates to Islamic fundamentalist that they are allies of communists. What this means for the future is that the United States needs to be ever watchful with respect to the wheelings and dealings of Red China, especially as they relate to Islamic nations or factions within those nations who want to destroy America. This is especially true in the case of North Korea and the United States should not take lightly the development and production of nuclear weapons by North Korea. In fact, Pakistan already has nuclear weapons and should Pakistan become ruled by Islamic fundamentalists this would certainly represent a grave danger for the United States as well as Israel.
The fact that I am adamantly opposed to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and communism is reflected through much of my work and production of patriotic designs. I was producing patriotic designs long before 9/11. After 9/11 it seems everyone has caught the boat and that even the cockroaches are patriotic. In fact, that was the topic of a controversial design I produced some months after 9/11 which featured an American flag superimposed upon the elytra of a cockroach.
This design may seem repugnant to some people who view cockroaches in a negative light, but I have always viewed cockroaches as wondrous and remarkable creatures who have evolved the ability to survive quite successfully. By associating themselves with humans, the most intelligent species upon the planet, cockroaches benefit from our intelligence. As long as humans are going to be around, cockroaches will survive and multiply. Very likely cockroaches will even be around long after humanity has disappeared or destroyed himself. This is not an original idea. It has been stated by entomologist aware of the fact that cockroaches existed upon the planet Earth hundreds of thousands of years before humans and have shown amazing ability to adapt and survive through the eons. In modern times, since the advent of organic based insecticides, cockroaches have learned as a species to develop forms that avoid dark, sprayed areas and so tend to survive the onslaught of pest control operators determined to see their extermination. Yet there are so many billions upon billions of cockroaches in a metropolitan area such as New York City, that no amount of spraying or dusting will ever get rid of them all. When cockroaches are exterminated in one apartment or building they continue to survive in another until generations down the road a new infestation occurs. And when cockroaches are killed their bodies just become food for future generations of cockroaches which will eat practically anything.
Thus American flag cockroaches may be symbolic of a nation that is able to survive terrorist attacks no matter how long such attacks continue! So you see, what a work of art may symbolize to one person may be entirely different from what it may symbolize to another. Certainly those who observe art often bring their own experiences to the interpretation of art. This is especially true the more abstract an artistic expression becomes. Conversely, as soon as a work of art becomes well known or standardized as in the design of flags and symbols, then to alter or change the standard and accepted symbology becomes abhorrent to many people. This is basically why flag burning is shunned upon as is flushing the Holy Bible or Koran down the toilet. These are symbols that have been made sacred and to alter or destroy them is considered by the devout criminal. Yet what is more sacred, a human life or a piece of cloth or paper?
When some symbols like the Nazi swastika or the Confederate Battle Flag become associated with hate groups they becomes particularly distasteful to those who believe in tolerance and that people of diverse heritage must learn to live in peace and harmony. I am not particularly fond of red stars or hammers and sickles which are symbols of communism. Nor am I an advocate of white power. But as an artist I will use symbols in my work and designs to evoke emotion, to generate awareness or to earn a profit. People can interpret my art however they wish. Likely as not they will fall short of seeing what I see in a cockroach with an American flag painted upon its elytra. After all, most people really know nothing about the intimate lives of cockroaches and even less about the history of symbolism.
There is indeed a great wall, that which exist between the artist and everyone else. The greater the artist, the greater the wall, the greater the divide, between the artist and the general public who looks upon a work of art and tries to understand it, but is at a loss to know the artist's experience. This can only be rectified when one becomes an artist rather than an analyst.