After reading Ray’s account of his art museum tour, I had visions of a cave dweller critiquing early art scratched out on a rock: “That doesn’t look like a buffalo, you dolt! Where’s its tail? And the deer are standing on top of each other. What’s wrong with you?”
What was “wrong” was what’s still wrong. Beauty is subjective, decided by the beholder. People once thought the Model T was sleek and beautiful, along with high button shoes and square houses.
How strongly we cling to what we know, what we’re accustomed to and understand. I knew a man who refused to have an indoor bathroom, insisting he’d never have such an obscenity in his house. After his family revolted and constructed one in a large closet, he continued to use the backyard outhouse. He lived just across from the old Kyle City Hall, also built without toilet facilities. No one thought to warn Council members about decadence when they added restrooms years later.
What I know about art could be tattooed on my palm, so maybe I don’t have a right to an opinion, but cubism isn’t an art form that turns me on. Squares, triangles and disembodied eyes leave me uninspired. Up until now I’ve assumed the problem was my failure to “get it,” but I like the decadence theory better. From now on I’m putting art I don’t like or understand in the category of fallen morals, and no arguments, please.
Jim LaPasso’s windmill-like metal sculpture in my front yard has to go. It has never produced a drop of water, and it could be contributing to neighborhood decadence. The same goes for the African cloth above my desk, a design painted with mud, blood and ground up rocks. I mistakenly thought it was beautiful.
In case you don’t have your Bible handy, Ray’s scripture reference (circa 500 BC) admonishes people to turn from their wicked ways. Forward march to the good ol’ 18th Century, folks. I’ll miss my computer, telephone, and a few other conveniences – open heart surgery for example – but no sacrifice is too great to save my country.
I didn’t even know it needed saving, and neither do all the people clamoring to get here. I thought divergent ideas were the meat and potatoes of democracy, even to cubism, but what do I know? If anyone has a sure road map to rightness, I’d like to borrow it for a few days.