Archive for January, 2009


Obama Inauguration © Jim Korpi

“For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really serious about changing – something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They will not move until we do. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts, to laws and money and grand schemes, to save us from our predicament represents precisely the sort of thinking – passive, delegated, dependent for solutions on specialists – that helped get us into this mess in the first place. It’s hard to believe that the same sort of thinking could now get us out of it.”
Michael Pollan, The Way We Live Now; Why Bother? New York Times Magazine April 20, 2008

"Get Your Obama Here!"

© Jim Korpi

“Have an Obama Day!” “Get your picture with Obama!” “Buy an Obama condom!” “”Get your official inauguration program!” “Obama hand puppets!”…
I’m not sure where I’ll store my “Official Inauguration Day” Edition of the Baltimore Sun, or my copy of the Washington Post from that day. There must be a spot in one of the boxes in my attic.

Palestine Oppressed

© Jim Korpi

I was witness to the Palestinian elections in which Hamas won the majority of the Palestinian vote. The party has answered the Palestinians needs and thoughts about their situation and therefor won support. The world aided and watched over the election, with foreign election officials at nearly every voting booth, including former US President Jimmy Carter at a voting station in Jerusalem. The majority of the world then denied the democratic results.
Nowhere else in the world is a group of people currently being caged in, oppressed and financially suffocated like those Palestinians living in Gaza and similarly, but less blatantly, in the West Bank.
When the Native Americans rose up in the past to fight for their rights to the land annexed by the colonizers in North America and denied being placed on reservations, they were called “barbaric.” The settlers often claimed their battles with natives were in self-defense.
“Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.” – Buffalo Bill

Burying the Family Farm

© Jim Korpi

Imagine if you can a barn to the left of this photograph. Imagine another barn to the far right just before the black fencing. In front of the barns is a large dirt driveway where a bunch of long-haired men and woman in cut-off jean shorts play a game of barnyard baseball with make-shift plates. This is the image burned in my head when I look back at my mother’s family farm. It’s a scene in an aging photograph my Mom has in one of her photo albums.
After burying my grandmother in the plot beside my grandfather, we drove across the street to where the family farm resides in my memory. A picket fence lining the property blocked me from my past. A gate once stood in my place. Before trucks filled with livestock could enter the barnyard, one had to swing open the gate.
The barns are replaced by 3000 square-foot homes with giant manicured lawns and two car garages. The land has been contoured to fit its suburban mold.
It was on this day that I buried the family farm.

Tragedy of the Commons

© Jim Korpi

“Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Some would say that this is a platitude. Would that it were! In a sense, it was learned thousands of years ago, but natural selection favors the forces of psychological denial. The individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is a part, suffers.” – Garrett Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons