Friday, January 23, 2009

The New Economy

I'd like to clip a comment from Paul Krugman, in the Op-Ed section of the NYTimes yesterday, that characterizes a moment in Obama's Inaugural Address that had me scratching my head as well:

"Thus, in his speech Mr. Obama attributed the economic crisis in part to 'our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age' — but I have no idea what he meant. This is, first and foremost, a crisis brought on by a runaway financial industry. And if we failed to rein in that industry, it wasn’t because Americans “collectively” refused to make hard choices; the American public had no idea what was going on, and the people who did know what was going on mostly thought deregulation was a great idea."

I second that. This was meant to be the People's why blame the economic meltdown on its victims?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Work of the Coming Change

In Monday's New York Times, Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. contributed a great piece on Dr. Martin Luther King's last birthday, which he spent working, never stopping the work of social justice and change. Jackson holds this as a model for our observation of Obama's inauguration, and this sentiment was threaded through Obama's inaugural address as well.

What are you going to do to push for change in the coming year?

As artists, how can we advocate for ourselves in tough economic times? Moreover, how do we ensure that our work is relevant to these times?

Quincy Jones has started a petition for the Obama administration to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. You can find it here: The Book Arts List (archives at has been home to some lively debate about whether or not this is a good idea.

On a related note, the recently formed Impractical Labor is now offering subscription-memberships. While it is still unclear exactly what forms this project will take, I applaud them for reviving the union idea. Their Research Institute " summarizes, analyzes, and interprets previously published works on similar topics (industrial history, technologies and handcraft, economics, art as service, sociology of work, & so on) and publishes these reviews as the ILSSA Reference Collection." This quote is from their website, where you can find out more: