Follow my Existential Exile. . .

Monday, November 7, 2011


There is an online exhibit that hit the web-sphere a few months back called "Make Your Franklin." Anyone with internet and design skill is free to participate. You download the $100 USD bank note .jpg, and then have at it, re-designing the bill to your liking then upload your creation to the site. I had my Photoshop class create their own for extra credit. Since we're having a shortage of USD here in the 'Nam I figured I would create my own currency. Of course my initial thought was to put Obama on the bill to create a "United States of Black America". Sounds nice, but would leave out every other culture that exists in the American population. Then I examined each of the U.S. dollar bank notes and the notes I've collected from other countries. I have a 20.000 VND blue note, two 100 notes from Cambodia (don't ask me what they're called, they're so insignificant no one knows) they are purple brown and green duo tones against cream, I got 1.000 Korean Won note also blue, I gotta Ringget, 1 RM from Malaysia it's also blue, 10 PHP Philipine Peso bill, a burnt orange and cream with brown, and the best for last a 10 Hong Kong Dollars note, the most colorful of them all.

10 Hong Kong Dollars. Pretty in purple.
All of these bank notes have 1 thing in common: they all "pay" homage to a person or place/ monument in the history of their respective country, with the exception of the HKD. The Hong Kong dollar is quite different, at least the 10 dollar bill is. Pictured, it is a beautifully interlaced network of multi-colored ribbons, bars, lines, and Cantonese characters in a split-complementary color scheme of violet, fuchsia, cerulean and yellow. There is no trace of someone's face, no monuments, no land marks, only the design itself. Does it represent the network of cultures that are present in Hong Kong, or its perception of being a place of kinetic commercial and technological energy? Florescent ultraviolet strips of text make the bill difficult to replicate and the watermark is an image of the hibiscus flower, also known as the China Rose. Absolutely beautiful.

. . . Meanwhile the United States dollar gets uglier by the minute, literally and figuratively. There are 5 bank notes in our currency portfolio. Actually the country doesn't own the bank notes, the Federal Reserve does, ain't that some ish. We got Lincoln on the $5, Hamilton on the $10, Jackson on the $20, Grant on the $50 and Franklin on the $100. Sure these men did interesting things and significant decisions that did help form United States of America, but what about everyone else? The slaves? The indentured servants? The immigrants? The Native Americans?

One person cannot take credit for forming an entire nation! Cultures, tribes, slaves, indentured servants, activist, blue collar workers, leftist, rightest, democrats, republicans, everyone in America at this present time is forming America. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an entire population to help weave the diverse tapestry of the supposed United States of America. To put only 5 dead white men on a bill with disgustingly tacky graphics that illustrate monuments instead of the people that BUILT them is more revolting than any insult.

There's definitely more to this f'd up economy than 9/11. The corruption began when the first set of servants landed on the east coast shores and people were categorized by their skin color. It's weaved in the fibers of the notes themselves. . .

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