Archive | March, 2012

Arts History Update for late March 2012

25 Mar

Arts History Update for late March 2012 by David Cummins


Whitney Museum of American Art is now offering Whitney Biennial 2012 from March 1 – May 27, 2012. The catalogue is $46 at the Whitney store. So many of a multitude of arts are represented, and a series of performing arts events are scheduled to enhance the experience of attending the Biennial. Madison Avenue near E. 75th Street in the Upper East Side, New York City.




The Frick Collection in New York City has an exhibition Renoir, Impressionism, and Full Length Painting February 7 – May 13, 2012. Only one Promenade (1875-1876) is owned by The Frick, the other eight full-length paintings are borrowed. This was the period in the artist’s career when he was desperately trying to please the Paris Salon art establishment so he set out to reflect the traditional aesthetic. Still, they are masterpieces because he had crossed a line in technique and use of color even though his composition was traditional. One of these is Dance at Bougival (1883) on loan from Boston Museum of Fine Arts. in which a man in yellow hat and shoes, and blue coat and pants, is dancing with a gorgeous young woman in a red hat and pink dress whose face is bent toward the viewer in full sensuous pleasure in the moment. The model was Suzanne Valadon age 18, Renoir’s mistress. She became the mother of Maurice Utrillo 1883 -1955 who was born Maurice Valadon, his father is formally unknown but suspected to be Pierre-Auguste Renoir then a successful 42 year old painter.


These were days when he was painting furiously if not frenetically. His other 1883 paintings include By the Seashore, Umbrellas, Fog at Guernsey, Dance in the City, Children on the Sea Shore at Guernsey, and The Bay at Moulin Huet Seen Through the Trees. E. 70th Street off 5th Avenue in the Upper East Side is the location for The Frick.




The 2011 Texas Legislature, when addressing its budget deficit problems, noticed the Medicaid/CHIP [children’s health insurance program] programs for low income Texans and their children, which all 50 states operate and manage but 90% of the funding comes from the federal government that created the programs, and uniform nationwide standards apply. Those standards are promulgated, issued and enforced by U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. See the very recent enactment of rules and regulations interfacing Medicare and Medicaid/CHIP with the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010


The Texas Legislature did two very questionable things in 2011. It reduced state funding for Medicaid/CHIP which automatically reduces federal matching funds in nine times the amount of the state reduction. Even before the reduction, Texans eligible for Medicaid/CHIP were not fully served because there were insufficient funds from Texas and the federal government to serve all eligible Texans. The second thing it did is legislate that under Medicaid/CHIP in Texas there could be no access to abortion services under the Women and Children benefits program. This was known at the time to be inconsistent with federal law, both statutory and regulatory, but the Texas legislature has consistently refused to accept the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, even though on several occasions that court has been given an opportunity to overrule or repudiate that decision and has chosen to continue it and its effectiveness. Pew Research Group reports on survey that over 70% of Americans approve a pregnant woman having the right to end an early pregnancy by abortion, and more than that percentage approve if only women are counted. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) may be read at


U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services warned the State of Texas that under its new statute forbidding abortion services to Texans, the Texas Medicaid/CHIP women and children program would no longer be uniform within the nationwide system and so would be stopped as being out of compliance. The governor and legislative budget board, that have interim legislative authority when the Legislature is not in session, chose to do nothing in response to that warning. The effective date of the new Texas legislation March 14, 2012 arrived and U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped the Texas Medicaid/CHIP program. Texas Attorney General Abbot announced on Friday March 16, 2012 that he is filing a lawsuit against U.S. Department of Health & Human Services asking the court to order the agency to continue the Medicaid/CHIP programs including the proscription on abortions in Texas.


Only Texas legislatively proscribes abortions in Medicaid/CHIP, none of the other states, even several states on record as generally opposing abortion, because all states know there is a Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution that makes federal law that is applicable nationally, trump a single state’s contrary law.


The Texas Legislature, Governor, and Attorney General are thus saving the state a great many dollars, by temporarily bringing all state financing of Medicaid/CHIP to an end, but at what cost? Misery and lack of access to medical care by low income Texans and their children? This already under-served group of vulnerable Texans is being held up as a showcase prize in a charade of political grandstanding by elected officials. There is a real health care crisis in America, including Texas, but this additional crisis is manufactured by the Texas Legislature, Governor, and Attorney General.


Is this a game of “Political Chicken” where Texas officials think that the federal agency will back down and carve out an exception for Texas in Medicaid/CHIP services? Or do Texas officials think that some federal district court will enjoin the federal agency to continue its funding despite the Texas proscription on abortion services? These are not likely outcomes, from my non-political perspective. Or are Texas officials ready to back down themselves, proclaiming themselves as guardians of Texas “pro-life” values who were overwhelmed by “the big bad federal government operated by a political party not favored by most Texans”? Are they just attempting to gain unpurchased media publicity that tells the electorate that one candidate or set of candidates is “anti-life” and another “pro-life”?


What will providers of health care in Texas do? Frankly, most physicians, clinics, hospitals, laboratories, etc. are too busy providing health care to follow closely or pay attention to political grandstanding. But when these health care providers serve a Texan under the Medicaid/CHIP program and submit a bill to the state of Texas, and are informed that it won’t be paid, that’s when the rubber meets the road. That’s only a few months from now, folks. Do Texas officials have a fall back position of issuing warrants [contingent promise to pay instruments, that are not legal tender] to health care providers? Would health care providers gladly accept those warrants, put them in a drawer, and wait for the contingency to occur at some later time? I think not. Health care providers probably will post a sign on their doors that Texas has stopped paying for Medicaid/CHIP and until the state changes its position, those patients will not be cared for. It won’t be a week before the first fatality occurs because of non-treatment of a serious condition.


Even later, when the ship is righted and appropriate management of financing is resumed, some health care providers who formerly participated in Medicaid/CHIP will not resume their participation. Texas Medicaid/CHIP will be weaned from a group of providers, thus harming low income Texans permanently.


Is blood in the streets the end game for Texas political officials? If it is, we may see that play out in an alternative scenario of throwing out of office those Texas officials who use their offices to play that end game.




Vivian Cooke, age 80, long-time artist and art educator, died on Friday March 16, 2012. She was admired by many for her personal and artistic attributes. In October 2010 she graciously appeared at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and 23rd Street to speak to a touring busload of people who arrived to admire her Wall of Inspiration (2000) mural. Here’s a photo Within a short distance away is her bronze statuary Sandlot Player (2005) in front of Mae Simmons Community Center . Her concrete statuary A Golden Day (2011) was installed in the baby land section of Lubbock City Cemetery.




Nescio [in Latin “I don’t know”] was the pseudonym of author Jan Hendrik Frederick “Frits” Gronloh 1882 – 1961. He was a businessman, finally director of the Holland-Bombay Trading Company. He used a pseudonym when writing critically of bourgeois business activity, so as not to endanger his business profession and career. As a young man he was given to the ideal of utopian socialism and joined a commune. It failed. A longing for that kind of life appears in his three novels and some of his short stories.


Nescio, Amsterdam Stories (earliest from 1918 to as late as 1942, first published in 1942 in Dutch) (English transl. Damion Searls, New York Review of Books Classics, March 20, 2012) is $10.76 in paperback at Very favorably reviewed at several places including


Stephanie Vaughn, Sweet Talk (Random House 1990) is a collection of ten short stories that is now republished (Other Press 2012) and favorably received again. $10.17 in paperback.




Want to attend an astronomical observation at Lubbock Lake Landmark on May 20, 2012? An annular solar eclipse will start in Asia, curve up to the Aleutian Islands, and then back down through the Pacific Northwest to end in Lubbock at sunset. Here’s the arc of the eclipse as it can be seen in the United States. People in Lubbock and Midland are planning their “star party” observations and celebrations. The South Plains Astronomy Club is planning this event and invites the public to join in. Tom Heisey is a Club spokesman and you may contact him for more information


People in Dallas and farther east and north in the United States cannot see this eclipse. Is this another of those “Lucky Me I Live in Lubbock” events?












Arts History Update for just past mid March 2012

18 Mar

Arts History Update for just past mid March 2012 by David Cummins


Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced on March 10, 2012 that his office sent a representative to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Cuba and negotiated with five prisoners who have agreed to be transferred to Qatar. One assumes that Qatar had in advance agreed to take these prisoners and release them within their borders. Qatar is not the country of citizenship or previous residence for any of the five prisoners.


This is further evidence that the Obama Administration wants to wind down and close Camp Delta and to that end has encouraged countries to step up and admit these people. These particular prisoners have been in captivity for ten years and are regarded as “most dangerous” but their names have not been disclosed yet. Qatar is located on the Persian Gulf near United Arab Emirates.


The next news we will hear on this will be after they have been transported and released. What we hope is that this transaction will go smoothly and without incident such as a rearrest or reprisal. If it does go smoothly we can expect a series of additional transportations and closure of Camp Delta.





Dale Chihuly assisted in curating the exhibition of his glass art at Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It runs through April 8, 2012 and is titled Chihuly: Northwest in recognition of his home ground and the fact that there are many northwest Native American cultural influences for his entire body of work, and most especially the glass baskets on display. Included with the body of the exhibit from elsewhere, is the museum’s own collection of Chihuly pieces titled Illuminations: Rediscovering the Art of Dale Chihuly Collection. This is a rare opportunity to see a large body of Chihuly pieces presented in a distinctinve and revelatory manner. 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City phone 405-236-3100


Top off the trip by a short drive to Norman Oklahoma and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on campus at the University of Oklahoma, highlighted by the new Stuart Wing and a repository for the famed Adkins Collection. About two days will give you a good introduction to the marvels of this location, and put it on your future itineraries.


Want to take the Grand Tour? Return to Lubbock by going south and west through Fort Worth Texas and the Kimbell Art Museum viewing some original French impressionist paintings we’ve all seen in books, photographs and digital images but hadn’t expected in our lifetimes to see as original paintings. The Age of Impressionisim: Great French Paintings from the Clark March 11 – June 17, 2012. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institue in Williamstown Massachusetts is known for its holdings of French Impressionist painting, anchored by over thirty works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The international traveling exhibit from the Clark includes twenty-one by Renoir, four by Edgar Degas, two by Edouard Manet, six by Claude Monet, two by Berthe Morisot, seven by Camille Pissarro, one by Paul Gaugin and four by Alfred Sisley. There are others.


Sterling Clark was an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. He and his wife Francine collected from the 1910s through the 1950s and founded the Clark Art Institute in 1955 to showcase their collection. Adequately funded, the Institute has added to the collection since and is currently undergoing a physical renovation and expansion which is the occasion for not putting these paintings into storage but rather letting them travel from 2011 – 2014. Venues include locations in France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, China and the only venue in the United States is the Kimbell. The 240 page catalogue features an essay by James A. Ganz on the life of and collecting by Sterling Clark, and another by Richard R. Brettell on the Clarks in relation to other great American collectors in the early 20th century.




Browsers for a Microsoft Windows PC include:


Microsoft Internet Explorer

Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

Apple Safari [works on a Microsoft Windows PC operating system]


Netscape Navigator, and a host of others


One reason why I continue to mention this is that, the most often used entry for viruses and malware is by way of your computer’s browser. It is also the most difficult thing for software designers and maintainers to continually keep clean and free from unwanted miscreants, the bad guys on the digital block. The consequence is that while Microsoft Internet Explorer is a top of the line excellent browser, if you’ve had trouble with viruses and malware or are quite averse to it, it might be a good option to go to using another browser and greatly reduce chances of your being infected in the future. The next five or six browsers are so good that you might not notice or miss leaving Internet Explorer.


Search Engines is another topic and choice you might consider or reconsider as things are changing in this digital age. Remember that search engines are an important income driver for selling advertising opportunities to companies who want access to …………… [drum roll] …… you !!!


Google invented Android operating system, and more, but its largest income producer by far is its Google Internet Search Engine. A recent poll says 84% of Internet users prefer it over its competitors such as Yahoo Search Engine [includes AltaVista], Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine,, Ask [includes Lycos], Dogpile and others Why do we want to visit this topic? Because search engines can create a mini-database of Internet website access by each individual IP address, and can then alert advertisers to that IP address as a likely market for the advertisers’ products. Did it ever cross your mind as to how it gradually has occurred that you see ads on your monitor from online places similar to where you’ve previously shopped or purchased an item? That’s an outcome of the search engine selling an advertiser your IP address. Google advertising gross revenue in 2011 was $36 billion so this is very large business indeed.


Most computer users don’t really want a search engine to sift through the user’s surfing habits on the Internet or his/her shopping habits or his/her purchasing habits, and sell that information to companies that market products. Google has been doing this for a long time. In January 2012 it began pulling information on computer users from its social networking service Plus and sending it to its Search Engine where it is relayed on to companies that market products.


Of course Facebook, the premier social networking service, has been selling information about its members to companies that market products since the inception of Facebook. It was designed by Mark Zuckerberg for this purpose and made him a billionaire. You may not think of yourself as an oil or gas deposit, but you’ve been mined.


There is no way for us to avoid our Internet usage being monitored archived and sold to companies. As long as all they do with that information is create and beam advertising to us, there is probably no great harm done, and we may rest easy at night without fearing Big Brother watching over us. But you can toggle your display of webpages so as to automatically delete most advertising that pops up on the page. Of course the fact that you are doing that, is itself monitored and archived by the search engine that is not happy that you are making yourself less valuable as an item the search engine wants to sell to companies that advertise.


How you toggle depends on which browser you use. In Microsoft Internet Explorer click the Start menu on your PC, then click Internet Explorer and it will open. Then click Tools at the top of the screen. Choose Pop Up Blocker from the list. Click Turn On Pop-up Blocker. Exit. The browser will now delete any subsequent pop-up advertisements that try to appear on your accessed web pages. But some pop-up advertisements are associated with web information so here’s how you block those as well and get even more advertisments off your accessed web pages. Click “Start.” Type “Popups” in the Search box and press “Enter.” This opens a properties window. Click the check box next to Turn on Pop-Up Blocker. Click on the Settings button. At Blocking Level in the drop down menu click the level of blocking you want which may be “high”, realizing that Internet Explorer’s default level is “medium”. Click High. Click Close button. Click OK to close. That will not achieve a universal blocking of all advertisements and advertisers continue to design in opposition to your efforts, but a 90% or greater reduction in advertising on your accessed web pages may please you.


On your computer is a history of the websites you’ve visited. To make sure a hacker doesn’t see that, or another person with whom you share the computer, you can erase your history. Click start. Go to settings. Click control panel. Double click Internet Options. Open general tab. History Box will have a Clear History tab. Click on it. When it asks if you want to delete all items in the History Folder, click OK. Click OK at the bottom of the general box in order to exit.




Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a photography exhibit Feb 19 – May 13, 2012 The Sports Show. For a dynamic activity like sports, photography has been uniquely capable of recording the unrepeatable and most significant moments in sports performance. This exhibit is not about that. It’s about the social political and cultural significance of sports activity performed for very large audiences.


Who cany deny that significance, when the Super Bowl in professional football is watched live [well, not in person but in real time on television at a distance] by 50 million viewers, some who have rarely seen a football game. And in a given year, the post-game story that leads may be a halftime entertainer’s risque or unexpected behavior rather than anything a team accomplished. What’s going on, when in the public mind a pinnacle of sport is offered and people respond by being part of that event. Who can deny that there is a significant difference between attending a sport event and watching it on television? Indeed the television audience is so catered to that it is offered so much that a live attendee doesn’t get to see or even know that it is being offered, that the sport venues have rigged the seats and interior gathering spaces of the location so that the attending crowd may also enjoy the television experience of watching the sporting event.


Sport in the public domain is thus a cultural phenomena, and this exhibit by photographs records that Some photos ask us to recognize the quality of sport as a distraction to let people defer or avoid dealing with more direct issues in their lives. Sport presents elusive goals or objectives. Some Jews, who have never been outside New Jersey, say “next year, in Jerusalem”, and some amateur tennis players, even aged ones, say “next year, Wimbledon” because in our mind we see ourselves in a historic internationally significat contest, almost inevitably as winners in that contest. My arms are tired from my dreams of lifting that Wimbledon trophy.


We make light of other people’s nuttiness about sport, but then we catch ourselves roasting and shucking the shell of our own fantasies. Perhaps we are the lucky ones, we only have fantasies on demand, whereas folks like Mickey Mantle lived in a fantasy world not of their own making or liking, simply because they are so good at play. Mickey like many others couldn’t and didn’t want to cavort in that fantasy world so he drowned himself in whiskey bottles. I remember vividly a photograph of middle-aged Mantle, flesh limpid and sloughing, eyes glazed, intent on nothing more than accessing the next bottle. He was just one of the boys of Summer but commerce thrust him into a lifestyle not of his choosing and he rebelled and became self-destructive. How can it be that we pity the super-star? We want to be him, but perhaps not all of him.


I recall another photograph, of the battle over cryogenic storage of body parts of Ted Williams so that at some time in the future he himself could return for another swat with the bat, when science regenerates a cadaver. Is this that familiar phenomenon, too much is not enough?








Arts History Update for mid March 2012

8 Mar

Arts History Update for mid March 2012 by David Cummins


Many of us love to be outdoors, especially in the invigorating but challenging Spring when temperatures and chilling are so fluctuating. “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir




Postmodernism Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990 is a recently concluded exhibition September 24, 2011 – January 15, 2012 at Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design, London England. The catalogue edited by Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt (V&A Publishing 2011) is $72.56 at or at Texas Tech Library stacks at OVERSZ NX456.5.P66 P673.


The art world couldn’t quite come to grips with contemporary art in the late 1960s and 1970s, and knew it was no longer an extension of modernism but something in the nature of a repulsion against it. Not knowing what it was, the name postmodernism or after modernism was given to it as a whole without further attempt to clarify what was meant by that word or thought. By the 1990s it had played itself out, and most of the art world sighed with relief. You would have thought we could at least then look back and name that style of art, but it would not be. It was an anything goes period and anything went.


The exhibition above is as good as any in illustrating the wearing quality of postmodernism, and many attendees must have been worn out long before seeing it all. Characteristics of postmodernism might include:


  • reflexivity
  • contradiction
  • eclecticism
  • ironic and not entirely respectful awareness of the past
  • a blurred collage
  • a disinclination to equate truth with beauty
  • wilful disregard for established cultural hierarchies
  • a thought that good taste may or may not mean something


The word postmodern is widely and lazily used today, often with the connotation of a set of miseries. “It’s so postmodern” may mean to the speaker nothing more than that something contrary or perverse has happened.


We can do better by applying some analysis.


  • Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (Museum of Modern Art 1966) (2d ed. 1977) (reissued 2008) Texas Tech Architecture Library OVERSZ NA2760.V46.
  • Robert Venturi, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (MIT Press 1977) Architecture Library NA735.L3 V4
  • the 1954 Pruitt-Igoe modernist housing project in St Louis Missouri was destroyed by implosion in 1972


Everyone knew that new relationships were being drawn between the arts and commerce, between technology and the creative impulse, between the body and the world, and between the different tribes and cultures that populate the world. A reordering was taking place artistically as well as geo-politically in order to prevail during a Cold War tension that might last many years. Yet everyone did not know what the new order would be, and saw it to be standardless and so expected and received disorder. We called it postmodernism.


The exhibit shows many pieces that simply aren’t very good by today’s standards. Almost all the pieces lack the quality of aesthetics. The construct of individual parts is often represented but in elemental form whereas today we see a collage or montage completed as an integration often by a fluid technique. There was an atavistic or immature quality about postmodernist art. One questioned if these people really knew their art, and when they blared that there are no standards, we didn’t believe them and refused to purchase their standardless pieces. We’ve been confirmed in that posture. We didn’t accept and don’t now accept the subversion characteristic within the postmodern. The postmodern artists didn’t pay their dues, and the artists who simultaneously tried to revive and renew and extend modernism, especially in its abstractions, gained our attention and our purchases for collections.


One of the most telling critiques of postmodernism is our response “why is so much obsolete, and obsolete so quickly?”. Monet’s Sunrise is not obsolete 140 years on and counting.,_Sunrise is a 12 minute video of the exhibition and an article on it.


One of the great benefits we derived from postmodernism is that it opened up multi-culturalism, and our canons of art derived from European art experiences became a restrictive way of looking at the world. As we saw so much more art and new art from other places and cultures we were even amused to notice that such locations and peoples had canons of art of their own. I felt like a hillbilly saying “who would’ve thunk it?” One of the readers of Updates recently mentioned to me her thoughts about how the arrival of African masks in Paris caused Picasso, Braque and Modigliani to respond with cubist and expressionist works that amazed and delighted us. Today we want to compare African masks of 1910 with those of 2012 because we know that African art and design culture is as alive and dynamic as any other in the world.


Pluralist societies in America and other countries have become pluralist in their art appreciation and in the way they experience art. Today my hillbilly says “is the whole world really my personal oyster?”.




Liza Muse and the School of Music at Texas Tech University keep improving the music appreciation experience for us. Now the website puts the printed program for a concert or other event on the website as a pdf file. Now don’t expect this to happen days before a concert so that you would know in advance what would be played or sung. At some events when I’ve stepped in the door at Hemmle Recital Hall and received a program, it’s been warm because it’s hot off the press. Here’s the calendar website where you can see which events have an accessible printed program and you can for example read the program for guest artist Steven Mead on February 13, 2012


Some months ago I alerted you to the fact that many events are recorded and those recordings are indicated on the same calendar. Steven Mead’s euphonium concert was recorded. Contact Liza to learn how you can listen to it.




Speaking of printed programs, the program for the annual meeting of West Texas Historical Association on March 30-31, 2012 at Alpine Texas is now online at so you can read who is presenting on what topic at each session throughout the day. And notice that the Thursday March 29 run-up is a trip to Marfa and Hangar 98, The Paisano Hotel and Chinati Foundation, followed by supper at Padre’s. The wind-down Saturday afternoon is a trip and tour of Fort Davis, lunch at the Prude Ranch, and a star party at McDonald Observatory. It doesn’t get much better than this. Registration is open and you are welcome.




Small (thought to be “out of the way”) museums may be a thrilling cultural experience. Carson County Square House Museum in Panhandle Texas is such a place. The museum is really a complex with other historical and significant artifacts elsewhere in town. It’s an entry into earlier life in the panhandle of northwest Texas. Viola Moore is the director. She invites you to experience the local art scene as well. Mike Arp Construction Company in Amarillo is headed by a man with ceramics in his heart and his solo exhibition goes up March 18 – May 31, 2012 with an opening afternoon reception on Sunday March 18 at 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. More information at 806-537-3524.,_Texas Yes, Temple Houston, the legendary Sam Houston’s youngest son, built a home near Panhandle. The rest, as they say, is history.


WikiTravel wants you to know about Panhandle and Square House Museum Four B&B rooms are available at Texan Hotel 117 E. Broadway phone 806-537-3372 a registered historical landmark from 1926, during the oil boom days. It was opened by Clark and Margaret Downs as the Downs Hotel and renamed Texan Hotel upon conveyance in 1932 to J.H. Paul. The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Depot at 200 South Main Street is also a registered historical landmark. It replaced the initial impermanent depot in 1928 and was used through 1971. It became Panhandle’s City Hall in 1985 and is that today. It is one of the last brick exterior depots on the railroad’s western lines, and is a composite of architectural styles, Mission, Tudor Revival, and Prairie School with bracketed overhangs, stepped parapets, and cast iron surrounds for the windows.


Panhandle is on U.S. Highway 60 between Amarillo to the southwest and Pampa to the northeast. Travel 4-12 miles southwest on the highway to Amarillo and stop at the Thomas Cree Homesite. Thadium [Thomas] Cree was a teamster during the Civil War. Later he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1888 he and his wife came to the High Plains and acquired this homesite land. There were no trees from which to derive lumber so he built a dugout home. His wife persuaded him that the place needed a tree, one blessed tree. He traveled 35 miles to find a sapling and brought it back. It grew but did not thrive, due to blizzard, heat and drought, and is long gone. Governor John Connally dedicated a historical marker in 1963 to the Cree Homesite and the first tree in the panhandle area. The Texas Historical Commission installed the marker in 1980. Use your imagination to see the dugout and tree south of the eastbound lanes on Highway 60.




While reading David McCullough’s The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon & Schuster 2011) it was obvious that visitors to that great city experienced outcomes and consequences of French politics and historic life

without knowing what happened outside of their view, or why anything happened, or what its context was within French history. Probably to be expected, so I criticize no one. 19th century Americans weren’t there on a political science or history fellowship.


Am reading Mary McAuliffe, Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends (Rowman and Littlefield Pub. 2011). It is firmly placed within French history and for that reason among others, is very satisfying.


French History by a non-expert


The following is a broad outline and if it implies a tidiness in French history then that implication is totally false, nothing could be more untidy ….


1789 Revolution

  • followed by Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and general chaos at home while engaged in war with Austria and Prussia abroad, and a crowd storming a prison and commiting the September 1792 Massacre that brought matters to a head

1792 – 1804 First Republic

  • National Convention with Maximilien Robespierre 1792 – 1795. Former King Louis XVI guillotined January 1793 former Queen Marie Antoinette guillotined October 1793. Reign of Terror 1793 – 1794
  • Directory with Paul Barras 1795 – 1799
  • Consulate with Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul siezing power by Coup of 18 Brumaire 1799 – 1804 ……… The Concordat of 1801 and Organic Articles of 1802 sought to reduce papal authority and quell religious strife in France, confirming loss of church lands beyond the parish or monastery building or cathedral, regulating worship by both Catholics and Protestants, making all clergy salaried and paid by the state, which exclusively designated who could be clergy and at what level including bishops and archbishops. These rules held until replaced in 1905. As expected Catholics obedient to the papacy chafed for a century. In 1905 the Law Establishing the Separation of the Churches and the State was passed “The Republic neither recognizes, nor salaries, nor subsidizes any religion”, adopting state secularism in France. Individual French people can adopt or reject secularism as they wish.

1804 – 1814 First Empire Napoleon Bonaparte

1814 – 1830 Restoration of Bourbon Monarchy

  • a constitutional monarchy King Louis XVIII followed by Charles X
  • Succession of ministers exercising governmental powers under the constitution

1830 – July Revolution

1830 – 1848 July Monarchy

  • a liberal constitutional monarchy House of Orleans King Louis Philippe I, King of the French, not King of France
  • Succession of ministers exercising governmental powers under the constitution
  • 1831 First Canut Revolt [civil unrest] first clearly defined worker uprising during the Industrial Revolution, followed by many others

1848 – French Revolution, belated second phase of the 1830 July Revolution

  • adopting the liberty, equality and fraternity motto officially as national values

1848 – 1852 Second Republic led by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte

1852 – 1871 Second Empire Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor

  • The Prussian Army siege of Paris in 1870 ended with an agreed brief entry of its triumphal Army into the city in early 1871, the downfall and flight to exile in England by Louis, and the absence of government and leadership to help the stricken and besieged citizenry
  • Commune seized power only in Paris in early 1871 [commune means city council] a noble but disorganized working class rising and governing experiment lasting two months from March 28 to May 28 1871 that led to the return of the Adolphe Thiers led government and French army breaching the walls of Paris, pummeling the city with artillery and then executing the Communards [supporters of a city council comprised of working class people] when found in plazas or houses and dragged into the plazas. Victor Hugo approved the theory of the working class gaining some control over their lives, but not the violence required to allow that control to take place. Some intellectuals want omelettes without breaking eggs.

1871 – 1940 Third Republic

  • succession of ministers leading governments beginning with Adolphe Thiers and ending with Albert Lebrun, center stance leadership with the workers intellectuals and socialists on the left and the royalists, haute bourgoisie, Catholic Church and peasantry on the right. This is a generalization and true only if accepted that way. There were also many varietal movements within left center and right generalizations. Almost every movement was itself a reaction to another, or spawned a reaction.
  • longest Republic in French history, replaced by wartime Vichy government

1944 – 1946 French Provisional Government led by Charles de Gaulle

1947 – 1958 Fourth Republic

1958 – to the present day Fifth Republic

  • de Gaulle came back in as president with enhanced authority to deal with the Algerian Crisis and pretty much everything else




Texas Tech Men’s Basketball 2011 – 2012 a look back on March 7, 2012


The season ended tonight in the post-season Big XII Conference Tourney in a neutral location, Sprint Arena in Kansas City Missouri. It was the first round and Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma State 76-60. It was a tussle and these young men competed throughout. At only one point were they ahead 36-35, but just for a fleeting moment because OSU then went on a 15 point splurge when Tech had zero points.


The overall record is 8 wins and 23 losses, the worst for Tech in 21 years. The Big XII record is 1 win and 17 losses [there are currently only ten teams in the Big XII with Nebraska’s departure to the Big Ten and Colorado’s to the PAC-12], the worst for Tech since entering the Big XII.


First year coach Billy Clyde Gillispie, a Grafton Texas homeboy who grew up with round ball play and never fully scratched that itch, inherited most of the players from a fired coach Pat Knight. Billy Clyde has big-time head coaching experience most recently at University of Kentucky, a perennial basketball power, and before that at Texas A&M. He brought his passion to the team and recruited a freshman Jordan Tolbert who had a marvelous year. He let a young man 5 feet 9 inches, quite deaf with Cochlear ear implants, walk onto the team for a tryout, and freshman Luke Adams’s exuberance and tenacity put him on the traveling roster. Adams became a go to replacement for the starting guards and pleased the crowds as he maneuvered around the taller men. Billy Clyde has a basketball heart and he recognized it in this young man. Billy Clyde has an overall winning record as head coach with Division I teams and he will win many more games with Texas Tech, just not this year.


True basketball fans stuck with the team and the new coach, and found plenty of athleticism and thrilling plays to cheer about. Tech was winless with 11 losses in conference play on February 11 when Oklahoma came to the United Spirit Arena and Tech won decisively 65-47. People drove around town all day with horns blaring. Tech was in undisputed last place in the conference and would remain so, but Billy Clyde and the team would challenge any and every opponent. Oklahoma was bitten by a junk-yard dog that Saturday afternoon. At some future time, in the salad days of championship rings, fans will recall February 11 2012 when vinegar didn’t douse the desire and guts to win one, just one, for the Red Raiders.


We lost a lot of games but it was very far from a lost season.




Rush Limbaugh’s radio broadcast and Internet distribution of verbal abuse on a person who is not a public figure … comment by David Cummins March 8, 2012

Here’s a quotation:

I’ll begin this by saying that I firmly believe in the 1st Amendment. It’s what allows me to do what I do on a daily basis, and for that I’m grateful. Free speech can be a messy and ugly proposition. Free speech can also be, and very often is, offensive and hateful speech. We can hate that sort of speech, but we cannot and must not think that we have the right to stop those who engage in that sort of speech.

That said, it’s not exactly a stretch to say that no reasonable person would believe Rush Limbaugh to be anything but a miserable excuse for a human being. I promised a long time ago that I would never write about him again. I’m breaking that promise because this really isn’t about Limbaugh; it’s about Rep. Speier and her call to boycott those companies who support Limbaugh’s radio show by purchasing advertising. It’s an idea whose time has come, especially in light of his hateful, piggish, misogynistic insults of Ms. Fluke. No human being should have to put up with that sort of gratuitous, hate-driven sexism from anyone…yet Limbaugh is guaranteed the right to spread his verbal vomit by the 1st Amendment.” Jack Cluth, March 3, 2012

Mr. Cluth operates the blog What Would Jack Do? at


Mr. Cluth has some important things correct, and we need to be very clear about identifying them. Constitutionally protected free speech is right up at the top of all of our freedoms and a descriptor for human rights and civil liberties. We must exercise it and at the same time protect it. Mr. Limbaugh’s presence on the talk radio spectrum and Internet streaming network is huge. His show dwarfs those of his competitors. How many listeners and viewers he reaches is the measure of his advertising revenue and why companies choose to advertise with him. Don’t put the cart before the horse. His popularity with listeners and viewers is what drives the level of advertising revenue he receives. If a current campaign were to entice some advertisers to withdraw their advertising, that would be replaced in short order, unless the public spat about his remarks were to cause listeners and viewers to stop listening or viewing. If the past is any indicator, he’s recovered quickly from his previous gaffes and retained and extended his appeal.


For all of the animus horribilis from the mouth of Rush Limbaugh, to my mind it’s all free speech and constitutionally protected in its issuance. I do not see in this particular instance how it could be fairly characterized as a hate crime under the state and federal statutes, and therefore do not expect it to be investigated much less prosecuted. It is very clear to me that it defames Sandra Fluke and that Mr. Limbaugh will be paying her compensation and likely a sum equivalent to punitive damages. He committed a tort in his exercise of free speech. He is not entitled to slander or defame another person with impunity. He is entitled by free speech to do it. The defamation standards under law are not as strict for claimants who are harmed, when they are not public figures. The “fair comment” allowances that apply to public figures and allow Mr. Limbaugh and others to describe public office holders in harsh terms, does not apply to Ms. Fluke. She is not a public figure for this purpose just because she became a witness at a Congressional hearing. Mr. Limbaugh will not successfully avoid liability by claiming a “fair comment” defense.


Let’s take a moment to discuss the hate crimes phenomena, because there is an obvious intersecting relationship with speech and with free speech. If you were to read a series of state and federal penal statutes that fall within the penumbra of hate crimes, you would see a common characteristic. Whenever the hate is evidenced by speech, it must be connected to a physical activity before it can be covered by the penal statute. Indeed, some hate crimes do not include any speech at all. They are hate expressing itself in the form of a physical violent act. To that extent, the hate is an impetus that drives the action. My point is that when all that exists is hate, and no action is taken to implement that emotion and render to another person a functional consequence for the first person’s hate, there is no hate crime. Words of course can hurt, and cause lots of harm presently and far into the future, but words expressing hate that are not accompanied by an action seen as physical activity connected to someone, cannot and are not hate crimes.


Finally, the impetus for Mr. Cluth’s remarks was that Jackie Speier, United States House of Representatives member from California , rose to speak on the floor of the House and she invited people to ask Limbaugh advertisers to withdraw their custom because of his “hate mongering” and “shameful” behavior. Her response is free speech, the signing of petitions directed toward advertisers is free speech, and the advertisers declarations or silence is also free speech. This is another example that the best antidote to offensive free speech is more speech to steer the public square discussion back toward civility, its beginning place and hopefully its ending space.
















Arts History Update for just past early March 2012

5 Mar

Arts History Update for just past early March 2012 by David Cummins


Global Lens 2012 is a foreign language English subtitles film series presented free to the community by the College of Mass Communications in the Mass Communications building Room 101 at 6:00 p.m. on the designated days. Here’s the schedule ten films from March 5 through May 1 each from a different country. At the conclusion of each film a panel of faculty members will lead a discussion on it. Where do the films emanate? From the Global Film Initiative Here’s the catalogue for the series so you can read about each film and see a trailer before deciding to attend


One of the readers of Update suggested that more people be informed about this film opportunity. Our commercial cinemas in Lubbock rarely show an art or foreign language film. Occasionally the International Cultural Center will show a film, and occasionally the Flatlands Film Festival group at LHUCA will show such a film.


Logistics is always a concern or at least should be planned for, on campus. The Mass Communications building is on the northwest edge of Memorial Circle that you enter from Broadway Street and University Avenue. The parking lot to the west in the Science Quadrangle frees up at 5:30 p.m. so you can feed the pay station a couple of dollars, show the receipt on your interior windshield, and walk in to see the movie. Bring your own popcorn. You may have heard about a move for Mass Communications and that is true but it won’t happen until Summer. The Rawls College of Business Administration moved from its longtime building at 15th Street and Flint Avenue to its new building in January 2012. The old BA building is being renovated and refitted to house the College of Mass Communications that will move in next Summer. The current film series of ten films is in the current Mass Communications building that will be renovated and refitted next Fall to house College of Engineering research laboratories.


For more information contact Robert Peaslee




It’s official as of February 28. These are the electoral districts within Texas for electing persons to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a seat in the Texas Senate, and a seat in the Texas House of Representatives click on the map to find your electoral district.


A three judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, sitting in San Antonio, made this decision and will issue a written opinion in support of it at a later time. Over-reaching Texas legislators generated a challenge that was successful so resolution of the problem went to the federal court. It invited state political parties and state executive office holders to provide leadership and consensus or agreed positions but the squabbling and refusal to be states-people continued, so an unelected court finally drew the maps.


A new primary election date has yet to be set, replacing the April 3 date that was tentatively set last December. That date was itself an extension from the original scheduled date of March 6. Many people suggest the primary election will be held on May 29, 2012. The general election date is November 6, 2012.


The City of Lubbock General Election is May 12, 2012. the period for filing a candidacy is almost over. It ends on March 5, 2012. Mayor, three council people, and municipal court judge, are the positions that are open. Lubbock Independent School District general election is also May 12, 2012 and candidate filings end on March 5.


On March 2 the three judge panel court announced that the primary election will be May 29 so it is no longer an estimation. It’s sad that the Secretary of State of Texas couldn’t have stepped up and set the date but so many state officials can’t anticipate and prepare to do the right thing and then do it speedily, but wait for others to be decisive and then complain that a federal rather than state entity set the date for state and county and district elections.





The decline of American newspapers is regretted by a perfectly horrid documentary whose subject is a premiere newspaper in trouble Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011) directed by Andrew Rossi Here’s a way to watch some of it without subjecting yourself to the entirety Bill Dean, Journalism professor at Texas Tech’s College of Mass Communications and long-time executive at Tech’s Alumni Association, will speak on Decline of the American Daily Newspaper Thursday March 15 at 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. $30 at McKenzie-Merket Alumni Association on campus. If you go, cast more than a glance at the structure rising to the east, Kent Hance Chapel. It’s nearing the end of construction and expected to be dedicated perhaps in September. Until completed we should not say more about aesthetics or design.


Remember the old story about the decline of railroading in America? The industry thought it was in the business of operating a railroad, so it rode that project into a steep decline, until someone awakened and discovered it was in the business of transporting goods and people. Rejuvenation followed and Burlington Northern has as many sea van containers as railroad cars. Perhaps newspapers think they are in the business of printing news onto paper and distributing those papers to specific locations, when in fact they are in the news creation and dissemination business, and that can be achieved in a host of disparate modalities, including a bitterly detested electronic data medium like the Internet.


Once one frees him/herself from paper and contemplates the spectrum of opportunities for delivering news, and once one questions the advisability of press-room runs and six editions per day so that streetwise purchasers can keep buying editions all day long to gain the latest news, and once one recognizes that much of what newspapers print is not news but advertising, etc. it all becomes clear that news is itself a galaxy and most acquirers want news of “something” but not of a host of other things, one quickly pares the production of news into their content genres and then offers each electronically at a reduced price from the composite. One also notices that the reader of words and viewer of images that constitute news almost always wants more, so the former newspaper should alert the reader/viewer to avenues and techniques and modalities for following up to gain more detailed and comprehensive coverage than was offered by the former newspaper; i.e., included in the news should be a portal toward expanding the recipient’s context for understanding the very news in which the reader/viewer is interested. This is the opposite of dumbing down, it’s smarting up [if that’s a phrase, and if not, it is now].


Who has the technology to do this, with the shortest time frame for getting up to speed? The Internet Service Providers, obviously. To put the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal out of business NTS Communications or Suddenlink or AT&T for example, need only hire news producer folks and editors who can create local stories and adapt regional and national stories into their local counterparts, and then stream them updated into always current content to electronic subscribers.





Cutting edge architecture is always thrilling. AND-Re is a Portuguese firm with principals Bruno Andre and Francisco Re. Here’s a squeezebox [i.e., as in an accordion musical instrument] design for a new BIOMED Research Center in Coimbra Portugal. Which reminds one of the River Center Library Baton Rouge Louisiana (2010) by Trahan Architects where the exterior is not serrated in one direction but in two, pinching in the middle at the bottom but angling toward the corner at the top. These two buildings are angled horizontally, but it can be done vertically as in 11-19 Monument Street London England (2006) by Make Architects . I am fascinated that engineers can structurally design and construct what imaginative architects can envisage. They are the genius in our midst.




The Art Dealers Association of America ADAA is putting on its 24th annual TheArt Show March 7-11, 2012 at Park Avenue Armory [Park Avenue at 67th Street] in New York City’s upper east side. Here’s the fine print and a full explanation The galas and receptions are pricey but the show itself is a $20 daily admission ticket. This is the kind of art fair that informs the art world what major galleries and art dealers believe to be the best contemporary art. That is a way of telling us what collectors value because it is collectors who keep the ADAA members well-fed. Indeed, that person on your left as you peruse the art, is a collector.




Adult learning is more than alternative education, self-help, self-study, or training. Self-directed inquiry can free you from the cultural traps of today’s postmodern world. When you think for yourself you take control of your life. Intellectual ability and critical thinking soon become substitutes for paper credentials. Simply stated, aggressive learning is the most practical guide to a passionately rewarding life.” Charles D. Hayes.


I often told students “ I don’t care what you think. Just think and express it as best you can. Then analyze and criticize that expression, and revise it. When you’ve done that, you’ve taught yourself the not so secret technique of self-education and can educate yourself for the rest of your life.” At that point, if someone else questions or disputes your revised expression of your thinking, ask them to enter into the process you went through in your thinking. If they do so then you can interact with that person and together think about the inputs in your thinking, and both of you may revise your first thoughts and conclusions. That’s an enjoyable process of thinking together with another person.


On the other hand, if the person disputes your revised expression of your thinking, but won’t interact with you about the thinking process, that person just has another opinion or conclusion than you reached and nothing more need be said or thought about it. There are legions of other opinions and conclusions and until another person brings you into his/her thinking process and is willing to enter into [engage with you] your thinking process, there is no opportunity for growth. There is just an exchange of data.


Don’t always prefer the former intellectual interaction. It can be exhausting if you were to do that quite often. It’s also fun just to let other people register their opinions or conclusions and then both of you move on, holding different opinions or conclusions. When I hear a particularly strong opinion, I will often ask “what was the impetus for your reaching that conclusion?” If the person wants to share his/her thinking process, s/he can but if not, s/he’s not compelled or cajoled into doing so.


————– aggressive learning is the most GGlobale to a passionately rere than alternative education, self-help, self-study, or training. Self-directed inquiry can free you from the cultural traps of today’s postmodern world. When you think for yourself, you tGlobgGlobalur life. Intellectual ability and critical thinking soon become substitutes for paper credentials. Simply stated aggressive learning is the most practical guide to a passionately rewarding life.