Painting

The Ben Carson Show (Phenomenon)

Source photos: Ben Carson announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, 5 May 2015 (Paul Sancya/AP). A biblical inscription is chiseled into the wall of Ben Carson's home, with 'proverbs' spelled incorrectly (Mark Makela/The Guardian, 2014).

Tom McCarthy tries to explain the Ben Carson phenomenon for The Guardian:

He is more than an American success story, brilliant brain surgeon and bestselling author of 10 Christian-themed books. He has also coined some of the most outlandish statements ever uttered on the national stage, a purveyor of bizarre conspiracy theories and a provocateur who compares abortion to slavery and same-sex marriage to pedophilia.

This week, Carson restated his belief that the pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grain, and not by Egyptians to entomb their kings. He believes that Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Abbas attended school together in Moscow in 1968. He believes that Jews with firearms might have been able to stop the Holocaust, that he personally could stop a mass shooting, that the Earth was created in six days and that Osama bin Laden enjoyed Saudi protection after 9/11.

The Carson conundrum is not fully captured by a list of his eccentric beliefs, however. He also confounds the traditional demographics of US politics, in which national African American political figures are meant to be Democrats. Not only is Carson a Republican – he is a strong conservative on both social and economic issues, opposing abortion including in cases of rape and incest, and framing welfare programs as a scheme to breed dependence and win votes.

He has visited the riot zones of Ferguson and Baltimore but offered little compassion for black urban poor populations who feel oppressed by mostly white police forces.

Even Carson’s core appeal as a Christian evangelical is complicated by the fact that he is a lifelong adherent to a relatively small sect, the Seventh-Day Adventist church, whose celebration of the sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday and denial of the doctrine of hell have drawn accusations of heresy from other mainstream Christian groups.

That last probably plays more strongly with the British audience; in the United States, Christian is as Christian does; Dr. Carson’s penchant for false witness and exclusionary, judgmental scorn are his own ad hoc iteration of faith, shot through with neurotic self-contradiction as it struggles to justify his self-centered pretense of humility. If one seeks strangeness about the SDA experience in general, it is a different phenomenon.

(more…)

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Nearly Perfect

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

This is the challenge: Can reality provide us a more perfect headline than that brought to us by Hilary Hanson and Huffington Post?

‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Store Now Selling George Zimmerman’s Confederate Flag Paintings

Yes … that really is the headline. And here’s the thing: It is apt. Apt, I tell you!

George Zimmerman, who rose to national notoriety in 2012 after shooting and killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, is now selling prints of a Confederate flag painting, in part to benefit a Florida gun store owner who is facing a lawsuit after declaring his business “Muslim-free.”

The prints — copies of an original work hand-painted by Zimmerman — are available for about $50 each at Florida Gun Supply in the city of Inverness. Andy Hallinan, the store’s owner, declared his store a “Muslim-free” zone in a July YouTube video, on the grounds that he did not want to “arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations subsequently filed a lawsuit against Hallinan, WFLA reports.

Zimmerman had initially set out to paint an American flag, but after hearing about that lawsuit, he “decided to scrap the original American Flag painting and repaint it with a Confederate (Battle) Flag,” according to an FAQ section about the painting on the Florida Gun Supply site.

This is the sort of sickness that you just can’t make up.

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Hansen, Hilary. “‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Store Now Selling George Zimmerman’s Confederate Flag Paintings”. The Huffington Post. 18 August 2015.

History, Passing

Mary Doyle Keefe poses beside Rosie the Riveter in undated photo from Associated Press.

Rosie is dead.

Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s iconic 1943 Rosie the Riveter painting that symbolized the millions of American women who went to work on the home front during World War II, has died. She was 92.

(Collins)

Parenthood is a lifetime gig, you know, and if there is any comfort to be found in the passing of a cultural icon, it is that I have the rest of my life, still, that I might someday figure a way to explain to my daughter just how important Rosie the Riveter really was.

She changed everything. And perhaps this is an inadequate expression; therein lies the challenge. But still, it is no less true.

We’ve got some work to do, still, as a society. And, you know, we’ll get there, someday. Or kill ourselves trying. Thank you, Mary Doyle Keefe; your part in this story is etched in hearts and minds of generations, a permanent chapter in the collected tales of our American conscience.

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Image note: Mary Doyle Keefe poses alongside Rosie the Riveter in undated photograph from Associated Press.

Collins, Dave. “Model for Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter Painting Dies”. ABC News. 22 April 2015.