Friday, February 08, 2013


A 28 year-old woman went into a branch of the Louvre and used permanent marker to scrawl "AE 911" on Delacroix's immortal "Liberty Leading the People." The phrase stands for "Architects and Engineers for 9/11." In other words, she's a "controlled demolition" conspiracy freak.

I blame Alex Jones and the Libertarian conspiracy-mongers for this outrage. They are the ones who have spread this diseased notion.

Although there is a false perception that the "controlled demolition" theory was formulated by liberals, a different story emerges if you trace the origins of this pernicious lie. As I have shown in previous posts, the CD theory was created by Libertarians -- who, as we know, are the most conspiracy-addled group in American political life today. The idea was honed by extreme right-wingers such as Christopher Bollyn and Eric Hufschmid. True, there was a period (2004-2006) when this inanity had a certain popularity with young and naive lefties, but the progressive blogs (such as Demoratic Underground and Kos) banished these infants or locked them away in the closet. The most prominent current proponents of this nonsense are Alex Jones, Jeff Rense, and the commenters on Ron Paul's boards -- right-wingers all.

Anyone who believes in the "controlled demolition" theory should be spat upon. These people are monsters. Shun them. Ridicule them. Do not engage them in discussion; do not break bread with them; do not treat them as fellow human beings.

Above all, do not pay them any heed when they claim (as they surely will) that they should not all be judged by the actions of the woman who defaced the Delacroix. Damn right I'm going to judge 'em -- every single one of them -- by her example. The leaders of the "truth" movement have spent more than a decade spewing psychotoxins into the meme-stream. If their efforts have resulted in an outburst of psychotic behavior -- well, what else did you expect?

These "CD" obsessives used to deface this very blog, back in the era before comment moderation. They didn't like what I wrote, so they tried to censor me. In those days -- I'm thinking, in particular, of December of 2006 -- they hit this blog with incessant comment spam, which overloaded the system, making regular posting almost impossible. It was a deliberate attempt to drive me off the net, simply because I had pointed out the flaws in their absurd and anti-scientific arguments.

We all know how these fuckers treated Bill Maher. Frankly, I'm not surprised by what happened in the Louvre.

I believe that a truly great work of art is one of the few things worth more than human life itself. Anyone who defaces such a work is worse than a murderer.

Yes, it may well be possible to remove the unwanted message from the Delacroix. Let me say two things about that:

1. Restoration experts sometimes overestimate their abilities. An example would be Picasso's "La Reve," damaged in 2006 by its current owner, Steve Wynn. Although the restorers proclaimed their repair work to be undetectable, the previous owners of the painting could immediately spot where the harm occurred.

2. Attacks of this sort increase pressure on museums to place their finest works under glass. Even the best glass will result in unwanted reflections and desaturated colors. When placed under glass, a painting becomes more difficult to appreciate -- especially if the work achieves delicate effects through layering and glazing. The public cannot truly see the Mona Lisa nowadays.
Until we can have force fields, I think glass is needed
She should just be locked up for life (after trial). She's too stupid and vile to be left on the street...I don't think it's possible for her to be rehabilitated.
Speaking of art-defacing cults, have you followed Yellowism?
Michelangelo's Piata was damage by Lazlo Toth back in 1972, at that time there was discussion about protection for works of art. Guess it didn't go too far.
As far as the CD asswipes all of their photographic "proofs" can be explained by either exploding electrical transformers, burning cleaning/office supplies or the ironworkers cutting steel to recover victims. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and paranoid the Moron-Amercican segment of the population can be. I have a weighted aluminum softball bat to reinforce my arguments if they insist on continually spewing their nonsense.
I recall Lazlo very well, Mike. I was quite young, but you have NO idea how infuriated I was by that.
No no no Truthers are Liberals. I heard it on Faux News and from Ari Fleschier.
When I visited the Vatican c. 1972, The Pieta had been removed for repair, and replaced with a very close duplicate previously made using high precision measurement techniques. I don't know if it was sculpted using those measurements, or in some way extruded or made from a poured into form.

From my memory of what I was told, that same measurement technique was used to ensure the repair was exact as well.

Although the version on display was the duplicate, it was still held away from spectators by a plexiglass barrier, as I believe the original, now returned, is protected as well. It had an exquisite artistic effect, although the color may have been more alabaster white than what appears to be a glowing rich patina I saw when I just looked for a picture of the original.

Why not replace all priceless works of art with duplicates for display purposes, given the surety of bad human behavior? Perhaps a painting may not readily yield to so exact a copy method, but sculptures would (albeit at considerable expense).

Bad human behavior is one reason we cannot have nice things, but as it is a constant of life, it can be factored into decisions ahead of time.

I visited Rome and The Vatican in the early 1960s - saw Pieta then. It was pointed out to me how visitors had worn away a deep hollow on the top of one of Christ's feet. As millions had filed past over many decades each person must have touched it in the same place.
What a great choice of painting!

No work of art is worth more than any human life. If a work of art is defaced in a cause, whether the act is good or not depends on whether the cause is good.

Such acts were good when done by the suffragettes and many others.

In 1848, Bakunin suggested taking paintings from the museums in Dresden and putting them on the barricades to deter or at least delay the reactionary assault.

In 1871, did some of the Communards, p├ętroleuses, go to burn down Notre Dame, only to be stopped by revolutionary artists? If so, I'd have been with the p├ętroleuses.

In 1968, in Paris again, revolutionaries scrawled speech bubbles on paintings at the Sorbonne.

In 2010, students in London protesting against fee rises occupied part of the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.

Oh dear...unfortunately, they were too chickenshit to touch any of the paintings, not even with the thinnest-nibbed of felt-tip pens, when such an action could have inspired people all around the world.

I would love to see a movement against debt and the banks attack artworks in national galleries.

And monuments too - on which, here's a good song written during May 1968 in Paris:
B, all of your examples are disgusting. Thanks to the communards, we lost "St. Joan in Ecstasy" by Ingres. We ALMOST lost "The Raft of the Medusa." And for what? What single human good was accomplished by the burning of that palace and the near-burning of the Louvre?

I confess it. The defacement of the Delacroix affected me on a deep emotional level -- even moreso than did the Sandy Hook massacre. Yet the painting was repaired within a day while those poor kids aren't coming back. I don't have an answer for why I reacted so strongly or disproportionately, and I don't claim that these reactions speak to my credit.

But when I was young, the attack on the Pieta hit me deeply -- made me angrier than just about anything that has happened since, angrier than the wars and the violence and all the other examples of human folly.

Maybe it has something to do with my notions of the purpose of human existence. If we cannot find holiness (for want of a better word) in our greatest accomplishments, in the things that last for generations after we are gone, then where does it exist?

Man delights me not -- no, nor woman either, as the Warwickshire lad once pit it. That sense of undelight has become even more profound as I make my way through the morass of moronic man-apes who populate this working-class suburb on Balmer. If one of them dropped dead on the sidewalk before my eyes, I would not be moved. Nor would they be moved by MY dropping. Some would applaud. The quasi-human chimpanoids in this neighborhood will never create a great painting of any sort, and if they had access to a great work, their first instinct would be to destroy it, they way Napoleon's soldiers took shots at the Sphinx.

But it's not just the folks who surround me who have me depressed. As I age, I become increasingly filled with despair whenever I think of the sheer uselessness of existence. The whole man/woman/fuck/baby thing. Baby grows up and it's man/woman/fuck/baby all over again. Good god, is that IT? If that IS it, then just drop the bomb and end this horrid joke right now.

There has to be some point to it all.

I choose to see the best of human accomplishment -- our art -- as that which justifies the otherwise unjustifiable existence of the ghastly human race. Maybe that attitude is a delusion. Well, that's the delusion that works for me. Or at's all I got.

I think it was William Faulkner who said that "Ode to a Grecian Urn" is worth more than any number of little old ladies.
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