In the last week I have discovered that bad luck comes in streaks, but so does good inspiration. That might not always be a fair trade but I’ll take whatever I can get at this point.
I’m supposed to be talking about the lecture on political illustration, and I will, because it was one of the highlights of this semester but it is only one small piece of a larger puzzle I have been working out for the past few weeks.
I decided it was time to get down to business and finalize my graphic design materials. I typed a mediocre review of the lecture focusing on the unveiling of the Ralph Steadman painting. I left my computer resting on the kitchen table and returned to find the screen black with a white blinking line in the left-hand corner. Nothing could be done, nothing could be saved or salvaged and I was devastated that my $1000 investment only lasted two of my four years in college.
However, I am not completely out of the game, I had a lot of things backed up, including copies of all my graphic design problems including the old version of my website. I feel horrible for handing in things that are unfinished but I know I must hand something in. I still have the experience each problem taught me so I am trying not to stress the small stuff. Things happen.
I thought of typing this assignment on my new typewriter, which is actually my used typewriter that I picked up at Goodwill the other day for $4 but it’s new to me. I figure it is a safer investment than my $1000 hunk of junk Toshiba laptop that is now a dusty electronic paper weight. These things should upset and unravel me, and I would have let them if I had not discovered something else this semester.
I didn’t discover Ralph Steadman or Hunter S. Thompson this semester but I did start reading of a lot of Thompson’s writing and even turned in a paper (which I suspect I might fail) that I wrote in Gonzo style. Seeing the Steadman painting reminded me why I came to college; to see and learn things I couldn’t on my own.
This semester taught me that I must learn them on my own. I’m paying to wake up early and go to classes, but why do I need these classes? I wondered this for a long time, and now I may have the answer. I don’t need them at all. I can learn on my own if I’m interested.
I want to be a writer, you can’t teach someone how to do that. I won’t say you are born to do it because it doesn’t work that way either. You have to want it, really want it. I’m going to more actively pursue writing and art in my daily life. Having it drilled into my head by teachers isn’t working. I have to pursue it, make it what I do, constantly.
I want to thank all my professors for their instruction and patience with me. I have come to some realizations and revolutionized the way I approach learning. I have been lazy in the sense that I am paying for this education, I am paying a lot for it. It is time to make the best of it.
The lecture given by Patrick JB Flynn was quite possibly one of the best out of class lectures I have attended while here at UNI. I was stricken by Flynn’s statement about the best ideas often being “killed.” I feel this way everyday when I look at how bland our campus can be. I always looked forward to going to college because I thought that it was going to be exciting, empowering and that I would finally get to learn the things I wanted to learn. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great liberal arts core, some of which I could dispute right now—but I won’t! I’ve just wanted something more. Something more is what I got out of Flynn’s words.
After doing a little research about him I found an essay he wrote on the topic of political illustration and The Progressive. I found this passage very interesting:
“Frustrated by a perceived disconnect between my role as art director and my personal desire to participate in politics through art, I left the professional comforts of the Times and moved back to the Midwest where I took on the task of designing The Progressive ,
a political magazine that championed issues of peace and social justice.”
I found it interesting that Flynn had to leave the “big city” in order to retain some artistic freedom. Throughout the lecture he touched on some issues that came up and some censorship that arose but the artwork he showed was amazing. It is hard to imagine but without sacrifices made by Flynn and other artists to work for less to do what they love, there would be almost no “good art.” Everything in our society is commercialized, even the most personal of human endeavors, such as art and music. I chose “commercialized” because it has two meanings.
1. To apply business principles to something or run it as a business.
2. To exploit something for financial gain, or to use for profit only.
That’s what I see when I look around. That’s what I see even in creative fields, but not at the lecture. I saw art that was controversial and exciting that wasn’t afraid to “say something.” So often I can’t relate because things don’t seem to “say anything.”
The lecture included a wide range of artists and works that I enjoyed. Some of my favorites were done by Anita Kunz, Arnold Roth, Henrik Drescher, Warren Linn, Mark Wagner, and of course, Ralph Steadman.
After the lecture my boyfriend and I went to the library. I checked out every book by Thompson they had. I can honestly say I’ve never had a lecture impact me as strongly as this one did. Flynn talked about the same things I have been thinking about all semester. I was really inspired by what he said about his time working for The Progressive. I feel the direction I have been taking is likely to change and that is exciting.
I don’t blame apathy for the lack of creativity in kids today. I blame business school. Programs pump out useless “professionals” that work through an overpriced education just to end up working in food service? I’m sorry but what kind of bologna is that?
You go to school to learn a job to make some money so you can be in debt for the rest of your life? I don’t want to do that. Instead, I’m going to start treating these years like college years, like years that mean something. Years that I can look back on when I’m forty and remember having fun, and actually doing something.
I want more students to get involved with their own learning, and maybe even understand why they came to school in the first place. Anyone who isn’t here because they want to learn and be a better person can get out and leave this place to the people who belong here.
Who belongs here? Why, my life-long learning friends, fellow nerds, and hopeless dreamers! I write these words for them, and always will.