Tag Archives: buddha

Kill Your Television?

A couple more wheat pastes… These two were directly next to each other in West Oakland, but I’m not clear if they were produced by the same artist, or are supposed to relate to each other in some way. Maybe you’re supposed to practice a little mindful meditation after you’ve turned off the tube.

Whatever the case, they’re both pretty interesting…

television statistics, kill your television, television violence

Here is the text again (reformatted by me for ease of reading)…

  • 99 percent of American households possess at least one television.
  • There are 2.24 TV sets in the average U.S. household.
  • 66 percent of U.S. homes contain three or more TV sets.
  • The average TV is on for 6 hours, 47 minutes per day.
  • 66 percent of Americans watch television while eating.
  • The American population watches 250 billion hours worth of TV annually.
  • The value of that time assuming a wage of $5/hour: $1.25 trillion.
  • 56 percent of Americans pay for cable.
  • 49 percent of Americans say they watch too much television.
  • The average American child watches 1,680 minutes of TV per week.
  • 70 percent of day care centers utilize the television in their facilities.
  • 54 percent of children ages 4-6 chose watching television instead of spending time with their parents.
  • The average American youth spends 1500 hours watching television annually.
  • The average American youth spends 900 hours in school annually.
  • U.S. children are exposed to 8000 acts of violence on the television by the time they finish elementary school.
  • The number of violent acts seen on television by the age of 18: 200,000.
  • 79 percent of Americans believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem.
  • 20,000 thirty-second commercials are seen by the average child.
  • The average 65 year old views 2 million or more commercials.
  • 53.8 percent of news stories are devoted to advertising crime, disaster, and war.
  • ?? percent is devoted to public service announcements.

A few comments…

When I was a kid I watched a lot of television. Too much television.  My family was probably quite representative of some of these statistics.  I watched Spiderman cartoons before school in the morning.  I watched Scooby Doo, The Brady Bunch, Bugs Bunny, and The Little Rascals after school.  We watched the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite every night during dinner, our plates perched on TV trays positioned in front of the living room couch.  We watched prime time TV most evenings.  I remember Wednesdays were Eight is Enough.  Fridays were The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.  Lame, I know. 

But it wasn’t all lame. There were some great shows, and certainly some that exposed me to characters and experiences I would know little about, living in white-middle-class suburbia – like The Jeffersons, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, and The White ShadowI loved these shows.

And television wasn’t nearly as violent as it is today.  The most violent shows I can think of were Starsky & Hutch and Charlie’s Angels, both rather tame by today’s standards. You could even argue the Angels were empowering for us young girls – to see those women kickin’ ass, takin’ names, and always baggin’ the bad guys. 

Could we have been spending our time more productively? Certainly.

But at this point in my life (and actually for most of my adulthood), I watch fewer than 5 hours of television a week… sometimes none at all.  Not bad for a kid raised on the boob tube.

I suppose you could argue that I’ll never know what untapped potential in myself was squelched due to an overdose of 70’s sitcoms.  But I’m ok with that.  In spite of it all, I think I turned out pretty well. 

I’m not saying I don’t agree with the larger message of the piece. I agree we’d all be a lot better off if folks spent a bit more time engaging in more interactive pursuits. I’m just sayin’, it’s not all bad.

buddha, doghead buddha, west oakland wheat paste

And now… I think I’ll get off this computer and do a little yoga…


Buddha & Ganesh

I thought I’d stay in the neighborhood since we’ve been here all week… here’s another mural produced by the folks at Community Rejuvenation Project. This one’s located at 21st and Mandela Parkway, right around the corner from Bee Aware – Connected Worlds

These guys are busy. I haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of the murals they’ve produced over the last few years and intend to take a field trip down Foothill Blvd. in the near future to photograph many more.

oakland mural art, CRP mural, mural on mandela parkway, buddha mural, ganesh mural

I’m not sure when this one was produced… maybe my friend Desi can chime in and give us a bit more information. In the meantime I’ll tell you that CRP worked with 30 kids during a 6-week grant-funded program last summer to produce positive mural art in various neighborhoods in Oakland. The youth were actually paid for their time (jobs people!), as were the four artist instructors: Desi, Mr. E, Mike360, and Raven.

In addition to learning how to paint, the kids learned basic art concepts, promotional & marketing skills to interact with the local community around the project, documentation & surveying techniques, and even basic job skills like showing up on time and finishing a job through to completion. The unveiling of each mural was typically accompanied by a community block party.

silence the violence, mural art oakland, mural on mandela

At the end of the summer program they held a week-long workshop to produce the printed magazine S.W.E.A.R. documenting their efforts. SWEAR stands for Street Warriors Enacting Artistic Revolution, and the full 24 page piece was entirely produced by the youth, excluding printing.

It’s a gorgeous glossy full of wonderful vignettes about the projects and participants… poetry, artist bio’s, essays, etc. Here’s a snippet of one student’s essay:

“The CRP program is almost complete; we are still developing and exploring who we are and how art can change our world. During our first week, we dove into training and challenged ourselves to learn something completely new. Some of us had experience in painting, surveying, clean up, or promotion, but besides the lead artists, we were teaching each other.”

oakland mural art, CRP mural on Mandela, CRP murals, Mandela Parkway murals

buddha mural, oakland mural art, CRP murals, mural on mandela

They’ve just finished their grant applications for 2010 and are planning for several more murals to be painted in the coming year. A couple locations have been picked in my neighborhood (the 30’s at San Pablo) and I, for one, am very excited!

May all the beings in all the worlds become Happy…

Ok kids… so I’m going to continue the focus on murals for the next few days because:

  1. I am swamped with work and this writing stuff takes time
  2. The murals are so amazing they speak for themselves, so I don’t have to say much
  3. There are bunch of ’em in the Broadway and 40th vicinity we’ve been exploring lately

Here’s the next… it’s at the corner of Broadway and 49th, right in my old hood.  It kind of reminds me of the one I featured a couple weeks ago next to Ghost Town Farm… similar message of peace & happiness between all peoples, and an interesting mix of iconography… the moon, the earth, the sun, egyptian pharaohs, and the buddha… not to mention the classic graffiti style writing.  It’s pretty cool.

Oakland Mural at Broadway and 49th

The left side of the mural reads “Lokah Samasah Sukhino Bhavantu” which apparently is Sanskrit.
How do I know this? Google. Thanks Google! The phrase translates to the title of this post, which you will also see painted on the far right side of the mural.

lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu, Oakland Mural

lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu Mural

egyptian, oakland mural, lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu

The buddha depicted in the center looks almost female to me, resting on her lotus flower, floating above the Earth. The words “Infinite Potential” are painted across.

oakland mural, Infinite Possibility

oakland mural, community rejuvination project, broadway and 49th

As you can see here, the mural was created as part of a Community Rejuvenation Project by Little Village MAS students: Abicus, Daz, Dési, Fact, Jinx, and Raven. Nice work kids!