Wednesday, December 30, 2009


  I just bought this painting. It’s called “Still Life with City Scape No. 2.” The artist is Aaron Morgan Brown, formerly of Wichita, Kansas. This is a fairly typical painting by him in that he likes to combine highly incongruous elements, such as placing an electric mixer next to a statue of Cupid (?) and an orange both beneath a Tiffany lamp. What I really like about this painting though is the way that he suggests the interpenetration of realms we normally keep separate. Most obvious is the way that the room has no wall and it appears that a car is about to  drive out of it while another car is about to come in. Little less obvious is painting of the bird, a wild creature captured and immobilized on a canvas framed in gilt and hung on an invisible wall. I am interested also in the fact that the objects “in” the room—the elements of the still life—have been painted in a very precise manner, with clear-cut sharp outlines, while the street scene has been rendered in a much softer somewhat more impressionistic style. This pleases me. It makes the inner seem so much more real than the outer at the same that it undercuts the distinction between them. Perhaps this painting is an allegory of consciousness itself.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Truth or Consequences?

Four of Ireland's Roman Catholic Bishops have now resigned in the wake of evidence that they permitted decades of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to be perpetuated against thousands of children. "A fifth bishop [ . . . ], Martin Drennan of Galway, has said that he did not endanger children and will not resign, a position initially taken by the four bishops who have now stepped down."

The two most recent former Bishops of Ireland, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, issued a joint statement on Christmas Eve, saying that "they hoped their resignations 'may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims' of child sexual abuse.

“'We again apologize to them,' the bishops said. 'Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have so bravely spoken out and those who continue to suffer in silence.'”

Somehow, I don't believe them. Maybe if they walked the length and breadth of Ireland wearing sackcloth and ashes, proclaiming their guilt at every church and begging forgiveness of every person, I might begin to believe that they have truly repented and aren't just putting on some dog and pony show.

And I'm not encouraged by the Arch-bishop's account of their motives, that "the church for too long had placed its self-interest above the rights of its parishioners, particularly innocent children." I mean, come on. What church has any interest greater than the well-being of its members? As long as the Church identifies AS its priests and AGAINST its members, men will continue to use the priesthood as a means to power and self-gratification.

Read the article for yourself here.