The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:11 pm

I've been reading this thread with horror and disbelief.

I tend to dislike "in" words, but most of this is a batch of "ageist" blither (one step worse that blather).

As Fiona said, the still-wet-behind-the-ears generation has always bad mouthed the older generation. They also always manage to take over from the older generation -- if only by attrition and certainly, perhaps, not as quickly as their impatient little hearts might desire. They natter on, oblivious to the fact that they in turn will become the older generation with a bunch of kids yapping and nipping at their heels. That is life, kids.

But you don't suddenly turn into a BAD bonsaiest when you get your AARP card. (I don't know what the UK equivalent would be.) Those folks you are so anxious to push off their pedestals can still do and teach bonsai. More importantly, they can enjoy doing it.

I am the farthest thing away from being a bonsai "artist." I know that. I have always known that. BUT, I do know a lot about trees, and bonsai, a lot about plants and how they grow, and quite a bit about the chemistry behind horticulture. I'm also not so ego filled that I live only to display my trees and harvest attaboys -- but don't bother to contribute to the answering of questions by those who will be yapping at their heels soon enough.

We ancients can still contribute to bonsai -- believe it or not. Our hands might shake, our lungs may wheeze and pant, and our hearts may stutter at times, but we can still DO bonsai and help others DO bonsai until we're gone. I'd like to think some of you kids will be willing to help too, when your time comes, but from what I see of the "me-first generation" I have my doubts -- for bonsai and for much else.

(Now THAT is a typical belief of the older generation, right Fiona?) :twisted: I've had my AARP card for 24 years and have been an old grump for longer than that. So I qualify.

I just hope egos don't get in the way of bringing up the NEXT generation of bonsaiests.

I fully expect snarls and disclaimers, and hoots and hollers.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:47 pm

will baddeley wrote: I totally agree with your ideas about the “old guard”. Far too much praise and adoration is heaped on certain individuals, just because they have a long history, can hold court, entertain, or publish a book.
Bonsai has progressed so much since the turn of the century, Particularly in Europe and I feel this is down to a more open minded and questioning standpoint to the staid attitudes of the old guard and their more rigid and unwavering rules.
This is not out of disrespect, but more to do with the knowledge available to us all. The old guard have done a fantastic job with the promotion and skills base and should be applauded for this as they didn’t have very much to learn from. Maybe the US is more reluctant to move away from these teachers.

And I totally agree with you, Will, I think that's a big part of it. Tony, I would have loved to hear what Ryan had to say too. Sounds like what I've been thinking to myself for the last 25 years. The pictures of the bonsai exhibitions in Europe y'all share here speak volumes. Just recently, Cram posted pictures of his group in Monte Carlo and the work they're doing. If memory serves me correctly, these guys were in their 20's and 30's. My first thought was "There probably aren't that many young people doing bonsai that seriously in the entire USA." That picture would have looked very different had it been taken here. I have to wonder if it's the result of differing emphasis on the Arts. It's no secret that when budgets get tight the first programs that get cut in schools are art and music - but hands off when it comes to sports!

Two other things I've noticed here are the quality of the imported material and the collected material. I have no idea what the rules are as to importing into Europe, but it's not easy here. Obviously, people in Europe are willing to spend huge amounts of money on imported trees too. I can only imagine how much some of these bonsai must have cost. As for the collected material, it's second to none. You name it - pines, junipers, spruce, larch, hawthorns, hornbeams, beech - never ceases to blow my mind. I live hundreds of miles from any mountains, and most of it I couldn't grow anyway, but the zone envy is there! When you can start with such beautiful material that seems to be so easily available, and combine it with a mind set that actually embraces art and artists it's easy to understand why bonsai in Europe is where it is today.

That's my 2 cents.

R



Last edited by Russell Coker on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  fiona on Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:49 pm

JimLewis wrote: As Fiona said, the still-wet-behind-the-ears generation has always bad mouthed the older generation... Now THAT is a typical belief of the older generation, right Fiona?
It pretty much sums up what I meant by it being an arrogance of (some of) the older generation in assuming that the young know nothing. Very Happy Actually the point I was making is that some of both the older and the younger generation are guilty of dismissing the other group solely on the basis of age rather than merit. What a darn waste that is for all concerned!

JimLewis wrote:They also always manage to take over from the older generation...
This I don't agree with for in my experience the "old guard" have clung on to their powerbase with the tenacity of terriers. I have seen many clubs and societies ruined (yes, as strong a word as that) by the intransigence of their older committee members, usually ululating their mantra of "That's the way we've always done it." or "if it was good enough for me..." I've also experienced particularly nasty scenarios where the older committee member has resorted to underhand methods to stop any movement forward of a younger person. The upshot is, and I can't speak for the USA but if you look at the scenario in the UK then with a few exceptions, the main players have got there because they have broken from the shackles of the old guard dominated clubs to do their own things, either alone or with a handful of like-minded people around them. And not a constitution in sight ;-)

JimLewis wrote: I'd like to think some of you kids will be willing to help too,
And, sadly, this is a point that's being overlooked in this thread. There aren't many "kids" in bonsai. I am 52, the person who posted this thread is three years older. Hardly poussin, even if we have been described on occasion as fowl. But I'd like to think I wouldn't stand in the way of someone who comes along with better ideas and the energy of which I am currently rather depleted - irrespective of whether that person is 70 or 17.

Which gets me back to the main point I have wanted to get across:

This is not a thread about age; it's a thread about attitude.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:18 pm

fiona wrote:This is not a thread about age; it's a thread about attitude.


And that attitude, irrespective of age, is how bonsai got to where it is in Europe casting a very large shadow over the USA, imho.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Tony on Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:19 pm

Here is a thing... Colin Lewis named my study group in the early 1990's "The Brat Pack"...aaaah happy days Dance

Note: please read Kev Willsons comment in my first post on this thread...

Now... WHERE did I put that Zimmer Frame Sleep

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  fiona on Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:04 pm

tony wrote: Now... WHERE did I put that Zimmer Frame Sleep
beside the dresser with your teeth on it.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  kauaibonsai on Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:49 pm

tony, jun, smithy, will, fiona, all.

some of the comments are hilarious (don't understand all of the UK humor). thanks for keeping it light.

can we add another category? how about those individuals (experts?) who lurk in the background, never post their own work, pounce on posts of others offering unsolicited "constructive?" commentary in derogatory, cutting and argumentative terms.

best wishes, sam








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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:05 am


It is more often than not, that the older generation look down on the new comers as a bunch of unprincipled rascals trying to shake the foundation of what is perceived to be an established perfect principles and ideas. Is not confined in Europe but it is happening everywhere and not just in bonsai.

It think it will be more beneficial to the future of the craft if the older knowledge will be passed down to the new generation and the "little rascals" will be given chance and space to improved and provide new concepts. Anyway is is the "general public" who will served as judge to the outcome of the new ideas. if it is accepted then a new norm will supercede the old ones. This is how things works in the evolution of things and ideas. It is called PROGRESS.


regards,
jun Smile







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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Tony on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:41 pm

kauaibonsai wrote:how about those individuals (experts?) who lurk in the background, never post their own work, pounce on posts of others offering unsolicited "constructive?" commentary in derogatory, cutting and argumentative terms.
best wishes, sam

Hi Sam... are there individuals (experts?) who lurk in the background? I am not so sure... if there are then they bring NO VALUE to the forum, and no credence... A term I have coined "sniper posting" they should be treated with the contempt they deserve and Ignored along with any commentary in derogatory, cutting or argumentative terms.

Jun. Progess = Good ... Breakdown in society = Bad


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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:07 pm

Fiona quoted me:
They also always manage to take over from the older generation
and disagreed.

Well, F, we do tend to die and leave the field to the kiddies.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  fiona on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:19 pm

JimLewis wrote:Fiona quoted me:
They also always manage to take over from the older generation
and disagreed. Well, F, we do tend to die and leave the field to the kiddies.
And sometimes that is a sad thing and sometimes it is a blinking godsend. But it still doesn't take the point I have repeatedly been making: that Old does not always equal bad and/or staleness and intransigence, and Young does not always equal good and/or progress. Although actually, I have witnessed a society here whose older chairperson would rather have brought about the destruction of the organisation than hand over to someone else. He most certainly wasn't prepared to die and leave the field to the "kiddies" - not even when those kiddies waiting in the wings were themselves in their 50s and 60s. I am sure there are plenty more where he came from.

But to balance things up, there are the Dan Bartons and Craig Coussins of the UK bonsai scene who are quite happy to accept they are old school (Craig's words, not mine) but who also are great contributors to UK bonsai because they are happy to work with those kiddies. A meeting of energy and experience - with neither side proclaiming the monopoly in either of those qualities. I personally think that this is a major factor which is currently propelling UK bonsai in its progressive manner.


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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  fiona on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:33 pm

And I will point out again that all my ramblings are very much IMHO (but borne out of personal experiences) and intended as light-hearted debate.

Life's just really is too short; but that shouldn't stop us trying to get the best out of it.

And that generally involves a lot of tolerance, agreeing to differ and compromising.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  kauaibonsai on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:05 pm

hi tony

Oh yes ! Snipers do exist on this site.

best wishes, sam

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patience

Post  David D on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:31 pm

I agree there are not enough young people in the hobby. I think especially in western culture many "youngsters" lack the patience to create the a decent specimen over a period of time. I cannot judge one by their age I only observe that I hear many younger than I complain because their computer is slow and takes a second or two to load a page, instant messaging, tweeting, texting, e-mails, everything is right now immediate gratification. To me the appeal that the hobby/obsession offered is the serenity I get to experience every day from my trees. Watching the slow development which I help to shape come to something beautiful to my eye and hopefully to others. After two heart attacks it is my unwinding time each day. My only fear is that when I am gone there will be no one left to care for the trees I left behind.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:17 pm

My only fear is that when I am gone there will be no one left to care for the trees I left behind.

That is what a will is for, at least in part. If nothing else, leave your club in charge of the disposition of your trees.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  David D on Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:29 pm

I live 185 miles from the nearest club.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Stone Monkey on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:40 pm

I am not saying that we should not defer to those who have trod the path before us… but I am saying that the worm has turned and the next generation of bonsai artists are creating bonsai that the old guard could only dream of.

I totally agree, its the same with Ceramics as a whole, not just bonsai ceramics.

Regards

Andy

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  wabashene on Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:38 pm

fiona wrote:

Life's just really is too short; but that shouldn't stop us trying to get the best out of it.

Which is why this thread is so "same old same old dreary"

Let's see some trees please

TimR

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:21 pm

This happens to be a place to discuss Tim. If you've got nothing to contribute here then stick to the top categories.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:34 pm

wabashene wrote:
fiona wrote:

Life's just really is too short; but that shouldn't stop us trying to get the best out of it.

Which is why this thread is so "same old same old dreary"

Let's see some trees please

TimR


Well, Tim, unfortunately, that's where it ended up. I'm not sure how it turned into young vs old, what/who we like and don't like, but sadly it did.

Go back and read Tony's intro post. If others would respond to it like I did instead of this other crap, maybe, just maybe, we'd have an interesting discussion - but I'm not holding my breath.

R

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:37 pm

I'm pretty sick of hearing this "same old same old" stuff from members and moderators. There are new members joining all the time who haven't had the privelidge of reading previous posts.
Pretty sick of reading critiques on peoples trees from members who flatly refute any criticism or questioning of their own work.
Pretty sick of trying to defend this forum from good people put off from posting by nasty or rash comments without apology.
Pretty sick of decent threads being twisted and ending like this one has.
Such a shame.

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:52 pm

Will?????????

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Really ?

Post  Mitch Thomas on Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:11 pm

When I first started following this thread I wasn't really sure what the dirrection it was heading. Maybe it should be either deleted entirely or restarted with a more dirrect set of parameters.

Correct me if I am wrong. I understand the spirit of debate, but REALLY? Whats the point here other stirr up bad feelings and doubt.

These are some of the burning questions that I have gotten from this thread.

Why must we always try to discredit others to promote ourselves?
Why is my opinion always right?
Why is my art always better than yours (insert a name or country here).
Why must we all follow the rules and then rewrite them to suit our own agendas?
Why must we hide in the darkness to post something, if you dont want any one to know who you are.(GUEST?)
Why must we get old just when we start to figure things out?
Why must we not trust younger people to carry on for us when we are gone?

With all thay crying out of the way, lets make some thing positive out of this thread.

I am excited to see young people taking the art form to another level.

Like Forrest Gump said " That all I have to say about That"

Mitch Thomas
just a nobody from nowhere, self named ,self contained ,self admired, Bonsai artist

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  Tony on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:29 pm

Hi Mitch... way too much has been associated with this thread... my observation was how healthy the bonsai landscape is and we are blessed that so many 'young' folk are taking up Bonsai and bringing it to new heights... this is no dig as anyone... there is no agenda... there is no D*ck measuring... its an observation.

If anyone has taken umbrage maybe they should look to themselves and not blame others.

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent". Words from the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt. Rolling Eyes

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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

Post  marcus watts on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:49 pm

having started reading from the beginning again there is no real question at the start, just an observation of our current bonsai scene - the prime question before you can add a meaningfull comment is when are you young and when are you old? I am getting older - 42, but am one of the youngest in our club............but i've looked after bonsai for over half my life - so personally i feel young still (most mornings!! Very Happy ) but old in the hobby.

experience, natural talent and ability count for far more than age - age actually means nothing in this hobby - i know if i retired my trees would be even better due to the time i would have to refine them so by following that thinking old gys should have great trees !! (joke - re-read the talent & ability bit)-. In my mind there are no boundaries to bonsai, this is young thinking, but i also know that the techniques and 'rules' have evolved over centuries, and centuries of experience can not be ignored....


at the end of the day if you need to 'prove yourself' in the big bad bonsai world then you are only as good as your own personal tree collection - those that have had years of health and improvement under your guidance count - what you just go out and buy means nothing, what you may pay others to keep looking good means nothing, past glory now half dead and forgoten is unforgivable................

regards Marcus

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Re: The Ninety-Five Theses or No Country for Old Men

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