Open Thread Feb. 13: They Don’t Know Art, But They Know What They Don’t Like [Updated w/ Secret Sperm]

Filed in National by on February 13, 2018

Did you really think right-wing mouth breathers would allow the Obamas to unveil their official portraits without demonstrating why they belong to Slackjaw Nation? Silly rabbit. Actual art critics, as they usually will, had mixed reviews.

[UPDATE] Sean Hannity weighed in on Obama’s portrait: It contains “secret sperm” hidden on his left temple. I swear I’m not making this up, even though Hannity has already scrubbed his rant about it from his web site. Apparently the meme bubbled up from the alt-right cesspool, so Hannity sent it down the memory hole to avoid being compared with Goebbels or something. If he had thought it up himself he’d talk about it for another month.

Remember when elected officials thought it important to divest themselves of outside business interests so they wouldn’t look corrupt? Good times, now long gone.

Just in case you think Donald Trump is the only guy who thinks he’s a genius because he’s rich, consider Elon Musk. Sure, he stepped forward to rescue America’s space program, but apparently for no better reason than to shoot one of his still non-profitable Teslas into space.

Could be worse. The rich dicks at Oracle are spending their money to foist Devin Nunes on the country. If I knew what they make I’d stop using it.

What won’t be shot into space, at least not on its original timetable, is a space telescope that NASA has been working on for 20 years. Trump’s budget cuts that, because it gives tax breaks to rich assholes who want to shoot cars into space instead.

You don’t have to bother shooting evangelical Christians into space, because they go ballistic at the slightest provocation — for example, whenever someone points out that the Bible isn’t called the “Good Book” in reference to its quality as narrative. One writer tried, and liberal site Salon pulled the article after the slackjaws complained.

Finally, The Atlantic published this fascinating story about former slaves talking to WPA writers in the 1930s about Abraham Lincoln. In their telling of his story, he really got around.

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  1. nathan arizona says:

    The more I see the portrait of Barack the more I like it. It captures his sensitivity and lack of self-importance, and maybe some sense of irony. Plus, I just like to look at it. But you don’t have to be a slackjaw to think the portrait of Michelle is just not very good.

  2. Alby says:

    No, you don’t. I didn’t link to all the gorilla comments. That was the slackjaw reaction.

  3. Paul says:

    “gives tax breaks to rich assholes who want to shoot cars into space “. The car was substituted for the normal cinderblock ballast on test flights. I thought the symbolism was a hoot, not some rich asshole stunt. He, the South African, did his “stunt” HERE, not S.A., and made us all look good. But that’s just me.

  4. Alby says:

    I didn’t care either way; I think he’s an asshole regardless. The author of the linked story thinks it’s a stunt.

  5. Alby says:

    Sean Hannity weighs in on Obama’s portrait: It contains “secret sperm” hidden on his left temple. I swear I’m not making this up, even though Hannity has already scrubbed his rant about it from his web site (the link in this link is already dead, and I — ugh! — even checked his site itself).

    And now we have the back story: It came from the alt-right gutter:

    I suspect that connection is why Hannity pulled the item. If he had thought of it himself he’d talk about it for another month.

  6. nathan arizona says:

    I despise Hannity and his right-wing “sources,” but even Wiley’s fans acknowledge that he incorporates images of sperm in his paintings. “Undulating sperm cells,” says blogger Laura Grey. So the sperm is not really “secret.” I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I don’t think we should turn a blind eye to facts. In this particular case, that vein on Obama’s head might be just a vein.

    Here’s a review by an actual art critic who is not a fan. She says much the same thing about the sperm — plus a whole lot more.

    I actually kind of like Wiley’s portrait, but I’d rather think of it without sperm references.

  7. meatball says:

    In the portrait, I think I can make out Sean Spicer in the bushes behind Obama.

  8. Alby says:

    @meatball: That’s the best line I’ve seen about the portrait anywhere. Well done.

  9. Dave says:

    Sorta liked Obama,s. Did not like Mrs. Obama. I don’t consider presidential portraits as “art” to be enjoyed, analyzed or discussed in hushed galleries about the agony of the artist (or the subject). It’s a portrait and as befitting the office, I feel the portraits should be serious, somber (with at most a bemused smile) and traditional. I find both lacking in that regard.

  10. Alby says:

    I saw the portraits of the most recent several presidents, and I don’t think they work well as representational art. We see far too many photographs of these people to overlook the inevitable departures from precise reproduction endemic to traditional portraiture. So you wind up with what one critic I read called “country club portraits” (can’t find it at the moment or I’d link it). The kind of picture everybody sees but nobody looks at. Leg Hall is full of them, too.