(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘conventions

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”*…

 

In the wake of the conventions of the last two weeks, and the Fourth Estate’s first draft of history, we might pause to ponder the task facing more traditional historians.  Consider, for example, “How Do Smithsonian Curators Decide What to Collect at the Political Conventions?

* James Joyce, Ulysses

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As we revel in the falling balloons, we might recall that it was on this date in 1981, with the words “Ladies and Gentlemen, rock and roll,” that MTV premiered.  The first video featured on the new cable channel was The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”  Indeed.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 1, 2016 at 1:01 am

“A convention was to him the arrival of a circus to a country lad”*…

 

On the occasion of the opening of the first of this summer’s political pageants, a look back at conventions as covered by H. L. Mencken

On June 20, 1948, a round and no doubt rumpled correspondent for the Baltimore Sun looked into the galleries of a Philadelphia convention hall and spotted the future.

His name was Henry Louis Mencken, and he didn’t like what he saw. It was the day before the Republican National Convention, and in a rehearsal of the proceedings technicians had turned on huge lights to accommodate television, a new presence at political conventions. In the dramatically increased glare, Mencken could see what these quadrennial political gatherings would become, and what they’ll be this summer, as another season of political conventions arrives in America: a pageant of images, in which what candidates say or do is perhaps less memorable than how they look.

“It passed off well enough, all things considered, and no one was actually fried to death,” Mencken said of the high-wattage illumination introduced that year in Philadelphia. “But I doubt if any politician, however leathery his hide, survives that unprecedented glare of light without a considerable singeing”…

More at “H.L. Mencken at the Convention.”

* Alistair Cooke, on his friend and colleague, H. L. Mencken

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As we vote our consciences, we might we might send acerbic birthday greetings to one of Mencken’s heirs, journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson; he was born in Louisville on this date in 1929.  The author of Hell’s AngelsFear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is widely credited as the creator of the Gonzo school of journalism (an extreme form of New Journalism in which the reporter isn’t simply present, he/she is central), and widely remembered for his love of inebriates and guns, and for his hate of authoritarianism in general and Richard Nixon in particular.

…the massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy.
– Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72  (1973)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 18, 2016 at 1:01 am

Communities of Interest…

 

From the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships

Arthur Drooker goes to meetings…

From the annual meeting of the Association of Lincoln Presenters

From the 37th Vent Haven Convention, which bills itself as “the oldest and largest annual gathering of ventriloquists”

From BronyCon, the annual convention for fans of Hasbro’s animated television series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”

Conventional Wisdom
The U.S. meetings industry, according to a Convention Industry Council study, directly supports 1.7 million jobs, $263 billion in spending, and $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue.  As impressive as these figures are, they don’t interest me as a photographer. I see conventions not as revenue sources but as visual treasures. To me, they’re unique expressions of community, culture and connection. That’s why over the next year I plan to attend about twenty conventions—the more unusual and photogenic the better—and document them for a proposed book, Conventional Wisdom.  I will update this portfolio as the project progresses. At the same time, I will preview the work on coolhunting.com in a series of reports. To view these reports, please click on the list below.

So far, the wisdom I’ve gained from this project has shown me that regardless of what they’re about, where they’re held or who attends them, all conventions satisfy a basic human urge: a longing for belonging. At conventions, people who share similar interests, even obsessions, come together to bond and to be themselves. The outside world doesn’t matter. In fact, for the weekend duration of most conventions, the outside world doesn’t even exist. The conventioneers have each other and that’s all they need. An attendee I met at the taxidermist convention put it best. “This isn’t a convention,” he said. “It’s a family reunion.”

Coolhunting Report #1 (Lincolns)

Coolhunting Report #2 (Taxidermists)

Coolhunting Report #3 (Ventriloquists)

Coolhunting Report #4 (Bronies)

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As we expedite our registrations, we might recall that it was on this date in 1911 that poet, playwright, and novelist Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested and jailed for complicity in the theft of the Mona Lisa (and a number of Egyptian statuettes) from the Louvre.  Apollinaire had been working as an art critic, in which capacity he’d once called for the Louvre to be burned to the ground.  And he’d sheltered the actual thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, after the heist…  but he claimed ignorance of the crime and returned the few statuettes that Peruggia had left behind at his place.  He was ultimately exonerated, but not before he implicated his his friend Pablo Picasso (who was also brought in for questioning, then also released).

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 7, 2013 at 1:01 am

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