Topic: In these times...
No detailed commentary today. It was a day for driving around Los Angeles and taking photographs for this weekend's Just Above Sunset, the magazine-format parent site to this daily web log. And it was Miles Davis' eightieth birthday, so at Just Above Sunset Photography there's this, some words on his life and his music, and a photo of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and two shots of what's right there with the star. It seemed like the right thing to do on his birthday.
But then, while driving around, you snap something that's just political commentary in and of itself. Below? In Marina del Rey, the underclass illustrated at the yard where they sell and service extraordinarily expensive yachts. It's so California, the rich above, and the Hispanic workers below, having lunch. All as it should be, or something.
And it's Memorial Day weekend. It used to be Decoration Day, a day to commemorate the men and women who died in military service for this country. It began as a holiday to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War, but after the First World War it was expanded to include anyone who died in any war or military action. The Veterans Memorial Park in Westwood, just west of UCLA, is crowded now. Below you see just a fraction of the grounds Friday morning. The photo is from nine in the morning. Deep marine layer with ground fog. The holiday begins.
Can we return to peaceful times, the good old days when we weren't at war? No. We always were at war somewhere or other. The pauses were anomalies, and they were brief. The contention that peace is that natural state of man is simply false. It's the exception. The evidence, all of history, proves it. Below is just some visual evidence.
But to be clear, this is not to say it is Americans, unfortunately, that can be best be defined by war - that's what we Americans do. Every nation is the same, every people. We're not exceptional, nor exceptionally bellicose. Man can be defined as the species that wars. It's what we do. You can glorify it. You can be sad. It hardly matters. Every nation and every people make war to define who they are, and who they are not. It gives us meaning. What else does?
A final shot, tourists on Hollywood Boulevard as Memorial Day weekend begins. Flashy patriotism meets tacky commerce. America.