The National Catholic Review

The LA Times reported at 7:29 this evening that Shepard Fairey, the artist associated with the now famous Obama HOPE painting, has admitted that he knowingly attempted to deceive the Associated Press about which photograph he had used as a reference for the painting.  As the AP had originally claimed, his piece is a conscious duplicate of the photo by photographer Mannie Garcia.  

I wonder, what might be the philosophical implications lurking around the edges of a painting calling for hope that turns out to be a ripoff? Cynicism would be an obvious response -- but my God how tired is that?  Hey, I'm a blogger with a snarky, cynical take on things.  Wow, yeah, that's new.  Maybe they'll even take the names of two people and put them together, too! I just want to pat them on the head and give 'em a cookie.   

We've known it since the 5th grade dance where we thought that aquamarine tie with the flat end was really going to kill and instead the kid with the Shaun Cassidy haircut who could throw the football with a perfect spin gets all the eyes: Everyone wants to be noticed. And not everyone is.

The temptation to cross ethical lines, step all over people or just be obnoxious to overcome anonymity -- been there, done that, got the shame to show for it.  We call it pride, arrogance, selfishness, OMG SO FRUSTRATING, etc., but look for the baseline and I'd say we're looking at a temptation to hopelessness. The girl with the red hair is never going to notice me if I do things fair and square.  I can give up and just go back to letting Lucy pull the ball out... AGAIN (not that I feel a deep and painful emotional connection to Charlie Brown, or have ever been told I resembled him when my head is shaved).  Or, I can cut a couple corners and let her know it's actually me who wrote Linus' music -- and I've just given up in another way. 

God, you are my God, for you I long, for you my soul is thirsting.  But there's a pretty awesome pond over here to my right, so dude, what gives? 

Hope: awesome -- quite literally; and therefore, not easy. 

Jim McDermott, SJ

Comments

Thomas Rooney | 10/19/2009 - 9:18am
MICHELE - IMO This is one of the many negative results of the 24 hour news cycle; news is created rather than reported.  We are swamped with information without any time to reflect on its implications.
And yes...shame on Shepard Fairey.
 
Helena Loflin | 10/17/2009 - 2:52pm
The AP routinely deceives the American public (and why that should make it hard for all of us to sleep tonight).
I recall the old days when the AP objectively and accurately reported the news.  In recent years, the AP has been spinning and manufacturing and tweaking and slanting the news according to the partisan dictates of its ownership and management...all in order to be noticed, all in order to compete effectively for the readers who like their "news" to conveniently affirm their political biases.
Crossing ethical lines, stepping all over people, and just being obnoxious to overcome anonymity (or the financial inconvenience of truth)...living by the sword...
And, shame on Shepard Fairey, too.