Reflections on The Way Home

Autumn Fundraiser 2015, Day Six

Ahhh, the Sixth Day of our Autumn Quarter’s Fundraiser is here already. It’s come so quickly, but then it always does, always catching me a bit by surprise…

To those whose generosity has contributed to our “successful-so-far” journey, our gratitude. May the Karma Dude smile on all of you. This is like throwing a party and hoping all the guests will come: a week of tension that slowly dissolves as the tip jar fills and once more we breathe easier again, grateful to continue.

Tip jarTo those who have yet to tip the jar: I hope your circumstances permit you to do so in the next day or two. I’m not talking to or about those whose means are so limited that their only Internet access is the public library. I have known and worked with folks like that and (except in rare, distressing instances) they’re not our target audience. Only people whose needs for shelter, clothing and food have been comfortably met could possibly have the mental energy and intellectual wherewithal to walk through the Gates of Vienna to peruse what’s on offer. But the uncomfortable fact remains: many stroll through here without contributing even a small token of appreciation; they read for free over the shoulders of the those who have paid to make sure this place continues to exist.

There is yet another kind of ‘reading for free’ which people are beginning to report to us. This phenomenon is deeply unfair to our volunteer translators who labor here without recompense. As the B says, due to their efforts, what we post is often the “bleeding edge” of news not otherwise available in English. Well, we’re a small place, what concern is it to anyone if it appears that there is an occasional rip-off from our translators elsewhere? We don’t go looking for these thefts, readers report instances of word-for-word “twins” of material they saw here first. Could there be other translators out there who find exactly the same wording in each and every case? Not likely. At the very least, such pilfering, if it is the case, shows a lack of integrity; and yes, both blogs and news sites appear to be “liberating” some of our translations.

One person who never fails to cite us on any material he uses is Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit. Whenever he uses something of ours (or Vlad’s), we get full credit. It’s a bonus — the only bonus they’ll get — for our translators to see their work spread with attribution. How do we know Jim does this? Our site meter reflects a significant uptick from his site whenever he sources us — as he does everyone else he cites.

Gateway Pundit’s focus is the American scene. His work rivals the best of the news aggregators, including newspapers, when it comes to chronicling the chaos in our deeply troubled urban areas and displaying our dystopian present. Read Gateway Pundit and you see very clearly the paucity of leadership in America. No website in Europe would be permitted to simply present reality as he does; Jim would have been up on “hate speech” charges long ago just for the video cuts he shows. He’d be in the prison cell next to Tommy Robinson. It is an obvious reflection of his personal sense of abundance that he credits all his sources. Those who appear to have cut and pasted our translators’ material are not so generous: they operate from a grab-and-go mentality.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

As I mentioned at the start of this fundraiser, our theme of Home is one that resonates for us all.

As children, Home is our starting point in becoming “socialized”. Totally dependent on the people who brought us into being, we “live and move and have [that] being” in an irreplaceable environment, one which we will seek to replicate or to rebel against as we move out into the world.

For better or worse, our family gives us our template, our social map. In turn, we proceed to carry that map out into the world, searching for either a copy of the original or, in defiance, as close to a negative of that experience as we can manage. In that second case, carrying a negative instead of the original, founding a new Home can be problematic — how much harder it is to operate in a world where you’re most attuned to what you must needs reject in order to maintain some kind of independence from what you perceive to be the Original Harm inflicted on you by those who were charged with your care. I’ve often encountered this with aggressive atheists. No, I don’t mean the average agnostic or “disbeliever”; they aren’t interested in what I believe or don’t believe. But the aggressive ones — those fundamentalist atheists who are determined to convince me of my Errors — oh, dear me. Scratch the surface a bit and there lurks a deep resentment of some parent or authority figure whose fundamentalist religiosity left a deep scar. These folks are driven by the same need to convert me to “reason” as the fellow on the street corner who demands from passers-by an immediate assent to being “saved”. Same coin, other side.

Karen Horney, a gift from Nazi Germany to American psychological theory, proposed a basic schematic of existential “choices” presented to a child before he is developmentally ready to choose. Here’s the deal: the bottom line is feeling safe. In order to attain/maintain a sense of security in the usual muddle of a family environment (where belonging is conditional upon a number of factors that have little to do with him), our little guy instinctively picks from one of three — and only three — available “attitudes” or positions. To stay safe, he can move toward others; or he can move away from others; or, finally, he can move against others. This basic characterological position is never purely one or the other — we deftly mix and match — but there’s a predominant fallback position for each of us. Sometimes it’s hard to see our own choice, but others’ attitudes appear transparent — e.g., “Mary’s a real people pleaser” vs. “Jimmy’s a lone wolf” vs. “Watch out for Bubba’s mean streak”. Or, as some wag summed up the issues, “tell me what makes you angry and I’ll tell you who you are”.

To realize our potential as human beings most of us require the back-and-forth between a place to be and a path to follow. This “pilgrim’s path” is in our coming and going, our via. The rhythms and routines of going out and returning allow us to grow and mature; as we incorporate new experiences, encounter new people, acquire new skills and knowledge, the Self we bring back to our Home base has changed. Because we are creatures of routine we often fail to notice how life works on us this way. It takes perhaps a meeting with someone from our past to rattle things a bit: “How much you’ve changed!” is often unsettling, even when our interlocutor intends only praise.

The Baron used to say he was tired of apologizing for his normal childhood. In a world where dysfunction was on display and everyone was somehow a victim, he was simply an average guy. An average guy who moved to the rural version of “artist starving in a garret” to see how long he could manage to live his life painting landscapes. He managed it for twenty-five years and also raised a son and re-taught me the importance of recurring celebrations and healthy routines. Just by living his own life the Baron taught me how to live mine. In return, as I recover enough to take over some chores and we reestablish a more predictable life not so interrupted by my illness, my goal is to digitize the slides he took of every painting he did during those years. I want to publish them online simply so people can see his massive accomplishment. Yeah, posterity and all that, but attention must be paid while he’s still here. Posterity? Not so much.* Meanwhile, if anyone has a line on a good digitizer for color slides, let me know.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

What I had planned to write for this sixth day post is not what you just read. But the subject ran away from me — instead you have this… reflection? As the horse began speeding away, taking with it my notes about our division of labor at Schloss Bodissey, I realized it wasn’t coming back. At least not today. Perhaps I’ll save those outlines for another exploration of our life here. It has little resemblance to life as lived in the big city. Nothing important goes on here. But nearly every day I stop to wonder how we ended up here, the bridge to Europe, looking over our shoulders at the even bigger question of America.

The main thing for all of us is simply to keep on keeping on. There are no Big Solutions… or rather, we can see now what the application of lots of BS did to all of us. We won’t find any answers but with luck our questions will change. That way lies wisdom and serenity.

And as long as all of y’all keep coming back, why there’s no end of surprises around here.

Yesterday was gratifying, and I do enjoy seeing so many new donors. We’re almost done. Imagine that! See you at the finish line.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Our donors on Day Five were…

Stateside: California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

* Note from the Baron: Back in 1979, when a woman of my acquaintance took me to task for painting on and with inferior materials, she said, “What about posterity?” I replied: “HAH! What’s posterity ever done for me?”

12 thoughts on “Reflections on The Way Home

  1. Dymphna, I created and ran a website for an artist some 20 years ago – one of the few online shopping sites at the time where originals and prints could be purchased.

    I took pics of the paintings on a digital camera – they have much better resolution these days – and uploaded them to the website. From the website the pics could be downloaded and be printed out upto A3 size depending on the resolution originally uploaded. With suitable shopping software the download could be paid for. However, the artist died suddenly so we didn’t implement that part of the plan.

    Back to the digitising point; I have copied my own 8mm cine film by projecting the film, and with video cam, filming the projected image. Quality was passable. In your case if you project the slides, and photograph the image with a digital camera you will get a much better image with your 35mm slides.

    Just a thought.

      • TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?? Oh my, no.

        The Baron has written programs to fix up old photos. They work well. But…I need a digitizer for dummies…his eyes don’t work any more.

        It sure does have some nice features…exactly what I need but also far more than I need.

    • Ray B–

      The Baron’s style evolved over the years but in some form or other his work could be termed Pointillist. Pictures of his paintings have never been “true” in the way that slides were/are. For exhibitions and shows, the curators liked to view slides for their accuracy.

      I’ve talked also to some of the paintings’ owners and they were doubtful his work could be reproduced until they heard we had slides of them…

      So for the moment I am going to go with a digitizer…it won’t be faithful, though unless I can find a way to zoom in and out or to enlarge parts of the canvas, kind of like one does with Google maps, so that viewers could do what they did at shows. That would be great.

      Because of the complexity of his style, a viewer had to do a kind of dance. They’d come to a new painting to see what the whole scene was – a few feet out – and after a few moments, they’d have to then move in real close to see what he’d done with little dots or trails of colors to achieve, say, a shadow. Then back out again to see the whole until another intriguing aspect grabbed their attention and back in again to a closer view.

      His scenes are simple, mostly rural. I did nag for some city scapes and he did a few but he hated being in the midst of crowds so it was always problematic. An extrovert wouldn’t mind but for an introvert? Nope. It took me a long time to grasp that. What he did with water – its movement, reflections of color, etc., – was phenomenal. imho.

      Sometimes he did seascapes – for example if we went to Cape Hatteras or visited in Florida.

      As someone said, if you live with one of his paintings it changes the way you see. I cannot look into the middle distance of a bright summer scene without now seeing a bit of what he saw all the time. He never used black or white tubes of paint yet there are paintings, say of the dark shadows in a doorway or under a tree, in which you’d swear he MUST have used black to achieve that. What he did instead was to study the physiology of the eye so that he could understand how we perceive things and the ways in which placing colors next to one another achieves an effect.

      I still don’t grok how those paintings of evening fog were done, even as I watched him paint them…if I could just get them digitized I would never use anything else in our fundraisers…

      …sometimes it seemed to me that the painting was pre-existent under that white canvas and all he did was slowly remove the white. Sounds crazy but that’s how it looked.

      I want him to tell our readers sometime how he was once commissioned by an elderly black man who’d had a vivid dream of the Pearly Gates. He wanted the B to render his dream into a painting. When he gave it to the old man, he said “that’s it. That’s my dream”. I think the B charged him 25.oo or so.

  2. On your recommedation I have added the “Gateway Pundit” to my approximately 1,000 (presently fairly well organized) favorites/bookmarks.

    This is no guarantee it will get much attention largely because, having been raised in a city where non-partisan candidates are an abiding principle, I junk anything at the word “politics.” There is such a thing as “political action,” but “government” is not “politics.” Sadly, too few politically agitating people understand the word “government,” never mind such concepts as “public service.”

    I did look and even messed around some trying to figure out if the arch so prominent there is the St. Louis arch or something else.


    • St. Louis is called “The Gateway to the West”. That name goes way back. Jim lives in St. Louis (City – not county, I’ll bet) and so the arch is indeed there in St. Louie, and that’s why his blog is called “The Gateway Pundit”.

  3. I have long been a reader of Gateway Pundit and as I am primarily focused on Anglo-European problems I find it most useful in keeping a close eye on matters across the pond. It is nice to now know a name behind such a respected source so well done, Jim, and thank you.
    S III

    • It’s an idea…let me think about it and talk to him. He sold his paintings but the understanding was that he retained the reprint rights to any work. The buyer was purchasing the original. But we never had the money to do decent reprints back then.

      • Unless he signs them away, the artist ALWAYS retains exclusive reproduction rights. Until the copyright period is over, which is probably 28 years, so a lot of them are aging out now…

      • If you do decide to go ahead Paypal has an excellent facility for dealing with digital downloads.

        Also WordPress can make an excellent satellite shopping site using e-commerce plugins.

Comments are closed.