This issue's SPOTLIGHT feature is about a film that means a lot to me. It's called,
On Golden Pond
. If you've seen it, then you know how good it is. If you haven't
seen it, perhaps you should.

This feature is not just another movie review of a classic film. It is, instead, an
artistic appreciation that conveys how the film has affected me personally and how
art in general affects people differently throughout their lives as they age and their
perspectives change.

While developing the idea behind writing a feature about this motion picture, I also
began to consider another related aspect that I would like to share with you in this
FRONT. It concerns an elephant in the room that I believe we should all
think about.
First of all, if you're not familiar with the elephant in the room...allow me to explain. Basically, it refers to
something that is, or should be, an obvious problem or situation that needs be discussed, even though most people
want to avoid it. I don't want to avoid it. I'm talking about technology and the impact that it is having on our lives.
More specifically, "smart phones."

I know people who have actually said something along the lines of...I couldn't live without my smart phone.
Actually, they could. They did it before and they could certainly do it again. They may be dependent, or even
addicted to that piece of plastic, but it is not necessary for them in order to live.

I already discussed my reasons for not formatting this journal for smart phones in the premiere Artists Are Always
UP FRONT, so I won't do it again. What I'd rather concentrate on is the impact that smart phones and smart
technology in general is having on our lives.

There have been amusing illustrations about people texting each other while they were sitting next to each other
on the same park bench. In my opinion, that's not so funny. And who hasn't been bumped into with a shopping cart
by a person who was so distracted from reality while staring at their smart phone that they didn't even realize what
they were doing? I know I have. And how many times have you watched a person driving the car in front of you fail
to precede after the red light has turned green because they were absorbed in their phone? Life-threatening
possibilities aside, what about the emotional well-being aspects of their actions?

Perhaps you might be wondering what this has to do with a motion picture such as On Golden Pond? In my opinion,
quite a lot. Perhaps we should all try to get away from technology every so often and travel, either physically or
mentally, to our own "golden pond." To reconnect with nature and true reality and, in doing so, disconnect from the
bullshit of our modern world.

I firmly believe that it's good to talk about an elephant in the room if that elephant is distracting people, including
artists, from seeing the forest for the trees. It's good to talk about that elephant if it is so damn big that it causes our
concentration on what really matters to be led astray.

If an artist is spending so much time staring at the screen of a smart device instead of applying paint to canvas or
words to paper, then what does that have to say about the negative impact that technology is having on our lives?
George Gershwin
, J.R.R.Tolkien, Alfred Hitchcock and many other artists that came before us weren't so distracted
by technology that it prevented them from astonishing the world with their creative vision.

Text messages are momentary and, for the most part, meaningless. True art, on the other hand, is eternal.

In keeping with the topic of this UP FRONT, I will close with observation number 197 from the

"In spite of all its benefits, technology will probably be our undoing."  

Until we connect again…

                                                                                                               Douglas Schwartz, Publisher and Editor

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