Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Longhorn Cavern, part 2

with 25 comments


On January 26th we visited Longhorn Cavern State Park, which is only about an hour’s drive west of home.



All the pictures here came from my iPhone 14 in raw mode at 48.8 megapixels per image.



In many cases I went for abstractions of light and shadows.




✦        ✦        ✦




From Andrew Doyle’s 2022 book The New Puritans I learned the word logomachy (in which the second syllable is stressed and the ch has the same k sound it does in other Greek-derived words like chemistry and psychology). The American Heritage Dictionary gives these two definitions of logomachy: 1) ‘A dispute about words.’ 2) ‘A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.’

Logomachy—usually not by that fancy name, which few people know—has become a fact of political and cultural life in recent years. That’s because for dogmatic purposes the priests and parishioners in the secular religion of wokeism are waging a war about words. A common tactic is to replace a familiar word with one or more others, as when a mother becomes a birthing person, or when equality, which connotes fair treatment, gives way to equity, which means forced equal outcomes for racial and sexual groups regardless of individual merit or effort.

Another main tactic is to insist that familiar words don’t mean what we know they mean. For all but the most ideological among us, racism means ‘the belief that people of a certain race are inferior and should be treated as such.’ Wokeists, however, redefine racism as ‘prejudice plus power,’ thereby conveniently denying the observable fact that some people in a historically discriminated-against group—think of Louis Farrakhan—are themselves racist.

Even more absurdly, wokeists push for a word to mean the opposite of what it has traditionally meant. A prime example is anti-racist, which actually means racist, as when the exorbitantly paid high priest Ibram Kendi preaches that “The only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Or take the group that calls itself antifa, supposedly meaning ‘anti-fascist.’ You know, the group that turns other people’s peaceful protests into riots, destroys property, and beats people up or even tries to kill them. That describes fascists, not anti-fascists. In fact antifa thugs even dress in black, just like the Blackshirts a century earlier in Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.

Or in the gender wars take the mantra “A trans woman is a woman.” Well, no: a trans woman is a man who believes he’s a woman and who wants to live as or is living as if he were a woman. But as if doesn’t mean is. And yet ideologues denounce the distinction. If a man can actually be a woman, then the two categories no longer mean what they’ve meant for tens of thousands of years in every society on earth since human beings developed language.

And of course the much-vaunted diversity means a uniformity of opinions, just as inclusion means the exclusion of people with heterodox opinions.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2023 at 4:27 AM

25 Responses

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  1. looks other-worldly


    February 2, 2023 at 5:27 AM

  2. Beautiful shots, Steve, especially the first two.


    February 2, 2023 at 7:10 AM

  3. Logomachy, a new word for me, has sinister connotations and reminds me again of Orwell’s prophetic novel “1984”. Word meanings are twisted to serve repressive purposes. In this dictatorial society, free is stripped of its meaning and can only be used as meaning free of lice. It looks to me like we are heading in that direction.

    Peter Klopp

    February 2, 2023 at 9:09 AM

    • Several times in recent years I’ve used that example of “freedom” from Orwell. Logomachy was a new word for me too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2023 at 9:45 AM

  4. What an interesting gallery of images: smooth curves, indistinct globbiness, and sharp, jagged edges. I’d title the last one “The Masque of the Linguistically Deprived.”
    Or, “Depraved.” Your choice.


    February 2, 2023 at 9:46 AM

    • I like the sound of “indistinct globbiness.“ your other comment reminds me of a line from West Side Story: “Hey, I’m depraved on account of I’m deprived.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2023 at 9:53 AM

      • I watched a clip of “Gee, Officer Krupke!” from the film and laughed myself silly. I wondered how it would fare today, so I read a few reviews of the 2020 revival. It’s probably no surprised that the song “I Feel Pretty” was cut from the production, or that the casting of African Americans as members of the Jets was said to “shift our focus away from the enduring problem of white supremacist violence.” When the ideologues show up, fun goes out the window.


        February 2, 2023 at 10:53 AM

        • Yeah, almost all revivals of classic shows are now “woke.” Was a particular justification given for cutting “I Feel Pretty”?

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 2, 2023 at 1:18 PM

          • No, it simply was mentioned. Given that ‘woman’ has fallen into disfavor, it makes sense to me that ‘pretty’ would follow right along. Of course, that makes the film Pretty Woman and Roy Orbison’s song “Oh, Pretty Woman” unacceptable to some, but that’s their loss.


            February 2, 2023 at 7:11 PM

            • I ran the lyrics through my head, so I know the things that some people today would object to. I was just curious if the producers of the show had said something specific. Given the momentum of word, cancellation, and re-interpretation, I suspect many more things will fall under the gun of censorship before things get better, if they ever do.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 3, 2023 at 7:31 AM

              • In my ice-shrouded mind “I Feel Pretty” morphed into “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song.” Oscar Hammerstein II would get pilloried today.

                Steve Schwartzman

                February 4, 2023 at 8:24 AM

  5. It looks beautiful in there. The top image reminded me of elephant skin with all the cracks, and divots. Even the cool blue is close to their coloring in some light.


    February 2, 2023 at 11:00 AM

  6. That is a beautiful cavern rotunda. Mammoth Caves has one. Caves are an ideal place to study shadows and light.

    Lavinia Ross

    February 2, 2023 at 11:05 AM

    • I didn’t know that about Mammoth Cave. You’re right about caves being great places to study shadows and light.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2023 at 1:22 PM

  7. I like the first two especially. They remind me a bit of the slot canyon shots we see so often but, of course, these are entirely different which makes them a breath of fresh air. Are these as often shot as the slots? Yours are the first I have seen.

    I hope you are faring okay. We experienced something similar ten years ago when a Halloween storm knocked out our power for five days. Fortunately we heat with wood so were warm and could cook atop the wood stove. I ended the outage after five days by taking a cold shower which then caused the electricity to return 20 minutes later…at least that’s my story. Maybe that will work for you. 🙂 Seriously though, I hope that you and Eve are able to remain somewhat comfortable and have some hot meals.

    Steve Gingold

    February 2, 2023 at 3:17 PM

    • I’ve envied photographers who’ve gotten to work in slot canyons. I never have. The second picture in this post, which I like for its abstraction and mystery, differs from anything I’ve done before. It relies entirely on the affect of a spotlight, so it’s a hybrid of technology and nature. I doubt any other visitors to Longhorn Cavern have cared about such things, but I don’t actually know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 3, 2023 at 7:22 AM

    • You’re fortunate to heat with wood because when the power goes out, you still have warm and can cook. We have a fireplace, but have never used it. I did some cooking on a little camping stove, but the two propane tanks that feed it have now both run out. Yesterday afternoon, I finally managed to clear all of the fallen tree branches from one side of our driveway so we could get one of our cars out. The first place we went was the store where we had bought the canisters for the stove but of course they’ve sold out of all of those now, because so many people in Austin are doing what we did, namely cooking on a camp stove. Now that we have a car, we’re planning to eat our meals out as we did last night in a Napoli restaurant. We had been charging our cell phones off Eve‘s laptop, but that battery has now mostly run down so we’re going to go someplace in a while like a Starbucks where we can charge up her laptop and of course, now that our car is free, we can also charge cell phones off its USB ports. It certainly hasn’t been a fun three days, but we are surviving.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 3, 2023 at 7:28 AM

  8. first and last pics. stunners.

    China Dream

    February 3, 2023 at 5:38 AM

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