“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
(just one wall section of the murals at George Washington High School in San Francisco)
Today we continue our venture into the tales of the asinine with another example
of idiocy outweighing common sense.
It is now officially a sorrowful fact that we, as a culture, have a serious issue
with common sense…as in, we don’t possess any.
Case in point, a high school in San Francisco—oh wait, that alone probably says all you
need to know…but I digress.
This particular high school has some very historic murals that have sadly found their
way into the sites of the Political Correctness Police.
“Are they a thing?” you ask.
“What?” I ask…”You mean the PC Police?”
Well, sadly yes…I’m afraid to report that it does seem that the
PC police are indeed very real, very powerful and very scary.
George Washington High School in San Fransico has a collection of murals that
are on display throughout the school and have been there since the 1930s when they
were painted and funded by FDR’s New Deal.
The murals depict the life cycle of George Washington.
They show images of slaves and even Native Americans—some living, some in battle
and some dead.
Images in part because this was part and parcel of this man’s life in the 1700s
during the inception of this nation….not all positives yet realities of the day.
The San Francisco School Board has voted to allow approx. $600,000 to go toward the
destruction of the murals.
All because our culture no longer likes the truth about how life used to be in the early
days during the founding of a nation.
And so we are now seeing that art, which depicts a life that was, is being deemed to be
politically incorrect–as it is viewed through the closed lenses of a 21st century
The culture we live in has deemed that the life of George Washington is obviously
Incorrect to those liberal progressive nuts of the 21st century who don’t like the reality
of a man’s life in the 1700s.
I was an art student at the University of Georgia in the late 70s into the start of the 80s.
Well, let’s make that an Art Ed major who took a copious amount of Art History courses,
as well as a great many studio classes, right alongside painting majors, printmaking majors,
sculpture majors, interior design majors…
And it’s never been much of a secret that art majors tend to be a more liberal lot.
Which is in part as to why my conservative younger self sometimes looked a bit out of place,
However, I managed to find a love for many of my professors and fellow classmates.
It was a different time when differences of opinions and lifestyles could still enjoy
one another’s company while still offering nuggets of growth and wisdom to one another.
I did not like modern art…Post-impressionism, Postmodernism, Op Art, Surrealism, Dadaism,
Pop Art, assemblages, installation art, etc…
but rather I loved Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism periods.
Yet I learned early on that art tells a story.
And I do not believe in the notion of art for art’s sake…
Because there is responsibility to art as well as a responsibility from the artist.
I would often tell my students that art must be aesthetic…
that which is “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.”
As a class, we would spend hours discussing the blatant destruction of the ancient
artworks of Iraq and Syria by ISIS fighters. From the smashing of statuary to the actual
blowing up of temples and centuries-old carvings.
Destroying the stories of a previous people—whose breadcrumbs were left as gifts to
future generations—left to be everlasting in order to tell a story—-
telling their story of then to us today.
Much like the murals in George Washington High School in San Francisco.
According to an article on artnetnews.com at least 400 writers and academics are
protesting the planned destruction of the murals.
The 13-panel painting was created by Russian-born artist Victor Arnautoff in 1936
through the Works Progress Administration. The cycle depicts the life of Washington,
and includes images of America’s first president as a slaver.
But the decades-long debate—which pits activists who take offense at the startling
images against those who say the works were specifically meant to be critical,
not celebratory, and should be used as a teaching tool—is lingering on.
Last week, the academic online journal Nonsite published a fierce defense of
the murals in a letter that has since been signed by nearly 400 writers, historians,
and artists, including prominent academics such as Michael Fried, Aijaz Ahmad,
Adolph Reed, and David Harvey.
“It is an important work of art, produced for all Americans under the auspices of a
federal government seeking to ensure the survival of art during the Great Depression,”
the letter reads. “Its meaning and commitments are not in dispute.
It exposes and denounces in pictorial form the US history of racism and colonialism.
The only viewers who should feel unsafe before this mural are racists.”
The letter has since been submitted to the San Francisco Unified School District,
which had not responded to Artnet News’s requests for comment.
Rocco Landesman, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts,
wrote a letter to the New York Times decrying the planned destruction of the
“This just in: A significant segment of the liberal community is turning anti-art,”
“When important artworks of our cultural heritage are not just hidden away but destroyed,
how do these desecrations differ from those of the Taliban, who blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas
in Afghanistan, or the ISIS commanders who destroyed ancient monuments near Palmyra, Syria?”
These continuing tales of the asinine are more than simply stupid happenings
by self-righteous ignorant people.
They are a blatant reminder that we are not progressing as a culture…but rather
And the sad thing is, as much as these rabid masses fuss and cuss that which they
claim to be politically incorrect, we as a global family are suffering
due to some odd sense of entitled hatred.
When will we say enough is enough?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.
Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.