Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Why you shouldn't send your kids to Berkeley
In the SF Bay Area those on both sides of the political spectrum often refer to Berkeley, the city, as the People's Republic of Berkeley. This label is earned not just by the city's politicians but by the fine academic university that also sits within the city. While it's not hard to show the liberal bias from Kindergarten to University graduate programs all throughout this country, the greater Bay Area won the liberal academic lottery with UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and the University of San Francisco.
Colombian artist Francisco Botero was inspired by Seymour Hersch's version of what happened at Abu Ghraib by the hands of Americans. Mind you, facts and credible witnesses to this version of the torture by Americans aren't required. It doesn't really matter what actually happened. Much of the world was happy to hold all of America, not just the soldiers involved, at fault for what was portrayed in the actual photographs. What was in those photographs amounted to grievous crimes against humanity according to many...give me a break.
UC Berkeley was happy to display Botero's Abu Ghraib series of paintings and drawings about which he told the SF Chronicle "The whole world and myself were very shocked that the Americans were torturing prisoners in the same prison as the tyrant they came to remove," he said. "The United States presents itself as a defender of human rights and of course as an artist I was very shocked with this and angry". He says it's not anti-American, I don't agree...but it's art and I'm fine with any university or museum displaying it.....AS LONG AS...they would also display artwork showing Muslim extremists and members of Al Qaeda blowing up children on a bus with a bomb belt, or beheading a journalist, or using women and children as human bombs, and so on....of course they wouldn't show this art exhibition.
Is there even an artist willing to draw such terrible images? Likely not....it's not fashionable...or maybe most famous or talented artists have more respect for their craft. I think art should inspire, it should evoke emotion, including sadness. But in my opinion that is more appropriately done not through obvious political messages. It's easy to draw the obvious...to show a man being humiliated by showing in detail the act of his humiliation. It's much harder to paint just a man....and in his face you read a humiliation that must have fallen upon him...that's true artistry.
Our schools, first and foremost, should teach young minds how to think, how to reason, to analyze and be critical of what they encounter, to come to a truth or align with a theory on their own. Sadly, they are too often given theories as fact and are told what to think.