Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hiatus Interruptus & Ribbin'

Hi Everyone,

It's hard to stay away when there are so many interesting stimuli everwhere, so I guess I'm off hiatus for a while.

A few entries ago I had talked a bit about my fascination with American society's continued elevation of ribbons to precious status, even though the ribbons may now be massed-produced, plastic, and no longer labor-intensive and expensive items to produce.

Over the years ribbons have had a symbolic role in the US. In the 1970s Tony Orlando and Dawn sang "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree," in which they requested that the recipient of the song tie a ribbon if he/she wants the singer to come home. In some wars a yellow ribbon was used as a symbolic gesture to the veterans to come home. (I was young when Tony Orlando & Dawn's song came out -- was this a Vietnam war song?).

In the early 1990s red ribbons were worn to promote AIDS awareness, and in recent years ribbon stickers have appeared on cars in support of soldiers and/or the US invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, & counting.

A few weeks ago Doug and I were in Pacific Grove, CA (near Monterey), and we came across a car with this sticker on it:

This sticker of course appeals to my love of the subversive. Text is being used with a representation of a precious ribbon to convey a message. The ribbon with its red, white & blue coloring initially appears to be in support of the invasions, but the written message clearly is an anti-war message about people's acceptance of the rhetoric of the government. Just this past weekend, we watched the documentary, "Murderball," which is about paraplegic rugby. At the end of the documentary, the players were showing their sport to wounded veterans from the recent invasions (veterans' legs were missing, etc.). I remember saying to Doug, "Oh my god. They're just kids." These veterans were perhaps 18, 19 or 20 years old. Why is there censorship of images of flag-draped coffins and wounded veterans? Is this censorship by the government or by the press? I think that this censorship gives the message that everything is all OK. But is it really?

Relating back to the text-textile connection -- it's interesting how the ribbon has migrated from a textile to a sticker with text for cars. (Also, I've bought a magnet of the above image for my refrigerator.) It's interesting how the ribbon shape is maintained. Is this ribbon shape that powerful? Is it that precious?

Maybe this blog should be called the text-sticker connection.



Judy G. said...

I am so glad you are interruptus, because I have been reading your blog for some time now, and was disappointed the last time I checked and you had checked out. This is my first time responding, because I felt shy, but I will go ahead and introduce myself. I am a weaver and writer in San Diego, and learned of your blog from Michael Rohde when I attended a workshop of his here in April. I am completely fascinated and absorbed with the text-textile connection and fiber, weaving , and spinning as metaphor. I thought maybe I was floating around in that universe by myself until I mentioned my interest to Michael So here I am, thankful to Michael and very glad to be here. I was excited to read your column because just last night, I proposed to my writer's critique group a text-textile project which they agree to help me with next week. It will involve a writing prompt and ribbon and maybe fabric, which will become part of a woven piece. I am kind of an "advanced beginner heading toward intermediate" level weaver, so my woven piece probably won't be the most skillful work ever done, but I hope it will be beautiful or at least striking, with something interesting to say. I am inspired by your blog and your fiberwork and I definitely want one of those stickers/magnets, so please tell me where I can get one. Thank you so much for your wonderful work. Judy G.

Lara said...

B- I like your thoughts on this subject. I wrote a little piece on it too called "ribbon storm." I'll email it to you if you send your email address. Now, I'm off to peruse the rest of Text-Textile. xo, Lara J.

Anonymous said...

Why is there censorship of images of flag-draped coffins and wounded veterans? Is this censorship by the government or by the press?

Someone dared to release a few pictures of coffins when they arrived back to a military airport in the states.(Dover AFB, I think). The administration said it was, get this, disrespectful and upsetting for families. I guess Bush and Co. put the clamp on because I never saw anything more about it.