Photo Portfolio of The Day: The “Mentally Ill” in Illinois (1971)

Jack Dykinga’s Pulitzer Prize Portfolio

Experiences of Tragedy

When artists explore the darkest or most unsettling aspects of life, they are in a position to give voice to our universal hopes for recovery from the large and small tragedies that confront each of us.  However, artists can exploit our hopes for redemption as an excuse to create works that indulge in the enjoyment of escapist pleasures, or to justify such works.  In this way, feelings of or about real tragedy and suffering become simply incidental to that which is created from them.

Such works are not intended by their creators to spiritually edify, but merely to document self-referential emotionalism: “I feel, therefore I’m real.” There is little genuine interest in a perspective that includes the experiences of another, perhaps expressed as: “Because He is, I am.”  Jack Dykinga’s photographic portfolio, based upon the particular manner in which he experienced being faced with the overwhelming images of utterly discarded human beings, the mentally-ill who were warehoused in the back wards of state mental hospitals, represented a step toward an understanding of co-constructed meaning, a sense of which is embedded in “Because He is, I am.”

For that reason, from the publication of Dykinga’s photographs emerged an unintended small crusade for dignity and supportive attentiveness.

Jack Dykinga’s 1971 Pulitzer Prize Portfolio in Feature Photography

Jack Dykinga was the first Chicago Sun-Times photographer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize.  He was honored for a series of photographs that was taken in April and July 1970 at state schools for the mentally retarded in the Illinois downstate towns of Dixon and Lincoln.

Dykinga spent three days at the schools.  “It was a real shock to my senses, like nothing I had ever seen before,” he later said.  “For the first hour and a half, I didn’t take any pictures at all.  I just watched and was overcome by horror.”

Dykinga said that he was rushed.  “We went from cottage to cottage, and I think some of the patients there reacted the way small children react.  They were curious, you know, and they would reach out and touch the camera.”

After the photographs were published, there was a large public outcry of outrage and dismay.  In response, Illinois state government officials canceled plans that they had previously put into place to reduce funding supporting the State Department of Mental Health.

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V.P. Dick Cheney’s Surprise Visit to Asia: Wages War against Diplomacy



Vice President Dick Cheney arrived back in Washington last Wednesday after a surprise trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where a suicide bomber attacked the U.S. military base where he was staying.  Cheney, who flew back via Oman, had to be whisked into a bomb shelter while in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber struck the Bagram air base where he was spending the night ahead of talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Joe Conason, a reporter for The New York Observer, has written:

During Cheney’s trip, he warned that redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq would “validate the al Qaeda strategy,” as if bin Laden had somehow lured the United States into invading Mesopotamia.  “Al Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will,” he added later. ”  That’s their fundamental underlying strategy: that if they can kill enough Americans or cause enough havoc, create enough chaos in Iraq, then we’ll quit and go home.”

Actually, it is widely known that our occupation of Iraq has strengthened al Qaeda by recruiting thousands of young Muslims to its cause. We know that because the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) prepared for the Bush administration a year ago documented it.   According to The Washington Post, the classified NIE concluded that “rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position.”

As if to underline his cluelessness, the vice president visited South Asia soon after his remarks about U. S. House Speaker Pelosi “validating al Qaeda.”  In Pakistan, he demanded that President Pervez Musharraf strike the border strongholds of the Taliban, which pose a real threat to the weak Western-backed regime in Kabul.  If the Pakistanis failed to deal harshly with their old friends in the Taliban and al Qaeda, Cheney said he couldn’t promise to protect Pakistan from reprisals by the congressional Democrats.

Oblivious to the contradiction in his own remarks, then he flew on to Bagram Airbase outside Kabul, where he came dangerously close to obliteration by a Taliban suicide bomber.  Having neglected Afghanistan to pursue pre-emptive war in Iraq, the Bush-Cheney administration has ensured safe havens and recruiting grounds for terrorists in both countries.

Those twin failures reflect the broader collapse of Middle East policy under Cheney’s intellectual stewardship.  Thanks to his belligerent outlook, we have abandoned the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, encouraged both Shiite and Sunni extremism, diminished our own military strength, and made democracy synonymous with irreparable destruction.

No wonder the vice president thinks things are going so well.



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107 Year-Old Olive Riley’s Blob is a Mega-Hit: But I’ve Been Banned in China!!



Dr. X, the author of the highly esteemed blog  Dr. X’s Free Associations,  clued me in on this developing issue.  It seems that a growing number of blogs are discovering that they’ve been banned in China–including this one!  Me, why???  107 year-old blogger Olive Riley has not only become an instantaneous international sensation, but she’s also readily available to viewers in China!  So, again, why me?  Why do I have to suffer this indignity at the hand of Chinese censors?

Okay, Dr. X has speculated to me semi-privately that perhaps my subversive psychological articles about persecution and resignation don’t sit very well with these Chinese censors.  I think that Dr. X may have a valid point.   And further, perhaps they don’t think too highly of my posting of Annie Leibovitz’s photographic studies of nudes, or of my slideshow of images, by the renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and artist Jamie Wyeth, showing Arnold Schwarzenegger in the “buff” (during his early New York City “frisky” years).  And maybe they don’t like my Anna Nicole shrine pages.  I just don’t know why for sure–that’s part the mystery of being banned.  The days of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “Blacklisting” have returned, only now the attack is both from within and from without.

I shall indeed lodge a heated formal complaint about this egregious affliction of unwarranted abuse by the Chinese government, in the name of their Glorious People’s Revolution, upon the very essence of my public persona!

The Banned:

Clinical Psychology and PsychiatryCommitment To Living (Anthony Pisani)Disembedded’s Et: Cetera (Me)Dr. Bliss,  Larval Subjects (the old site) and Larval Subjects (the new site).

These blogs have not yet been banned and can still be viewed in China:

Deception BlogDr. SanityDr. X’s Free AssociationsIn The Roomhawk worksLaura GonzalezLaura’s Psychology BlogModern Psychoanalysis,  Neo-neoconPsychoaShrinkwrapped, Stephen  Soldz.

If you’d like to test our your own site, go here.

But wait, there’s been a news update as further developments on this issue begin to roll in.  Dr. X is now reporting this:

More Friends Banned by The Chinese Government 

“Also Blocked by the Chinese government’s Great Internet Wall:

Decic Bownds MindblogHakim AbdullahNeurophilospherOver the Line, SmokeyWrithe Safely

And, because I damaged the Glorious People’s Revolution with my previous post on this subject, I have been blocked, too.”

Anna Nicole: There’s No Business Like Show Business



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