A Swede steals the title, “artist”, and gloats over his new “paintings” made of Nazi victim’s bodies. The Swede (I will not name him) demonstrates sadism and contempt in equal measure to mix his pigment, the chief component of which is what he might call Nazi concentration camp “art”, i.e., Germany’s WWII primo booty, the very last earthly remains of terrible hurt. (“Outrageous Swedish Artist” a headline today on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2012).
The “Swede” stole the ashes visiting a concentration camp years ago, and if he thought, Boy oh boy (or however you say that in Swedish) Now is the time! he’s right. The world is no longer offended by anything. Let’s change that.
Although it’s chic to disavow differences between people or smell the stench of evil-doing or taste the sweetness of good, such trendiness comes with the price of desensitizing, to roll in growing waves across the entire human horizon when we fail to observe clearly and speak truly.
The point is that it profits us as individuals to know, and claim to know, and LIKE to claim to know what it is that repulses.
The Swede repulses me. He is my enemy.
It’s not okay for non-Christians to turn with nonchalance from Piss Christ, or for non-Muslims to be indifferent to stoning deaths of young girls hungry for knowledge. Or for non-soldiers to fail caring when extra measure is taken in horrific desecration of our soldiers, or beheading of journalists, practicing which the middle easterners are overly fond. Or for non-Artists to not admit what repels and what invites.
There’s no point in contests over who is most cruel. We’re talking people. And communities, states, countries, races, religions are better off not standing up for their own people when their own people have bad ideas. Somebody in Sweden gave that man a gallery, a festive opening, money, and a lot of press.
Or for anyone who never picked up a brush or pencil to call such accomplished sadists as the Swede: Artists. He is not an artist. He may, at most, be called: Enterprising. It’s a nice broad category, which, before putting them through a finer sieve would include everybody from Vlad the Impaler to Walt Disney. We have for decades shunned naming the enemy for what they are, despite the assault. We need to get over it. I’ll start.
The Swede is my enemy.
Today is Pearl Harbor Day, when my country was viciously attacked in an extension of the Japanese national policy of that time to cause ruthless damage, death, and take over the world. They were our enemies. Our loathing directed at the Japanese for their actions then, and our defense from the Japanese then was justified.
This Swede’s confiscation of our dead fellows, especially who died man, woman and child as horribly as was ever conjured is simply extending Nazi triumph. I reserve my right to hate my enemies.
Art may be challenging to define, but it is chiefly this: expansive. Sadism, on the other hand, is repetitive and constricting. Use that as your guide.
I would urge on this day of reflection that we get back to work on knowing the difference between good and bad ideas and quit being shy about saying so.
The Swede is my enemy. And I hate him. And he is not an artist. I herewith publicly declare it.