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July 20, 2003

Squeezing Out Another Masterpiece

If you find the image above appealing, you might want to consider moving to Carrboro, North Carolina, where a similar flag can be found in the Mayor's office. (link via the Carolina Review)

Complaints from employees and other people figured in Alderman Alex Zaffron's decision to take the swastika piece down on the eve of the town's Independence Day celebration, said Jackie Helvey-Hayes, a member of Carrboro's Art Committee and the coordinator of municipal art exhibits.

Zaffron -- who's also the town's mayor pro tem -- also was concerned because the Independence Day celebration was likely to attract a lot of older people, including some veterans, to a bingo game scheduled to occur in the boardroom where the piece was on display, Helvey-Hayes said.

Zaffron could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Mayor Mike Nelson was out of town while the show was being put up, but when he returned on the Fourth of July, he saw the work and liked it, Helvey-Hayes said.

"He immediately took it into his office and hung it on the wall," Helvey-Hayes said.

You can see the flag in question here, as well as at the artist's website, here.

Now, I'll grant Hunter Levinsohn that it's art. It's art for the ignorant, on a par with paintings of big eyed kids and portraits of Jesus on black velvet, but art nonetheless. Not great art by any stretch of the imagination, as the Chapel Hill Newspaper pointed out.

As a political statement, it's little more than a facile comparison of America to Nazi Germany, of a type usually issued by bitter partisans or aspiring intellectuals prone to over-dramatization. In and of itself, it's barely worthy of comment.

Fortunately, things that are barely worthy of comment are our bread and butter.

This is art that makes a STATEMENT. This is loud art. It needs no explanation, possesses no subtlety. This is in your face, draft card burning Yippie art. It takes it to the Man, man. "Two fingers for you, working drones in your suburban homes. This ain't the land of the free to be you and me any more, baby. This is the new home of the Thousand Year Reich! So there!"

Yea, that'll learn 'em. It's art in the same way that the first drunken punch to the little woman's face for giving you lip is art. It's not about the action. It's about the reaction. It's about power, about watching three seconds of shock, horror, and a realization of the most intimate of betrayals wash over the face of a person you supposedly love.

It's art, like putting out a cigarette on your daughter's arm is art.

Of course, if the sentiments behind Ms. Levinsohn's piece were in anyway true, the flag would have never made it to the Carrboro town hall. As Michael Nelson is a homosexual and Hunter Levinsohn is Jewish, they should have both died in the America Auschwitz about three years ago.

Funny how that never happened. It would seem Hunter's prescience rises to the same level as her work.

As for Mayor Nelson, forget studying Spanish. It's his knowledge of history that needs to be worked on.

And you can help! Ship a copy of Men With the Pink Triangle to:

Mayor Mike Nelson
Carrboro Town Hall
301 W. Main St.
Carrboro, N.C.

An art appreciation book or two probably wouldn't go amiss, either.

Posted by Bigwig at July 20, 2003 11:11 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

You never cease to amaze me, Bigwig. I must be mindful, however, to not sip coffee while reading.

Posted by: Lorelei at July 21, 2003 06:56 AM

Fight the power, man!

Free Mumia!

ImBush Peach!

As a former resident of Carrboro... I'm not shocked.

Just be careful. In criticizing the first openly gay Southern mayor (who's ordinarily just super, thanks!), you might find yourself inadvertantly comitting hate crimes under the town's civil rights code.

That's okay though; if you have a problem, you can always flee to Burma, or Poland, or Chile, or some other country that the Town has sanctioned under its foreign policy making authority.

Posted by: Omnibus Bill at July 21, 2003 10:23 AM


Because a Nazi country would totally let someone like that LIVE, let alone hold public office....


Posted by: candace at July 21, 2003 01:21 PM

Go to to sign a letter to the Honorable Mayor asking for his resignation!

Posted by: Todd Melet at August 21, 2003 03:27 PM
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