Art Attack – Under the Pillow
It was the end of the first Gulf War, the Persian War, the war that took a mere six weeks to accomplish its goal – a war that left thousands of Iraqis dead, wounded and homeless with the loss of 148 of our own.
A necessary war? All wars can be justified.
Desert Storm was this country’s first “victory” since the loss and embarrassment of Vietnam, and maybe, for that reason alone, Bush 1 staged an over-the-top victory parade through the streets of New York City. It was the largest tickertape parade in our country’s history, featuring 24,000 marchers, 12 million pounds of paper, at a cost of 4.7 million dollars, all privately donated.
I watched it on television – the pit in my stomach informing me something was not quite right. The scale of this post-war parade felt so disproportionate to its victory. What were we celebrating? Clearly the carnage was on the other side.
“Under the Pillow” was my response – my take or warning on where overt patriotism can lead – an art piece where I invited the audience to literally look under the pillow.
Last week some well meaning people informed our community they were collecting money to permanently line Main. St. with American flags from the top of Planer Hill to the train station. This “Flag Initiative,” sponsored by our local American Legion and Chamber president and Jamboree front-man Mike Bishop, eventually envisions an American flag on every utility pole in Eureka Springs.
This “we received permission” and apparent done deal (provided the privately donated cash is raised) has upset a lot of people who don’t wish to see their town permanently draped in the American flag. For many, this is patriotic overkill, out of scale and unsuitable for our quaint little village.
Disagree, and you are pegged as anti-American, anti-veteran and worse – as someone who does not support our troops – silencing many (including some local politicians) who are afraid to speak out against this ill-conceived project.
I admire and respect the people behind the Veterans’ Day events and recognize the passion and hard work it takes. It is a totally appropriate way of paying tribute to our men and women in uniform. Ubiquitous flags adding more clutter to the beauty of Eureka Springs – is not.
Whenever nationalism goes over-the-top, it begs the question, what lies under the pillow?