Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Horse Thief

Nothing more perfectly symbolizes the incompetence of George Bush, a man who stole the Presidency, than the "revelation" that his beloved painting is about a horse thief. That Bush took this painting "at face value", seeing *only* what he wanted to see in it, sums up his life and presidency in a way that a thousand words never could. (To call him a dolt would be a radical understatement.) One wonders, nevertheless, whether he will ever see the painting for what it really is. Nothing else has shaken him from his fantasy world of incuriosity, ignorance and denial. In Bush's fantasy world, God has made him President, Iraq continues its steady march toward peace and democracy, global warming is a politically motivated liberal hoax, and in New Orleans he is a hero, etc., etc., etc...

From the WP

The Horse Thief

Scott Horton blogs for Harpers: "George W. Bush is famous for his attachment to a
painting which he acquired after becoming a 'born again Christian.' It's by W.H.D.
Koerner and is entitled 'A Charge to Keep.' Bush was so taken by it, that he took the
painting's name for his own official autobiography. And here's what he says about it:
'I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our
mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of
a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is
us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley
that we serve One greater than ourselves.' . . .

"Now, however, Jacob Weisberg [has tracked] down the commission behind the art work
and he gives us the full story in his forthcoming book on Bush, 'The Bush Tragedy'."

Weisberg writes: "[Bush] came to believe that the picture depicted the circuit-riders
who spread Methodism across the Alleghenies in the nineteenth century. In other words,
the cowboy who looked like Bush was a missionary of his own denomination.

"Only that is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting. The artist, W.H.D.
Koerner, executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled 'The Slipper Tongue,'
published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking
horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.
The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors. In the magazine, the
illustration bears the caption: 'Had His Start Been Fifteen Minutes Longer He Would Not
Have Been Caught.'"

So, Horton writes: "Bush's inspiring, prosyletizing Methodist is in fact a
silver-tongued horse thief fleeing from a lynch mob. It seems a fitting marker for the
Bush presidency."

1 comment:

Aaron said...

The thief even looks like Bush. The saddle should be labeled "USA".