Jasper by Matthew Genitempo

Matthew Genitempo

Jasper conflicts me.  The aesthetics of the landscape imagery, pleasant in my mind, jars with the hillbilly topic. It’s a topic that strikes me as having run its course; the images feel cliché. This might be a consequence of my frequent visits to the Blue Mountains in Georgia; many of the pictures seem familiar.   Poor, smelly, messy, violent, inbred, uneducated, crude, vulgar, mountain people; creepy is apt.  This is the impression left with me; it is one-sided.

Yet, in our post-modern, relativistic world the reaction might be a reflection of the distance from myself and my position.  The book describes an ‘other’ I don’t ponder; one I’m fearful of.  Do I really need to care about these people? Poverty unaddressed, perpetuated by an uncaring society; one that says ‘fend for yourself or fail’. Should society do something? Should we individually care? Should we individually help? An act of support through community groups is hit and miss, an act of government is a sign of a socialist state, curtailing free will, anti-democratic, or so goes the rhetoric. It is this reaction of mine that is the source of conflict. If I didn’t see the work, I wouldn’t think about these things.  

Should I spend thought cycles on this subject or should I return to my location of privilege. 


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