I am always struck by the power of an image…it needs little explanation. On my blog, I align one image with each post. Due to time constraints, some images are more relevant than others.
In Communications, we want people to do something or think something. What a task? So many pre-existing filters exist and it is hard to get through them. Images can sometimes strike our audience in ways that verbiage can not. The popularity of Instagram is a testimony to this opinion.
The image in this post could be interpreted a number of ways: the question is: who is muted in our society? This is an instance where the Semiotic theory in Communications is useful.
The Semiotics definition from the Oxford English Dictionary states:
“The science of communication studied through the interpretation of signs and symbols as they operate in various fields, esp. language (see semioticn.for parallel form). Cf. semiologyn.“
The above is not an icononic symbol, but rather it signifies that a large entity, perhaps alien, as alien as outerspace or as one human paradigm to another, is forcing, through their power, another entity, to stay quiet.This…despite that entities willfulness.
These are some recent headlines on the web that make the sketch a good metaphor for its the use of power over rather than power with :
New York Times: Threats and Vandalism Leave American Jews on Edge in Trump Era
By ALAN BLINDER, SERGE F. KOVALESKI and ADAM GOLDMAN
In each case, the report indicates a threat. One group trying to assert power over another. The responses of the less powerful are not documented in the headlines, but while they may not currently be muted, it is obvious to this news observer that we are heading in a direction of silencing them.
A Walk with two dogs on a snowy winter day. Our dog Macadew is like a gazelle leaping through the woods. On this snowy day, I brought my iPhone and because I know him so well, was able to capture him at some precise moments when his spirit was soaring throughout his universe.
Moby is happy to come along and he meanders much more slowly…I may have mentioned my husband’s theme song for him. It is all most like Moby walks to the tune: Zippity, Do Dah; Zippity Day…I’m so happy, things are going my way.
My mother, Katherine Arachangela, is often heard saying…”I had five brothers growing up.” This meant, myself and my siblings and our 20 first cousins! had five uncles. They have all passed sadly and their names were Harry, Ed, Tommy, Bobby, and Billy. They each taught me something about life and this piece is a reflection on Uncle Bob. I am posting it now because he died almost three years ago around this time. His being brought light into the darkness for many…Uncle Bob you are missed!
January 2014~When I went to my Uncle Bob’s calling hours, I felt a sadness that echoed throughout my limbs and surfaced in a rain of tears. My Mother had, in her own, very succint, practical way pointed out to me, days before his death, that I was a niece he hardly new. (Not sure if this was not perhaps her dementia settling in or just her opinion.) This of course, this did not make the event any less sad.
I cried so hard because I saw my cousins in pain, because I saw all the times that I felt down and my Uncle was there to cheer me up. But most especially, I saw one Christmas night. Our family day done, my Mom wanted to visit her brothers that lived in town and she wanted all of us to go. A few of us went. I think she would have preferred we all go. She was so sad, my Mom, on that drive over to see my Uncles.
But when we arrived at Uncle Bob’s house and she started chatting, she cheered up. My cousins and I sat around their big beautiful tree talking. It was lovely.
Uncle Bob often brought the family together. He was the one who orchestrated my Uncle Harry’s memorial service at his home at 407 Milton when Uncle Harry, miles away, had done what rebellious Catholics due: had himself cremated in California (at least that is what I remember). Uncle Bob was also the person who showed up at my wedding with his camera and keen eye, our wedding photographer. I always suspected my Mother told him we didn’t have one and he just stepped up.
When I walked into his funeral the next day, I was not prepared to feel the spirit I felt…the singing from the local Hibernians and a man name Jack, a church packed with people touched by my Uncle Bob, and the soft light of Christmas’s closure.
Listening to the readings…a time to love, a time to die…. and the stories and the stories, the story that struck me, the one I could not bare to repeat without crying, was this:
At the end of his life my Uncle had Alzheimers, but his ability to sing and his remembrance of lyrics stayed present. My Uncle had been in a barbershop quartet for many years and had a great voice. One day, at a store, my cousin Tim said Uncle Bob started singing to the store clerk at the register. He sang I love you truly. And as he serenaded her, the woman started crying. “I have had the worst week,” she said to him.
I looked over at the Christmas tree on the alter several times during the celebration of Uncle Bob’s life. I thought perhaps the lights could represent all the lives he touched and if all of those lives somehow, in their own quiet way, could light up someone’s day, the planet might sparkle with goodness.
So from the niece who felt she knew ya Uncle Bob, you left the world a better place. An example for all of us to reach out to those less fortunate and the lonely or maybe just, as my cousin Drew said, stop for just one person today. One person who needs you or needs the bits of goodness that you can give.