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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

He'd piss in their fireplace!

Google has a Van Gogh theme on its logo today, in honor of the great artist's 152nd birthday. Like millions of adoring fans, I love his work -- I awake to see a print of his glorious painting "The Starry Night" on my bedroom wall most mornings -- but this cautionary tale, penned by another great artist, helps me keep things in perspective:

You wanna make Van Goghs
Raise 'em up like sheep
Make 'em out of Eskimos
And women if you please
Make 'em nice and normal
Make 'em nice and neat
You see him with his shotgun there?
Bloodied in the wheat?
Oh what do you know about
Living in Turbulent Indigo?

Brash fields, crude crows
In a scary sky ...
In a golden frame
Roped off
Tourists guided by ...
Tourists talking about the madhouse
Talking about the ear
The madman hangs in fancy homes
They wouldn't let him near!
He'd piss in their fireplace!
He'd drag them through Turbulent Indigo

"I'm a burning hearth," he said
"People see the smoke
But no one comes to warm themselves
Sloughing off a coat
And all my little landscapes
All my yellow afternoons
Stack up around this vacancy
Like dirty cups and spoons
No mercy Sweet Jesus!
No mercy from Turbulent Indigo."

Happy birthday, then. "But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."

Comments (4)

Kinda looks like a picture of Joni Mitchell to me...

When this album came out I remember thinking what ego! To compare oneself with Van Gogh. Especially if you are Joni Mitchell, rich and successful since your early 20's- what could she possibly have in common with Van Gogh and what audacity to compare her "suffering" with his. Apples and oranges, Joni! I didn't buy this album and this marked the place where I stopped following her career and buying her records. Maybe it has something to do with my training as an art historian, but I found this cover offensive.

I didn't have that reaction at all. I thought the painting was meant mostly in jest, and the song is about the hypocrisy of the popular market, about which I agree.

Don't build a religion around Vincent.

Gee, now I know why I have the same name, also I wake up to same print as you in my bedroom! Now I think I know, what you tried to say to me.....

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