I’m like a useless version of my father-in-law.
Anything mechanical in my father-in-law’s hands immediately buys itself another few years of life, and by mechanical I mean mechanical in the loosest sense, so as to cover the absolute scale of my own lack of skills. In my house, if it can’t be fixed with tape and/or blu-tack, it doesn’t get done. Probably that last part isn’t true. Because my wife would either know how to solve the problem, or would figure out how to solve the problem. As opposed to hiding under a blanket and ignoring the problem.
So we come from different worlds and….skill-sets, I think is the modern word for it. I think we do share a tendency to hoard, or collect and curate depending on your outlook, though. But whereas my father-in-law has a house and sheds full of items which may have some use – tools, backup generators, bits of car – I just have quite a few books. There are probably people with more books, but it’s all relative, and I’d say I have quite a few. I find it hard it hard to go past an op shop without a sneaky tilt of the head and a scan of the shelves. I find it even harder to leave without at least a couple of paperbacks in my hand.
Generally most of what I bring home is used to collect dust – my reading hours are a little shortened by having a 5 and 6 year old in the house. I keep up the buying habit though, because..well, you never know. And you never know is the phrase my father-in-law uses when he would come home from his job at the tip with a chemical toilet. Or a threshing machine. Or widescreen tv. You just never know when you might need one.
So maybe we are not that different after all.
My own you never know moment came this week from a paperback which must have sat on the shelf for at least a year now. The cheerily titled ‘Assassins’ deals with many of the major assassinations of the last two hundred years, including the both the Kennedy brothers. The section which struck dealt with the many wildly varying theories which surround JFK’s death. As someone who has been attempting to visually represent a world where we are presented with many wildly varying theories, it was good to be grounded in this knowledge. It made me realise that I need to clarify my ideas further. By making images which deal with the possibility of more than one truth, I am not suggesting this is a new state of affairs, rather what is new now is the fact that, due to the internet, all of the possibilities and theories have the power to exist in real time, in a variety of easy to find sources, and produced using technology which brings an element of respectability. The serious looking guy you always tried not to catch the eye of in the pub in case he lectured you on why ties are the devil’s work? Well he actually seems to make a lot more sense when sat behind a desk in front of a projected screen on his YouTube channel.
We are no longer talking about disparate individuals believing in a series of reasons for an event, with each one coming to light over long periods of time, as with the JFK murder. We are not talking about theories coming from the mouths of people whose appearance and lifestyle would mark them as a crank. The advancement of our technology allows millions of people the opportunity to present their opinions in ways which give them respectability and credence, and they come at us all at once.
What to think? Or, perhaps instead why to think? As that is my overall feeling.