Mendacity

Mendacity

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZP8kxQNhlCwuWweXamlJTR71qXvTJ2mJxEpNfUlx_dk/edit

men·dac·i·ty
noun \men-ˈda-sə-tē\
: lack of honesty : the condition of being mendacious
plural men·dac·i·ties

Synonyms
fable, fabrication, fairy tale, falsehood, falsity, fib, lie, prevarication, story, tale, taradiddle (or tarradiddle), untruth, whopper

Hi folks.
I have been working on this latest project for about six months now, and finally brought it to a close. I wanted to do something in the traditionalist form.What better way for an artist to channel the masters than to do a “Jesus on the cross” painting.
Lots of research went into this one.
I call it “Mendacity”. There may be one or two of you who are interested in the symbolism in the various components of this composition. I will address these in the order of the composition as I see it unfolding, from the back to the fore, winding it’s way from the old cars, from right to left, coming forward to creepy priest, back to the right zigzagging to Cinderella,
then left to the flute and flowers, to Pinnochio, back to the right, past the Native American spear, then upward to the focal point of the failed messiah. Stay with me here… (photos in text are low quality. A large file of the painting is attached to the email. Details can be zoomed in on).

Cadillac Ranch:

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It consists of what were either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line from 1949 to 1963,half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza n Egypt.
I included this in Mendacity as representative of the lie of materialistic consumption as salvation that the capitalistic system sells us. Just look at all the smiling faces of all the happy people who just bought this product, the commercial tells us. Go buy this now, and you will be just like them, that empty hole in your lives now filled with the redemption that THINGS give
you. Only, it does not work. Rust never sleeps.

Creepy Priest:

Say hello to Roger Mahony, an American Cardinal who served as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011. When several reports of creepo priests molesting kids crossed his desk, over and over again he just shuffled them off to another parish covering up their crimes. Nothing particular about this guy that separates him from any number of priests
across this country, even around the world, in fact. All the way to the top. Protect the machine; the catholic church, indeed, all of religion, is big business.
But, the reason I included this is as a symbol of blind allegiance to authority. Be it the real tragedy of the victims (children) of this strict blind allegiance, the hierarchy unto itself, or the flock to the church itself, or of followers of a political party to a leader, or cult members to a charismatic figurehead: give yourself over to complete authority, and you will be buggered.
I like the Day of the Dead half skeleton face paint as a symbol of duplicity. I went purple on the cape, and added the twelve jewels in the hat to really top off the foo-foo of their ghastly outfits, (come on out of the closet already!). The twelve jewels represent the tribes of Israel, of course. This dress-up play is a total ripoff of the ceremonial garb of the Jewish High Priest rituals. Of course, so much of the Christian religion is a rip-off from something else anyway. We don’t have time…

Cinderella:

The Cinderella myth has done more damage to the evolution of women’s empowerment than can be calculated. This is hardly surprising given the subservient position they occupy in the Judeo-Christian ethos. Be dependent on the man, she is told. Your prince will come riding on his white horse, will whisk you away to the palace, you will dance at the royal ball and live happily ever after. Here our Cinderella, (in the place of Mary Mags, JC’s main squeeze
who the Christians are in denial of. C’mon, really? This traveling charismatic magician did not have women throwing themselves at him? And he did not take advantage of that? Really?) has realized the fallacy of the myth, realizing that men are self-centered cads. The ball is over, the champagne is gone, the flute flung. Time to stand on your own two feet.
It goes further than that, though. If anyone is so insecure that they find the need to be continually put on a pedestal, worshipped and adored in order to justify themselves…well, um, that job is already taken. It is called“God”(Christian version).
(shout out to my beautiful wife for modeling for this!)

Roses:

A lot of symbolism here:
-Medieval Christians identified the five petals of the
rose with the five wounds of Christ. Roses also later came to be associated with
the Virgin Mary. The red rose was eventually adopted as a symbol of the blood
of the Christian martyrs.
-In 1986 it was named the floral emblem of the United States.
-A red rose (often held in a hand) is a symbol of Socialism or social
democracy: it is used as a symbol by British, Irish, French, Spanish
Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Brazilian, Dutch,
Bulgarian, Korean, and other European labour, socialist or social democratic
parties, mostly adopted in the period after World War II.
-The rose is used as a symbol of love and compassion in many countries (e.g.
USA, England, Spain, France, Italy). The meaning ascribed to the rose depends
on context; general examples include the romantic love of roses given on
Valentine’s Day, as part of courtship or for an anniversary; filial love in the case
of mother’s day; compassion in the case of a funeral.
None of those is what I am getting at here, however. I juxtaposed two roses
across each other, echoing the cross. But, one is vibrant, colorful, and alive,
while the other is withered and dead. This speaks to the fallacy of ever lasting
life. We live, we die. It is a cycle. After death, we do not know what happens.
NOBODY knows. This is just too much for most people to come to terms with,
however. So we make up some sort of story about immortality. But, in the end,
all we really have is what we can observe and measure scientifically. We know
there is life, and at some point it ceases. Anything past that is pure feel good speculation.

Pinnochio:

Pinocchio was originally written by Carlo Lorenzini (known by his pen name, Carlo Collodi) between 1881 and 1883 in Italy. Lorenzini began his writing career in newspapers (Il Lampione and Il Fanfulla ), where he often used satire to express his political views. In 1875, he entered the world of children’s literature and used this outlet to transmit his political convictions. Lorenzini’s work was not solely political. His writings, especially Le Avventure di Pinocchio contained a great deal of metaphysical aspects that are often overlooked by modern readers.
Lorenzini wrote Pinocchio following the long tradition of mystic texts: a simple narrative story that can be enjoyed by the masses with a hidden meaning reserved to those “in the know.” There are many differences between Collodi’s book and the Disney movie. The storyline has been simplified and Pinocchio became an innocent, happy-go-lucky character rather than the stubborn and ungrateful misfit from the original book. All of the fundamental elements are still however present in the movie adaption and the underlying message remains untouched. Pinocchio’s story, instead of being a series of random adventures, becomes a deeply symbolic spiritual allegory. Details in the movie that are seemingly meaningless suddenly reveal an esoteric truth or at least a brutally honest social commentary. Inspired by metaphysical classics such as The Metamorphoses and Jonah and the Whale, the story’s author, Carlo Collodi, wrote a modern day tale rife with symbolism.
The part I am focusing on is the puppet boy’s experience on Pleasure Island. Pleasure Island is a metaphor for the “profane life” characterized by ignorance, the search for instant gratification and the satisfaction of the one’s lowest impulses. The Coachman encourages this behavior knowing it is a perfect method to create slaves. The boys who indulge enough into this dumbed-down lifestyle turn into donkeys and are then exploited by The Coachman to work in a mine. Another rather grim depiction, this time of the ignorant masses.
Almost a hundred and fifty years after the writing of this story we see that Collodi drew a perfect picture of modern day America. Just substitute the “1%-ers” for the Coachman. The rest of us, for the most part, are politically apathetic, spiritually appeased, (we have a great story and a get-out-of-jail-free card) fat, dumb, and happy, wondering who will be voted off the Island in next week’s episode. Wrapped in the flag and washed in the blood, oblivious to the never-ending wars in the name of the corporate good.

Native American Spear:

William Newton, a Penobscot Indian and former chair of the anthropology department of the University of Connecticut, claims that the first Thanksgiving was not “a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims, but rather a celebration of the massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children.” In 1637, the Pequot tribe of Connecticut gathered for the annual Green Corn Dance ceremony. Mercenaries of the English and Dutch attacked and surrounded the village; burning down everything and shooting whomever try to escape. The next day, Newell notes, the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.” It was signed into law that, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.” Most Americans believe Thanksgiving was this wonderful dinner and harvest celebration. The truth is the “Thanksgiving dinner” was invented both to instill a false pride in Americans and to cover up the massacre.
And so it began. Time after time our forefathers lied, cheated, and committed genocide in order to lay claim to the vast resources of this great country. Not that the natives here were all allied, living in harmony in some garden of Eden existence. The fought and murdered each other for territory and resources themselves. All human existence is one of the baddest mo-fo lopping off the most heads and holding as much territory as possible. Could we just not lie about it? Go ahead and be thankful for everything we have this Thanksgiving. Just take a moment to reflect on the lies, deceit, broken promises and genocide it took to get it.

Jhaaay-sus-ah:

Ok, so you are asking, “What’s with the wooden arm?”, right? It is the message of Jesus being co-opted by the Pauline Doctrine. What?
Jesus was a Jew. Thus the Yarmulke and the Hassidic curls, dark skin and hair, in case there is any question (sorry, the brown/blonde haired blue-eyed guy in the children’s bible story illustrations just is not accurate). As a young Jewish, illiterate peasant living in an occupied territory he wanted pretty much what the rest of the Hebrews wanted- to be free of the occupiers and be left alone in their “promised” land, (promised by God, of course, who did not have a very good track record of keeping them in the land he promised for his chosen people. Go figure). So here is this guy preaching to overthrow the status quo. Oust the Romans and get back to their Hebraic roots, which included democratizing and pedestrianizing the message, which did not bode well for those in collusion with the occupiers, (The Pharisees and the Sadducees. These people were making big bank, and sedition was bad for business). So, this zealot (shall we say, jihadist?) gets busted. And he gets what all the rest of the thousands of people got for sedition (treason)-a death sentence and hung on a cross, (the ONLY reason the Romans hung people on crosses was if they threatened the state). Hung outside the city entrance, usually dead by the time they were hung there, then left to decompose and get eaten by the dogs, rats, and carrion as a warning to anyone else who might be thinking about upsetting the occupation/big business apple cart.
But, there was a catch to this one. He had a following, (he did not charge for his magic tricks like all the other “healers” and “miracle workers”-and there was no shortage of those either. He was a charismatic orator. Oh, yeah, and that temple incident-pretty ballsy). So his bro and the followers carried on his Jewish “back to basics” message. This Saul guy wanted in on the action, had a vision on the way to Damascus, and changed his name to Paul. The other guys would not cut him in on the action. He had to get his own following, so he changed some rules (you can eat bacon, and you don’t have to mutilate the tip of your penis, etc.). And he started writing (the rest of the bunch was as illiterate as the failed Messiah-failed because the Hebrews believed that the Messiah-or anointed one- would be a leader here on Earth- to lead the jewish people to independence on land they could call theirs. He did not quite get the job done…). They stayed behind, sitting on their laurels expecting JC to come back. Meanwhile Paul got the PR machine going big time, making it up as he went along. Thus, bending, shaping, and morphing the message, attracting a non-Jewish following. Just like you could bend and shape an artist’s model. Forty years after the fact he got some help writing down this game of “telephone”, from a fella named Mark (not his name, but the one he put on his book). Add Mathew and Luke some 20-40 years after that, and John and 20-30 after that, and you have the groundwork for the greatest mendacity ever foisted upon mankind: Christianity. Crazy, right? And it still shapes our culture, our politics, and even our foreign policy today. Here’s the kicker- Jesus may not have even existed! There is absolutely NO record of this illiterate peasant preacher/seditionist, even though the Romans were very good at record keeping. It could all be made up!

Conclusion: I am glad to be an American. Politically, culturally, spiritually, I never cease to be amazed. You cannot write this stuff. Truth really IS stranger than fiction. I am thoroughly entertained. Every. Single. Day.

Speaking of entertainment this thing is chocked full of goodies. Being a big fan of the surrealists like Dali, August Mossa, Escher, Magritte, and Nall Hollis, to name a few, I put a few “Where’s Waldo” touches in this one. Some hidden gems, some not so hidden. Have fun, and enjoy.
PG