This is looking to be a banner year for Pigtails. So many things are really coming together and I am refreshed and ready to get back on track.
Ode to a Special 7-Year-Old: Pip and I have often referred to Pigtails in Paint as a work of art in its own right with a kind of life of its own. Christian recently suggested that we do a special post for the 7th anniversary. This idea did not appeal to me at first since “seven” is not usually a landmark year. However, given the subject matter of this site, it is apropos that we do something to commemorate our little girl reaching—what many of you will agree—is a particularly delightful age. We will be featuring relevant poetry contributed by Christian and original poems written by Graham Ovenden and Pip Starr. Since I like this site to be a communal effort, I would like to solicit suggestions from our readers and contributors. Don’t forget: the anniversary date is February 15th.
The New Doomsday Book: For those who are unfamiliar, when William the Conqueror took over England, he had a detailed accounting of all assets in the country so he would know what property fell under his domain. It got its name because of its thoroughness: that no thing of value could escape its accounting. While Graham Ovenden was serving prison time, he was not just passing the time. He did a lot of reading, writing and even got to do some painting. Most notable though is his diary which is a meticulous accounting of the malpractices and injustices of the police, the media and Her Majesty’s courts and officials. After Ovenden’s release, a barrister came forward to offer his services in suing the police, the media (excepting two companies) and the courts. The full documentation of the details has actually been beautifully bound together in a book, complete with high-quality images. Once this case begins to get public traction, it may be one of the most revealing exposés on the corruption rampant in these organizations.
The Latest Victim of the Censorship Police: Facebook does it once again. After being blocked for one day for posting an Ilona Szwarc image, now Christian has been blocked for 3 days for posting a while back a painting by William Sargeant Kendall, Narcissa (1907). Christian says he will go on posting art until they throw him out. The most disturbing twist is that Facebook wants to know who he really is. When they learned that he was using an alias—not allowed according to the Facebook ToS—they suspended his account. Account holders are required to give their real first and last name which is a real blow to freedom of speech, particularly in countries where people are subject to dictatorial repression. So if Christian wishes to continue on Facebook, he will have to share information that would make it possible for various trolls and fascists to harass him at his home for expressing his unconventional views. Christian says he prefers VK which has not censored him so far but it is used mostly by Russians.
Coming to the Defense: It is nice, for a change, to see a museum not kowtow to the lowest common denominator and refusing to take down one of Balthus’ paintings entitled Thérèse Dreaming (1938), depicting a young girl in a pose that leaves her underwear showing—quite usual for this artist.. The Metropolitan Museum of Art received an online petition with over 8,000 signatures urging the museum to reconsider its decision to include this painting.
Liberation and Pigtails’ New-Old Look: Readers may have noticed a change in the appearance of the site. These new changes are actually old. I liked the look of the posts in the original incarnation of this site first established by Pip. When we were kicked off of WordPress, we had to start over. I did not realize that selecting a new ‘Theme’ meant that we had to accept the accompanying typestyle and paragraph style. For a while, I was at a loss on how to make this adjustment without a major overhaul until recently. The heading font is called ‘Liberation’ which I think is quite appropriate. I hope you will all agree with me that this look is much more suitable and reflects the proper artistic sensibility expressed in this site. Also, the obstacle of including categories to the reference pages has been overcome as well and, in the next few months, readers will see a major expansion to ‘The Pipeline’, especially the list of artists and films. This will make it easier to know which items we are aware of and what materials are still needed to do proper posts.
Domains and Extortion on the Web: When we switched to pigtailsinpaint.org, I thought it made sense to retire the old .com domain. This seemed a good idea at first, but there was the problem of forwarding all the ‘legacy’ links from posts that were popular in the past. Also, we had no way of controlling what a new owner might do with the domain. Bad luck and naivete has now put us in a position of losing the domain. Unbeknownst to us, the company who registered the domain for us went out of business and we were not informed. When the domain expired, it was not renewed/updated as expected. By the time we realized we had to deal with a new company, it was too late and the domain was sold to someone else. We are still making an appeal to ICANN since we were not given a fair opportunity to renew and I do have a receipt showing that I attempted to renew in good faith. A few days ago, I received an email from someone who claimed to be the new owner asking us for $1200 to get our old domain back! I am told this is a common practice these days. I will keep readers apprised as more details become available.
The Most Beautiful Little Girl? The media’s incessant need for sensationalism continues. This time, they insist on stirring things up by perpetuating the notion of six-year-old Anastasia Knyazeva as the “most beautiful girl in the world”. This is a completely subjective moniker once given to Thylane Blondeau when she was the same age. In particular, it seems this girl has been singled out because of her unusual doll-like appearance.
Adorable Braiding Video: A colleague forwarded a link to this French video called Tuto coiffure facile by Tape à l’oeil – La couronne tressée. It is an instructional video demonstrating a particular braiding technique. The especially lovely girl featured also narrates the video.
… and on a personal note: I know even my colleagues did not know this, but I have had more difficulty seeing due to rapid-onset cataracts. I am pleased to announce that my surgery was successful and my vision is clear again. As a result, it should be easier to review new material and produce posts from now on. So this year, my sincerity in wishing you all a Happy New Year is especially heartfelt. -Ron