Lee Downey Bali, Indonesia

The Govenators Skull Buckle (oh my!)

Being born in Barstow, California and now many years transplanted into Asia, I have to exert my desert penchant for Huh? Seeing my buckle on the cover of Time seemed timely...then I got a call from LA to check out Google and the Guv's waistwear and comment thereof. So... in my own tabloid the headline would read :


The Buckle : Its a hand constructed sterling silver buckle, the skull itself also hand carved from a billet of Damascus steel. Its probably about the 4th one in a series of 10 that I made between 2005 and 2006. The little bits on the border are Fleur de Lis....(thats French, oh no)....not German eagles! I am fairly sure that the 4 corner stones are uncut natural diamond crystals. I used those on only one of the series. This one was purchased at Falconhead this past spring, in Brentwood, California.

Taking issue with What a public personality purports to convey with symbolic regalia, be it suits ties tattoos or tits, its an age old tradition that we the people, for the people have a inalienable right to engage in. Conspiracy, gossip, keen observers of it all we are, keeping society lively and the guessing game intriguing. Does He have a deep driven agenda, one that even He might not himself be fully aware of, some dark dredged shred of His cultural collective in that mysterious foreign soil of the Euro (which is pounding the crap out the dollar) where all things cultural and elegant hail from, indeed where even the colony of America dug up its melted potted roots?

Beats me. I think he mostly just really dug the buckle...thats at least for sure. He is known to have very cool bikes.

Did the editors of Time magazine huddle together and conspire to use Just That Picture of the Austrian with that Bloomberg fellow to get across a serious ( too serious to voice out loud ) point that only the informed and initiated could truly suss out?

Dunno, got me there too. Seems a lot to infer in these days of Paris Hilton and Bagdad Iraq mentioned in the same name of Justice.

I love pop culture. I love it that everyone can read the clues to arrive at the obvious answer, even if its 10,000 different answers. Where the DaVinci Code reads like history, and climate change is what you give a bum when autumn leaves start to turn.

One thing I can tell you for sure is this...Arnold has excellent taste in belt buckles! Trust me, I know...I made the bloody thing. And I can tell you for certain the basis of its design and the symbol of the skull have ZERO, ZIP, NADA, NOL, ZILCH to do with WW2. Goodness. I am making a set of cufflinks to match the buckle and sending them to the Guv, mostly cause I LOVE The Terminator pics, and the fantastic art that went into creating the skeletal frame, and of course the skull. Love sci-fi, and those pics are amongst the best, for me. And for him as well. He should be and obviously is confident that he is conducting himself properly in the public eye. I take issue that he sought to offend anyone, or is broadcasting his inner angst by wearing my buckle. I sell to lots of high profile people, they get to have style too!

I do lots of skull art and have for most of my 30 odd years of jewelry and sculpture. Always, I get the Why Skulls? Aren't they morbid, sorta creepy and weird...whats it mean? you know, do you really see the world like that? etc etc..

First off, they are inherently a beautiful form. Last time I checked, we all had one. The function of housing and transporting the brain is just some kind of wonderfully brilliant engineering, intelligently or otherwise designed to do the most important job that we vertebrates do. I collect animal skulls and fossils, minerals, stones, objects, natural things...I am never less than astounded by the sheer sublime elegance in it all.

The symbol, I realize sometimes painfully, is one that for most people will bring up Death. The fly in the ointment, the penalty for life. We see it on labels of rat poison, on high voltage fences. And yes, they have been used over the centuries by just about every culture, religion, tribe.... I have seen Skulls in thousand year old temples in Java and Nepal and India, churches in Europe, festivals in Mexico, Brazil, Central America. Tibetan art has skulls everywhere, emphasizing the transient nature of the flesh. And of course our skull was co-opted in our most recent Human Screw Up on a grand scale, WW2 (the sequel to WW1) by the Evil Ones.

But I was born in 1955... I don't have reaction to skulls as Evil or Death....I have some scary conceptions of the Hells Angels, lots of Asian and Mexican reference, Skateboarders loom large, and for me the Grateful Dead will always be the ultimate absconders of the Symbol. The artwork of those musical times was resplendent with Skeletal forms, both new and ancient, blending in the old religions with the new awareness of expanded horizons.....or some such thing.

Where I am politically would annoy most everyone, but I figure the less you hear about a politician the more likely he is not making things worse. I can name a few who don't fit that bill in the good ol USA these days.

I wish the best of luck to the Guv, I applaud his choice in buckles, I rail against the intolerant and I would like to see a skull on the waist neck or finger of every public persona, be they white black brown male asian female german or martian.

I am leaving for Aceh in Sumatra in the morning for a week to survey the coastline of the tsunami zone where we have been doing relief work. I hope by the time I get back the BS has subsided and we can go on about our business.

The show must go on.



June 30, 2007 Bali, Indonesia

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