Monday, January 31, 2011

gardega news!

I am releasing a comic strip this week with a friend of mine--she is a writer. I never share creative reins with anyone but this is a cool project, so I decided to do it. It involves brooklyn and even something I know very little about..parenthood. I will be drawing and she and I will battle back and forth on the writing. I think it is going to be published in a paper as well.  thats all I can say. today..anyway, g'day.


I am buying as many Incandescent light bulbs as I can. At least a thousand dollars worth. Our moron in chief seems to think he has the right to say what light bulbs we can use and the american sheeple sit there with a mouthful of stupid watching american idol and it doesnt bother them. I cant paint to fluorescent or any other BS lightbulb. This affects me 100%. I will then buy them on the black market---I will be a criminal in Big Brother's eyes. Light bulbs is a psychological move--It is the first step to really getting inside your home and controlling the sheeple. They are in your fridge and your bedroom and your living room and you arent offended by this because you have been dumbed down by TV. I havent been dumbed down by TV and I am offended---green is just another word for controlling the sheep. Every " pro green person" I know, is in truth the biggest offender of the enviroment, they fly more----bigger homes and multiple homes and the little sheeple are the ones who get pinched and screwed. I intend on being very rich and famous so I can be in those shoes but I wont be green. I will have a private jet and not feel one single qualm of guilt nor will I lay claim to being green.

glass rap: by gardega

Im sicker than hell
Gotta a flu in my bell
in my head and my lungs
a ladder without rungs
If I dont work Im dead
ignore my head
I rely on myself
I aint got no elves
To make my art
while I sleep or not
I gotta roll and hit 
the cold streets
deadlines dont sleep
get through the week
ignore the pain
the cold, the rain
sandblasting glass
is probably the last
thing I want to do
today its true, 
Ill power through
I always do
be tough or go home
suck it up all alone
its all about art
and If you got heart
you wont get wise 
with sleep in your eyes
get off your ass 
and go make your glass.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

the bipolar myth

I was reading about bipolar disorder tonight because I was watching a biography in which a star supposedly had this. It seems to me to be an utter farce. There is no real proof, chemical or otherwise that this exists. Highs and lows?? please, welcome to my world..suck it up and get out of bed and work your butt off. without data and Im not sureScience doesnt allow for quasi- squishy conclusions shrinks should do this. (Although I am a big fan of carl jung.)

Barcelona and dalis home and museum photos and some gaudi

my ex girl sent me these pictures! thanks carol!

a beer with alexander: Interview with Laurie sandell

For my first Interview I interview Laurie sandell, a great writer and friend and I asked her about her latest graphic novel THE IMPOSTOR'S DAUGHTER (which I loved!)



Alexander: You are amazing and I love your book, I read it twice--- couldnt put it down. How did we become internet buddies? Meeting you in the flesh was great sorry I was drunk.

LS: You are hilarious. You really were drunk that night. We became Internet buddies soon after I saw an item about 10 Dollar Art on Page Six of the New York Post. I thought it was a great idea, so I sent you $20 in exchange for two art pieces. Soon after, they arrived in the mail. One was a purple-ish painting on paper of birds; the other was a glossy print of a woman, in a beautiful shade of blue. I then decided to send you the piece I'd written for Esquire about my dad, titled, "My Father, the Fraud." You friended me on Facebook and the rest is history.

Alexander:  what was it like to open your first copy of the book after it printed? was it surreal?
LS: It was somewhat surreal, yes, but I had to remind myself to really soak up the moment, because holding that first copy in your hands is so anti-climactic. I'd gone through so many revisions by then, I was just sick of the thing!

Alexander: do you speak to dad still?
LS: My father and I haven't spoken since 2002, when I first confronted him about lying on his resume. Soon after that, my Esquire piece came out, and though I'd written it anonymously, he stopped speaking to me. Then the book came out; that really put the final nail in the coffin. I
t's just as well. My father is not a well man and while I do have compassion for him, I don't need to have him in my life. Periodically, we'll run into each other at family events; it's awkward. 

Alexander: do you think it was cathartic for you to write this or did it stir up a lot of memories that were better left under the proverbial couch?
LS: It was more cathartic to research this story than it was to write it, which is it took me so long to publish the book. The process unfolded over ten years. I needed to process all that stuff before I sat down to write, so that I could have the necessary distance and perspective to tell the story.

Alexander:  whats next for ya, any great plans?
LS: I'm writing a novel, now, which is just in the beginning stages. I'm still cartooning; just did my first one for The Wall Street Journal and I'm hoping to do more for New York and Glamour. Aside from that, I'm enjoying being bicoastal--I divide my time between New York and LA--and *not* enjoying the uncertainty of being a freelance writer. I always marvel at the fact that you can be writing for the biggest magazines out there and still struggle financially. I take comfort in the fact that Jonathan Ames, whom I've known for years, didn't get his big break until his forties.

Alexander: when are you signing my book?
Whenever you want! Why didn't I sign it the night we met? 
Alexander: tell me your favorite artists and favorite music and books... 
 LS: Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes, Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty, all Ian McEwan and Jonathan Ames and Richard Ford and Philip Roth. 

Music: Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, Wilco, Leonard Cohen, Neil Finn, Spoon, Shout Out Louds, Sufjan Stevens, plus all the music I loved in the eighties.

Alexander:  did you color the cartoons yourself? was it photoshop? also what do you work on ? any special board/ paper etc

LS: I hired an amazing illustrator, Paige Pooler, to do the color; it was all done on her computer and looks like watercolor. When the book was nominated for an Eisner Award (in the "Best Reality-Based Work" category), the judging committee told me it was almost nominated for color, too. I draw with a simple Pilot V-5 pen, on Vellum paper. I really wish I knew how to draw with brushes; then I'd be able to change up the thickness of the lines. But I'm self-taught, so I'll have to take some art classes. 

alex:  what is the weirdest dream/ nightmare you ever had?
LS: When I broke up with "Ben," my boyfriend in The Impostor's Daughter, I had tons of dreams where we were at a party in a huge, modern house, and he was flirting with all these girls and indifferent to me. I would walk up to him and say, "I thought you loved me!" and he would smirk and turn his back. As you can see, my dreams are very literal.

Alexander: bonus question: describe humor as best you can. what makes you laugh?
LS:  like clever, quietly sarcastic humor: The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Christopher Guest's movies. I am a huge fan of Merrill Markoe, who co-created the Letterman show and wrote a few of my favorite books. My dog, Violet, makes me laugh every single day: She's a skinny Chihuahua mix with these huge, worried eyes. 

The Moma

Im watching TV, a show on the abstract expressionists at The Moma. What a bunch of garbage. "Notice how rothko fuzzed out his edges" the worse art is the more lame the attempt to use words to expain it.There wasnt one piece in the show that didnt look like puke nor make me want to puke. Now I have to get to the Met to heal my eyes. Abstract Expressionism will be a bad footnote, a corn on the big toe of art in 100 years. I guess if you dont want to spend 25 years learning to draw and mastering your craft I would drip paint like a third grader.

I hate baseball

I hate baseball and I hate basketball. I would rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch either..Golf as well, I feel that I should be able to sue because its always in my face and I have to listen to people talking about sports their whole lives like it actually affects their lives. I dont understand people who are so into sports, I cant understansd it. I dont mind the dallas cowboys, I watch an occasional football game but I dont sit and talk about sports and discuss it..It is like talking about the weather katmandu, it means nothing to me.

Egypt shuts down the internet

Egypt made the unprecedented move of turning off the Internet (thus making the riots worse) Hillary Clinton decried the move but the american sheeple have no idea that Obama has passed a bill giving him the very same powers. I am trying to find the bill number, I know it exists and I will post it. Here is one article on it--there are many--Ill find the bill number...And I thought a democratic president was supposed to support our freedoms. 

I think so you dont have to...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

everybodys talking at me

email me

 Im taking email questions and advice and just hellos today...feel free.

any country

ceiling mural by gardega (unfinished)

Not done--roughed in....Im never painting another ceiling...ever..stress is too much

stair walls

After spending a few days on my davinci mural (for which I hired a model and costume) my client decided to go for whimsy...our inspiration was a book of old champagne is hell. painting out 25 hours of hard work is tough but you rise up and make it work.

the flu

14 hour day painting a ceiling mural with bad back and the flu. Thought I was going to pass out.

a beer with gardega launches today! the interview series...1st interview


I work harder than any artist I know, I work seven days a week for months--no dates, no days off, no life, just me and art in a quiet battle. Today IM taking off a day to regroup but  will blog and sketch and post a great interview by an author friend. Art will never let you down if you put your blood into it, it is a matter of sacrifice. A pain/ reward system.

words of the day: floyd

Momma loves her baby
And Daddy loves you too
And the sea may look warm to you Babe
And the sky may look blue
Ooooh Babe
Ooooh Baby Blue
Ooooh Babe
If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear stained eyes
Don't be surprised, when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice

Friday, January 28, 2011

mural update

Clients son woke up screaming bloody murder at 4:30 am. I usually wake up at around 5 so it was basically an early alarm clock. He continued screaming until about 7am. Kids. Yesterday I helped client dig out his SUVS for two hours at 7am. In sneakers in 20 inches of snow. Woke me up, pretty good exercise. Tonight i have to go back to nyc...clean clothes, my own apt. Heaven. My client is learning my patterns. He knows if i have a bad day of painting to leave me be and he knows there will be some empty wine bottles in the morn. When I paint well it is a good thing. I get in a funk i cant explain when I cant get my groove in a clouds. Ive been that way since 16. Painting is brain surgery nor is that important but I take it very personally. I dont go through the motions. Anyways, back up the ladder. I think i beat the flu by working it out of me and I think I shoveled awway my back issues. Feel better.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


As i am in hell painting a ceiling with a flu I got an email from the ceo of the yellow pages. She told me my new cover is amazing and that I have outdone myself. Sometimes words can motivate you in art. My black flu funk lifted and i felt like someone realized i dont go through the motions in art, i lay my guts out an sometimes it hurts. I dont believe in going through any motions in are either all in or you are out. Back up my ladder
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ride on

When life hits you hard between the eyes and paints dark grey your skies. Put your chin up and hang on with what the good lord gave ya. The universe favors the bold and complaining just gets old, so im told. A.g.
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art hell

Im painting a mural that has become a battle. Sometimes they come easy and some times hard. To top it off im sick as hell. Painting on a ladder without sleep and sick isnt fun. Think my client is getting edgy, wants it done and im in a battle with the art gods. Fell sick last night, one hour sleep and now im painting a ceiling. Mammas dont let your babies be artists. Id rather be anywhere but here but i have no choice but to face the storm. When i painting isnt working it is a special kind of hell, then throw a flu on that fire.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

six degrees

its six degrees out. that is not even a temperature in my mind. that is a soccer score.
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gardega thinks

Im watching tv in long island. An interview with the lady who brought the nine year old girl to the safeway where she was shot and died. She is more insane than the nut who openend fire. She is batshit crazy. I felt my skin crawl watching a person so unhinged. My heart goes out to the girls family.
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I went out with my client last night in brookville. Im told we are still alive. I havent slept past 8 am in 13 years. As kurtz said apocalypse now..."the horror." Wheres my brushes. Art is a tough game, its not for the weak. I think the red wine industry stock went up last night. I should have put 20 on it but that would be insider trading..time to paint the ceiling and make the donuts of art...

"The sky is welded to the sea" joe conrad
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

wine cellar murals by gardega

 15 years ago....New canaan conn.
3 years ago, Brookville long island

3rd mural posts this week...

looking back

When I look back at my art, some makes me cringe and some makes me is like children, if you have enough of them, one of them is bound to be no good..dont give me that crap that all children are good, and cute.... some are ugly and plumb evil..I went to grade school and high school and to my memory I graduated from both. The problem is I make a lot of damn kids--- I am like the octomom squared times 42.

next few days

this street will be empty for a few days while I focus on my mural..not bringing my laptop to job. It will allow time for the street sweepers to clean the trash of years past and tidy things up. I will be thinking of palm trees while it is 9 degrees out this will keep me from "the dark shadows of the post holiday stretch." Off to that special hell called long island rail road" On a  side note I  have some press coming out in Long Island about my painting of the Huntington lighthouse. onward, I say.

gardega soup

Today I am going to long island (Brookville specifically) to finish my long drawn out mural. My client was away and then I got wrapped in side projects. This is the final stretch and will be three to five long days to wrap her up. I am great friends with the family  that I am working for I as this is my second project for them--new wine cellar, new house. I just have trouble sleeping in places that arent my own and I feel weird in the most hospitable of homes..I stay awake all night and am restless so when I get up around five or six I am usually already tired. After 4 or five days Im really worn out--not to count 12 to 14 hour days painting a ceiling mural. I get really edgy when my projects start to drag. I need to put the lid on a few of them and I was hoping to start 2001 fresh but the god's said no. I usually get the winter doldrums after jan 1 and I feel them now, up til recently I have been to busy to even notice. I need a beach and some sand and that will come every soon. I know myself, I will go to an island and try to go brain dead instead I will paint 150 watercolors and try to find out as much as I can about the local art situation and galleries etc. When I return I will go gung ho and wrap up my mausoleum job as they church is getting antsy as I am delayed thanks to breaking two windows in freak accidents. When I am done  with mausoleum my screenplay (a book converted to a movie should be all wrapped as well) My really cool shirts should be printed by then as well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

photo by gardega

This is a damn good cell phone photo if I do say so myself.

brooklyn bridge

This is the next brooklyn bridge ambassador yellow page cover. I like the fireworks but the bridge is not singing for me. As an  artist you are never happy with your own could always be better. I live in a world of deadlines and they tell you when a painting is done or not done...there was a great far side comic once called "how flowers see themselves" the flowers all looked ugly with black eyes etc in the was genius...this is a gift to the angel that was / is my ex girlfriend..she likes this piece so merry Christmas.

a day off

I am taking a day off today..something I never do. I work 7 days a week. Today I am staying in and cleaning and painting and thinking. No brooklyn, no glass, no running and my thoughts and my music. let the world go to hell. There are times when you have to be your own friend, let yourself relax. just be.

last night

I went out with my old landlord in the city last night. We went to his old friend's apt in the village..this apt was the last of the mohicans..bob dylan albums everywhere, 300 dollar rent....The guy used to be friends with bob dylan and jim morrison..they both sat in the chair I was sitting in. I got hammered on red wine in the same chair jim drank in. Imagine that...I think the guy offered to call bob dylan last night---its fuzzy..I wouldnt have spoke to him....the guy was laughing because he knew I was born in the year of the monkey..he told me I was a monkey...I woke up with a monkey stamp on my hand I dont remember getting. There was a magic that was still held over from the day of the village in that apt. I cant explain it. That magic was the fuel that created dylan, there are still pockets. By magic I dont mean political stuff, I mean the magic of art and possibility and life. Many people never get close to this magic and I feel sorry for them, there is a strange magic to art...99% of my life is mining for that magic in a dark cave but the rare gems make for dead years worth every second--that moment of magic in art is beyond words, beyond human.

The brain

The lady in arizona who took a bullet straight through the brain is healing at an amazing rate. The brain is an amazing thing--- it knows how to rewire itself. Stroke victims brains often rewire themselves. Imagine that the brain analyzes itself and fixes itself. Think of this, if you think about yourself-who is the thinker and who is the subject? this implies duality. The divided can one think of ones self?

coloring books

as a child I never used coloring books. My parents thought I was odd from the get go. My mom  once asked me why I didnt color in coloring books and I told her that "I like to make my own lines." To this day I make my own lines, I place no trust in a ready- made bed.


I dropped off my lighthouse painting to my art director yesterday--- I got an A. By an A I mean I got out of his office without any changes. My life revolves around getting out of his office without having any changes. I have mastered the art of art director hypnosis. If he tells me he doesnt like a color I draw his attention to the composition and then I ask him about his kids and in ten minutes Im out the door with a check.

a poem by gardega: bury me in Northumberland

Bury me in Northumberland
My true loves gone away
she left me here beside myself
for two months and a day

with curls drawn by a masters hand
and a smile from above
its true the world is cruel and cold
that took away my love

The winters eye is dark they say
her breast is chilled the same
carried on her lonely winds
the whisper of her name

So bury me in Northumberland
in the country warm and fair
they say theres peace and slumber
for all those buried there


Monday, January 17, 2011


I am launching a clothing line soon based on Glass art, art nouveau and art deco featuring my ORIGINAL clip art/ internet images...The first shirts will be done before feb 1..the first image is done and on way to printers, if my manager mary gets her ass in gear

plato speaks with alexander

Plato: In the case of this crazy person who caused all the death and horror in Arizona some people are calling for the electric chair, what do you think about this?

Alexander: I think the electric chair is cruel and unusual.

Plato: And why is this, Alexander?

Alexander: It is too small and slow, that is why I am inventing the electric couch.


Today my counter will hit all 7's,  that's gotta mean something. I think, or not, maybe...

alexander's prediction

I predicted the collapse of the housing market, the collapse of the dollar and and the rise of precious metals many, many years ago. People and friends laughed at me---I didnt care, I have pity for fools, not contempt. I am after all, Gardega... By the way, the price of silver isnt rising---your dollar is shrinking, it is shrinking like the witch in the wizard of oz--the water thrown on the witch is the Debt and you cant even pay off the interest on this debt--the fed is borrowing hundreds of billions every few days..the dollar has as much hope as three legged frog on I95 during rush hour on a friday.
soon to be no more! We will soon have a global currency with special drawing rights or some such nonsense--this is already in the works. My next prediction is that there will be a major cyber attack to cripple the Internet and global Internet commerce and to keep us "safe" they will roll out a new version of the internet--internet two....Internet two will be the same except it wont be free like the Internet you use free I mean free access to info. It will be a controlled corporate environment..It will be the cyber equivalent of a TGIF restaurant chain, crappy service and crappy food. But we will be safe--oh so very safe like a toddler on a tricycle with a helmet. welcome to Safemerica...

12 years

I went out last night with a friend I hadnt seen in 12 years. My friend Donna and I used to make a living causing trouble in the White Horse Tavern in the west village. We had a whole gang of trouble makers, actors, artists, bartenders, a circle of crazy people--it was kind of like the whole gang of american artists who went over to paris in the twenties except we stayed in the us and there were no writers amongst us. I have great (somewhat foggy) memories of those days that I wouldnt trade for anything. Donna is from a small town in texas, maybe five miles from where I grew up. She flies for the airlines and lives in sconsin' It is funny how you can go without seeing someone for 12 years and you pick up right where you left off. It is crazy how fast a decade slips through our fingers. I always wondered what happened to the "old crew" you get pieces and stories of peoples lives and you often wonder what happens to those who fall off the map completely.

alexander rates a painting

I took a photo of this piece at The Met..I am so sorry I cant remember the artists name--it is a sin to show a piece and not credit the artist..(alive or dead.)

on a ten scale:

mood: 10

color: 7

mystery: 10

technique: 6

glory: 9

composition: 7

 Notice how this painting guides the eye...the path leads the eye into the picture..the tree on th e left keeps you in the painting (otherwise your eye would "walk"right out of the pic) Noticce the clous that guides you back up into the large tree--great genius move that was by this artist...the big ole tree guides you back down to the fence and back to path--the cirlce is complete you can never escape--the twilight zone--you are stuck here forever.

Simon Jenkins: Moron of the month award

This is the most insanely twisted article I have ever read. (reprinted below) The reason we kicked your redcoat, lobster bad- teeth asses out of america is because we didnt want a tyrannical king..we wanted freedom and liberty to be individuals and not slaves to some corrupt ruler. People have fought and died and given their lives to experience the smallest amount of freedom on this planet and never have these freedoms been realized more than in this flawed but wonderful country in which we live. It amazes me that people will even consider given up the rights that so many people gave their lives for. Rights and personal liberties are like children--- they must be cared for and watched over and loved. Freedom of speech is, in my mind, the greatest of all rights----I had an artist friend who used to worship castro and I told him if you wrote a poem castro didnt like he would throw you in a dank prison for years and break your thumbs without blinking an eye, yet artists are so brain dead they think there is something to be admired in dictators and devils like mao, stalin etc....

I think so you dont have to--gardega

this article leaves my stomach feeling like I just had fish and chips that were left in the sun for three weeks

Free speech can't exist unchained. US politics needs the tonic of order

If America is to speak in a way that heals, as Obama wishes, it needs the curbs and regulations that make freedom of expression real
  • Simon Jenkins
  • The ugly American is back. Can the handsome one do anything about it? When Barack Obama addressed a shocked nation in Tuscon, Arizona, yesterday, he deployed the only weapon left to a crippled presidency: the power of rhetorical cliche. He deployed it brilliantly. "Together we thrive," he cried meaninglessly. "For all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness." While American hearts were broken, "yet our hearts also have reason for fullness … The forces that unite us are stronger than the forces that divide us." Despite pleas to keep war jargon out of political discourse, Obama asked: "How can we honour the fallen?" The answer came in copious references to heroism, family, home, hearth, to "September 11 … faces of hope … simple wishes … those in need … the American anthem … hand over heart". True Americans, said Obama, "jump in rain puddles". In a tribute to a nine-year-old gunned down by a madman, he added: "If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today." More substantive was the president's remark that it "is part of our nature to demand explanations, to try to impose some order on the chaos". The process also involved "debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future". Americans had to make sure that they speak to each other "in a way that heals, not a way that wounds". Foreigners are always surprised by the US's capacity to speak right but somehow not do it. Washington must contain more wisdom and talent than anywhere on earth, yet it contrives the disaster zone that is American foreign policy. This is normally put down to such impediments as the US constitution, the silent majority, sheer bigness and freedom of speech. Today's culprit is freedom of speech, or at least the speech of the American right and its broadcast cheerleaders. Shock-jock radio presenters feed on biased television news to present a view of the world divided between goodies and baddies. The baddies are always on the brink of victory and must be confronted with virile aggression. Language that might not disturb a balanced mind can clearly stimulate and legitimise an unbalanced one. The vitriol and inaccuracy of the campaign against Obama's public health reforms last year were like those against abortion and homosexuality. To many Europeans, the echo across the Atlantic came from a people isolated from the outside world and unable to handle today's social and scientific progress. The debate was infused with nastiness and xenophobia, as if the US was a land composed of tribes bred only to hate the outside world, and often themselves. I was asked some time ago by a university-educated Texan, in the nicest possible way, what it was like to live in a country of "baby-killers" about to be "overrun by Muslim bad guys". I inquired where he had gained this bizarre impression of Europe, which he had never visited. It turned out his sole information about the world beyond America's shore came from Fox News. He was not stupid. But he and millions of people like him considered this source of news a sufficient window on the world. He genuinely thought American troops would soon have to save Europe from "the Arabs". Freedom of speech, like freedom of traffic, can only be defined by the curbs and regulations that make it real. The right wing seeks to curb WikiLeaks, and the left seeks to curb "hate speech". The right wants the freedom to finance unlimited political propaganda, and the left wants the freedom of unlimited access to state secrets. There is nothing peculiarly American about this. Last month Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was in effect gagged when he was jailed after embarrassing the government. The racing car boss Max Mosley went to court to seek a court order censoring journalists. There were efforts to censor the Twitter site of the crackpot celebrity Kenneth Tong for promoting anorexia. No sooner does free speech open its mouth than someone puts a foot in it. Free speech is a Hobbesian jungle. It requires a marketplace where the trade in information, ideas and opinion has a framework of rules, including rules that maintain fair and open competition. Most will be voluntary, but others need enforcement. The US supreme court last year freed from control all political campaign gifts from corporations, on the grounds that this would be a breach of free speech. Ronald Dworkin's rebuttal of this "devastating decision for democracy" in the New York Review of Books pointed out that freedom of speech was hopeless if vulnerable to the bullying of wealth. Obama warned that it would "open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections". Yet Obama himself declined to champion the "fairness doctrine" that once governed broadcasting licences awarded by America's Federal Communications Commission, and governs them throughout Europe. The doctrine was rescinded in 1987 under pressure from the right, stimulating the growth of one-sided broadcasting outlets such as shock-jock radio stations and Fox News. While Jon Stewart and others have counter-punched from the left, it strains credulity to maintain that this polarisation has had no impact on the virulence – and immobility – of American public life. Under Britain's 2003 Communications Act, Ofcom's rules on "due impartiality, due accuracy and undue prominence" are voluminous. So is the BBC code of practice on balance. Both require impartiality within news presentation rather than just between channels – or not at all, as in the US. Article 10 of the European convention on human rights goes further. It subjects freedom of expression to "such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society". This is defined as "the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence". This is not freedom but authoritarianism, and mercifully seems to be a dead letter. When it comes to Mosley's defamation or Tong's twittering, most Europeans would rely on self-discipline on the part of the media, and on the chaotic pluralism of the internet. Even so, they would argue for regulated airwaves, as they would for laws preventing libel, slander and incitement to illegality and racial hatred. Freedom can only flourish in a climate of discipline. When the art historian and TV presenter Sir Kenneth Clark was asked what quality best defined civilisation, he did not answer with liberty or wealth or equality. He answered with courtesy, the framework of rules governing people's tolerance of each other, so their discourse might be creative. Most of the time, it is best for that courtesy to be informal. The best rebuttal of the politics of hate is a torrent of love – or, if not love, at least of facts. But sometimes, as Obama said, there is a yearning "to try to impose some order on the chaos". If American politics is now going the way of wounding, not healing, it needs the tonic of order. It is the great paradox of democracy. Free speech cannot exist without chains.   Stay out of our  biz, go eat your fish and chips and get your teeth fixed.

Alice in Winter Watercolor

12  x 16 inches on arches paper to purchase