Friday, June 19, 2015

Pope Francis


It is refreshing to have a Catholic Pope decrying the greed and destructive impact of capitalism. It is good to have a Pope who has an advanced degree in chemistry talking about the damage of man-made global warming. The current Pope is in harmony with Christian teaching about helping the poor. Love the Earth and love thy neighbor; isn't that a worthy message we must applaud this Pope for preaching? 

How can we praise his educated, even enlightened, stand on the climate and on capitalist greed and damage when underlying his stand is the hypocrisy of the church on the same issues? One of the major causes of environmental problems in the world is over-population. Similarly, over-population is a chief cause of world poverty, of starvation, of the suffering of millions for whom there are insufficient natural resources. 

How can an educated and humanitarian Pope not see that the demand of the church to eliminate birth control is endangering the lives of millions?  The Pope should reverse this medieval call to have more babies in an over-populated world. It is the church that contributes to starvation and poverty by discouraging family planning and simple birth control. Given his promoting of this mandate, the Pope undermines his own claim to care about climate change and poverty.

The Pope also spreads hate. Oh, it is a subtle thing, the way the Pope encourages prejudice against gay people. In some ways the "God hates Fags" religious fanatics are more honest. Pretending to love the sinners and hate the sin, the Pope fights for inequality in a more insidious way. In a sort of Ozzie and Herriot fantasy, the Pope preaches about heterosexual couples as if abusive fathers, divorces, and the reality of single moms or orphans don't exist. Study after study confirms that gay parents are as loving and beneficial to the lives of children as straight couples. Yet the Pope says gay parents are unfit and he wants to contribute to their being unfit by denying gays the right to marry. That this is church doctrine is no excuse for his promoting inequality and misunderstanding. That he knows better in his heart makes his preaching all that more hateful and immoral. Here he should at least remain silent.

There are far better progressive leaders in the world for us to hear. In the world of the spirit and religion, turn instead to the Dalai Lama or Bishop Desmond Tutu, neither of whom spreads bigotry of any kind. Follow reason, not superstition. 

I've included  articles below for consideration.

Jack Miller

1) On the Pope: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/pope-francis-heterosexual-parents_n_7597040.html

2)  Desmond Tutu: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/desmondtutu

3) The Dalai Lama: http://www.dalailama.com/




Monday, June 01, 2015

Call Me Jack



Call Me Jack (What's in a name?)


Jack in Hilo
Photo by Dar

Having a name is odd. Our first bit of identity is chosen before or right at the moment of coming into being. Why don't we get to create it later, the way we do our religion-- Oh wait, most of us get immersed in that right away too. Yet, the latter is easily enough altered, not stamped on our birth certificate, forever.

So, call me Jack, the name my parents gave me. Call me a Savannah boy, since I was born there and lived there until I went to college. That's how one starts, right? The colleges certainly are an essential part of my identity-- here's the list: U.Va., Sewanee, Tulane, Emory University are the major ones. Left Va. for Sewanee in order to change majors (math to philosophy) and for reasons of love and sexual identity. Degrees? B.A., M.A., M.Ln., 
Ph.D. in Philosophy (Tulane). My Doctoral Dissertation was on Philosophy of Art

 and My Master's Thesis was on D.H. Lawrence, whose homes I visited in Taos, NM, Hampstead Heath, north of London, Land's End in Cornwall, and Lake Chapala, Mexico.

In the areas of literature and philosophy my interests range from Shakespeare to the Beats, and from Plato, Descartes and Berkeley, to the existentialists, especially Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Oh, there are others too: from the Romantic poets to Michel Foucault. And that doesn't even touch on the art and artists I love...

I've had a the long career in teaching and librarianship: Two universities, two art colleges, two high schools, and the High Museum of Art along with other oddities like Law Librarian at the Georgia State University Law School. Teaching for 17 years at the Atlanta College of Art was especially rewarding. During those years I wrote articles and reviews for Art Papers, and other publications. I met wonderful students who are still making art today. Kara Walker took two of my classes. And many students and colleagues are now among my Facebook friends.

It was also during this time that I collected much of the art I now own, the Larry Connatser paintings, for instance, and the photographs of my friend Paula Gately Tillman. I also own Hogarth engravings and a work by Aristide Maillol

Since the age of 18 I have kept journals. My first trip to Europe in 1970 was as formative as any college course. I spent three months there, writing Journal 5, traveling by Eurail pass, soaking up art and history as never before. This blog is testament to how much I love Europe and have continued to bask in the culture and civilization there. Seeing the world and other cultures has always been an inspiration vital to me.

Japan 2013

This is not the place for the history of my relationships and the back and forth I did, like the train trips in Europe from country to country, across the landscapes, bodyscapes of sexuality.  I was every inch a Hippie in the 70's and thank Dionysus for it. Savannah, New Orleans, Mexico, and San Francisco (where I lived on Russian Hill), with frequent jaunts to New York and New England, were my playgrounds and home during the 70s. Those were the days of meeting Allen GinsbergW.S. Merwin, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti-- the time when I met the wonderful actor and my close friend, Joseph Mydell.

Today, I am married to a man, my life partner Darryl Gossett. We have a nexus of relationships with others. Our travels and life together fill many of the pages of this Blog. He is a talented editor and writer. We are on the cusp of transition to new places after living in our home in Atlanta 18 years. My aim now is to shift from critical writing to more creative writing, such as my "Art Memo" and several reviews in The Gay and Lesbian Review, Worldwide, (another link to the essay is Art Memo; and to my most recent review, Alfred Corn's Miranda's Book). I continue writing poetry, short stories;  and to create a photographic vision in sync with my writing, Poems and Short stories: Apricocks and 4 Way.

But enough about me...

Here's to my friends and loved ones: 




To the chief intensity: the crown of these
Is made of love and friendship, and sits high
Upon the forehead of humanity.
 

Keats-- Endymion.

Jack

note: The first of these was written 10 years ago. Quite a lot has happened since then; but the vector is the same. The photographs of the people in my life (above) reveal much, confirming Sartre's and de Beauvoir's views of the importance of   Le Regard...