Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

22 May 2020

Why Do Evangelicals Follow Trump? 5 Reasons.

Illustration I created originally for coverage of the Vice Presidential debates in 2016

John Pavlovitz's 5 reasons white evangelicals obey Trump


The Following is Adapted from the Video Transcript

1. Trump is their “symbiotic spokes-husk”.
White evangelicals recognized that they have in Donald Trump someone without a working morality of his own —just an empty husk who would adopt the outward moral convictions of whoever partnered with it.

2. Trump Promises Official Government Legitimacy to Evangelical Christianity.
So they decided “We'll make Donald Trump a Christian!” They put him on stage at Liberty University. They had him say a couple things about religion and he made some photo ops at prayer breakfast or religious functions or at a church service and suddenly he was sufficiently Christian for millions of Christians to support. Never mind that Donald Trump has no interest in emulating Jesus in any quantifiable measure or that he knows nothing of the gospel teachings. And even if he did he would have no interest in living those out.

3. Pastors and Evangelists Endorse Trump
For Christians who really want to support Donald Trump on the grounds that he is a Christian and that he is anointed by God, all they need are some pastors or evangelists who they respect to say that Donald Trump is a Christian. And suddenly —voila!— he's a Christian without Jesus at all!

4. Trump Re-affirms Authoritarian Leadership Patterns That Attracts Evangelicals
It’s a popular concept among Evangelicals that God is a white heterosexual man who was born in America raised Christian and votes Republican. They want to perpetuate that idea with an authoritarian male leader to tell them what to do.

5. Trump Panders to the Evangelical Fascade of Patriotism, Nationalism and Pro-life lip-service.

Donald Trump thrives within the pro-life lie that he is actually against abortion. He appeals to a Christianity that is steeped in white supremacy and nationalism and the fear of the outsider. Donald Trump is brilliant at leveraging such fear as well as good old fashioned capitalism that Evangelicals feel further legitimizes their prosperity. He’s someone who will get them what they want.

It might seem surprising that people who profess to follow Jesus or say they love God would embrace them on with a lack of character that Donald Trump has but it's really nothing new. The old testament records the story of the Israelites who, at first, follow God. They're being obedient; they're being faithful and then they begin to loose their way. They begin to compromise their convictions and they end up bowing down before false idol. They end up worshiping a golden calf. So it really shouldn't be surprising to us, few thousand years later, religious people are still compromising their convictions, losing their way and kneeling before an orange jackass.

The illustration at the top of this article was originally created for this 2016 post.


Of Diminishment and Wish Fulfillment

Habitual use of electronic devices can take our attention away from important matters.
Sketchbook Spread drawing © 2020 by O. Douglas Jennings

From reading my Twitter feed and surveying self-help videos on YouTube, I can tell I'm the only person to notice the diminishing effects of social-media and habitual use of electronic, 'smart' devices upon my attention span. Without going into a lot of detail (I don't have the attention span for such an exercise), I can just say that my awareness of such "diminishment" has prompted me to attempt a reversal of my atrophied powers of concentration and focus.

This reversal will involve breaks from social media and electronic device use. In addition, I will establish a pattern or habit of writing 500 words each day. Hopefully this will counteract the increasing intolerance I have developed --or perhaps, I should say the DECREASE in my tolerance for long reads and long-form media.

It has become so that I can hardly read even a COMIC that has more than a few lines of dialogue or narrative! But I realize this will be a matter of taking "baby steps". There are other factors besides the use of social media and smart devices that could be a part of the diminishing of focus I have mentioned. It could be a matter of my own cognitive decline which could be caused by aging or some other physical cause with which I have yet to have diagnosed. A reason could also be found in the context of our society's current spate of maladies in the way of strife, division, fear and natural disasters (the COVID19 pandemic included). Such upheaval can be distracting to say the least.

And I further have come to sense another dimension of causes for the widespread distraction that seems to have beset our culture. At one time I would have felt this other-dimensional cause to be self-evident. I would have had no compunction to call it "Spiritual Warfare" of the kind that was the premise of such Western literary classics as Paradise Lost, Pilgrim's Progress and Screwtape Letters besides the warnings found in the Bible.

Why do I hesitate to use such religion-laden terminology now? I will hazard to admit that it's because I've succumb to a mindset more attuned to a secular sensibility. It's as if I lost the facility of my first language from my upbringing. Like when one becomes so accustomed to a second language that one forgets words in one's "Mother Tongue".

Even so, as I entertain the concepts of the culturally well-pedigreed spiritual underpinnings of human existence, I realize it's like an arcane, nearly-dead language. But that my mind has become accustomed to the more secular language of the times, I see no impasse. This dichotomy of thought is centuries, even multi-millennial in length of duration.

For the sake of discussion, I will frame my "double-mindedness" as a matter of being "multi-lingual" in thought forms. Setting aside judgement and moving forward, I continue to analyze the state of distraction from another angle. Specifically, the perspective of Super-hero comic themes occupies my reference at the moment. I can hear the dismissive groans! But in the wider popular culture, the Super-hero genre in books and film is inescapable.

I think that the wish-fulfillment function of the Super-hero genre has superceded, in many ways, previous generations' understanding of the world as having a layer of spiritual/supernatural causes and interactions. It's been written that the creator of Superman, Jerry Siegle, was moved, in part, by the trauma of his store-owning father having been robbed to create a super human character who would guard, protect and perhaps avenge such victimization. I'm not the first person to compare modern super heroes with supernatural gods and angels of old in cultural imagination.

Think about it. Isn't one of the basic wish fulfillments of the Superman mythos that of the wish for a good man who is not corrupted by immense power?
Color pencil sketch on color paper by O. Douglas Jennings © 2013

Wish-fulfillment narratives are a powerful expression of human consciousness. In modern historical calamities, they have been used in everything from helping to fight fascism in World War Two to mourning the terrorist devastation of 911 and celebrate first responders in every crisis since then.

More recently, in popular films such as Infinity War and Endgame as well as animated features like Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, super heroes channel the popular imagination to symbolically confront humanity's global survival. In these fictional, wish-fulfillment narratives, the existential threat to humanity is personified in the characters of Thanos and Darkseid who are ultimately defeated by the super heroes of our planet. The longing for a savior to protect and rescue humanity has never been stronger. 

21 May 2020

My Favorite Beatles Album

The Post-Modern Four

I'm actually a late-comer to Beatle-mania. Or, maybe, I should qualify rather as a casual Beatle fan. Back in the 60s, it was my older brother that played Beatles music all the time. I was too young to appreciate them. But their music played constantly in the background of my childhood, thanks to my oldest bro. It wasn't until I was in my late 30s (even a bit later) that I began to enjoy The Beatles music on my own. It was a rediscovery, if you will. It began when my teen-age daughter checked out Revolver from the public library and began playing it. Wistful sounds from my childhood began wafting through the house unbidden by me. That was the beginning of my period of Beatles rediscovery.

At any rate, at this point, the only album of theirs that I listen to on a regular basis is "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

I love the variety of styles they feature on the album. And the story-telling is fun. I'll elaborate more later. Just enjoy my drawing of them and this image of the iconic album cover.

17 May 2020

Zauriel: The Angelic Super Hero [Fan Art Process]

I've been on a DC Comics JLA Member Zauriel kick lately.

Here's the process of fan art that started with a post-it note:

Of course, this is just my interpretation of how Zauriel looks. There have been a lot of takes on the character. I prefer a "brighter" look.

And this quick info screen capture should be helpful:

AND, I enjoyed this video about Zauriel from a comics fan on YouTube. Very informative:

16 May 2020

In Guarded Praise of Dandelions

My neighborhood is in a dedicated Natural Reserve zone which does not allow home owners to use anything but environmentally-friendly lawn care products. We also are not allowed to have fences. The Home Owners Association contracts with a service that will treat our yards twice a year (fertilizer, mostly). But that does not prevent Dandelion growth. This means that if Dandelions grow in my yard, I must pull them by hand. It's good exercise.

So each Spring, I play Dandelion Wac-a-mole. Here is my procedure:

I have a tool that is kinda like a glorified flat-head screwdriver. I insert it under the Dandelion plant.

As the soil is loosened around the plant, I can pull it out by the root.
I try to get as much root as possible.

Here you can see more of the garden tool I use for extraction of the plant.
Also, notice the white seeds at the end of a dedicated stem before it's fully unfolded.

My neighbor's yard which is full of Dandelions.
He's taking the bullet to provide early pollen for the bees! LOL!

So far, this Spring, as in the past 16 years I've lived here, I've been able to keep my yard relatively Dandelion-free. But I admire the plant as an example of great survival design and strategy!

14 May 2020

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Notes

I've embedded my tweeted comments about DC comics' animated feature, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War along with other media:

The film opens with Superman at his most intense state of mind.

Please follow the Twitter thread (some spoilers) to see more details.


There is no way to describe the POV of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
--except to say it has John Constantine as its anchor if not its center.

Big hitters in the League are not spared.



The way the story of JLD:AW unfolds was almost disorienting to me as the classic members of the League were quite subverted with almost transgressively bold pathos.

Essentially, JLD:AW is DC Comics/Warner's version of "Endgame" --