Sunday, February 10, 2013

Debating Sheeplets AND Dubya's "Art"

Today marks the 34th week of the existence of We've received 34,000 page hits on the main site, and according to Facebook, 409 'likes,' with what appears to Facebook to be an important mark, 183,778 people are Facebook Friends of those who 'like' our Page.

The average number of friends derived from these figures comes out to almost 450 Facebook Friends per person, and though the numbers look just a bit suspicious, we'll take 'em. ;-)

At any rate, I do know that I have quite a few regular readers of the site, and welcome any suggestions or contributions from them to improve it, keeping in mind that the format is thus: the posting of the essays, news reports and editorials, that evidence the criminality of Conservatism in the guise of a political philosophy rather than an economic one; and the need to criminalize this "vast, right-wing criminal enterprise" in order to reverse the ravages that Conservative legislators, judges, and propagandists have inflicted upon us, and so that we may put democracy back on its tracks.

The following thread was started by an Andrew Leavy, a Coast Guardsman from Joplin, Missouri (  Admittedly, we have cropped a few of Andrew's most obnoxious remarks, so that we can 1.)  spare Mr. Leavy the indignity of having his employer speak to him about broadcasting his extremist remarks in public, and how they reflect on the Coast Guard, 2.) spare him some embarrassment, 3.) give him a chance to meet Ms. Strangle's challenge, as well as 4.) to give other sheeplets a chance to participate in a civilized debate on the Constitution...and learn something, instead of parroting Conservative memes.

After years of looking at sheeplet forums and sites, and months of deleting the most stupid of comments on this site, we look forward to the debate.

Should no debate develop, for Mr. Leavy is clearly outmatched by Ms. Strange IMHO, we offer another topic this bright and cheery Sunday:  "Art And Dubya."

Art And Dubya

Did a new artist emerge in the world of those once called the Leaders of Their Country?  Has Winston Churchill's art work suddenly paled besides the masterpieces by our artistic ex-president?

In a story by Luke Johnson at Huffington Post, "George Bush Self-Portraits Perplex Art World," we find the beginnings of a new world of naked pictures in the bathroom - of our Bush 43 in all his ex-presidential splendor.  Because of the historical tie between the art world and the world of ex-political leaders, we must repost the article in its entirety:

"WASHINGTON -- Many hailed the unveiling of former President George W. Bush's official portrait in May as a rare moment of bipartisanship in a notoriously divided town. But the photos of Bush's self-portraits published by The Smoking Gun Thursday night were met with confusion rather than cheers.

The paintings, obtained by hackers who gained access to Bush's sister's email account and several others, show the former president in the shower and in a bathtub. A photo of Bush painting a chapel was also released.  (The picture of the chapel was never released - Joyce, Jnr.)

Art experts and critics contacted by The Huffington Post were perplexed by the images.

"It looks like a very naive approach to painting," said Michael Weiss, associate dean for fine arts at Maryland Institute College of Art, stressing that it was difficult to comment on a digital image of a painting.

Weiss noted the odd perspective from which the shower scene was painted. "It's much more curious because it puts you in the position of a voyeur from this reflection, but the reflection is not pointed in a direct way." He added that the reflection doesn't actually fit with the figure placement.

Jack Fischer, who has an eponymous gallery in San Francisco, compared the interest in the Bush paintings to Adolf Hitler's work in art school, while making it clear that he was only comparing the two artistically, not historically.

"What immediately comes to mind is Hitler's paintings and the immediate brouhaha that that caused," he said. "There's this peculiar sort of interest in a famous figure having painted."

One former art critic was more to the point. "There is very little to say about them. They're very pedestrian and clumsy pictures. It's one of those things where it's only that it's Bush that makes it interesting."

New York Magazine mega-critic Jerry Saltz wrote a seemingly sarcastic blog post about how much he liked Bush's work. "I love these two bather paintings," he wrote. "They are 'simple' and 'awkward,' but in wonderful, unself-conscious, intense ways. They show someone doing the best he can with almost no natural gifts — except the desire to do this."

The magazine first revealed Bush's love of painting in an October profile of the former president, writing that he had started painting dogs and "arid Texas landscapes." He posted a portrait of his dog, Barney, on Facebook, following Barney's death last week.

Bush, of course, is not a formally trained painter, raising the question of whether he is an outsider artist.

Fischer, who exhibits outsider art, which is made by artists who are self-taught or work outside the mainstream art world, said that Bush "in a sense" fit the definition because he was never interested in having his work looked at or shown.

Weiss disagreed. "I would hesitate to call it outsider," he said.

The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md., declined to comment on Bush's outsider art-cred.

"In regards to your request, the museum cannot responsibly comment on this subject as art, as it was not President Bush's public submission, but a breach of his private communications which is equal to theft," said the museum in a statement.

Regardless, Bush's self-portraits seem to have given a whole new meaning to the journalistic cliche of a "portrait emerging."

"They're really funny paintings," said Weiss. "It's a really different picture of the guy."

While this poster is also an amateur artist, we hesitate before commenting on Mr. Bush's future as a painter, only to note that it appears that he will meet the same success as a painter that he did as a leader of the most powerful political leader in the world: an abject failure.

While no one should disparage Mr. Bush's enjoyment of the art of painting, we must insist on comparing his efforts with another leader's post-retirement paintings - Winston Churchill.

Mr. Bush:

Prime Minister Churchill:

Mr. Bush:

Prime Minister Churchill:

Only time will tell us whether Mr. Bush's paintings will be classified as great art, good art...or trash.  Will Mr. Bush confine his bathroom paintings to the tub and shower stall?  How will history judge Mr. Bush's artistic endeavors?  As fairly as his political endeavors, we can only hope.


Harriet Tubman (African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the
American Civil War. Born into slavery, she escaped and made more than thirteen
missions to rescue more than 70 slaves. 1820 – 1913)


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