Of a kind of modesty far disproportionate to the attention it’s getting — for it would take a hacker to get into our former president’s sister’s email — amateur yet keenly perceptive paintings by George W. Bush have surfaced. They are remarkable: not so much their rendering or skill, but in their quiet internal repose, evocative of the peculiarities of the Nabis post-impressionist school. An immediate, and easy association — if one considers their respective and mindless havoc onto their perceived enemies — is Adolf Hitler, who also produced unexpected touching watercolors of churches. The imperial hubris with which Bush demonized Afghanistan at large, and later Iraq, is a sad example of turning the enemy into an abstraction. The same can be said for liberal media in their inclines against Bush; and so now, it seems, we are perplexed, and very taken aback at being allowed to see this man in a different light. It is simply hard to imagine such a heartless war monger painting such gentle paintings. Yet, the disparity lies not with Bush’s character, but the assumption that artists are somehow — by the very auspices of their art, as if introverted pastime were a moral act — essentially good people. Enter Pierre Bonnard, whose codependent relationship with his wife Marthe has kind of hilariously been documented by the many paintings of the her in the bathtub. She is said to have suffered from OCD and compulsively bathed half-a-dozen times a day, as if trying to wash away the dabs of paint for which she might have been mistaken by her husband. The pairing here is at best merely coincidental, until we look at their perspectives: George W. Bush gives us his own POV, as autoerotic muse, his phallac member just off the bottom of the canvas, perhaps the rod-like stream of water a surrogate hard on. This is the same view Marthe was having back around 1935, and toggling between the two collapses us into a kind of he-said-she-said scenario, of different versions of the same history.
It seems a lot harder for an online literary journal to be smarmy in the way of Zoetrope: All Story: since it’s the web, usually there’s a bit more wide of a perspective, and you tend to get a better grab bag of unusual work.
Narrative Magazine is near the top of my list of online journals that feel like they are edited by George W. Bush.
First off, you have to ‘join’ the site so you can even read the posts. It’s a free website, but in order to have ‘backstage access’ (is this Guns N Roses?) you have to sign up and let them spam you, which honestly is probably too much hassle for a lot of people. Geesh.
Moreso, though, it’s the content. Right now on the site they are featuring a story by Kate Chopin…
Yes, that Kate Chopin, and no I am not kidding. I mean, in case you didn’t feel claustrophobic enough reading the Awakening in high school, they figured they should give you a chance to catch up with the new new shit. MMM.
For the most part, also, Narrative is known as a place where ‘slush pile’ is a thing that curdles in the whey.
Which is weird, considering their TWENTY DOLLAR SUBMISSION FEE, which I will discuss more after the jump.
October 13th, 2008 / 1:37 am