Where’s OUR Cerny When We Need him?
The following is just too funny to not post here. It’s a L.A. Times editorial from 1-16-09.
EU or eeww?
It’s difficult to stop laughing long enough to seriously examine Czech artist David Cerny’s latest stunt – an installation commissioned by the Czech Republic to celebrate its assumption of the presidency of the European Union. What the Czechs got instead of the glorious depiction of European harmony they expected is a work that ferociously stereotypes the member countries: Poland is represented by Catholic monks posed as the Marines at Iwo Jima, but they are raising the rainbow flag of the gay rights movement. Luxembourg is a lump of gold with a “for sale” sign, Germany is a series of highways (resembling a swastika), and all of France is on strike. Romania is one big Dracula theme park.
The poor Czechs. Their turn at leading the EU already has provoked deep skepticism, and Cerny’s 9-ton diss – hanging at the entrance to the European Council building in Brussels – doesn’t help. But what did they expect? After all, this is the same artist who crafted a piece that invites viewers to climb a ladder between the legs of a giant nude, stick their heads into its buttocks and watch a video of two Czech politicians feeding each other unidentifiable glop while Queen’s “We Are The Champions” plays.
Why did he do it? Cerny says he wanted to see if Europe could laugh at itself. The Bulgarians are not amused. They’ve called the Czech ambassador to Sofia to explain this offense to their national dignity: Bulgaria is portrayed as a series of squat toilets.
We’d like to think we could laugh at a portrait of the United States a la Cerny. Though that might depend on how close it hewed to the truth.
Your Saturday Poem
Acting Like A Tree, by Jonathan Aaron
When I got to the party and saw everybody
walking around in Christmas costumes,
I remembered I was suppose to be wearing one, too.
Bending slightly, I held out my hands
and waved them a little, wiggling my fingers.
I narrowed my eyes and pursed my lips, making
a tree face, and started slowly hopping on one foot,
then the other, the way I imagine trees do
in the forest when they’re not being watched.
Maybe people would take me for a hemlock,
or a tamarack. A little girl disguised as an elf
looked at me skeptically. Oh, come on!
her expression said. You call that acting like a tree?
Behind her I could see a guy in a reindeer suit
sitting down at the piano. As he hit the opening
chords of “Joy to the World” I closed my eyes
and tried again. This time I could feel the wind
struggling to lift my boughs, which were heavy
with snow. I was clinging to a mountain crag
and could see over the tops of other trees a few late-
afternoon clouds and the thin red ribbon of a river.
I smelled more snow in the air. A gust or two whispered
around my neck and face, but by now
all I could hear was the meditative creaking
of this neighbor or that – and a moment later, farther off,
the faint but eager call of a wolf.