Net Neutrality 1876

I’ve had the book The Growth of the American Republic (volume two) by Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager  (1962) for a long time and I just recently began reading it to increase my knowledge of second half of 19th century USA history.

In relation to the growth of railroads and trusts after the Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled on the ability to regulate interstate commerce. I was struck by the following quote from a Court decision as it relates to the current issue of Net Neutrality (, and thinking about how we should regard the internet as a public utility:

When private property is affected with a public interest it ceases to be juris privati only… Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence, and affect the community at large. When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. (Munn v Illinois 1876)

By the way, this 50 year old book is pretty interesting, well-written, obviously with a liberal lean.




PAM: Good Shows/Dismal View

I finally got to the Portland Art Museum to see In Passionate Pursuit–The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy and Blue Sky–The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40.  These are very important exhibitions, both for the quality of work presented and for the great contextual information for those who haven’t been living in the Portland area for several decades.

But while the works were great to see, I was disappointed.

Both shows look gloomy. Example number one:


What is the point of the tan walls for the Schnitzer exhibition? This gallery always feels stuffy and keeping the walls medium dark just makes it worse.

And for Blue Sky, the walls are gray.


While my friend Chris Rauschenberg says that you should avoid bright white walls because, by contrast, they can make your white mats seem dingy, the gray here keeps the whole show from being bright.

When I went up to the contemporary northwest galleries, I saw bright spaces that let the exuberance of the works speak.


Spaces don’t need to be museumey. Let the work breathe.