Day & Night 6 2023 American Tour

April 19, 2023
I have been meaning to get to few places in Los Angeles: a visit to The Getty and a walk through the UCLA campus. I did get to walk through the campus late afternoon. It is the same as every other university campus on a late Saturday afternoon. Very quiet with almost no human present. […]

I have been meaning to get to few places in Los Angeles: a visit to The Getty and a walk through the UCLA campus. I did get to walk through the campus late afternoon. It is the same as every other university campus on a late Saturday afternoon. Very quiet with almost no human present.


Image 1: The Getty



The Getty in the morning is the complete opposite, and I was not expecting the crowds of tourists, like myself. Rather than the automatise tram, I elected to walk up the hill. It was a great choice for my physical and mental health. The thing with The Getty is the question of whether one there for the art or the spectacular views. I would have similar question about my night time review at the Griffith Observatory.



Image 2: The Getty and the L.A. View



This is what great art is about. In the “real world” the artist and the writer feel under pressure to perform oneself in a timely manner. The convergence of good time is certainly an ingredient to success. So is though the time to reflect. Abraham Solomon is a British painter who did the two painting of the legal setting. He demonstrated those thoughtful reflections on vulnerability to power. Power pressures us to rush to judgement. The Arts causes us to slowdown. And as in the Abraham Solomon’s painting, “Waiting for the Verdict”, there is the anxiety in the vulnerability; and if God, gods, fate, favours the bold, there is relief, as in the painting, “Not Guilty”.



Image 3: The Getty and the Abraham Solomon Paintings



I have waited 30 years for judgement on my 1995 thesis, rather than the sickening and avoiding silence. It has been the central anxiety of life in high culture as an artistic writer. I have also waited 30 years to return to the United States at the conjunction of history which, yet again, demonstrated the truth of my thesis. The cultural battles of the 1980s are same ones as today, only the warfare metaphor is getting too real for those of us who love peace and justice. The result is the predictable ebb and flow of cultural decline, something that I believe The Getty tries to cover up; in the culture vulture-ness of tourism and pop culture.



Image 4: Venice Beach artwork



Jean Paul Getty Sr. was an American-born British petroleum industrialist. His collection formed the basis of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; more than $661 million of his estate was left to the museum after his death. He established the J. Paul Getty Trust in 1953, and the trust is the world’s wealthiest art institution. He is to be respected as a man of letters, but like all wealthy collectors, there is something which blinds the individual to the more abstract sense of value. Excessive wealth decreases, not charity, but to be able comprehend the human condition in more modest framing; and so, to act in compassion. Writers like Hannah Arendt captured such knowledge because, not simply that they struggled, but struggled with full understanding of their world.



Image 5: Venice Beach, Los Angeles (USA)



Venice Beach was where it all began. Our first night in the United States, in December 1991. I have made the pilgrimage back like a renaissance scholar of old, to the Italian city of new learning. There is a heartache that Ruth is not with me in February 2023. I will not, though, harbour the false nostalgia but look at personal history straight in the face. Ruth would never wanted to return. It is not right to say I dragged her to the United States at the end of 1991. Nevertheless, her youthful spirit of adventure was tested with the passion and enthusiasm, and, though I loved her dearly, she was as the crowd of a-historical thinkers who just wanted to get on with life in the present.



Image 6: The Difference of 30 Years — Looking Back Home From USA



I have never feared change nor feared the pessimism of a familiar world changing. What I have always feared is the mob of a-historical thinkers who do not give a shit, that is, neither caring for the world and all living creatures therein, and not caring for the intelligent state of mind. Time and space exist for us humans, people!


Image 7: The Difference of 30 Years — Where it all started (December 1991), The Cadillac Hotel in 2023.



Am I there on the beach looking back to the home country, from the United States, in 1991 and 2023, like King Canute? NO! I not only accept the histories, I reason with it in great passion. It is not Canute that commands but Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” Note that the step is different but the course of the river represents a familiar pattern as the course changed.



Image 8: LA Night from Griffith Observatory



However, in metaphor of Venice Beach we are talking about oceans, not rivers. And there is an ocean of difference between the bubble of the American national mythology and that of Australia, and other places. It is as though the tragedy of the modern age has become the a-historical framing, which has continued in the postmodern global fixation of the happening. It is a mindset of a happening without sufficient cognition of our place in time and space.



The last LA Nightlife, and seem appropriate to take photographs from the Griffith Observatory. I am sure you have seen the classic images of the LA starlight streets from the risk of Griffith Park.



I had completed my tour of the UCLA campus, ghostly. It could not have been more different at the Observatory. A tourist trap with hundreds at seven o’clock at night. I did not stay long.



Image 9: LA Nightlife in West Hollywood



I was hungry and needed dinner, and since I thought I might have left my Glen Innes scarf at the Palihouse West Hollywood bar from the previous night, I thought I would head over there for the sushi restaurant. Good decision. Not only had the manager kept the scarf, intuitively knowing I would returned, but the sushi and California chardonnay was the best I ever had.



I am amazed when I look back to that evening, as I write in Boston, just over the week ago. I had managed to get up very early Sunday morning (4.30 a.m.) for my flight to New York. As I think about it, I think about the many long conversations I have had with Americans in the street. Some uber drivers are not so conversant, and that is fine. But the interesting thing is that many of uber drivers are conversant on religion in the way you would not here from Australian uber or taxi drivers, and “taxi” drivers are famous for expressing an opinion.





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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.
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