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Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by C Edward Moore, Jul 1, 2008.
We Are The Baby Boomers!!!!!!!!!
Mine too Ed
Calm down yet?
I'd like to hear what you have to say.
Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, inclusive. Makes them(us)currently ages 44-62, for those too old (or young) to do the math! (Just kidding!)
Suffice it to say, there will be plenty of people taking up the hobby of ALL ages if my chapter is any indication.
Yep, I've had time to reflect.
I can say the comment made by Mark Mandell makes the most sense to me and that is:
The show is, and always has been "Bring your stuff to show us what you do, whatever that may be." As all artist-to-artist communications must be, the IG must be fully open, with the only criteria being that the exhibitors be AAW members. The IG is NOT the AAW, it is AAW members, individually. The AAW provides the opportunity, but it does not sanction the IG nor dictate, whether officially or otherwise, what goes on the tables.
My belief is that, in America we have the right of free speech, the freedom of religion, the right to bear arms and so on. I don't believe that the AAW Board should even think about censorship of pieces shown in the Instant Gallery.
What ever happened to, " I may not agree with what you have to say but I'll fight to the death for your freedom to say it".
If offense was taken by the political statement, move on to something that does not offend your senses, there was plenty to choose from in the IG. There must have been something that tickled your fancy.
As far a the glib remark you recieved form the Board member......walk a mile in his shoes.
God Bless America
Thank you, Angelo. Well said.
Never was anything but hot air. I'll ignore or disagree, but when I fight I fight (fought) for me and mine. He who gives the bird should realize that there are risks involved and be prepared to do his own fighting. The "statement" gave the bird to a number of folks, as the responses indicate. It was bad manners, inappropriate, improper venue, and so forth.
Before you jump on the inalienable rights bandwagon, ask yourself if other aspects of the symposium were regulated. Freedom of assembly does not require free admission any more than freedom of speech requires we allow interruption of speakers at will. Would the AAW have refused a turning embellished with Kama Sutra bas-reliefs? How about those other hot buttons of race, gender and "orientation" other than political? So how would it have been (buzzword coming) "censorship" to say "we don't allow more than the name of the piece and yours?"
Is it censorship to deny expression to someone who chooses to use a nom-de-plume to describe himself or his work methods?
With all due respect Angelo, it is not "nuff said". Fine and dandy on the art stuff in the IG regardless of its political message or quality. But about glib remarks and walk a mile...
Whenever there is a question, problem, or disagreement raised about how something is being handled by the AAW, we are told to speak to a board member about it. But, if they are entitled to brush off the concerns and questions of members with glib remarks, because of the "hard job" they do, then why bother even asking? Is the board there solely to hear attaboy, or well done thou good and faithful servant?
This is a big part of why people are disillusioned with parts of the AAW. It conveys the attitude of "we are the ruling caste, and we have no time to listen to your silly complaint, peasant." Maybe a complaint has merit, and maybe it doesn't, but the very position of board member should carry with it the expectation of having to deal with us proletarian swine once in a while. And if a person can't handle that, then they need to vacate their esteemed position as quickly as possible.
I wrote to a board member myself earlier this year and got the brush off in the form of a vacuous diatribe that was completely unrelated to my concern. At the symposium I walked up to the man and introduced myself. I did not bring the matter up, just walked up and said hello. He did not even have enough spine to look me in the eye. I was treated like something that he found on his shoe and wanted to scrape off as soon as possible. Now we have the biggest shot in the group telling us on a public forum that glib responses from board members are to be expected if we have a concern. Is this an official decree, or just your personal opinion? Forgive me, however, if I do not seem receptive to the attitude, regardless of its official stamp.
First, your premise is a bit faulty in comparing the IG to the balance of a Symposium's activities. If the IG were closed to the General Public such that it amounts to a "members only" activity, censorship in accordance with the prevailing "community taste" [read "majority of members"] would certainly be appropriate. Similarly, if a group of males decided to establish the He-Man Women Haters Woodturning Association and have an annual convention with a gallery of limited admission displaying the members' misogynistic efforts, they are free to do so. After all, pond scum tends to form clumps. But the IG has always been a wide open public display with the individual members exercising their own "prior restraint" as to what they place on display. Once that changes, the IG will become the political tool for whomever or whatever viewpoint is in vogue at the time, and will lose its validity as a portal for artistic expression.
Ed and the Admiral certainly have the right to criticize the piece that raised their ire. However, that's very different from demanding the right to exclude it because they disagree with it.
You query as to Kama Sutra does raise some interesting possibilities which I may just keep in mind for a future show , especially since the book's illustrations have been hailed as high art. However, I've been to several Symposium IGs and have viewed photo albums of many more. There have been any number of them with either phallic or vulvic representations (or both) on display in varying degrees of disguise that would not require Mssrs. Freud or Fellini to figure out. No hew and cry was raised at any of them. Is this perhaps like the difference between the Boy Scouts' 3-finger salute and the "Bird" where all you have to do is "read between the lines?"
To my understanding, and IMO (humble or not) that is the cornerstone of the "freedom of speech" concept.
Sadly, for some people, that seems to be true. And it seems to me that this shift in opinion/attitude is at the core of the behavior many of us have exhibited.
We all fight for what is ours, for what we believe in. The things that bothered me in all of this were the tactics and attacks.
I agree completely (go figure).
I live in a world where I can only tell you your wrong (for me) if I can explain WHY I think you're wrong. Name calling is for (fill in your own blank). People who just dismiss a whole section of "society" because they disagree are begging to hear from them, and in a like manner. And it seems THAT is where I get into trouble. As a member or supporter of many of the disparaged groups, I respond as if I am harmed, because I am...
AND, and perhaps more importantly, because an unaddressed aspersion is often deemed to be "true" by those who cast it and THEIR supporters.
(bandwagon already jumped on) I think this is a false argument, as regards the IG. There was no "interruption," just the placement of work that could have been ignored. Hell, some "Right" thinking upstanding moral citizen could have done their patriotic duty and destroyed the offending display.
Generally speaking, sexual (including orientation), political, religious, racial "speech" would be left out, as far as I am concerned, but some of the best works I have seen by some of our turning posters have had a religious element to them, it's a part of who they are. Should we deny them the right to express that part of them here? - I don't think so (much as it makes me uncomfortable - spirituality/religion is as private as sex to me). That requires me to "fight for your rights, in spite of MY beliefs." Some would call that respect, some tolerance, others ...
If you are proud of what you believe, if it is what you want to teach your children, if it is what you want to share with your friends, and if it is not illegal or dangerous to yourself or others, by knowing of it's existence, then (UNLESS THERE IS A RULE IN ADVANCE) you should be free to express it.
Changing the rules after the fact, to achieve a desired political end will never be accepted gracefully. I would be fine with having rules like that, but till there are, I would be offended by ex post facto rules to fit ANY ideology.
Not in my opinion, but it's not our call on this site anymore.
Shut Up and Go Away
Isn't "If offense was taken by the political statement, move on to something that does not offend your senses" just another way of telling someone to shut up and go away? It seems that you have a limited interpretation of free speech. Let me tell you up front, I'm one of those dingy liberals, and I do not think that I want to have this organization discolored by political conflict. I have other places to express those opinions. Here I want to learn more about woodturning. I prefer to find ways to get along with people who happen to have opinions other than mine, not create occasions for conflict.
Now I did mention that I'm here because I'm a woodturner, didn't I? I've been bothered a bit because a large amount of work I've seen in the journal in the past year has been only incidentally woodturning, or not at all. There are other art organizations I can (and do) join for other input and interchange. But you are right in one way. If the journal turns into a generic 'art' magazine, then it's not focused on what I want to read, and it's not really all that good as a generic journal. Yet it is my primary benefit as a member. I have the advantage of a local club that has open membership and it doesn't make sense for me to pay dues if you aren't responding to my needs. And you did just tell me to 'move on.'
I'm tired of being misquoted/misrepresented!
What I said in the initial post was:
"I attended the Symposium and like Rear Admiral Duffy, I was offended by the political statement that was in the Instant Gallery. It had no place there. I spoke IN PRIVATE to two AAW Board members and was given the "Free Speech" excuse for their inability to stand up and do what was right. I don't want to see ANY politics in the IG. People may post what they want on the walls outside the IG, thereby exercising the right to free speech, but inside should be WOODTURNING and nothing else. The Board members suggested that I write a letter to the Board. I indicated rather quickly that it would be a waste of time because the Board doesn't give a rat's fanny about what I or any other member thinks. (Hello, Detroit!)"
Mark, as an attorney you should know better. I specifically said that I didn't want ANY politics in the IG, and I don't. This is quite different from saying I want the opinions with which I disagree excluded. I don't want to see anything from the Loony Left, the Rabid Right, OR anywhere in between.
Shoot me for what I said, but not for what I didn't say.
On a completely different front, I thank Bill Grumbine for his comments about rudeness of Board members. Probably none of this thread would have been written if I had been treated with a speck of respect. I remind you that I wrote specifically about the positive way in which Al Hockenbery treated me. I also had a nice conversation with Frank Amigo in which no issues came up.
Marc My question is, how do you think all those local clubs got there. Without the AAW to promote them and woodturning as a whole there probably wouldn't be any clubs. Without the growth of the AAW and increase in the number of turners there surely wouldn't be as many lathes, chuck, tools, etc available to the newer turners. By supporting the AAW you are supporting turning as a whole. In fact I doubt there would even be any other turning magazines if it wasn't for the AAW. You need the numbers to make those things work. I've noticed in the last 10 years that every woodworking magazine out there (except woodsmith) has a regular turning article. They wouldn't do that if there werent' enough readers turning. Our local clubs who were mostly started by AAW members increase the numbers by advertising and demonstrating. Again, I think there would be very few clubs without the AAW. That is of course my opinion but I've been around long enough to see it all happen.
Why are there so many turnings that appear to have more work off the lathe? Well that's just the progression of things. When clubs first start everyone turns bowls and a few do spindles and maybe the advanced guys to vessels. Then 8 or 10 years down the line the long time members usually start adding little details to their work, carved feet, perhaps painted and carved rim. Then they start going to symposiums and see what advanced things other turners are doing and they add that. Next thing you know they are spending more time carving than they are turning. Granted that's not for everyone but obviously many of us have taken that route as judged by the instant gallery. I don't put down others who want to make nice bowls, boxes and round things, but I would expect the same courtesy when I start to add carvings to my turnings. After all the lathe is simply a carving tool, the only difference is you rotate the work and hold the tool still. I move the tool and hold the work still.
Not a shooting, but three questions:
1) Do you really think of "Free Speech" as an excuse?
2) In private or not, what is your authority to decide what the "right thing" is?
3) As individuals, should what any of us want be allowed to force the Board, IG heads or anyone to "stand up and do the right thing (in their/your opinion)?"
One more question, what would "a speck of respect" have been, capitulation to your demands/authority, would board member(s) have been "rude" if you had been willing to take no for an answer?
I wasn't there, but even now, your retelling and telling suggest an authority, vested in you, that I don't recognize.
If I'm misunderstanding this, I apologize.
Respect or Common Courtesy
When I referred to respect I was referring to the respect that I show to any human being. However, a better choice of words might have been "common courtesy". The proper response to my query of the Board member was, "Ed, I'm sorry, but it's too late to do anything now." or something equivalent to this. Nothing I had said involved emotion, I was sort of giving a "heads up", BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO BE HELPFUL. A smile and "Do the best you can." would have been fine, but I received an "attitude" instead.
This matter is behind me and I really don't care to hear any more about it. It's over and I have better things to do. And it's not your job to question my "authority". I ran an evening program for the AAW, it was successful, the problem that I was worried about did not materialize, so this is all folderal. It has about the same value as a can of condensed weasel urine.
Should I assume you also want to see no religious symbols or symbolism, no sexual images or images of the human body that could be interpreted as sexual by some, and no symbols of ethnic or national identity i.e. flags, cultural or state symbols? We should also discourage scientific symbolism as well, so no e=mC2 and definitely no pierced images of Darwin. Does this about cover it all?
Actually now that I think about it, we better discourage all representations of nature since there are many cultures on this planet that considers it a "sin" to re-create the work of god.
That should cover it.
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Actually, I think most woodturning clubs came into existence as a growing group of friends, often centered on a store, who shared a common interest. Woodturning has been around for a few thousand years and our clubbishness is notorious. In fact, to the point, I know of few cases (none, actually) where the AAW has fomented the creation of a turners club, but many cases where considerable pressure has been exerted to get an existing club to go members only. For most of us the AAW is an organization most visible as a nice but pricey magazine that is only available by subscription or in classy woodworking stores. Which is cool, but a little humility is needed. Fine Woodworking has always had intermittent articles on turning.
'By supporting the AAW...' I'm not, exactly - I'm supporting me. And I'm supporting a vision of woodturning shared or supported, hopefully, by the membership. At the point that our views diverge, supporting the AAW is shooting myself in the foot. As long as there is a healthy amount of real turning knowledge here there isn't a problem. But I've read through a number of issues where I really had to look to figure out how turning had anything to do with it. Why would I want to support that trend? My biggest influence here is my membership, I need to vote with that. It's been a long time since I've seen an article in the Journal about turning thin walled vessels, or avoiding tear-out, or... Well, you get my drift.
Last, you describe a procession of skill building and posit it as good. And that's hardly the only possible path. I could make pens, bowls, and vessels happily for the rest of my life. I may choose many ways of ornamenting the turning, but it would never become the whole purpose of the work. Let's face it, cabinetry is also woodcarving. Except if you wander over to a woodcarver's forum. The reason for organizations around specific disciplines is to focus on the health of those disciplines, not to morph into the next hot thing. I do other forms of woodwork and I belong to those organizations as well.
Your attempts at extrapolation and reducto ad absurdum fall short. Your attack demeans this forum and the efforts of some to improve things.
Marc I still respectfully disagree on the club thing. We have very few woodworking stores in Tennessee. Only in the major cities. We started with one woodturning club 21 years ago. There are now 7, all across the state an 4 are in small areas without woodworking stores. They were formed by friends who were turners getting together but many were formed by AAW members who joined the first club or went to symposiums organized by the first club and learned about other turners in their area. I'm not saying that's the only way they got started I'm just saying the AAW has opened up an awareness of woodturning making it easier for people to know we exist. I mean we are discussing this on their website aren't we. That's advertising. It brings in members and helps us find other woodturners.
Not everyone finds it necessary to follow the progression that I mentioned. some branch out and make pens, some do segmented work and some do ornamental work etc. I don't try to stop people from displaying that work so why would I stop them from displaying embellished work. I also do cabinet work and have used the router for years. It was a natural step for me to use the router on my turnings. Now if I didn't use the lathe at all I would not put it in the instant gallery.
Ok, let's ease up a little bit guys. This discussion has been a good give and take on both sides of the issue. Why don't we continue with the idea that we can agree to disagree....
And THAT, "Perfessor," is a Zero-Sum game. Whether you demand one piece be removed or all such pieces be excluded, it amounts to the precisely the same thing. Don't "spin" your opinion after the fact. You first premise asserted that the piece was an affront to service personnel and others who have served, and you were indignant that you had to confront such "statements" in the Instant Gallery. Proposed limits on freedom of speech and expression have taken many forms, the most common being that the particular speech or expression is offensive to some perceived community norm.
If the issue of the freedom of the IG is of sufficient weight to you, you have the right to not go there or not join the organization that purports to support that freedom. Make no mistake, I'm not encouraging you or anyone to drop out of the AAW. What I am saying, however, is if there must be a choice between your "right" not to be assailed by political/religious/sexual content in public places you choose to go and my right to put such things in the IG even if they offend you and 90% of the other people in the room, I win, because my right to say it is greater than your right not to hear it. If it were otherwise, the silence in our society would be deafening, and the hundreds of thousands of valiant men and women who have given their lives for this country and the world at large over the last 240 years may have been given in vain.
What you do have the greater right to is prior notice that the Instant Gallery may contain items and messages that are or may be offensive to you so that you can make an intelligent choice whether to go there. Well Ed, as the lawyers say, "Consider yourself on notice."
What you also have the right to do is form a new association of woodturners with your same view who then set the limits for what will and will not be allowed in your symposium gallery. Maybe that group will grow to mega-size, dwarfing the AAW. Maybe it will gather only micro group of malcontents interested only is dissing things they don't agree with while mumbling that God is really on their side. Maybe something in between those obvious extremes.
I express no opinion on which result in more likely.
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