Every Labor Day week-end for the last twenty-six years an art show called “Art in the Park” has taken place on the Square in Marietta. Already in 2010 I wrote a post on this show, see here This year again we spent several hours at the show. But for the first time this year there was another show called “Artcar Palooza”™ on an adjacent street. There were several customized vehicles, artfully decorated. (Click on picture to enlarge and click twice on collages.)
The first “artvan” on the right had ears, eyes, lips, glasses and multicultural women faces.
Some of the “artcars” had painting all over and some had a little decoration and were quite sober.
I had to come close to some other artcars and study them well to see or read everything on the vehicle, such as the pick-up truck below.
More details can be seen in the collage below (click on collage to enlarge.)
I had to touch the next vehicle – it was quilted.
It must have taken many hours to get the quilting to drape just right over the car – a minivan, I guess.
The artcar below from Texas had a figure painted on his hood and a skeleton head.
This one was decorated with jewels and
its hood was covered with sparkling beads.
The car below had another little car on top driven by a mermaid.
Another had a flag color theme.
An artcar with “love” on the hood was near a camouflaged military artcar.
There were some decorated items for sale as well.
Then when needed decorated art-toilets were available too.
We then went to the regular art show but I took so many pictures that they will have to go in another post. Then on the following Wednesday, September 5th, we drove back to Chattanooga in Tennessee. We had been there in June and stayed on the Delta Queen, the historic steamboat. For some reason our room was not cleaned at that time and we received a complimentary stay. Since my husband is going to hospital for a procedure on September 13th we decided to go ahead on this little trip. I’ll have many pictures to show later. Unfortunately there was no television on board and little computer access so I was not able to watch the Democratic Convention. I did read about it in the newspapers though.
I read the “Truth-O-Meter” on the newspaper and saw that there had not been as many misleading claims as in the convention two weeks ago.
I did read online that most of the advisers for Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, are part of former vice-president Cheney neo-con team and President Bush pro-war advisers, such as John Bolton who was a strong voice for invading Iraq. I do not think that this country needs a rerun of the last Republican administration (for example vice-presidential candidate Ryan had voted with Pres. Bush 94% of the time) and start a war with Iran or place Russia back in a cold war climate. President Obama has not achieved everything he promised but it seems that most of his efforts to pass legislation and bills to help the economy were obstructed by the Republicans, even when they had been previously in favor of the bills. It is easy to oppose and block all bills that could have helped and then declare that the current administration is a failure.
What is more dangerous, I believe, is the landmark case of Citizens United which overturned the existing ban on corporate and non-profit trade associations to fund advertisements for the election or defeat of candidates. Through these trade associations money has been pouring in from overseas (a lot from Saudi Arabia.) Millions have also been spent from secret corporate cash on misleading advertisements that the public believes. Oil industry lobbyists have funded the political campaign of 86% of freshman Republicans and then had them sign a pledge to oppose all climate regulation. All this looks pretty corrupt unfortunately.
I also spent some time reading, in French, from the text of “Democracy in America” written by the French political thinker and historian Aléxis de Tocqueville. One of the comments to my last post mentioned that the term “American exceptionalism” had been first said by de Tocqueville and not by Joseph Stalin as I stated. It took me a while but I found the passage. De Tocqueville had said then that America was “exceptional.” Actually he had said the same thing later about Algeria. Aléxis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French man who spent nine months traveling throughout the United States. He came in 1831 when he was only 26 years old and went mostly in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. His two-volume study “Democracy in America” is a classic on the American people and their political institutions.
But reading the passage in French, then in English, I saw that what he had said was certainly not complimentary. He used the term “exceptional” in the first part of the second volume, chapter IX “La situation des Américains est donc entièrement exceptionnelle, et il est à croire qu’aucun peuple démocratique n’y sera jamais placé. Leur origine toute puritaine, leurs habitudes uniquement commerciales, le pays même qu’ils habitent et qui semble détourner leur intelligence de l’étude des sciences, des lettres et des arts ;” etc. (translation "The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. Their strictly Puritanical origin-their exclusively commercial habits-even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts-“ etc.
De Tocqueville did not follow the thesis of “American exceptionalism” (l’exceptionalité de l’Amérique) but meant that the country found itself in a unique situation. He went on to say: “En même temps que les Anglo-Américains sont ainsi unis entre eux par des idées communes, ils sont séparés de tous les autres peuples par un sentiment, l’orgueil. Depuis cinquante ans on ne cesse de répéter aux habitants des États-Unis qu’ils forment le seul peuple religieux, éclairé et libre. Ils voient que chez eux jusqu’à présent les institutions démocratiques prospèrent, tandis qu’elles échouent dans le reste du monde ; ils ont donc une opinion immense d’eux-mêmes, et ils ne sont pas éloignés de croire qu’ils forment une espèce à part dans le genre humain.” Translation: “Anglo-Americans are not only united by these common opinions, but they are separated from all other nations by a feeling of pride. For the last fifty years, no pains have been spared to convince the inhabitants of the United States that they are the only religious, enlightened, and free people. They perceive that, for the present, their own democratic institutions prosper, whilst those of other countries fail; hence they conceive a high opinion of their superiority, and are not very remote from believing themselves to be a distinct species of mankind.” So I don’t think American politicians use the word “exceptional” in the way de Tocqueville did.
I think that de Tocqueville was right about the culture of money being strong in the American soul but I do not believe that this has diverted their minds from science, literature and the arts. How can this be said with such writers as Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Mitchell, James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Henry James – just to name a few.
How about American inventors such as the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla or an innovator like Walt Disney? How about musicians? Aaron Copland, George Gershwin or all the jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong? There is a multitude of American artists such as Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, Louis Tiffany and so many others.
I may not agree with American exceptionalism, as in “manifest destiny,” but I think that there have been and still are exceptional talents here.