Sunday, August 31, 2008

this person will cast a vote in November

I encountered a bumper sticker (well technically it was in the back windshield) Friday that frightened me. Frankly, it also pissed me off, but it's still very scary.
This rather wordy bit read as such:
I am not Pro-Abortion... 
... I am Pro-Choice, Pro-Freedom, Pro-Women's Rights, Pro-Religious Freedom, Pro-Sex Education, Pro-Birth Control, Pro-Wanted Children, Pro-Adult Parents, Pro-Planned Parenthood, Pro-Women's Sexual Freedom, Pro-Constitutional Rights..
Pro-A Woman's ability to choose her own path based on her morals and not YOURS!

The colors of the text on the sticker as well as the font size served to tie the first and last statements (i.e. "I am not Pro-Abortion" and "Pro-A Woman's ability...") together visually and, therefore,  conceptually, as well. The alternative to the label "Pro-Abortion", an alternative that the whole sticker points to, is summed up in "Pro-A Woman's ability to choose her own path based on her morals and not YOURS!" 
This attitude, which I can only suppose to be a popular one--we are talking about a bumper sticker, after all--is ridiculous, and this whole statement is one of the most ignorant, intellectually-irresponsible things I have read in a long time. A society cannot stand on such principles.

Our law is by definition a codification of morality.

Barak Obama said that, and I am in perfect agreement.
The fact that the car on which this sticker resides was not stolen or vandalized Friday is perfect evidence of what law does: law forces morality onto people. 
Certainly most people would not have an urge to steal or vandalize said vehicle, but these things do happen, and some such cases are indicative of a personal morality (or we might say lack thereof) which runs counter to that behind the law of the land. Nevertheless, persons adhering to this counter-morality, simply by virtue of their having an opposing view, are not allowed to act as they would. The law forbids it and punishment buttresses that law. They are having their own moral code overridden by that of the land and of whatever people defined the latter. The sort of unbridled freedom that this sticker describes may sound favorable without any consideration, but the least bit of consideration reveals this to be little more than a formula for anarchy. 
If this is your reasoning for opposing laws on abortion, then you cannot with coherence support laws against murder, theft, rape, drug use, etc. There is simply no basis in your philosophy for any laws.

There are really only two options with abortion laws. 
One, we can form some sort of philosophical basis for a law or against a law and force all people in the land to abide by this decision. The bases for the laws already mentioned, I think, are rooted in common sense and articulated in the American Declaration of Independence as "certain inalienable rights." Because of a lack of definitions to terms pertinent to the abortion discussion, we have thus far been unable to even begin the conversation necessary to this end, and, unfortunately, as pluralism and democracy have somehow come to reign together in our society, this basis would ultimately be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to establish. 
Two, we can ignore the issue. We would have to make a conscious decision to not decide anything about abortion, and allow to each his own. However, given that our social order survives by making and amending laws when the situations arise, and that a majority of the people in the nation would refer to at least some form of abortion ('forms' distinguished by the age of the baby, their mental state, the method of the procedure, or whatever else) as murder--which we already have laws against--this seems unlikely to pass.

These are the only choices, and neither really sounds viable. Regardless of the realities before us, though, people will continue to cling to superficial opinions, and they will vote with them. These people who think anarchy will act democracy in November, totally unaware of the contradiction, and everyone's lives will be affected by the determined opinions of the ignorant. That is frightening.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a conversation with artist Jim Lamb

While there are newer editions of Charles Williams's novels around today, every time I purchase one myself, it is one of the Eerdmans editions from the early 80s. Why? One simple reason: the cover art. Despite the difficulty of these books--that the action in them is largely psychological, spiritual, ontological--I've long felt that the cover designs for these editions really well capture the spirit of the works (at least with those that I've read). This is really impressive to me, and these cover images have really added to the reading experience for me. Recently, because of the wonders of the internet, I was able to track down the artist behind these works, Jim Lamb, and Mr. Lamb was gracious enough to share with me a bit on his experience creating these images.
(In case you're unfamiliar with everything that I'm talking about, I've tacked a few of these book covers onto the end of the post.)

Thanks for the nice compliments about my work.

I am, indeed, the artist for those covers. It was a long time ago, but nice to know some people out there have noticed them and appreciate them. 

They were created through commission by Eerdmans Publishing in 1980 when I was working as a young free-lance illustrator in Southern California.
Each book was a great challenge, because, as you know, the metaphysical nature of Williams' writings leave a lot of room for interpretation and certainly, creative imagination for the artist.

I did not completely read every one of the novels, but I did read large portions of all, and all of several of them. There were key areas in each novel that seemed to summarize the overall intent and direction of each, and I tried to tap into those themes and interpret them as best as I could visually. Since there were verbal montages presented, I decided that visual montages would best suggest each work.

I posed as the central figure model for the image on Shadows of Ecstasy, and my future wife's face was the model for the image on Many Dimensions. It wasn't for ego reasons, but in those days I couldn't afford models, so I often found the cheapest models around, and that sometimes ended up being me or friends and family who would cooperate with the process. I did the same thing when I designed several US Postal Stamps as well, but changed the faces enough so they weren't likenesses of the people.

The Williams novels were a fun and challenging project, and I still take pride in those images. I felt they very adequately represented Williams' written creations.


If you'd like to see any more of Jim Lamb's work, though of a different nature, check out Jim Lamb Studio.