Sunday, May 15, 2011

HnC Vault: It Also Looks Good On The Refrigerator

Originally published October 10, 2009


Michelle Obama, working with museum curators, has recently selected new artworks to decorate the Whitehouse. The portrait shown above is by African-American artist William H. Johnson and will be displayed in the first family's private residence.

The selected artworks favor both the abstract and primitive schools, from which no inferences whatsoever should be drawn.

Update 5/15/2011

I still shake my head when I look at that portrait in the second panel. When I first ran this cartoon, some people thought I was kidding because it does look like something a 3rd grader would bring home to put on the refrigerator. But no, the (ahem) artist is greatly celebrated and greatly paid.

But getting back to the present, today's cartoon was pulled from the vault to celebrate the highly unique perspective on the arts brought to the Whitehouse by Michelle Obama, which this week included a poetry event featuring rapper "Common," whose rhymes celebrate cop-killing and the "burning" of President Bush.

Hilariously, administration spokesman and extreme Caucasian Jay Carney said that Barack Obama strongly opposes the sexist, cop-killing words in Common's "poetry" but was a little vague on how that opposition translated into being honored at the Whitehouse.

But as the painting above shows, art is in the eye of the beholder...and we suppose that poetry is in the ear of the beholder.

Which is why we suggest that in the future, rather than staging taxpayer-funded celebrations of cop-killing poetry, the first lady simply stick it in her ear.
-
-

19 comments:

Proof said...

It matches her taste in rap musicians.

Anonymous said...

You're details on Common's controversy are a little off. To clear things up here's an article explaining both sides with a link to the actual lyrics to "A Song for Assata".

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/05/common-controversy-comes-to-white-house-poetry-night-cops-conservatives-cry-foul-at-some-of-his-past-work.html

James said...

Are there two painters named William H. Johnsons or something? The one I know does an identical kind of stylized artwork, but is A: Much better at it (example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Street_Musicians,_by_William_H._Johnson.jpg) and B: Dead. The above picture is completely juvenile.

The Commons fiasco is so typical of this couple by now that I can't even think of anything witty to say about it (especially since you've already done so better than I could anyway). Just another dumbass move from the couple who should be the most mocked pair of fools ever to inhabit the whitehouse.

And the media cries racist in three, two, one...

Reiuxcat said...

Wait, I don't see the apologists explaining his decades long attendance at Jeremiah Wright's church where his O'liness attended for 20 years.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Anonymous (two above)- I read the piece you linked to but don't see how any of my details are off. Common was praising a woman who was convicted of killing a cop, and who was arrested with fragments of his brain still stuck to her shoe because she kicked him repeatedly in the head after he was shot. In another song cited in the article, he sings about confronting the law with an Uzi.

@James- There is only one William H. Johnson, and he has indeed gone the way of the doornail. I expressed myself poorly describing him as "greatly celebrated and greatly paid," which implies that he still has a pulse. What I actually meant was that he is greatly celebrated and his paintings are now valuable. And you're right that the example above doesn't show Mr. Johnson at his best advantage, but that's one of the paintings that the first lady chose...not me.

@Reiuxcat- Good point. I'd have to say that I find "Common" much less offensive that Reverend Wright.

CenTexTim said...

Common is as common does.

pryorguy said...

Yeh it could be good for the fridge, if one of my little kids did it...otherwise....fodder for the can!
I was an art major way back when....and it is looking at crap like this that turned me off the art thing, just didnt get it...so I just used my talents to draw cartoons for the school paper and other small town papers down thru the years.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Pryorguy- Hang on...you mean cartoons can be drawn?!

pryorguy said...

uhhh...yeh

Earl said...

This piece of art looks very similar to a "self portrait" our daughter did in elementary school out of butcher block paper. It was long, skinny, and strange, but hung on the refrigerator for months.

James said...

Hahaha, that's what happens when you use too much clip-art. :p

You ought to put some of your stuff up somewhere, Pryor, I'd love to see it.

To be ABSOLUTELY fair to Common, his lyrics suggest that Assasta was framed and was the victim of a racist institution, not that the murder was a good thing, and the "burning bush" bit is a little too vaguely worded for me to get up in arms about it - I can't help but remember "Don't retreat, reload!", here. Common is, relatively speaking, not THAT bad a guy.

That doesn't mean he should be invited to the whitehouse. The president should be siding with the police on this issue, to do anything else is immensely stupid and disrespectful, especially, as the link Anon gave out mentions, now. Just another way, however small, that the first couple shows their disrespect for the country.

pryorguy said...

btw, happy Nakba Day, everyone

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Earl- By all means you should try to sell that artwork to the first lady. Also, if you have any swampland in Florida...

@James- Well if you want to raise the bar and get absolutely fair to Common, I can't say I'm all that deeply offended or surprised by his lyrics. He's actually less offensive than many other rappers, although this particular song is unacceptable to me (though I support his right to express himself).

My frustration is really that the Whitehouse used to be a forum for honoring what was good and noble in our country, including contributions from the arts. Common can say and do whatever he wants, but he shouldn't be held up as a role model.

@Pryorguy- Wouldn't you know it; Nakba Day already and I haven't even started my shopping or wailing ululations.

pryorguy said...

I'm just waiting for the after-Nakba sales....need a new burka for you-know-who...shhhh
its a surprise

ParaPacem said...

RE the effed up 'art' - I was especially moved by the touching image of the little child velcroed to Momma's dress. Or is this a reminder that before the evil white Europeans came, the black Egyptians could fly over the pyramids? ( If you don't remember THAT talem, I can find it for you. It was taught by a black teacher a few years back )
Next:
@ Pryorguy -
I suggested that nakba be celebrated with many large bonfires, started by incendiarys, and lots of joyous noisemaking given by daisy cutters, all along the borders of Syria, Lebanon and the Gasa... and a final big salute by nuking the crap out of the 'piece of rock in a bedpan' worshipped by the ragheads in 'mecca'.

Doktor Paulie said...

Wife and I just got back from shooting range, so I'm a little late in commenting.

Somehow, it seems fitting that this most juvenile of presidents should have such juvenile "art" in his personal quarters.

And if he should choose to have his administration characterized by or in any way associated with an artist who chooses to call himself - and by inference describe his work - as "Common", why who are we, dear friends, to object?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@ParaPacem- Indeed I do remember the notion that Africans had wings until the white debbils took them away. I think that "history" was being promulgated about the same time that black "experts" were arguing that Ebonics should be considered a language because it was inextricably linked to the biology of the African brain. Which, of course, is exactly the sort of statement which would get a white person fired or lynched for suggesting.

@Doktor Paulie- Now that you've explained the whole "Common" thing it makes perfect sense!

JustaJeepGuy said...

So that's "art", huh? Well, maybe it was the 43-year-old artist's first attempt. "I can't draw a straight line" is the quote that comes to mind...

GregMan said...

Sir, I am offended. Both of my children could paint much better than that when they were 3rd graders.

Besides, knowing our dear Comrade President's and First Klingon's tastes, we should be greatful there isn't a burning American flag in that painting.