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mbfitzmahan – 2013. Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto, Japan

I find this theme challenging.  Do you?

The role of the artist is to translate for the audience that which is not noticed or that which is not seen.  Art creates a personal relationship between the artist and the viewer.  For me, taking a photo of two men holding hands, or a homeless man on the street might not be enough.

I found it helpful to sit quietly and meditate on what I consider my own ‘taboos.’

Modern taboo can be viewed along a spectrum.

FORBIDDEN, SINFUL, CRIMINAL, DISGUSTING, BANNED, THREATENING, UNCLEAN, UNSPEAKABLE, RUDE, UNFAMILIAR, UNKNOWN, DARK, IMPOLITE, UNCOMFORTABLE, EMBARRASSING, RUDE, POLITICALLY INCORRECT.

Taboo appears to differ between countries, between cultures, between generations, between socio-economic groups, even between regions of a country or within families.

Taboo may be set in stone in some cultures.  Taboo in the United States seems to be more fluid.

Taboo is a tool of the society to protect what it believes is ‘sacred.’  Religion, family, women, children, government, power, ideology, reproduction, sanitation are all subjects of taboo.

Many former taboos are no longer viewed with the same level of fear and derision.  Views on some taboos are split.  No longer considered a universal taboo in the United States are: divorce, masturbation, abortion, homosexuality, mixed marriages between races, offensive language (“fuck,” “God Damn It!”), sex before marriage.

Woodstock, 1968

There are taboos held by my generation.  Shared by my liberal, college educated, child of the 60s and 70s – peers.  Many of these taboos are political and divisive.

My personal taboos are against: racial bigotry and religious extremism; super-nationalism, ethnocentricity, homophobia; government suppression of the truth, reference to the Kardashians, Fox News, Right Wing Republicans…(OK, have I gone too far? I had a much longer list, but don’t let me get started!)

Which all brings me to Ana’s always insightful and eloquent thoughts.

They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Taboo is in the eyes of the mind.

Taboo is in the eyes of the religion.

Taboo is in the eyes of the ideology.

Taboo is in the control of the dictator.

Taboo is in the power of the cruel.

Taboo is in the power of the controlling.

But

Some taboos are universal.

Held by all.

Those are the real taboos

Those are the only taboos.

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