Posted on April 25, 2010 by eric
When I visited the Soviet Union, nearly 30 years ago, we were warned not to take photographs of places like train stations, bridges, or government buildings. Naturally, being a wiseass 19 year-old American, I went out of my way to take snapshots of such places, my great prize being the Lubyanka.1
Thankfully, we live in a democratic country, where people are free to take photographs in public places without fear of being harassed by the state security apparatus. Or most of us would like to believe. But, as Antonio Musumeci and Julian Heicklen learned the hard way, the post-9/11 USA has, in ways generally unprotested by the Tea Party set, taken on some of the characteristics of the pre-Glasnost USSR.
Last November, Musumeci and Heicklen, libertarian activists, were arrested, and Musumeci’s camera confiscated, for video-recording outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan (the charges were dropped in March). This was but one of a series of similar incidents in which amateur and professional photographers have been hassled and arrested in the name of “homeland security”.
Now, the New York Civil Liberties Union has brought a lawsuit on behalf of Musumeci, seeking a court order to ensure that people don’t face police harassment or arrest for the simple and harmless act of taking photographs in public places. It would be nice if some of the reactionary blowhards who routinely lambaste the ACLU and have spent the past 9 years cheerleading for the trumped-up “war on terror” would pause in their rants against chimerical tyrannies like expanded access to medical care, and instead recognize and support this challenge to very real infringements of constitutional liberties. But I’m not holding my breath.
1I’d reproduce the photo here, but it lies buried in a box in my garage along with my other memorabilia from that trip. Someday I’ll dig out those photos and have them digitized.
Filed under: Bleak House | Tagged: civil liberties, homeland insecurity, photography, police state USA | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 24, 2010 by eric
A student captured a picture of me at the law school performance night last week. The contrast with a similar picture from my undergraduate days calls to mind the opening quip by John Lyden when I saw the Sex Pistols’ “Filthy Lucre” reunion show in New York in 1996 (almost 15 years ago!): “I’m fat and I’m 40 and I’m ready to rock!” Only I’m closer to 50.
Filed under: Where the Wild Things Are | Tagged: music, photography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 28, 2009 by eric
Danbury, NC is a pretty little town along the Dan River, just about an hour’s leisurely drive northwest of my home. I passed through there today, and stopped to take some pictures of the Stokes County Courthouse (built in 1904).
In front of the courthouse stands this memorial to local Confederate war dead. A central monument displays the Confederate flag and an engraving of a Confederate soldier.
An inscription on the back reads, “From Manassas to Gettysburg. From Gettysburg to Appomatox.” A surrounding circle of smaller markers bear the names of Confederate army units in which Stokes County men served.
A few feet away, grimy and decrepit, stands the base of a memorial for WWI dead; whatever once stood atop the base appears to be long gone. The contrast with the shiny and well-kept Confederate memorial (erected in 1990) is striking.
While the Confederate memorial declares itself to be “In Honor of All Who Served”, that isn’t quite true. I don’t know whether there were any sons of Stokes County among the thousands of North Carolinians who fought on the Union side. But I have no doubt that Stokes County sent its share of citizens to fight in the Spanish-American War, World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Yet, the service and sacrifices of those men and women who fought for their country go entirely unmarked, while those who took up arms against it get the honors.
Filed under: Look Homeward Angel | Tagged: history, north carolina, photography, southern living, war | 6 Comments »
Posted on November 27, 2009 by eric
Posted on November 15, 2009 by eric
Posted on June 7, 2009 by eric
Posted on January 18, 2009 by eric
Washington, North Carolina
“Wine of Cardui” was a patent medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, marketed as a cure for “female diseases”. In 1916, the Chattanooga Medicine Company, which made Wine of Cardui, won a libel suit against the American Medical Association, which had published an article in its Journal calling the product “a worthless fraud”. While the jury found for the plaintiff, they evidently didn’t think much of the product; instead of the $200,000 in damages requested, the jury awarded one penny.
Filed under: Bleak House | Tagged: commerce, history, litigation, medicine, north carolina, photography, signs | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 17, 2009 by eric
Community Center, Jamesville, North Carolina
Filed under: Look Homeward Angel | Tagged: music, north carolina, photography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 31, 2008 by eric
Despite a chilly wind, it was a nice day to be outdoors. I spent the afternoon at Eno River State Park, where I caught just one fish, a feisty fat bluegill. A great way to close out the old year.
Filed under: The Compleat Angler | Tagged: huntin' shootin' & fishin', north carolina, photography | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 31, 2008 by eric