Stltoday.com on Lewis Greenberg's trial
I think the story on the trial is adequately captured in the above link to Stltoday.com--though the choice of photo in that article looks to be hand picked or cropped to enhance the readers opinion of danger value. And the time of year does not truly reflect the artistry and care taken during the seasonal changes and re-vitalization process.
The pictures below are ones that I took today, on the request of Lewis and because the fall colors were shining through. Do yourself a favor and click on each one to experience the color and magnitude.
Since the ruling centered on the danger of Lewis' yard, it must have been deemed appropriate by the editor of Stltoday.com to highlight the cluster of sticks that appear to be in the context of "what if somebody gets impaled" question?" The judge felt the same way and ruled Greenberg guilty because of the danger of "sharpened metals, woods and plastics".
Even though it appeared that the defense missed the mark and did not argue to limit or reduce the prosecutors concept of dangerous material, instead spending hours on "when" the art was considered in violation and "whether" it was indeed art or not, the court decided to turn the other cheek on the freedom of expression debate.
And it was the safest route to go for both judge and prosecutor. Because let's be honest, who wants to fight Greenberg on his terms anyway? I can't fight with him and we certainly don't agree on everything. This, even though we are friends and coexist in our community together. I do know that love and acceptance is better than hate and false judgment. Love the guy and learn a thing or two about our culture, hate him and feel the pain that he feels from people not taking him seriously or accepting his position. That is the way it is with Lewis. It is important to understand this so that you don't fall in to the abyss with all the ill-fated rhetoric and argument that has lead to the division of...well, lots of his relationships...
To learn a little more about Lewis, read my original story written back in 07. Being Lewis Greenberg. You will have to excuse some of the manor of which it was written, it was the first of the Ralph Account and provided this writer with the confidence to continue. I am thankful to Lewis for helping me to become a better writer. Please also read the comments, corrections and responses from the family, these are also within.
Let face it, Lewis' circular pattern of thinking, his method of sorting things out and presenting his ideas--the way he arrives at conclusions, the way he perceives things to be, has sharpened his ability to apply pressure. And now the whole thing has manifested itself into his perspective, with overtones of prejudice, discrimination and fear. All this in response to those who think they have the right to take away his freedoms and those who think that intolerance is part of suburban living--those most often finding themselves in a struggle to understand his personality, vision and civil liberties, according to Lewis.
I must say that I thought Lewis to be fairly composed throughout the trial. He did not speak to anyone after, likely at the advice of his council who said that they would be appealing. When I asked him today if he was disappointed he said: "I was disappointed that I was not vindicated". When I asked him what is next he said: "You know me Ralph, it's business as usual."
Lets point out that he was indeed most recently voted Best Geezer by the Riverfront Times. This in itself an honor to Lewis. And to his fans out there, let it be known that he is honored and grateful. He also wants others to know that the future is bright and he is getting busy on his yard primping and preparing for the seasonal change while looking to provide additional focus on the the memory of the Holocaust and the freedom of speech and expression. He wanted to share some pictures on the much talked about sculpture, "Holocaust Revisited", photos that truly "represent the beauty and quality of my work", he said. He had photos printed to share with me, but since he has no computer or digital camera, no contemporary method of getting them "out there". I said that I would oblige.
When asked about not having a computer he said that too much hate would envelope him if drawn to the negative reaction of naysayers through the Internet. He counts on the people he trusts to, as Lewis puts it: "get the real picture out there".
And for the record, why do I oblige with all this stuff? Well, for starters, it's an intellectual project--that which is in the interest of culture and personality in my community.
My friend asked me last night while I was attending/sponsoring/catering (of all things) The Chesterfield Arts unveiling of The Awakening. She said: "Don't you worry that you need to watch who you associate with, because you have a business not two blocks from the neighborhood from where Lewis' home resides, the people in the neighborhood are your customers, your lifeblood, your income. Aren't you afraid that you will lose business, make people mad at you, have them judge you, hate you, hurt you, say bad things, talk behind your back, run you off????!!!!"
Well, I suppose that could be the case, but I enjoy a challenge and prefer to help the community better understand Lewis as a fellow neighbor, human being, interesting person etc. And, if there is a glimmer of goodness and/or generosity oozing from the old Geezer, I plan to make it my service to write about it. After all don't we all have a canvass of our own that we paint vigorously each day and with great care. It just so happens that Lewis has a part in my painting, my sculpture, my play writing. Does that really mean anything more? I have to communicate with Lewis because he too comes to my business, like all my other customers and I extend the same love and care to him that the others deserve. Go back to the rules on engaging Lewis if there is reason to doubt....
So that was how it ended on Thursday, after what I consider a 5 hour waste of public energy. The real show was today, two hours with my friend and source of unconventional inspiration.
Lewis Greenberg: authentic, intense, old Geezer, artist...
Much more to come...