Monday, November 7, 2016

Compromises and their Price

Most people work at jobs that they don't really like, but find tolerable enough to sustain them. They marry individuals that they don't quite respect, but who are at least kind enough and supportive enough to get them through the day. They vote for political candidates they are deeply suspicious of, but at the same time, these are the best candidates available to vote for, from their own personal perspective.

We can't expect to change the world in one fell swoop, so we are conditioned to get along with others and work together for small improvements in our lives. Arguably, there's nothing wrong with that -- except when we turn around and see the changes wrought in the landscape of our society by all these small, seemingly innocent compromises.

I recently watched the Tim Burton movie, Big Eyes, about the artist Margaret Keane and her domineering conman of a husband, who catapulted her art into fame, before she exposed him for the fraud that he was.

In my daughter's bedroom there is a print of a  painting of a cat that looks as if it might have been painted by Margaret Keane. If it is not actually painted by her, then it must have been a conscious, intentional imitation. It looks just like her art.  I got this painting from my parents. It used to hang in their house. It is a relic from the sixties and early seventies.

When my daughter was very little, she really liked this cat painting and even identified with it deeply, thinking that if she were a cat, she would look like that. Then, later, it scared her, because of those big spooky eyes, and she took it down off the wall and hid it. Then, later still, she put it back up.

Margaret Keane's art is confusing like that. It moves us, then it scares us, and then after a while we come back to it. Or maybe we decide it is kitsch, and later still we realize that there is a history there, and no matter what base instinct within us it appeals to, it is still definitely art.

But did you know the history of the paintings? Did you know that her husband took credit for them? Or that in all probability we, the public,  would never have seen any of her paintings, if not for the false origin story he spun out of thin air, to make the emotional appeal seem to have a bigger, almost political meaning? I did not know until after I had seen the movie Big Eyes. And all this made me think of the Election of 2016, where nothing is quite as it seems. Read my LibertyBuzz article, to see how it all ties together.


  1. What a great piece of MIMF (Multi-media Interactive Magazine Format) work. You packed a lot of concept and story line into a small, condensed package - masterful use of words, and imagery. That's why I'm a real fan.

    Art? Marketing? Success? There are so many variables that it's hard to make a map.

    1. Thanks so much, Chip! Glad you liked it. I enjoy your art when it chances to show on my feed.

  2. I really want to see the movie now. I just am so down rabbit hole genealogy when I am at the computer, I cannot get myself to watch Netflix. But I do enjoy her art.

    1. You would enjoy it, Julia. It is very well done, and it's about art. But I am glad you are making progress piecing together your genealogy.