|Actor Rick Boland - this would be the before picture. I couldn't bring|
myself to post the after-attack image.
The sun is shining on a long weekend here in St. John's, NL but I keep having dark thoughts about my increasing awareness of violence in my immediate environment. Maybe it is a little self-indulgent after my brooding about all the war related art that anniversaries inevitably bring…but my mood plummeted when I learned of the recent beating of actor Rick Boland. A friend in the theatre community had shared with me via Facebook a fundraising plea to facilitate dental work for Boland. I believe Boland had been brutally assaulted in our downtown area. The plea was linked to a gofundme effort organized by Anne Marie Annonsen for $4,000 stating that "not only so that he can eat but also as an actor. Help bring back his lovely face!" I am happy to report that 84 people contributed $3,735 in a five-day period.
When I first heard of the attack, I had trouble talking about anything else with friends I met in cafes or on the street. I am aware of attacks in the bathrooms of our high schools, which we contextualize as bullying. I am aware of current wars through the refugees I meet at social events. I don't need TV or the Trump campaign. It just keeps getting closer to home. And it starts to dawn on me that violence is everywhere. I remember my rationalization that one of the reasons why I picked small city St. John's to settle in and raise a family was that it was safer than the big cities of Toronto and Montreal that I had previously lived in. I don't know if I was foolish, if things have changed, or what the appropriate explanation is. I do know that it doesn't seem to make sense anymore; that no effort to join the dots make connections or find meaning in these horrible actions will make a difference. At least not right now.
|Lego's efforts to stay in tune with current culture.|
So, I try and divert myself. Enjoy the company of gentle friends; avoid the news on TV, radio and stick to the art section in an international newspaper. I find an article about Lego, the children's toy building blocks in today's Guardian. I have fond memories of Lego and have always wanted to do an exhibition with the colourful stuff. Years ago I reached out to our Lego distributor here in the province and had made an encouraging start but never pursued it because of family demands on my time. I click on the article link to find out more about the current world of Lego. Guess what I find?
It is an article (the kind that is so well written I wish I had done it) with the headline: Lego 'arms race': study says company making more violent toys. "Am I being haunted?" I ask myself. I try a different research path of links and read, "Lego: refusing to sell bricks to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was a mistake". I learn about another artist interested in Lego - Nathan Sawya. But I stop following links that are Lego themed when I discover a Polish priest who has pronounced that Lego is really the work of Satan.