Married couple (Albany, NY) – March 2009

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I don’t really know what to write about this (after all, this is a web blog about photography, and I should probably keep it that way). If marriage is drastically different now than the purpose that it has entailed in Western societies until recent history – that is for procreation, without any particular romantic component attached to it – it seems hard for people to honestly argue against polygamous or even polyamorous arrangements – yes, I understand there is a difference between the former and the latter – should not have legal recognition. I think in all the hoopla and chastisement of Justice Scalia’s dissent – which a lot of people put forward as evidence of his cruelty or lack of sanity – what was ignored was a point that Justice Roberts made, which is that to justify marriage based on love and shared interest could apply to multiple scenarios involving consenting adults. The Op-Ed writer quotes Roberts:

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”

Although I’m sure that a lot of people think that this is a conservative red herring, thrown out to drum up associations between gay marriage and other distasteful arrangements, but there is some logic behind Roberts’ position. It does seem like it would be hard to draw the line at anything entered into between consenting adults.

I’m not joking when I say I always assumed that marriage was a romantic thing in the West. This is probably due to popular culture and upbringing, but it’s probably ahistorical. The Christian conception of marriage has never really required love or romance at all, more just the procreation of the species and rearing of children. After all, the New Testament teaches that there is no marriage in Heaven. Marriage is an earth bound arrangement. Obviously, having parents who love each other is a benefit, but I would imagine that marriages in the 19th Century West were quite different than they are today. With life expectancy as long as it is and an now nearly fully secular culture, it seems that love is now the common core of what people expect in marriage. We hear about so-called loveless marriages sometimes, but I suppose back in the day, that was pretty normal. Throughout Western history, the procreation of children was what marriage was ordered for, with the complimentary roles of husband and wife. It might not even be a stretch to say marriage as it exists now is not the same as marriage from even the first half of the last century. I’m interested now in finding out more about the role of marriage in Western society. It’s interesting stuff. What will marriage look like 50 years from now?

Anti-abortion assistance center (Hudson, NY) – March 2011

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Along a state route approaching the historic city of Hudson, NY is a strange looking, battered up building which is a resource center of sorts for women who are in a pregnancy crisis. I haven’t looked at it closely recently, but in the past it looked as if the souls who ran the place, really tried to set women up with basic needs (car seats, bedding, supplies, and literature for where to go to get assistance). They are non-sectarian, although clearly Christian. I think it is sweet what this family-run outfit attempts to do, although I’m not sure how successful it is. Down the road is a clinic that performs abortions. Perhaps these folks chose this building because a person approaching the women’s health clinic would likely pass the resource center. Regardless, I like it. Too often these days, those who oppose abortion are portrayed – perhaps at times reasonably and other times not so much – as women hating monsters. But the beauty and simplicity of this type of opposition is that it seems more geared at providing an emergency intervention and a life line for the mother to be put in touch with services she could avail herself of to care for her baby. It’s hard to argue with that. In an economically depressed area such as Hudson, it’s not hard too imagine that women are fearful of bringing life into the world. It ain’t easy. But it’s my view that there should be no shame felt. Life is life. People make mistakes. We live in a sex-obsessed society where going all the way is considered a rite of passage and the more the better. Of course this has disastrous effects on young people. And when the result is life then that should be destroyed, it’s doubly sad. I think it’s beautiful that there are people out there who will do what they can to provide some bit of support for these young women, who should not be discouraged from bringing these children into the world.

Not my favorite place on Cape Cod (Provincetown) – August 2014

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Too crowded up there. Driving from Orleans, even on a clear day, is slow. That said, as you approach the dunes on the east side, it’s really nice. The Pilgrim Monument guides the way into the small art and fishing town, known for its in your face gay identity. I’m not a big fan of the crowded streets and the plethora of galleries or tourist shops that just so happen to have dildos, restraints and leather pieces hanging from the wall. The ostentatious ethos of Provincetown is a type of elitism. It’s quite tacky. But the monument and the streets and buildings are gorgeous. I can understand why writers and painters make it there home.

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard”

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I voted for President Obama twice, although I never have had much faith in any president or politician for that matter. I’m not really sure I even like the guy, and these comparisons to Truman and Roosevelt are hardly warranted. One thing that’s for sure in my mind, the man did his best on keeping the economy from collapsing in 2009 and that is where I’ll give him credit. In the years since, his nearly bringing us to war in Syria and his unabashed deaf ear to the concerns of religious organizations whose beliefs may be compromised by his health care plan, have given me pause on Obama. Maybe he is fitting the bill of the condescending elitist liberal he was accused of being in 2008. I certainly didn’t care for his predecessor or his opponent in the primary or general election. Too much faith is put in politicians and government in general. Everything from the invasion of Iraq, support for trade agreements, environmental deregulation, gun control, cutting taxes, redefining marriage, et al is a reflection of what people want in any given moment. I’m not sure my generation – left or right – consider things as honestly as they think they do. We seem too willing to go along with the current trends and put too much faith in mere human beings and then wonder why we got burned when things go bad. Doubtless, there will be some Obama regret down the road, much the way there was with George W. Bush.