I am an art lover. I value and admire the results of an artist's ability to interpret life and emotions and events with mind, eye and color....or a camera....in ways that move us. The gifted have expressed themselves and found appreciation for their expression since the beginning of time. And we applaud them.
People who are drawn to artistic works are deemed to have a sensitive - and, sometimes, a discriminating - taste for culture in all its many forms.
However, this appreciation and sensitivity appear to have reached a puzzling zenith with the following announcement.
"Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" sold at Sotheby's in New York for $119.9 million on Wednesday night.The amount is a record for a work of art sold at auction. The version of "The Scream" sold is one of four painted between 1893 and 1910, and is one of the best-known images in modern art," according to CNN.
Think of it - $120 million! Even while I marvel (and choke) at the sum, I am aware that in terms of real, today, actual cash, hard money, this is considered a pittance by those who have real, today, actual cash, hard money. And while I recognize this, it continues to be a reality difficult to accept for someone who once earned 50 cents an hour babysitting.
My view has always been that having money and being successful is something to work toward - even strive for - and then enjoy both when achievement is reached.
But what, and how much, represents "achievement?"
I've never thought I was the "pinko, commie liberal" that is the accepted epithet for those of us who think it is ugly to tear down a perfectly good house to build a bigger one....one that has a god damned elevator for cars; or wears a $1,000 tee shirt when there is even one child in the universe who has no food.
No, the Romneys, and the The Scream purchaser, are not responsible for supporting the world. They need not wear sackcloth and ashes because they are financially fortunate. But I would think they would be responsible for more conspicuous support and even funding of the less well endowed instead of marathon buying and owning and investing.
Since the Munch purchaser is anonymous, we can't know his or her proclivities for sharing, but from what I've seen of the Romney clan, their giving appears to be concentrated around supporting their church. This is not so much noble as a reaffirmation of their personal beliefs which have limited benefit to humanity.
Considering the sad, catastrophically unequal distribution of wealth in the world, The Scream, certainly one of the ugliest paintings ever produced, seems an appropriate icon for our world today where "frivolous" expenditure of one's discretionary income is not to be criticized on pain of being called a pinko, commie, bleeding heart liberal.