Tag Archives: philosophy

The Curmudgeon Chronicles: Is It Art If It Needs Subtitles?

Maybe it’s an age thing.  But it seems to me that art — be it visual, musical, literary or what have you — should stand on its own without relying on accompanying commentary.

Last night we attended a gallery opening of paintings and sculpture by two artists, one of whom is married to a colleague of a mutual friend.  The manifesto that accompanied this work was quite beautiful and actually much more interesting than the work itself, which felt derivative and rather banal. Which got me thinking….

We don’t expect margin notes on the pages of a good novel.  Or a running crawl in a film to explain what the director had in mind.  Are paintings and sculpture more compelling because of an artist’s backstory — in this case, gender identity — , even when the images have nothing to do with that struggle? 

This is ultimately the problem I have with most political art: Take away the message, and what are you left with? Picasso’s Guernica? Unfortunately, mostly not.

focus photography of sea waves

Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

Mysteries of Coastal Living

The Oregon coast is one of the most stunning places on earth. Here, you can contemplate the mysteries of the universe as you stroll down the beach, hike through majestic forests or marvel at a gorgeous sunset.

My mind tends to wander towards the more prosaic:

Why are there 15 bead and glass blowing shops but only one car wash?

Why can’t we get decent Internet and phone service?

Are the whales actually showing off, or are they oblivious?

What makes plants grow this huge?

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Why is there no decent pizzeria when so many families with children visit and live in the area?

How does the place serving truly horrible pizza stay in business?

Why do the blackberry bushes have more brambles than blackberries?

When is Walgreen’s pharmacy actually closed for lunch?

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Why do people visit a beautiful place and then litter?

Why is there only one liquor store when there are so many local drunks, visitors, and drunken visitors?

Why are there so few doctors in an area where there are so many seniors?

How long will it take us to visit all 500 wineries in Oregon wine country?


Why won’t some dog owners pick up their dog’s poop unless someone’s watching?

How do all the t-shirt stores make money?

What does the Christmas store do the rest of the year?

Why does the landscape guy only show up after we’ve mowed the lawn?


And mostly… why does summer have to be so damn short?!