Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear President Obama,

I would like to make several points about passing a healthcare reform bill in this letter.  Most importantly, early polls showed that 65% of Americans want healthcare reform.  However, recent polling shows support to be failing.  The drop in support is due to the wild accusations concerning death panels that would discriminate against any or all of the following; the elderly, Republicans, Democrats, children, the disabled, pregnant mothers.  You name it, the wingnuts will stop at nothing.  The startling thing is that so many of us are listening to them. Additionally, I would like to make the following observations.

1. Republicans don’t want you to be successful doing anything, and they are willing to go to any length to prevent any success whatsoever.  In fact some have made it clear they would rather see you dead!
2. Healthcare compromise is impossible under such conditions.
3. Do not seek more compromise with Republicans – Instead concentrate within the Democratic Party on those darn Blue Dogs.
4. The Public Option is essential to Public Healthcare Reform!
5. Senator Snowe’s proposal to remove the Public Option, put it on hold (so to speak) to be used only if private companies don’t provide meaningful reform just makes the entire situation so much more complex.
6. No other Republicans will accept Senator Snow’s proposal because they do not want you to succeed.
7. The Baucus Bill represents a gift to the drug and insurance companies, not the American people.

I personally am fed up with the healthcare impasse.  I am angry, and granted my anger is preventing a logical approach to the situation.  However, I firmly believe that at this point you must put every effort forth with fellow Democrats to get everyone on board, including the Blue Dogs, and forget Republicans.  I will gladly scream at public meetings when I can be present in Florida to do so, and I will be after November 19th.  I have jury duty.  However, the chances are I’ll be in for one day and out.  Then I’m free to raise (BLEEP)!

Yes, continue to seek compromise, but behind the headlines (If you haven’t already), please start applying the Monroe via Roosevelt BIG STICK to domestic issues and to our own politicians.


Dr. John Bittinger Klomp

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reception Theory: The Three Positions for Interacting with Art Work Continued


“Multiple Toggle Switch Panel”

*2 The Betrayal of Images, Rene Magritte (1928-9)

Five days ago I discussed the three positions; artist, viewer, culture
, in relation to Michael Anne Holly’s book  Past Looking:  Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image (1997).  Holly is a proponent of  reception theory and she compares and contrasts the various forms of reception theory in her book.   Today I continue with the comparison of these theories.

First, Jauss’ reception history, in which an “explicit reader”  reads the historic text through the author’s use of jargon, conditions, and concepts from within his/her culture as signifiers to cue the reader’s perceptions of the art object/literature.   Is it a purposeful technique used by the author?  Holly carefully avoided such an implication.  Secondly, she described Iser’s “implicit reader”, a “fabrication of the text” itself (Holly 201).  The implicit reader allows the recipient of the text, “me”,  the first person singular, to give up my anchor to my present cultural conditioning, a possibility that many a cultural theoretician would claim is difficult if not impossible.  Holly stated that the expurgation of the reader’s current cultural anchor can be accomplished because of, “The looming presence of the work of art, with its own controlling expectations of its implicit reader’s role, cast[ing] a long shadow across the receiver’s horizon of expectations” (Holly 200).  She had previously defined “horizon of expectations” as “a stage set” constructed by each reader that transmogrifies as it migrates through time.  She enlarged upon the visual properties of the horizon of expectations by emphasizing Iser’s philosophical antecedents in phenomenology, specifically, Husserl and Gadamer, and opposed it to the more thoroughly developed notion of mis en abyme  of Foucault.  Thus, this mechanism of intercepting entities, explicit or implicit, whether constructed by the reader, the art object, or the time and place in which the “looming presence” of the art object was located  provided for the restoration of the creative act to fundamental importance. 

Because Holly chose the word “looming”  she implied a predetermining presence of the art work.  Among the possible synonyms for looming are the words; impending, approach, and make up.  “Impending,”  from the Latin pendere means to hang, weigh, or pay.  According to such a definition, a strange reversal of the idea of consumption, the viewer receives payment, cash, from the object produced rather than paying for it. The noun “pendant,” also derived from the Latin pendere implies an image of the artist’s intent dangling from a chain that hangs about the viewer’s neck.  The pendant conjures still another image in which the viewer is forced to look at himself / herself in a mirror wearing the art object in order to see the art object.  In this image, the art object becomes the vehicle through which the viewer is able to gain some understanding of himself / herslef.  “Approach,” also by way of Latin, through French, and middle English means to draw near, or, almost the same as. 
Any and/or all of these meanings and images are possibilities, though they all point toward the importance of the act of origination.  Holly herself  unwittingly points toward the originator of the art object as the creative force behind it, and therefor, the most important of the trio of determining positions; artist, viewer/reader, and culture. 

However, I would also posit that all of these meanings and images demonstrate the importance of the art object itself.  It is the switch through which the artist’s intent is conveyed to the viewer who interprets that intent based on his/her position in time and place (culture).  Thus, the artwork is the toggle through which all three currents must flow.

*1 The multiple toggle switch is an image found at the Mosler Auto Website, The use in “The Art of John Bittinger Klomp illustrates an educational article about art criticism, and it is not replaceable with an uncopyrighted or freely copyrighted image of comparable educational value. (09/21/09 9:57 A.M EDT.)

*2 The Betrayal of Images by René Magritte, 1928-9.
This image was restored and enhanced by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009 for Wikipedia..  The use in “The Art of John Bittinger Klomp illustrates an educational article about art criticism, and it is not replaceable with an uncopyrighted or freely copyrighted image of comparable educational value. (09/21/09 9:51 A.M EDT.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Three Positions of Interaction with an Artwork

the artist
the viewer
the culture


I first wrote about Michael Anne Holly’s book, Past Looking:  Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image (1997) in Isaac Stolzfuts Journal in 2004.

Rene Magritte’s painting, “The Human Condition” has a particular relevance to this discussion because it demonstrates Magritte’s understanding of the fluidity of images.

I will be looking at this topic for the next two entries at least.  It is important to understand how the three positions work because Postmodern Reception Theory has granted agency to the viewer/reader of the artwork.  However, as an artist, I am the one who manipulates matter and energy to create the art object.  My position is that the act of creation constructs meaning based on my ideas and intentions, and that a thorough reader is able to partially reconstruct my intent along with his/her own interpretation of the artwork.

Michael Anne Holly is a proponent of  one type of Postmodern Reception Theory and she compares and contrasts the various forms of reception theory in her book  Past Looking:  Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image (1997).  Interestingly, I found the final chapter of her book, to be an abstruse and subliminal attempt to restore both the historical art object and the act of creation to primacy, whether or not Holly recognized that fact.  This attempt was hidden within a complicated explication of the related work of Hans Robert Jauss, and Wolfgang Iser in which Holly’s stated objective (the opposite of the hidden agenda) was to describe the importance of the “reception” of the art object in the present.  The hidden metatheoretical game attempted to circumvent the postmodern reliance upon the reader of the text, though Holly appeared to be perfectly comfortable with that reliance.  Holly had also described the act of signing the artwork as the act of giving up all privilege and ownership to the receiver of that object.   But, ironically, she provided a comparative analysis of reception aesthetics that returned the power of the work to its production in history through its interception by a fictitious reader, that is anchored in the art object’s historical inception.

To Be Continued

*1  The image, “toggle”, is located at MSC Industrial Supply Company Website, “,”  (9/15/09: 11:45 P.M., EDT.) or *1 The image above was found at, (01/14/04:6:42 A.M EST.)

*2  The Human Condition by RenĂ© Magritte, 1935.
The University of Hong Kong, represents the complete work, and is a low  resolution image.  The use in “The Art of John Bittinger Klomp illustrates an educational article about art criticism, and it is not replaceable with an uncopyrighted or freely copyrighted image of comparable educational value. (09/15/09 9:50A.M EDT.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

September Eleventh – My Birthday

I believe that we must protect ourselves from terrorism. However, our definition of terrorism is too narrow. Terrorism does not reside in a single country. It is not just al Qaeda, though that is the most recent brand of terrorism that we in America focus on for justifiable reason. Terrorism resides within, and terrorism resides without. As Jesus said, and I'm paraphrasing, because his exact words are two thousand years old, and several languages removed, "cast out the plank in your own eye before you attempt to remove the splinter from your brother’s."*
Okay, the preamble is over, and I move on to my (sort of okay) attempt at poetry.

Nine Eleven Again - My Birthday

2009 - stormy morning and
Double capitalist phallus
No more.

2001 – brilliant azure and
Mighty towers stand and
The hell pirates create angels and
declare war in the name of God!

Almost three-thousand dead;
Americans and
Don't forget
All those other
Citizens of this Earth -
No more.

Now 65 year-old Medicare man -
Just like Isaac saw it,
I saw it,
Religious jihad -
Again, I listen and watch the nightmare unfold!

Not like Isaac!
No grandchildren at my feet
No son and daughter in the next room
My America forbade marriage and children.
She still fights to save herself from my people.

My heart,
Full bloom American Beauty
Petals and drop of blood,
Crystalline light – flash!
Preamble to black clouds and soot.

Just as those who were lost are hers –
So are we…
Sons and daughters,
Brothers and sisters,
Husbands and wives as well,
Unable to be!

Eight years later –
America sends sons and daughters
To their deaths!
Don’t ask, don’t tell!

We are all God’s children!
The Muslim jihadist, the Christian crusader
Gay, straight
Democrat, Republican
Capitalist, Communist
Woman, man
Black, white
Home, other
East, West
Worldwide centrist and opposition mythology!

Fear, nothing but fear
Where love should be!
Three thousand dead -
No. Not three thousand, but
Three thousand and Thirteen hundred thousand Iraqis dead!
How many thousands more in Afghanistan?
And, Over five-thousand more of our own sons and daughters

No more!

Though towers no longer stand!
al Qaeda still stands!
All of you,
We are all to blame!


*Yes, I reversed the order of splinter and plank.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Illegal President Obama’s Speech to our nation’s school children will turn our children into socialists or worse, COMMUNISTS!

Chapter 2 of Gullible’s Travels: Conspiracy

I’ve just tuned in to Hlushbrimgual 3-2 of Digitanus (Universe V3.5) who is speaking in the bigit's most august political chamber (known as the Pot). Thus, Hlushbrimgual is known as a bigit Pottor. Unfortunately, when I tune in to Digitanus, I actually perform the evil Pottor, Hlushbrimgual, and currently, he is railing against the king of Digitanus who he claims is an imposter from another universe (V 3.6).

And, next week, after our worker’s holiday, when your bigit children return to their lessons, they will be brainwashed by your king as he speaks directly to all the children of Digitanus through the instruction computer system. In fact, he has designed software that will allow his speech to turn your bigit children into those lowly tripatiums, or even worse, quadigits. As to tripatium and quadigit children - well, their fate will be even worse. They will be reprogrammed as the idiot human beings from the United States of planet Earth (Universe V0.1). I do not hesitate to tell you that you should destroy your children’s instruction computers immediately, and do not, I repeat, do not allow your children near any household computer after the worker’s holiday.

Darn, that’s upsetting! The bigits of Digitanus think Americans in our Universe are lower than the lowest of their own kind. In short, we are lower than pond scum!

Friday, September 4, 2009

CNN Poll Results

A new CNN poll shows that the Republican Party strategy of NEVER COMPROMISE ON ANYTHING with Democrats, and malign President Obama with “birther” and “Death Squad” rumors, and complaints about almost everything he does including conspiracy theory about speeches not yet given is working. While the President and Democratic Party in general are still the more popular, they have lost significant points since May; the president 13, the Democrats 5. The specific question (and I’m paraphrasing) asked whether the country is being moved in the correct direction by ___________________. Fill in the blank with any of the following; President Obama, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party.

Thus, the policy of don't compromise or agree on anything, rumor mongering and outright LIES works as a practice to convince the brilliant middle class (and I am middle class) and working class citizens of our country to return to the rich corporate Republican and totally right wing nut dominated fold.

I Love it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Placebo Effect and the Healthcare Debate

An Artist’s Gut Reaction

I was trudging away on the elliptical machine at the gym as I watched the huge flat screen TVs suspended above and in front of the rows of machines. As usual, the screen in front of my machine was tuned to CNBC, the investment news channel, and the text for the mouth flapping talking heads scrolled across the screen. It was all about the drug companies panic over the placebo effect. The pundits said that many of the drug trials during the past ten years showed the placebo to often be as effective as the actual medication being tested. Why?

The talking head explanation was that the doctor/patient relationship isn’t thorough enough.


Non sequitur!

My initial reaction – "that’s ridiculous" – was also totally inadequate. So, what is the actual explanation for the placebo effect, and why were the talking heads so far off base with their stupid elucidation - Oh, yes, or the lack thereof? My supposition is that these investment gurus are Republicans, and Republican Power wishes to blame everything and anything for the placebo effect. Everything except BIG MONEY, INSURANCE COMPANIES, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES and their RICH money giving JOHNS” (Yes, I am indicating that the rich and powerful in the Republican Party, are like prostitutes.)
I think a doctoral dissertation might begin to deal with why the flapping mouthed pundits had it so wrong. However, I will attempt an extremely brief explanation from my artist’s emotional perception of such things.

There you have it. My artist’s emotional reaction and answer, and I know I’m correct. I understand the basics behind such an inadequate explanation on the part of the know-it-all investment pundits on CNBC.

Those mouth flapping talking heads just can't admit the real problem here. That is that the drug companies covered up the placibo effect for over 10 years because they want to make money, and they are paying our Republican Senators and Congressmen to block the healthcare legislation to protect themselves.

They don't ever want to find out how to make the placebo effect work for the patient!