Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ultimate Truth: Plato's Cave

a variant for the last day of the month of one of the most considered epistemological ideas. looking at fact from two sides, light and dark. confusion or nuance,

Sunday, June 28, 2009

History: a lesson in loss

a cover without its contents, the loss of the specific, it sinks, disintegrates, and disappears as the flow of time carries it away

Sublime Terror

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

George Rosen: Happy Birthday, 3

George Rosen as a child, as a medical student in Berlin wearing his dissection apron, studying a medical text, and in the armed services in WWII, broadcasting.

George Rosen: Happy Birthday, 2

Meeting of the American Association of the History of Medicine, brochure, Mayo Clinic

[to be added]

View of George Rosen's study and desk in 1977, after his death. He was prepared to begin work when he returned from Europe

my mantlepiece with photograph of my father taken by Grace Goldin and, partially obscured, photograph of my mother in her early 20s

George Rosen: Happy Birhday (1910--1977)

George Rosen, (1910—1977): born 89 years ago today. Happy Birthday, dear father

GEORGE ROSEN (1910—1977). To do justice to my father’s achievements and his persona in his short lifetime—he died two months after he had turned sixty-seven—is not possible in this brief remembrance. An historian of medicine, a specialist in public health, a professor in both fields, and an editor of leading journals in these areas, he was a person of remarkable abilities and accomplishments. As Saul Benison wrote: “he literally instructed a postwar [WWII] generation of medical historians and sociologists as well as thousands of public health workers and physicians in the history of and sociology of medicine.” (Saul Benison, “George Rosen: An Appreciation,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, July 1978, vol. XXXIII, no 3, 245—253, 251; Professor Benison’s essay is a contribution to the Journal’s George Rosen Memorial Issue.) As professor, author, editor, and practitioner, George Rosen’s lifework is especially germane today and influential. At a recent meeting at the New York Academy of Medicine (June 2009), issues of public health in New York City were discussed that recalled essentially identical matters I heard discussed at dinner when I was a child.
My father’s longterm goal of universal healthcare—and prepaid healthcare-- is being debated today, with the very same obstructionist constituencies thwarting their realization. New players have entered the political stage, but they were present in form if not substance long ago. My father’s concern was not self-serving ; he truly believed in health as a human right, and he worked arduously and continually to achieve that end. That his vision has not yet been realized is not surprising. Money and power trump the common good. This is a fact of history and a manifestation of socially constructed human behavior in the United States of America and elsewhere. But mentalities may change as historical circumstances force reconsiderations of older structures. Change will occur; history is never static, but whether the outcome will be on the side of reason and the angels cannot be foreseen.
One observation that has not been made recent accounts of George Rosen’s study of the history of medicine is that contrary to most of the recognized “stars” of the moment, is his engagement in the practice of public health: he was not an observer, a recorder, but an active worker in the field. As a New York City health officer he was empowered to speak directly to a person whose behavior was harmful to others. Perhaps I was six years old, when I witnessed this. A man expectorated on the sidewalk. My father took out his badge, indicating that he was empowered to cite the person for “breaking the law.” (Spitting was a major public health concern, since TB and other infectious diseases could be disseminated through the these bodily fluids. And the same is obviously true today. Interestingly, public health educators accept this prevalent display of manhood by youths who spit before they hitch up their pants, while referencing their crotch in a public display of virility.)
My father startled the man and then tried to educate him.
Of course times were different then, yet I wonder how many academics today have actually had to confront real-life situations?
I believe that the fusion between practice, theory, and knowledge situates my father, George Rosen in a most interesting zone. He was incredibly erudite, insatiably curious but he was also a person of action. And he did not hesitate to articulate his views and to actively persuade.
I have not commented on his private life here. My love and respect for him are obvious. To him I owe so much. And now I have lived longer than he did which only deepens my enormous respect for him.
The selection of photographs is generally biographical and by no means comprehensive.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tepotzlan, Mexico; Gouache, 1953, twelve years old

perhaps a version of an earlier picture. I distinctly recall seated beside my father, Georoge Rosen, on a balcony overlooking the incredible vista of the town and the distant landscape. I have my father's watercolor and also another version--weaker--of this view. Could I have painted this at 12? Possibly. If not, then perhpas a year or so later.
More to write about this town and Mexico in 1953.

For T. B.

Vascular System

High School of Music and Art: learning how to draw

1955 fall
Class of 1959

View of Convent from Music and Art. The Convent was dismantled and the site was used for a CCNY (City College of New York) library

The Embrace Observed

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Harold Olejarz, the Artist, makes Art

at Stony Point, New York State

Clover: the sweetness of honey

To a clover flower

Clover has become a weed in suburbia; it is regarded as plant that destroys a lawn's beauty: the perfect is emerald green: no gorgeous dandelions, no fluffy white clover flowers. Deadly sprays are directed at the plant to eradicate it for the sake of "beauty" and value. How grave the consequences are for the people who reside at these "picture perfect" homes. Even when their children have "learning disabilities" they are willing to risk their immediate and long-term health. In twenty or thirty years the environmental factors that contributed to the cancer will have been forgotten. And of course the sprays are absorbed by the soil and from there flow into drinking water.
No wonder bees are dying off in the United States. And fear of bees also makes clover vulnerable.
Thoughtless and worse. The culture has been disneyfied; grass that is not grass but rubber laden with lead is preferred.

A Leaf still upright: trying to stay on course