Posted by panchmaster from pool0173.cvx24-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (18.104.22.168) on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 at 8:51AM :
We look at the Jews and think we see ourselves..."they got a country back...we could too". There are hardly any similarities at all...we're closer to Hottentots than to Jews.
In the first place what we call Jews are really Europeans. We aren't talking about Ethiopian Jews or Middle Eastern ones either. The Jews of America and Europe are very different than the ones of Arabia or Iran.
Jews are a great people...and when they screw up, it's a great big screw up. But you have to hand it to them...they can play any game by any set of rules...and they understand the value of changing the rules before the game gets too far along.
I had to go back to Detroit to justify the artistic choices I made in the Hammurabi Monument. I had to face a room full of people who between then had read three books and explain why I had Hammurabi sitting instead of standing. Then I had to explain why I had "war boots" on a a man of Peace. Why wasn't there a hat on his head...as there is on the Stelle of Hammurabi at the Louvre. The dress was too short...also unlike the Stelle...his hair was "different"...and he "never" wore jewelry because you can't see any on the Stelle. And finally the symbol on the back of his throne was an "Assyrian Plot" hatched by me...a Persian, even though they all knew I was born in Baghdad. I agreed to change the symbol to the one Chaldeans felt better represented them, although to Assyrians the new design is merely the one on our "national" flag...the four pointed star with the twin rivers crossing at the center.
I'm sure as I was standing there explaining my reasons, I was being suspiciously regarded as someone "caught" and trying to bluff his way out of something.
What they were really saying was that there should be only one acceptable way of showing Hammurabi and that has to be regulated by whatever fragments have survived from that era. What we are telling the world is that Hammurabi had ONE dress in his closet... ONE hat, and ONE pair of boots.... that he wore these constantly. Any attempt to extrapolate or, god forbid, use ones imagination was "treason" and a "plot" to harm our people and ruin their history.
This is more than being litteral...it's being hidebound and musty. This sort of thinking...consigning our artists to a kind of living hell, a Fascist Art Camp where only one or two versions of a subject will EVER be tolerated...kills initiative...development...growth, and is just one more thing that drives our young people out, screaming in the night.
Jews are represented in every movement there is...and often they are the trend setters. Think of music. There are traditional musicians, klezmer bands and all...there are Classicists, Jews are at the forefront of the Jazz movement...Rock and Roll, Folk Music...Experimental Music...any kind of music you want to think of has Jews playing away at it. They support and express and add to all of them, all of "Music".
In Art also they are to be found at every level, in every permutation. Us? I can't put an earring on an Assyrian that I can't prove wasn't there 3000 years ago without being attacked as a traitor. I can't use any skill or judgement and draw from the wealth of designs we have to IMAGINE that Hammurabi probably had more of everything than anyone else in the land...likes lots and lots of earrings and boots and gowns of every description.
We aren't remaining "true" to history or ourselves...we're remaining barefoot and pregnant...the way our randy leeders like us.
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