Stuff I Liked this Week

I love this work by photographer Freddy Fabris. He replicated Renaissance paintings in an auto shop in the Midwest. Forgive the Bored Panda link, it’s is the easiest place to view the photos because the photographer’s site is kinda tricky to use. Never mind — the work is gorgeous and funny and hey, never underestimate the value of a good mechanic.

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I’ll just stay it: I think branding any kind of travel as eco or green or is bullshit. The carbon footprint of arriving to some of these far off places alone, many of them by cruise ship, well, hell. I flew from Seattle to Ushuaia to board a diesel fueled ship that was provisioned with people and gear and food that arrived the same way, by plane and then, off we went, a self contained fuel burning monster…

I won’t say you shouldn’t do this kind of tourism, I refuse to engage in “I’ve seen it, now they should save it for posterity” nonsense, but rare is the operator who is truly green or eco or some third branding term that can guarantee a carbon neutral travel experience.

Can we just call it tourism, not eco or green or some other marketing garbage? Because that’s what it is, and it’s no more ecologically sound than your trip to Paris. This excellent read by Roy Scranton tackles some of the tension in green/adventure/eco travel and offers no easy answers.

Ecotourism, adventure tourism, expedition tourism, call it what you will: Wilderness-oriented group tours remain an ethically dubious proposition. Built on and often glorifying a tradition of brutal, racialized colonial domination, adventure tourism restages the white-supremacist conquest of “nature” and “natives” as a carefully controlled consumer encounter with “pristine wilderness” and “indigenous cultures.” And while it’s nowhere near as violent as the heritage it celebrates, it cannot help but change the places and people it objectifies as “experiences,” in ways both obvious and subtle.

Roy Scranton on The Nation:  What I Learned on a Luxury Cruise Through the Global-Warming Apocalypse

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I enjoy that friends are associating me with both Wil Wheaton’s remarks about the Huffington Post and the Oatmeal’s comic on the topic of working for “exposure,” after all, I’ve been grinding that ax for a decade now, perhaps longer. But rather than thinking of me when you see those things, I would ask that you think of the graphic designer, writer, conference speaker, anyone you know who’s involved in creative work of any kind and telling themselves they need these exploitative platforms in order to launch their careers. This is simply not true, even in today’s ultra-competitive market. Pelt them with those links, wouldja? They need to see that stuff, I’m good.

My advice? Laugh loudly when you’re offered “exposure” in any context before asking the person offering “exposure” what they’re getting paid. Don’t make me roll up this chart and whack you over the nose with it.

Exposure. Bah. You’ve gotta be kidding me.

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I’m the proud owner of the original art (right) on the cover of Twelve Saints. The book is a collaboration between two Seattle friends of mine, poet Knox Gardner and artist Nia Michaels. The piece I own is glorious —  it’s St. Ambrose, the patron saint of beekeepers. My husband saw this while it was in progress and knowing my fondness for bees (and honey), bought it for me as a birthday gift.

You can get a copy of the book here and see more of Nia’s work here.

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2 thoughts on “Stuff I Liked this Week

  1. I’ve been wielding the whole pay-the-writer ax for more than a decade now…long before I started a blog…I was (and still consider myself) a writer before I was a “blogger” creating “content”. I distinctly remember saying (in response to folks who thought maybe I should write for the local newspaper for free because it was a part-time gig for me at the time) that I disagreed with that thought. It wasn’t my job to make the paper’s publisher rich, it wasn’t my job to depress the market prices by competing with folks who really needed the money they could earn from writing by writing and reporting for free, and it was my work and I deserved to be compensated for it. The platforms where my writing appears are quite different than they were 20 years ago, but my attitude about compensation really remains the same.

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