Anyone remember those 3D paintings or books that came out around the mid 90’s? They were these kind of glossed over pictures of random patterns it seemed. It turns out of you stood at it long enough and cross eyed enough, out of the seemingly meaningless pattern, out would popped a picture of a car, tree, animal, or something else. Kind of like seeing the code in the Matrix. If you stare at it long enough, a pattern starts to emerge only to then realize you were looking at it the whole time. I remember my High School, Bolivar Central, even placed one of these 3D pictures on our yearbook one year. Can’t remember which year and not sure I still have it, but extra points to anyone from Bolivar reading this who can find it and post the picture.
Perception is a funny thing. Separate people can be viewing the same reality and yet come to vastly different conclusions. People pretty much accept this premise. I mean Dallas Cowboy fans look at their team every year as a Super Bowl contender while the rest of America sees reality. But if you take this premise up a few thousand feet in altitude, the picture starts to get a little busier. I can remember my Arts and Western Civilization class in college where we looked at all sorts of medieval paintings like the one below. I always remember these pictures being fairly busy as there were about a thousand things going on at once. So when the professor asked us what was going on, it was amazing to see what stuck out to different individuals.
Take the painting to the left. There is a whole lot going on here. Its Pieter Bruegel’s, The Triump of Death. According to google anyway. I mean you got death, skeletons, dogs eating corpses, fire and all that. But for some reason, my mind instantly tries to figure out why the guy in the bottom right hand corner is trying to play the guitar while all Hell breaks loose. Is he just waiting his turn, is he playing the tune of death, or is hoping that no one will notice him if he just keeps playing. I don’t know. But its a busy scene. Normally in paintings, I would just wonder about the gratuitous nudity that seemed to be popular in these famous paintings, but I guess that was just their version of the internet back then.
So let’s jump to Ferguson, MO. If you don’t know whats going on in Ferguson this past week, stop reading my blog and look at any news station. No wait, never mind, stay on my blog. But needless to say, Ferguson, MO is a pretty busy picture right now. You have protests, preachers, cops, guns, fires, looting, rubber bullets, tear gas, Al Sharpton, journalist, military equipment, robbery, deadly force, witnesses and well I’m just waiting for Kim Kardashian to show up at this point. I haven’t seen him, but surely Anderson Cooper is there somewhere. But needless to say, its a busy scene.
The debates over this event have been all the rage these days in the media and even on social media. However, my purpose of this article is not to rehash that debate. Rather, It is to ask you as an individual, to sit back and think and be fascinated by what perception you created when observing the events in Ferguson. I say perception, because what IS going on in Ferguson IS happening and IS a reality without any regard to your perception of it. All any of us can do is but interpret what we observe and hear to form an interpretation of these realities. If your interpretation leads you to get involved in someway, then have at it. But for most of America, this is a saga we watch from afar. So what I am asking, is for you the reader, to sit back, and be fascinated by what your go to interpretation was of these events.
There are a million plus individual stories and interactions going on right now in Ferguson. Which one are you fixating on? Just today I read stories about protesters turned looters stealing liquor and protesters lining up to protect stores from the looters? So who are they, protesters or looters? Is it the militarization of police that bothers or that pleases you? Like a classical masterpiece you view from afar, what do you notice? You can justify why you perceive what you perceive all you want, I’m fine with that and not even arguing with your perception. I’m just saying be fascinated and learn by what you are quick to perceive. Again, a million mini stories in a busy meta picture. What sticks out to you?
Because truth be told, the Ferguson, MO story will be old news soon. That is why I decided to go ahead and weigh in on it. Also this topic was a request from someone. People might be wanting me to affirm their opinion or attack other’s opinion. I am just weighing in to say that you ought to give some heavy reflection on your worldview that forms the construct of how you interpret these events. Be fascinated by how quick you were to believe what in this case. Very few people were actually present for the shooting and honestly, you could have had an aggressive young man AND an inept and skiddish cop. I don’t know. But I know that the political left and right are ready to line you up and enroll you in their camp to see what they want to focus on in this busy painting. Some of the protesters are looting liquor, but the political pundits are trying to loot your emotions on this case. So think for yourself, and pay attention to the guy playing the guitar in the corner. Who knows, he might be the most important character in this whole thing. If I have any Art majors reading this, please weigh in on that. I really am curious about the guy in the bottom right hand corner.