That Art is Ours -- Let's Act Like It
On April 25, 1976, the Chicago Cubs were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Halfway through the game, an unemployed protester and his 11-year-old son jumped onto the field and attempted to light an American flag on fire. Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday saw what they were doing, ran over, and grabbed the flag away from them before they were able to burn it. The crowd gave Monday a standing ovation and spontaneously sang “God Bless America.”
Nowadays, our nation’s sports players are more likely to kneel down next to the protesters to help block the wind, but that’s another story. The lesson of this story is its window into the mindset of the Left. Had that would-be flag burner had anything interesting to say, people would have listened to him. But he didn’t have anything interesting to say. So he tried to force people to listen at one of the few venues available to citizens for them to expressly escape, for a few hours, the politicization of every aspect of life.
Contemporary leftists carry this mindset to the extreme. We can’t watch sports, eat dinner, drink coffee, pray in church, enjoy a concert, shop for clothes or food, attend a speech, get emergency medical care, drive to work, or even just work in peace without leftists shoving their agenda in our faces through everything from mandatory training to literally blocking our paths. And this is to say nothing of “direct action” (i.e., physical violence) against innocent civilians, police, and property when leftists don’t get what they want through their usual monkeyshines.
The latest stunt by climate alarmists has been to attack famous works of art in museums. In May, a protester threw cake at Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” In June, protesters glued themselves to McCulloch’s “My Heart’s in the Highlands” and to Van Gogh’s “Peach Trees in Blossom.” In July, protesters glued themselves to a copy of DaVinci’s “The Last Supper,” to Botticelli’s “Primavera,” to Jon Constable’s “The Hay Wain,” and to JMW Turner’s “Thomson’s Aeolian Harp.” In August, protesters glued themselves to the Vatican sculpture “Laocoon and his Sons” and to Poussin’s “Thunderscape With Pyramus and Thisbe.” In October, protesters threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” and on Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” and threw mashed potatoes on Monet’s “Haystacks.” And in November, protesters attempted to glue themselves to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” and threw oil on Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life.”
From our self-appointed cultural vanguards, the ones who berate us for funding the military over the arts, can we reasonably expect the loudest of denunciations? Hardly.
Aja Romano at Vox reveres these crimes as “brilliance” and “the best protest ever.” Cecilia Rodriguez at Forbes couldn’t decry these crimes as anything worse than “peculiar,” and pooh-poohed the damage as “minor.” She describes the criminals as “generally young and committed to save the world,” and bemoans that they were “dragged out by force.”
Helen Holmes at The Daily Beast gushed that this “direct action” is “masterpiece theater” and is “proven to be effective methods of communication.” Damian Gayle at the Guardian echoes the protesters’ claim that “the art establishment is complicit in genocide.” Alejandro de la Garza at Time places a gentle hand on our collective shoulder to slowly explain that these protests call attention to the “degree of complacency” among the public. Translation: If only we cretins weren’t so complacent, they wouldn’t have to do this.
Granted, the damage was indeed minor (the paintings are behind protective glass). But that doesn’t mean that once the protesters realize their antics aren’t getting their demands met, they won’t step it up a notch. Make no mistake, these protesters might deceive themselves into believing they’re martyrs doing the work of Mother Gaia, but like every other cause rooted in Marxism, there exists a common thread: an attack on Western civilization.
This is why climate alarmists target symbols of Western achievement rather than those of mass polluters China, India, or Russia. Why women’s rights activists target churches rather than mosques. Why BLM and Antifa thugs topple the statues of some of the most important civil rights advocates. Why “teachers” emphasize (and fabricate) only the dark sides of American history, and only of America, rather than those of nations whose histories are infinitely worse.
This type of activism is a one-way street: what could we target that is of value to them? Our infantile protesters don’t paint artistic masterpieces or sculpt statues. They don’t compose symphonies or choreograph ballets or construct architectural wonders. The don’t write beautiful poems or Shakespearean plays. They possess neither the ability nor will to create, only to destroy. They can’t think, reason, or debate, they can only scream. They value not the fate of the planet, but their own sense of self-importance. They aren’t the heroes that Gotham deserves, they are the petty little tyrants that Dostoevsky warned us about.
Their ingratitude towards their cultural inheritance is matched only by their hypocrisy. Their feigned concern for “millions of cold, hungry families” doesn’t extend to the workers they intentionally prevent from getting to work with their traffic-blocking antics (even when they cause car accidents and prevent first responders from reaching the injured, directly resulting in two deaths).
Somebody as concerned about climate change as they claim to be would be living the most spartan lifestyle possible. Their (oil-based) hair dye and face jewelry betray their true motive, which is a combination of desperate attention-seeking and nihilistic resentment. It took the poverty-stricken Van Gogh years of training (mostly self-taught) to perfect his craft, and it took his death to draw attention to his work. These activists, whom never experienced anything remotely close to poverty or skilled artisanship, crave the same notoriety with a 30-second stunt.
“WHEN WILL YOU FINALLY LISTEN!!!” shrieked protester Mirjam Herrmann after desecrating the Monet. That’s what this is about. You will listen to us scream in your face until you agree with us, until you do whatever we demand, and until you perform whatever penance we deem fit. The hysterics aren’t about climate change. They’re about control. They’re about the need to be the center of the universe.
Much like watching a befuddled parent give the screaming child the coveted candy bar in the check-out line, it’s infuriating to watch the other museum-goers in these videos meander around like deer in headlights while the 105-year-old “security guard” tries to stop the protestors. Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” is valued at over $40 million. And it belongs to us, to our culture, to our civilization. Would you just stand there, eyes glazed and mouth agape, if some green-haired punk tried destroying $40 million worth of your property?
Not everyone is as faint-hearted when it comes to defending their rights. Working-class commuters may not have the refined tastes of the box wine afficionados, but they’re not shy about taking, ahem, ”direct action” against those who would block them from getting to work. This is probably the best way to stop these protests. Whether they’re desecrating priceless art, pouring out milk in grocery stores, or blocking traffic, step in and stop them. “Direct action” goes both ways. Take away their stage, which is all they care about. Will things escalate? Certainly. But the only alternative is to stand idly by, like the museum-goers do, and let them disrupt our lives and attack our way of life without consequence. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing.
Those museums are ours. Those churches are ours. Those roads are ours. Certain people need to be reminded of this.
Image: Van Gogh