The power of art

It has been said that the purpose of art is to take complex concepts and bring them to a level that can be easily and quickly perceived.

Does everyone remember Shepard Fairey? If you don’t, this should jog your memory:

His was the art chosen to portray the direction that Barack Obama wished to take his presidential campaign. His motif and composition became iconic; complex ideas like “hope” and “change” were made easily tangible with naught but a few color choices and a distinct style.

However, in year 3 of Mr. Obama’s administration, hope has faded. After the promise of the financial stimulus package, the repeal of DADT, and the onset of the Affordable Care Act, there has been no substantive work toward solving our country’s problems. The administration lends no political leadership to its beliefs, and the Republican Party (backed by political extremists like the Tea Party) has caused legislative gridlock to the point of near disaster.

Mr. Fairey clearly understands the power of art. Here is his new call:

Same color scheme and style, but now the message is very, very different. The concepts of the 99%, and of the Guy Fawkes mask (from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta) that has come to symbolize Anonymous, are now telling the administration that “hope” is waning. In fact, the red text at the bottom of the piece is superfluous.

This should be a clarion call to Mr. Obama — the very people he reached out to 2008 are ready to turn away from him unless he “changes”.


A side note: here is another Fairey creation that is just as telling as his previous work:

While Arab Spring has proven that tyrants can fall from power, it is also a powerful symbol for those in the United States as well. Politicians have all tried to hide the truth, and suppress it. And in this day of the internet, the truth cannot be hidden.

It will come out.

We are reminded of John Kennedy’s statement:

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

About these ads

There’s nothing quite so satifying…

…as getting rid of a pissy vendor.

I’ve endured PayPal for years. Its outward appearance and purpose seem highly desirable; it is an opportunity to securely buy goods and services, and it is (or used to be) an easy, cheap way to get money to people.

However, there is a dark side, and I ran across it several years ago. I returned a purchase from eBay because the seller had fraudulently described the item (a used oboe). When I discovered the fraud, I arranged to return the item and asked the seller to return my money. I sensibly got a return receipt request arranged. However, since I didn’t read the fine print on PayPal’s return policies and therefore didn’t walk in lockstep with their rules I didn’t get my money back.

(The seller in the meantime closed his eBay account and–undoubtedly–opened another one.)

PayPal’s customer service was pretty snotty about the entire thing and was entirely unhelpful.

Oh, and eBay buyers beware! eBay owns PayPal. (I don’t use either one anymore.)


Now along comes Anonymous. They’re pissed that PayPal cut WikiLeaks off from its funding conduit. At first, Anonymous struck back in its own way and committed DDoS attacks on PayPal servers.

However, now they’ve gotten it right. They’re calling for people to shut down their PayPal accounts and show snapshots of the process.

Well, here ya goes, folks:

Keep in mind that a year ago this page didn't even exist. You had to call them and put up with a grilling in order to close an account.

"You'll lose all your data!" Baby, I'm *counting* on that.

Oh, *now* they're concerned about being a good vendor.

"...and we'll take $1.50 when you leave!"

After begging and (vague) threats, it's done.

When I was asked why I was leaving, and given a checkbox list to choose from, I discovered that they only allowed three choices out of 15 or so.

Think they’ll listen to my comments?

Think again.

Morality and cracking

There was a recent fracas between the Westboro Baptist Church (no link for right now) and a cracker (definition 7-3 in the Urban Dictionary) named The Jester. It breaks down like this:

The Phelps gang claims they receive a threat from the Anonymous cracker group. Anonymous originally dismissed Westboro’s rant as an attempt to gain media attention. Anonymous initially released a notice that they had made no threats toward Westboro’s God Hates Fags site. Here is Westboro’s response:

In response to the above love letter, a cracker named th3j35t3r (The Jester) decided to do something about it.

The result is that all of the Westboro hate sites (,,…well, you get the idea) went down hard, have been down for some eight weeks, and are still down.

Yesterday the following tweet floated through the Intertubz:

The reason I bring all this up is to pose a question:

Is it moral to use illegal cracking methods to take down a site (or any other sort of information access) to fight a group that espouses immorality?

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke”

Disraeli had it right, and here’s proof:

Here is Anonymous’ reply to the school suspending the victim:

Anonymous followed through on the threat; the IP address (the school system’s portal server to the internet) is still down at 23:00 GMT.

Contact information is Chifley College Dunheved, Maple Road, St. Mary NSW 2760 (Australia).

The principle’s name is Tim C. Jones, and he can be reached at 9623-6600 (plus the usual international country codes/city codes/whatever codes).

Is it a moral act to retaliate in kind for being physically struck? Is it immoral for Anonymous to LOIC the school’s computer system in retaliation?

The immoral act here is the school allowing this to happen–just like every other public school I’ve ever been exposed to.