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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 October 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 OCTOBER 2018 23 FEATURE of people. I've got a lot of feedback. It's pretty amazing, actually," he concedes. Still, despite the powerful image, despite the movement in support of Dr Ford's daring deposition, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh's nomination by a vote of 50–48; he was sworn in on Saturday 6 October. "I think in a lot of ways, this moment exposed how far we haven't come," Mavroudis says. "I think it's not going to be too much longer to reach the moment we thought we were going to have with the Kavanaugh nomination. Because a lot of the same people are still in the Senate, a lot of the same tired faces have the same opinions that they had when Anita Hill [the attorney and academic who accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harrasssment] was there. I think this November is pretty important on that score," he adds, referring to the US mid-term elections, that many progressives see as an opportunity to restrict President Trump's powers. "I think that America can still have some positive impact when it comes to the rest of the world," he adds with a kind of optimism that is rare when people talk about politics lately. "I've always been kind of optimistic and I try to remain optimistic even at dark times," he says. "It's the only way to get through. If you are too pessimistic, it is a deterrent to keep pushing ahead for change." He draws from history to support this view. "I get a lot of comfort in the fact that in the Womens' movement or in the Civil Rights movement in this country, there were many defeats, they went through horrible times. You don't give up after one loss, you keep going. Even if Kavanaugh had been defeated, as helpful as it might have been, it still wouldn't have been the answer. When Obama became president, he didn't eliminate racism. These problems are never ending, it's a constant struggle; If you want a better world you got to keep pushing to make it better." As an artist, what does he think that the role of art is within this context? "I'm not original when I We owe it to everybody to keep dialogue open, because at the end of the day, what are the alternatives? I don’t think any civil war is a pleasant thing. say this, but I do think that if you hold up a mirror to what's happening in society and if you can create something that impacts people emotionally and intellectually, it is the best of both worlds. Art can be an inspiration, art can reveal truths, but art can be used as a weapon for bad as well. "In a lot of ways, what's happening now probably mirrors a lot of what happened during the '60s - there was a lot of turbulence and a lot of amazing art during those times. I think the same is happening now with journalism and writing and art. There is a lot of creativity and I think that art needs to be included in any resistance movement." Having said that, he is more prone to seeking consensus than confrontation. "I have friends who are the opposite of me," he says. "I have friends who voted for Trump and I think it is important not to completely eliminate yourself from the discussion. They are people I fundamentally disagree with on so many issues but I think the debate is important. I find it difficult, we argue all the time, and there are times that I want to pull the plug and say 'what is the point of this? I'm banging my head against the wall.' But some of these people I know since we were kids, we grew up together. When it comes to politics, it's important to keep communication open, because at the end of the day, what are the alternatives? I don't think any civil war is a pleasant thing. We owe it to everybody to keep dialogue open, to keep talking and hopefully see people prevail and work together to try to heal some of these rifts. “I'm very political, I'm very stubborn but I also want to have my views challenged and be told when my views are wrong," he says. "If I can't intellectually or morally defend my views, then I have to rethink those views. It's easy when you are sitting among people that all agree with each other; that's where the problems start, because they start excusing things that they shouldn't excuse. It's good to have a little push back." So, when someone says that we live in an era in which Political Correctness has gone mad and puts restriction on artists' freedom of speech? "I haven't really felt pressured," he says. "I try to evaluate my art on my own but I don't know if there is something that would keep me from submitting a piece that is worth saying. The people who complain about PC and say that we can't say anything anymore, I usually question those people and I say ‘what is it exactly that which you want to say and can't say now?’ More often than not it is something that is incredibly racist or sexist or homophobic. Are you upset because we are not giving you a platform to spew these views? If you just have an unpopular opinion and want to express it, I don't think that anybody is taking your voice away. But I don't like it when it's an excuse so that they can get out their racist views - and it doesn't mean they should be given the platform of the presidency of the US to express those views," he adds, laughing.
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