The “Real” Hemingway – Or Not.

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Tonight I’m concluding my series of images that celebrate a tiny slice of the passions and achievements of Ernest Hemingway. More than half a century after his death, the appeal of this enigmatic macho-man continues to grow and remain relevant due to the eloquence of Hemingway’s prose and universality of his characters thrust into a rapidly changing world where conventional values, relationships and expectations no longer have meaning and tomorrow is the ultimate unknown, all woven together with exotic locations and varied adventures and all with the core theme of man as an individual and the compulsion to seek challenges to triumph over himself and his environment. From the point of view of characters dealing with the reality of living in the eye of the storm, life is at once thrilling, horrifying, compelling, alienating, inspiring, depressing, life-affirming, destructive, ancient, modern and seductive. But in winding up this series, I’d like to address an issue I feel rather passionate about: the perpetuation of bias and hatred against people due to the race, religion, or sexual orientation and a rarely used tool to help combat it.

Much has been written about Ernest Hemingway, the “Man’s Man”, full of bravado, machismo and courage. Not the least to have extolled and claimed these qualities was Ernie himself. Yet in the past 10 years (fifty years after his death) there has been a new focus by certain theorists cum biographers/scholars who have steered the conversation away from two-dimensional character portrayed in the popular media to reexamine the softer side of the man. While such attempts to discover the “real” man behind the myth are laudable, because these publications were released shortly after the tragic death of Hemingway’s youngest child, the scholarly value of such books or essays as Ernest Hemingway: Machismo and Masochism” and Hemingway’s Masochism, Sodomy, and the Dominant Woman”, both by Richard Fantina, “A Matter of Love or Death: Hemingway’s Developing Psychosexuality in For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Marc Hewson, and “Hemingway’s Quarrel with Androgyny” by Mark Spilka, strike me a less than certain.

Editor’s Note — My concern is in large part due to the very public revelation that the 69-year-old woman who died of natural causes while incarcerated in a Miami Florida women’s jail for indecent exposure was in fact Gregory Hemingway, the youngest son of author Ernest Hemingway who had just 3 years earlier undergone a sex-change operation.

It is unknown to me whether the research and conclusions about Ernest expounded by such works were initiated due to their author’s knowledge of Gigs Hemingway’s “secret”, or evolved independent of such knowledge, and/or whether the publisher’s release date was intentionally timed to capitalize on the tragedy, or whether the close proximity of the release date to that intensely personal family tragedy was instead just a reflection of the Publisher’s gross insensitivity to the Hemingway family, to the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender community, and to the scholarly reputations of these authors. But regardless of the true circumstances, it strikes me as hard to deny the potential cloud placed over the credibility of the author’s conclusions about the inner-life of Ernest Hemingway nor the potential harm to the G.L.B.T. community as a result of feeding into the already existing misperception of the general public who not only consider such people as “freaks” or worse yet, as “sinners” but who either overly believe or inwardly fear that homosexuality, trans-genderism, as well as any other “non-standard” sexual preference is not only a “disease” but one which can be “caught” by an innocent bystander and therefore must be protected against by ostracizing and punishing the “victims”.

Of course, biographers and scholars are not responsible for the biology, psychology or circumstances of the person(s) about whom they are writing and the farther a biography or critical analysis strays from the facts and reality of their subject’s life the less credible their treatises become. So the dilemma for them and their publishers becomes:

  1. How to ensure your analysis of a deceased person’s psychological make-up doesn’t get tainted or inappropriately influenced by a combination of the biology, psychology and circumstances of the lives of other deceased persons and, perhaps, your own personal cultural biases?; and
  2. How can you (as author or publisher) help prevent your readers from using your analysis about one specific person as confirmation of their own pre-existing bias’ applied to an entire category of people?

Unfortunately, I have no sure-fire answer as to how to prevent the initial bias but certainly having Editors and Publishers as alert to such weaknesses as they are to grammatical errors and typography should catch it at the gate. On the latter question, to those of you who may presume that anyone intellectually smart enough to even be interested in reading such publications are also culturally intelligent enough not to misinterpret them, I ask that you simply consider the evidence that intellect does not necessarily correlate equally to cross-cultural understanding or empathy (for example: Thomas Jefferson was intellectually brilliant yet owned many slaves, Richard Wagner was a genius composer yet was stridently anti-semitic). And to those of you who may feel it is unfair to even ask biographers, scholars, essayists, and journalists take such questions into serious consideration before they finalize and release their efforts to the public, I ask that you reflect upon the fact that if the skills of these authors are such as to create compelling enough material that not only attracts many readers but presents their theories in such an effective manner that convinces their readers to accept those theories, then in situations where there is a reasonably perceivable risk of faulty conclusions and abuses of their tomes, doesn’t it make sense to ask these writers to use their considerable skills to complete the circle of education by expressly pointing out what are or are not valid applications of their theories beyond their specific subject while they still have their reader’s attention? And wouldn’t this create even greater value to their works and benefits to society?

It’s something to think about at least.

And now, for the lighter side of tonight’s post, I present you with 3 different 1920×1200 px-sized pictures created specifically to coordinate with my Hemingway Series of images, suitable for use either as a background for your desktop, scrapbook page, or ….? -Enjoy!

Free Desktop Pix of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 1024px X 768px in .png format). Create Commons license applies (see sidebar for details)


Hemingway KenyaGold-Screen

Hemingway Havana-Screen

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IconDoIt’s Homage to Picasso’s Homage to Cervantes

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I’ve found that serendipity abounds when I keep my mind open and seek knowledge whether for knowledge’s sake or for specific purposes. My experiences today are an excellent example. I began by working on an idea I had for a new desktop wallpaper that paid tribute to my “hero”, Don Quixote and one of my favorite painter’s, Pablo Picasso. I’m pretty pleased with the result and wanted to share it but because I had incorporated the footprint of Picasso’s own famous tribute to Quixote, I thought I had better check out whether or not I would be guilty of some infringement. Enter Part II of my day, when I took a break before embarking on researching this legal question by catching up on some of my e-mail and unread blog subscriptions…

Bruce Carlton posted on his blog, Legal Blog Watch, an article that caught my interest as being particularly apropos, titled : ‘Copyright Abolitionists’ Fight for Freedom-Based Distribution of Artistic Work. After reading the article, I followed two of the links within it, first to another blog, Against Monopoly, and then to The central theme of these sites is to educate people about the fallacies of the benefits of copyrights, the resultant harm caused by copyrights, and a call to arms, so to speak, to help fight against expanding of the existing copyright laws which is being actively considered both by US Congress and the Supreme Court as well as by many other countries around the world at this very moment. While I am a die-heart capitalist, I have also always been a firm believer in the open exchange of information, culture and inspiration, but have never been quite sure how to explain why those two positions were not in contradiction with each other. Nina Paley, artist-in-residence at is far more articulate than I, in both word and picture, and has produced an award-winning, animated short documentary that shows in a delightfully entertaining and informing manner, just how copyrights actually serve more to suppress creativity than protect economic interests. Among the many points makes in this one minute animation titled “All Things Are Derivative”, Ms. Paley also illustrates the difference between “plagerism” and “derivatives”.

All Things Are Derivative ……

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Interesting. But even more interesting was how my research concerning Don Quixote and Pablo Picasso’s painting ended up coming full circle to the very points made by Ms. Paley and the organization Question Copyright. Recently voted The Greatest Book of All Time by the Nobel Institute, Cervantes book, Don Quixote, Part I, was first licensed for publication in 1604, released to the public in 1605, and within six months, several derivative (“pirated’) editions were already in the works. In the intervening years, the great novel has spawned an astounding number of further “adaptations” (another term for derivatives) not only in literature but also in music, film, dance, art, and even social organizations. It is impossible to deny the vital influence that Cervantes book had on Western Culture and how culturally impoverished we would likely be today if the creative heirs to Cervantes imagination had been denied the right to build upon his works with their own imaginations and sweat. What adds to the greatness of these various derivatives though is that not one of them claimed to have been the innovator of the characters or plots their own work derived from, but thoroughly acknowledged Cervantes as the original source and genius, and that their subsequent works were in homage to the master.

It is in this same spirit that I offer my own creative works, where all I seek from those of you who may choose to make derivative works, is that you publicly acknowledge the source (‘attribution’), and send me a link so that I, too, can marvel at what clever ways you have chosen to adapt my work and allowed it to grow and ferment into something bigger and better.

Free Icons of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview of a 1920 x 1200px Desktop Wallpaper. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the it to your desktop. If your monitor is set to a different resolution, send me a note via a comment below with the size required and I’ll post it for you. As always, my Create Commons license applies (see sidebar for details)


And a generic folders to coordinate with this wallpaper.


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Quilting With Snakes

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It’s been a whirlwind week for me with my time and attention spread out into every nook and cranny of my life but the good news is that the majority of it was rather uplifting for a change. I heard from several long, lost friends and colleagues and better yet, I finally had the ability to respond to them.


for being so loyal and sticking around during

my prolonged intermission from life!

For those of you who look forward to my usual offerings of unique graphics for your desktop pleasure, I’m posting tonight a new wallpaper/desktop picture sized just right for the High-Def setting on a Mac PowerBookPro (1900×1200 pixels). If you feel left out, BUY A MAC! (or post a comment with the resolution size of your monitor and check back for when I post the modifications. For the rest of you, Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following image is a reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the full-sized file to your desktop. (1900px X 1200px in .jpg format) As always, my Creative Commons license applies (Click on the red CC button in the sidebar for details)


QUILTING WITH SNAKES - 1900px X 1200px

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