Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Violence

Above: Clint Eastwood watercolor by Becky Cooke.

…In some ways art and violence might seem to be polar opposites but they are really joined at the hip; both the representation of violence in art and violence towards it; from cave paintings depicting the slaughter of animals to the blowing up of the world’s largest carved Buddha’s in the Hindu-Kush Mountains by Islam extremists on March 11 of 2001 six months before the destruction of the World Trade Towers, a foreshadowing that can’t be ignored, but I digress. First, in the current art violence continuum is the recent brouhaha stirred by the movie, American Sniper, depicting the real life sniper who had the most kills in American history. In a statement not mentioning the movie but found guilty by association, Michael Moore bemoaned the place of the sniper in warfare as being a cowardly act, drawing from the death of his uncle who had been killed by one.

My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015

The outrage that followed by Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Fox Network was predictable. First thing I have to say on the subject is, I love Clint Eastwood from the Spaghetti Westerns to Dirty Harry to even the heartbreaking El Camino. Clint has made his bacon on violence, big violence, excruciating violence. I mean so much violence that when he gave his infamous GOP convention speech talking to a chair I thought it would have been way more interesting if he had pulled out his .45 Magnum and shot the shit out of chair turning it to splinters. I’m quite sure the GOP would have jumped up in great applause and the NRA branch of the GOP would have gushed in tears of inspiration. That brings us back to American Sniper and the argument about violence and who is more cowardly or heroic in the brutal violence of war. Calling snipers cowards or heroes to me is a non-starter, if they are indeed cowardly because of the anonymous aspect of their violence then what are pilots who drop bombs, people who plant IEDs or soldiers who program drones? These are questions that brighter minds might be able to answer but historically it has proven to be a question without an answer. One thing I do believe is the real cowards are the politicians, leaders, mullahs, sheiks, kings, oligarchs and various media groups who direct, order and cheer soldiers on to war but when they come home leave them homeless, mentally unstable, suicidal, poor with no where to turn, made basically refugees in the country they fought for and then ignored by the same people who send them off to war in glorious spectacles…

…The other evil that dragged the artistic and creative mind into the fomenting violence in the world was the massacre at Charlie in Paris by extreme jihadists. It was sickening, who knew that drawing a caricature might lead to the deaths of innocents but now we know: parody can kill. What I don’t understand is that the violence is coming directly from religious people who are trying to protect their God and it has been happening since the beginning of time. What confounds me is who is deciding that Gods need humans to fight for them? What God worth anything needs the help of humans? I mean aren’t Gods all and everything. My thought is any God who needs humans to fight for them isn’t much of a God.   They’re Gods for Gods sake let them fight their own battles…

-C.C. Long


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