The 2022 Winter Solstice image at right is my final collaboration with the extraordinary woman I had the marvelous good fortune to share a life with since our high school days in the 1960s. Throughout the six-months during which the solstice image evolved, she guided the effort with insights and inspirations around color choices, perspective, figure proportion and posture… All the fine stuff. And she poked me, mercilessly, when necessary, to eliminate contradictions – anything her sensation instincts told her was not true to the overall unity of the composition. But dearest in my recollection is her delight when something we’d noodled over together began to manifest on the screen. That’s what I will miss the most. Her delight.
The image background is adapted from Basil Valentine’s 1671 “Table of Chemical & Philosophical Characters.” We thought it would be fun to suggest a point along the arc of evolving human consciousness from which the foreground image might have spontaneously emerged. The context. And we tinkered with the parchment tone a lot, looking for a hue that seemed to push the bluish beasty upward.
The foreground image…the Sky Lizard…is a subject that has been writhing around pleasantly in my thoughts pretty much throughout my life. I wrote about some of my previous engagement with the creature in a 2012 blog post. I wonder as time passes whether I will be able to feel that with the rendering presented here I have fulfilled my responsibility to bring the unlikely being fully into the world.
On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It’s tempting to speculate about the motives of the justices who pushed that ruling through. But I focus here upon what I believe to be an overt circumvention of the fundamental function of law in America.
As reported by NPR:
Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”
For Justice Alito to speak of “an abuse of judicial authority” is ironic at best because his participation in the overturning of Roe v. Wade places him radically at odds with the core function of the Constitution, which is, I believe, to guard against tyranny.
I think the American Revolution was necessary to bring to an end the lording of one group over another. And I think the Constitution is a remarkably lucid attempt to establish a foundation upon which a society can evolve that’s primary virtue is that it guards against one group bullying and otherwise tormenting another. (Racial injustice in America remains a monumental societal failing in this regard.)
Above all other considerations, I think the initial gating factor when determining whether something is constitutional must be does it open the door for one group to impose their will upon another, which overturning Roe v. Wade absolutely does. The license to commit acts of aggression against women which that overturning has set in motion is, to my way of thinking, a horrifying example of the general drift in all aspects of human interaction toward self-indulgent sadism.
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