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Bad AiM

June 7

ne of the lessons I learned when I was a typesetter was that we should not proofread what we'd set, because we'd see what we expected, not what is.

On Friday, I picked up slide copies of some digital photo files, barely in time to send off to TCU's Art in the Metroplex show. They have it every year, and almost every year I enter, although I gave up in disgust in the 90s.

In the 80s, I got in every show I entered and placed in many. I thought getting in art competitions was easy.

Then came a much longer period when I did not even get in. My work was changing, I thought, towards art from photojournalism. Jurors did not recognize my progress.

I struggled with the AiM form that Friday deadline afternoon, because I didn't know which slides would be good enough till I saw them, and I hadn't taken them to my local photo outfit until late in the game. An inveterate procrastinator, I always think there must be more time — later.

JR Compton - 35 MPH
from the digital West Texas Prairie Schooners series
EI 100 exposed at f / 8 @ 1000 @ 70 MPH

I was disappointed with half of the slides — all my beautiful dark tonalities shown on these digital versions had been blanded out and exposured up to ordinary snapshots of tanks and towers by the side of the road. But the deadline day was already upon me and a redo would take a whole 'nother day.

My precious, dark, moody tones and gently ramping, slightly mysterious contrasts, and especially my luscious, silvery highlights, had disappeared in the digital to analog translation.

My magnificent West Texas Prairie Schooners were rendered ordinary, dull, tepid. So I chose instead abstracty experiments from my White Rock Lake Journal series, images I'd hoped to enter in another show.

A half dozen times over the multi-folding, multi-serated form, I filled out my name, address, city, state, county, zip, phone number, title, medium and size. I kept assuring myself that they've been doing this all these years, they must know what they're doing, despite the redundancy. 

Then, when I tried to fold the elaborate form along its many "Do Not Detach," folds and stuff the sucker into a number ten envelope, it did not fit.

So I wadded up the thick, folded three times sidewise, accordioned form, untill it, my SASE, check and three too bright, too dull slides, all fit in a big bulging mass in the middle of the long vlope.

JR Compton - Black Tanks + White Lines
from the digital West Texas Prairie Schooners series

Kathy drove me to the post office, where I licked the thinly glued flap, pulled it tentatively across the lumpy mass and hoped it wouldn't explode before the West began.

I joined the long line waiting for one clerk at my local P.O. and waited at least ten minutes before despairing and trying the postage vending machines instead.

Then, suddenly in Saturday's mail, there it was. My postally flattened entry was delivered to my door by an agent of the U.S. Government. Instead of posting it to AiM in my carefully postaged and addressed number 10 envelope, I'd crammed it into my own SASE to myself.

At least I'd remembered to include the check — years ago, after another one of these ordeals, I'd got my entry off in another nick of time only to get a letter back a week later saying I'd forgot the check and could I send them one, and of course, I did.

This time, I found a bigger, more secure envelope, placed the still pristine, unopened pack into it, wrapped it in a letter listing my travails and idiocies, added another stamped, self-addressed envelope and noted that the still sealed SASE had, imprinted upon its trio of multicolor stamps, the requisite postmark of Friday June 6, and mailed the whole shebang off from the main post office on the old turnpike, hoping it would still be delivered by Monday.


Bad Journalism?

June 4

verything was going along all hunky-dory when an acquaintance E-mailed saying, among other accusations, that she had no "patience with those who slam others' faith path."

She said I'd called someone's religion a "load of crap," which is a phrase I rarely use — in print, so I asked her where she'd got the quote.

She said that it "came from your Virgin of Guadelupe "review," which was widely circulated in my peer cricles as an example of bad journalism."

I re-read the page and noted that, though I had indeed used the word "crap," I had not said "load of," and I was writing about art, not religion.

Apparenly someone offended by the page, which included commentary by both Kathy and me, had distorted our words. No telling how many other perversions were in the distributed text.

Odd that supposedly professional journalists hadn't bothered to read the stories in their easily accessed, original online format.

You are welcome to read the stories, to decide for yourself, whether our journalism is bad. As always, DARts is happy to print criticism — both positive and negative — on our feedback page.

Some is already there, albeit submitted anonymously (which we do not mind. Or you can submit it under a pen name or we can withhold your name).

As I explained to that ill-informed writer, I am as careful to sign my opinions as I am to express my personal opinions.

"When I write, I struggle to keep me in it as much as possilbe. Some people call it populist. Years ago, something like it was called The New Journalism.


I realize not many people aspire to it, but it is necessary for me. It is an expression of my Self. Without it, I would not be me. It becomes ingrained. I hardly notice it, unless someone calls me on it."


See also an E-mail from a major DARts' supporter.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We all have them.

And I, of course, believe it's beneficial to express them — when they are based on fact. But to change the wording of a story, then illegally copy and distribute it, is frustrating.


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