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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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3 December 2014

gratuitous image

No. 3,957 (cartoon)

I’m trying to kill myself.

Try harder!

4 December 2014

Yet Another Problem

Cordelia drinks much more than is prudent, so I gently suggested to her that she appears to have an insatiable thirst for wine. She denied it, which of course is how most people who drink too much respond to such implicit criticism. She agreed that she did have an insatiable thirst, but inststed that she only drank wine because that was all that was available. She looked at me as if I was insane when I suggested water might be even more efficacious in staving off dehydration.

Poor Cordelia; her solution to her problems is yet another problem.

5 December 2014

No Marital Advice

Dr. Butler is getting married soon, and asked Mary and me if we had any good advice.

Mary reported that her grandmother offered her “one word of advice” on the eve of her wedding: “Give in, give in, give in.” Mary responded that her grandmother’s admonition was five words too long, and never did get a single word of good marital advice.

I long ago relegated as much of my memory to my computer, so it was easy for me to quote Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband: “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

Dr. Butler is on his own. I’m sure he’ll figure out how to stay married; about half the people who marry do.

6 December 2014

The Ethics of Silence

Rosaline and I were discussing the slippery morality of truthfulness.

“Is it a lie to say nothing?” she asked.

“I suppose it depends on how you say it,” I replied.

I didn’t tell her that I thought her new sweater was hideous, and, by definition, I can’t know what she wasn’t telling me. We both said nothing nicely, and enjoyed a very pleasant visit.

7 December 2014


Emilia is a surly teenager (is that repetitiously redundant?), so I was surprised when she said I was an inspiration. When I agreed that the life of a slothful artist was immensely rewarding, she replied that I didn’t understand what she was saying. She said she was motivated to work hard so she didn’t end up at my age, i.e., ancient, without owning a home, a car, or the other trappings of the petite bourgeoisie.

I didn’t argue with her; she looks at life with the unshakable certainty and wisdom of a teenager. I’m afraid that she’ll have to lean the hard way that trappings are just that.

8 December 2014

Not Achieving Great Things

Leonard Bernstein wrote, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” I used to like that observation until I carefully considered it and concluded that it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

I think the idea of great work is antithetical to art. “Great” implies impressing the masses, especially the critics. I prefer doing work that simply pleases me. I also think that having a plan is a bad idea; it blinds one to all the possibilities that aren’t in the plan. And not having enough time sounds unnecessarily stressful; why would anyone embrace that situation?

I’m entertained by people who take themselves too seriously, but not for the reasons they intended.

9 December 2014

Duncan at Fifty

Today is Duncan’s fiftieth birthday and he’s rather despondent about being “so old.” I’m always amused when people put so much emphasis on their chronological age. You’re young when you’re looking forward and old when you’re looking back, what could be simpler?

I decided to tease him by pointing out that even though his best years were far behind him, he was unlikely to die anytime soon. Even that didn’t cheer him up; I think he was enjoying his little pity party.

10 December 2014

What a Maroon!

Some idiot named Jonathan Jones has revisited the question of whether photography is art. I don’t hesitate to call the ignoramus an imbecile (or is it the other way around?) because that debate was over a century and a half ago. To quote Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

The brain-dead critic was annoyed that someone paid six and a half million dollars for a photograph, six and a half million dollars for a damn photograph! According to Shit-Fer-Brains Jones, “Peter Lik’s hollow, clichéd, and tasteless black and white shot of an Arizona canyon isn’t art—and proves that photography never will be.” The cretin went on to explain that, since he had a very good camera and he wasn’t an artist, therefore photography couldn’t possibly be art. What breathtaking stupidity!

It’s people like Jones who give imbeciles a bad name. First, he condemned the medium of photography because he was too visually illiterate to appreciate a rather good image. And then he concluded that since he had a good camera and wasn’t an artist, therefore no one else could be one either. What a maroon redux!

If there’s an award for the nincompoop with the biggest ego and the smallest brain, I propose that it be called the Jonathan Jones Prize.


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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