All posts tagged: new orleans

Bienvenue a Perpignan! / Bienvengut a Perpinya! / Welcome to Perpignan!

They all say the same thing, the first in French, the second in Catalan and lastly English, perhaps the most useless of the languages accept for this week during Visa Pour L’image, as English maintains its credibility as the language of international media still. It is my first trip to the city, to the south of France (previous trips to the country have taken me only to Paris and Bretagne, where my dearest and oldest friend claims deep ancestral roots and where half of her family resides) and to the annual photojournalism festival, likely and perhaps the biggest in the world in its 23rd year. An editor once confided quite privately that the media was so late to catch the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and project images of the destruction of New Orleans worldwide not because President George W. Bush’s response left much to be desired but because the photo editors were on a working vacation in this city, Perpignan in the south of France. In other words, even if you think this annual gathering …

From the Archive: The United States of AmeriKitsch

* “Kitsch is the inability to admit that shit exists.” – Milan Kundera Kitsch has the potential to unite all people, irrespective of culture, background, or elitist pretensions. Objects we acquire or accumulate have no meaning until we provide it. The uses for kitsch are infinite. Milan Kundera notes that kitsch is not just the “inability to admit that shit exists,” but also it is the natural aesthetic of all politicians. Last fall in a video interview for Fortnight Journal, I suggested that kitsch might just outlive us all – even the politicians. Yet most moments of pure kitsch happen far away from electoral politics, geopolitics, and the global spotlight. Kitsch injects sentimental into the otherwise mundane. Bob Dylan said “even the President of the United States must have to stand naked,” yet how naked can you be when your person has become part of a larger cult of presidential kitsch? Does kitsch protect? As I prepare to leave the USA for a Fulbright grant to Azerbaijan, I thought it was time to look back …