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A Modest Proposal to Make Proper Use of the Demise of the Celebrated Blackguard Osama Bin Laden to Assist in the Resurrection of the Noble Craft of Artistry

Once again, it is through the eyes of artists, who can see things as they should have looked, rather than as they merely were, that history can be recorded.

by
Jonathan Swift

Bio

May 25, 2011 - 12:00 am
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No for Alexander, we should have a person of rank. Unfortunately, this cannot be the Prince himself, nor the craven rotundity who serves as his war minister, for both of these were caught by a photographer with several other leaders of the court sitting about amusing themselves by watching a sporting event upon the palace television screen at the very moment of the climax of the battle. And even were this not the case, neither of these dainty gentlemen would be well cast for the role in question.

Fortunately, however, the one among the palace retinue most known for warlike ardor was not to be seen in that now famous image of dissipation. I refer, of course, to my own countrywoman, Samantha Power, to whose courageous action in snatching away the Prince’s hashish cigarette long enough to delay the stupor through which he customarily contrives to endure war council meetings, the citizens of Benghazi now owe their lives. About this, much more could be said, and no doubt will be in time. For our purposes, however, it suffices to note that, whatever her other qualities may be, it can readily be seen that, among all the Prince’s generals, this brave spitfire manifestly possesses the highest degree of those attributes most necessary for great art.

Samantha Power

How then, might a true artist depict the death of Bin Laden at the hands of Samantha Power? One suitable model could be that of the scene of the demise of the brigand Jean-Paul Marat at the hand of that grand heroine, Charlotte Corday.

Death of Marat, as rendered by Jacques-Louis David

The merit of such an approach speaks for itself. Yet there are some defects, as while Marat and Bin Laden were both terroristic enemies of civilization, the politics of Ms. Power and Mademoiselle Corday are not fully congruent. Furthermore, Marat was slain in his bathing tub, an unlikely, if not impossible place to find Bin Laden. Finally, it must be said that were Ms. Power to be inserted in the above painting, it would fail to do justice to her most creditable and important feature, to wit her magnificent head of fiery red hair.

In this critical respect, the superb Italian master Sandro Botticelli does a much better job in his famous rendering of Judith with the head of the villain Holofernes.

Judith with the Head of Holoferenes, as rendered by Sandro Botticelli

Except for the lack of sufficient force of grotesquerie in the detached head, this might well serve. This defect, however, is remedied in the work on the same theme by our own Cranach.

Judith with the Head of Holofernes, as rendered by Lucas the Younger Cranach

Of course, artistic renditions of grand events, while most conveniently done in paint, need not be limited to that medium. Thus, an excellent statue commemorating the death of Bin Laden could be done after the same model as that employed by the preceding canvases, as shown by the immortal Donatello.

Judith with the Head of Holofernes, as rendered by Donatello

There will, however, be those who object to the depiction of Ms. Power in the guise of a heroine of the Israelites, in as much as she has indicated on a few rare occasions that she would prefer to see this nation removed from the surface of the Earth. To those who would make such complaint, I can only cry: have you no pity? Is it not clear that within the circle within which Ms. Power finds herself, that such views are de rigueur?

Consider but for a moment, that even whilst the King of Assyria was shocking the world though horrid massacres of those subject to him, the Prince himself chose the moment to set forth a plan to reward said tyrant through the return of the heights of the Golan, from whence his cannons might also rain doom down upon the Hebrews — the excuse being that said hills were owned by his father some forty-four years past.

Cast among such confederates, how could the fair Ms. Power embrace any other opinion and still hope to advance her career, so necessary to properly provide for her poor little boy, who without her support, would need to subsist upon the pitiful pittance provided by his father, a man who, without his palace post, would be a mere professor of law at Harvard?

But there will be those who fail to understand, and moreover, in their crude desire for literal realism, would insist upon placing not the beauteous Ms. Power, but the far less comely American navy men, at the scene of the event. In this extremity, a useful model might perhaps still be found in the statue below, albeit with the replacement of the flagstaff by a pike. This done, the imagination of the artist could be usefully employed in determining the instrument’s final address, and rendering the details of its insertion in a suitably sensuous fashion.

Model for statue of Death of Bin Laden (to be positioned at pike’s end)

Were this carried out with proper attention to style, it might well provide a work worthy of remembrance, certain to be enjoyed for centuries to come by all the poor yokels and innocent children who come with eyes agog to see the grand monuments through which art, and only art, adorns, ennobles, and immortalizes the capital of a great nation.

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Jonathan Swift is the pen name of a scientist who contributes to PJ Media.
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