Artist removes halo, adds blue ribbon

OK, there is this mural of all sorts of important people including Joe Paterno in downtown State College PA. The artist who painted the mural added a halo over Joe’s head after Paterno died earlier this year. Now that it has come out that Paterno was apparently aware that Sandusky was abusing kids and protected the molester (or, at very best, failed to act on the reports or allow others to intervene), the artist has painted the halo out again. He also added a blue ribbon to Paterno’s coat in the mural.*  I was not aware of this, but apparently a blue ribbon means you support the victims of child sexual abuse.

Artist Michael Pilato working on the mural

I don’t have a horse in this race, being uninterested in football, not a victim of sexual abuse** and not a Penn State fan, but, seriously, what the fuck?  Isn’t adding a blue ribbon to the image of Paterno kind of adding insult to injury since he helped keep Sandusky in a position where Sandusky could keep molesting kids? Isn’t that “accessory to the crime” or “conspiracy to conceal a crime” territory?

The whole colored ribbon thing starts to make me suspicious anyway since it seems to be a way of looking like you are doing something without doing something.  I mean, I guess I can stick a yellow ribbon on the back of my car and it means I want you to know I support the troops or pin a pink ribbon to my lapel and it means I want you to know I support breast cancer research — and maybe that’s helpful because it might spread awareness of the cause. But the cynical side of my nature thinks that it can also be a ‘heart on my sleeve’ gesture done primarily to show others that “I’m a swell person who cares about this cause so you should like me.”  

I think there ought to be a special color of ribbon for people who knew someone else was doing something really fucked up and they had the power to stop it but decided not to do anything about it. And that’s the color of ribbon that ought to be painted on the portrait of Paterno (and a good portion of the Catholic clergy) and other people who look the other way. 

It’s fine to have heroes, I guess, and if you love Penn State or “Paterno-ball,” then maybe you will want murals and statues and libraries named after him. But please don’t try to imply that he was ‘sympathetic to the cause’ of preventing child sex abuse by painting a blue ribbon on his lapel like some kind of a medal. He wasn’t. Paterno chose football and the school’s image and his friendship with Sandusky and the fact that he probably didn’t want to deal with a scandal over protecting the kids of people he didn’t know from sex abuse. He shouldn’t get to wear the blue ribbon.

* Apparently Sandusky used to be in the group portait and was painted out. Source.

**Yeah, I’m against it — who isn’t? I just can’t claim the cause has greater personal resonance for me than many of the other ways in which humans fuck one another over.

Pastor Moustache is stupid

Pastor Terry Jones of the ironically named “Dove World Outreach Center” of Gainesville Florida accidentally shot the floorboard of a car with his concealed weapon as he was climbing into his car after a television studio appearance here in Detroit.

Jesus told us to be generous and charitable so I am trying to be ‘generous and charitable’ by accepting the idea that the shooting of the car’s floor mat represented an ‘accidental discharge.’ Perhaps Pastor Jones mistook the floor mat for a muslim prayer rug that was hiding in ambush for him.

If you haven’t been following the story, Jones is a publicity hungry pastor with a fondness for his concealed weapon permit and outrageous ‘stache who preaches the gospel of paranoia about Islam. He had risen to fame in September for having first announced that he would burn copies of the Quran, then, after a lot of people asked him not to, he agreed not to burn the Quran… and then , apparently dissatisfied that the media wasn’t paying enough attention to him, he “placed the Quran on trial” in his church and found it guilty and executed it by, yes, you guessed it, burning it. As a result, a bunch of people who are as crazy as Jones is went bananas over the fact that Jones burned the Quran and they went on a rampage in different parts of the world and some people (including some Nato peacekeepers who really had nothing to do with Quran burnings) ended up dead.

Now Jones is here in Detroit because he and his followers want to do an anti-muslim protest in Dearborn, Michigan. Why can’t they stay in Florida? Dearborn has been in the news a lot lately because a lot of Muslims live here in Dearborn and every time some ‘terrorists on the brain’ legistlator in a state like Texas wants to get his base fired up over imaginary problems instead of trying to do something about real problems, they cite the ‘fact’ that ‘Muslim Sharia Law’ has been imposed in Dearborn (even though, based on the number of strip clubs and pork sausages availible in Dearborn, that is clearly pure fiction). Thus in places like Oklahoma and Texas, dirtbag politicians give their public profile a boost with the local nut jobs by introducing ‘anti Sharia Law’ legislation. Because they think their constituents should be more worried about imaginary problems that the legislator can ‘prevent’ than real problems that their legistlator just wants to ignore.

The First Ammendment to the US Constitution is a wonderful thing unless you consider all of the ass-headed stupidity that people do with it. I guess I have to admit that it is within Terry Jones’s rights to do these things, but I wish he wouldn’t. Given all the shit he stirs up and the obvious ‘paranoid vision’ of the world that Jones holds, perhaps it would be poetic justice if some other religious extremist made his paranoid fantasies come true and went ahead and made Jones a martyr. But I wouldn’t wish for that because that would be wrong. Unfortunately, while Jones pulls his stupid stunts that get other people in other parts of the world killed, he is allowed to drive around shooting the floorboards of cars by accident.

Albert Fish (2007): Film by John Borowski

I watched “Albert Fish,” a film by John Borowski about the American cannibal and serial killer (upon whom characters like Hannibal Lecter of “Silence of the Lambs” are supposedly based).

Albert Fish (1870-1936) was a traveling house painter who claimed to have killed and/or molested children in every US state after he was caught. He was sentenced to death and executed in the electric chair for the murder of a young girl, Grace Budd, in 1928. The exact extent of his crimes are not known.

The film uses documentary film clips (many of which, based on my observation of the vehicles, are actually from the 1940s and 1950s rather than Fish’s era), photographs, interviews and re-enactments of portions of Fish’s crimes as well as dramatizations of visions that Fish claims to have (or might have had). Since Fish was into some pretty sick stuff (coprophilia, urophilia, pedophilia and masochism), these clips are thankfully less than explicit, but the production value of the film is on the low end. Other than some scenes like closeups of a whip hitting a boy’s buttocks, some fake blood and the actor who portrayed Fish drinking blood and eating a piece of what looks like raw flesh from the arm of an actor portraying Jesus Christ (a dramatization of the theme of one of Fish’s religious fascinations that may have led to his cannibalism), the visual content of the film is not overly strong, but the storys told and the letters from Fish, in which he describes his crimes are pretty gruesome.

The film features some interviews with Katherine Ramsland who speaks at some length as to what she thinks might have motivated Albert Fish to commit these crimes. Ramsland is apparently a ‘true crime’ author and a writer of books and articles on the supernatural. I found it humorous that as she was interviewed, I could see a shelf of books over her shoulder upon which, prominently displayed, was “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Criminal Investigation.” Seeing that book did not make me find her arguements more persuasive.