Brighton, Day 2
Today I went on the Brighton Wheel, also known as the Brighton O. I’m going to call it the Brighton O because then it makes it funnier how they have a photographer take your picture before you get on because then it’s funny to think of them saying, “Okay, show us your O face!”
A lot of people do not like this ferris wheel being here because it’s installed in the middle of a large conservation area. Mind you, not a natural conservation area, but a cultural one. People are afraid that the presence of this strips the historical roots of the homes near it, given that it was built somewhat recently.
I sometimes think protests like this are selfish because they imply that the past is more important than the future. The future has a history too! It just hasn’t been lived yet. It’s great when people find a way to incorporate past into present, maintaining history while also being functional, but sometimes I think this is too artificially handled (as is the case here).
A famous British actor, Steve Coogan, narrates the 12-minute ride as it loops around 5 or 6 times. It overlooks a lot of filming locations for the ’70s mod film, Quadrophenia.
flashes my tits at them from 50 meters up
I didn’t realize until being in Brighton how much I have adjusted to and found comfort in loud noise and chaos. When I look down on the beach and see no one there, I wonder where all the people are and wish it was more alive.
I also saw the Sea Life. This is the oldest operating aquarium in the world, at 120 years old.
But most interesting, was the Royal Pavilion. They wouldn’t let me take photos inside, but the outside was stunning.
The history of this palace is totally incoherent and disjointed. The palace has an obvious Indo-Saracenic architectural style and yet 0 affiliation with India during its construction. The Prince of Wales visited Brighton, thought the sea water would be good for his gout, came here, built this palace. Then an entire century later, during World War I, part of the palace was used as a war hospital for Indian soldiers. The interior of this palace, however, has a very awkward Chinese decor that clashes severely with the exterior.
I don’t understand the “no photography” rule in places like this. This isn’t an art museum. And it bothers me that I cannot share with others the astonishing beauty contained within, all on the premise that someone is being really anal about their policies. Meanwhile, large museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre don’t care if you take photography. A lot of places will cite that it’s because someone taking photos is annoying to other guests. But I think the audio guides they hand out that don’t have headphones attached would be more distracting to the kind of person that would get bothered by someone silently taking photos (even cell phone photos are restricted in places like this and the guards definitely will enforce it).
I notice around the world, the culture of photography varies a bit, and I realized even as an American, I had my own perceptions of what is normal. For example, most people are familiar with the photo of the little naked girl running and screaming down the street after being severely burned in a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. It’s a tragic event and my first thoughts upon seeing it are, as someone who likes photography, how the photographer, Nick Ut, was able to separate himself from the events as a photojournalist to capture it without stopping to help. He went on to win a Pulitzer for the photo. For me, when I see someone screaming or panicking, I feel an immediate need to intervene. I know that I have a gift that not too many people have during crises in which I can stay calm and help stabilize the situation. So to sacrifice the most utilitarian feature of my personality for the sake of capturing a photo seems hard for me to swallow.
But when I am traveling and I am taking photos, the people I meet often have all sorts of opinions on how or why photography should take place. They have preconceived notions of what subjects merit being photographed or what moments are fine to photograph. Because for me, just because I wouldn’t take a photo of the napalm girl doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s incredible that someone did, so that we now have this visual reference to a devastating moment in history and we live it vicariously, and are forced to re-examine our actions.
This morning, I woke up to the unfortunate news back in Texas about Senator Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster. It stung a bit, especially from afar. In college and even after, I was fairly active in a lot of different campaigns that revolved around a woman’s right to choose. Some of them were very harshly misogynistic, like Mississippi’s attempt to add an addendum to their state constitution (ick) which would define personhood as beginning at conception and threatened felony charges on women who had miscarriages. Senator Davis spoke for 11 hours and was disqualified from her filibuster due to a strange 3-strike filibuster policy in Texas’s senate (e.g. you can’t lean against anything, you have to stay germane in your speech).[edit: it seems the bill was reversed due to it not following legislative procedures, but stil, such a irascibly confusing production!]
It’s an incredibly noble thing for someone to stand up for what they believe in, to put themselves under physical and mental duress, all in the name of human rights (I harness the same level of respect for Snowden, who may also be the world’s best troll). It’s a big blow to women in America to see the outcome, but it’s also something to be remembered. As the saying goes, “well-behaved women seldom make history.” So regardless of whatever came out of the senate last night… Senator Davis is now an inspiration to so many, a reminder to me… that I refuse to be another well-behaved woman. With plenty of posturing and saber-rattling, it is the meaning of my life to make huge leaps, to stand behind my beliefs, to make history.