Visitors to my website probably remember the elongated paintings that grace the left margins of most pages. The subjects of the paintings—in keeping with one of the themes of the website—are various American heroes, villains and fools. I intentionally chose well-known personages who force people to take sides since one person’s hero is often another’s villain . . . or fool. I’ve explained all this in a prior post which I’ve reprinted below.* In my memoir, Cleft Heart, I identify among other things, the heroes, villains, and fools (usually, me) I encountered coming of age.
Heroes hanging out.
People who are interested in all—or just one of these “Standup People” as I call them for obvious reasons—and who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, have an opportunity this month to look at five of the paintings hanging in an exhibit at Orinda Books in the East Bay. If you’re interested, check out the details here as well as the directions and map.
Heroes in show runs from February 1, 2015 to March 1, 2015.
What: Paintings from the “Heroes, Villains, and Fools”series.
Where: Orinda Books
276 Village Square, Orinda CA. 94563
Ample free parking just outside the store
How to get there:
A few paintings from Schonborn’s “Heroes, villains, fools” series.
Part of the rationale for my website is that many people in western societies are obsessed with celebrities who often act out the hero, villain or fool roles in their work–be it in entertainment, athletics, government, etc.–or in their real life. Since there seems to be a palpable yearning afoot to find icons representing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Fools of our time, it’s worth examining why. We’ll try to figure out why—with your input and assistance—as time goes on. This website can also help all of us sort out our own attitudes towards iconic figures. It could be part of a values clarification process. Sometimes a certain icon is clearly heroic, villainous, or foolish to us, but others may vehemently disagree. One person’s hero is often another’s villain or fool.
- Do you see Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian as a heroine, villain or fool?
Age, gender and social class probably drive the answers to this question. Many oldsters likely don’t have a clue about these two…and probably don’t know who Snooki is, either. There are benefits to being older.
- Do you consider President Obama to be a hero, villain or fool? What about the leader of the National Rifle Association?
The answer probably depends on your party preference. We know from recent elections that Americans, at least, are pretty much polarized in how they regard political figures from different parties. However. in those cases where age, class, and party affiliation aren’t in play, this website can help us discover why we still don’t all agree on our heroes, villains and fools.
- How often is there a consensus on who’s a hero, villain or fool?
The amount of consensus or agreement may have to do with, among other things, whether we’re talking about athletes, politicians, or Tinseltown celebrities.
- Do decisions about our heroes, villains and fools depend on the times we live in or on a need we may have as a collectivity (e.g., for a Father Figure like Reagan, for a Fuhrer leader like Hitler)?
Some people say the death of a key icon often triggers a mad scramble in a society to find a replacement to assure ourselves that our collective “story” has all the necessary characters. Hence, the rush to find another sex symbol after Marilyn Monroe died and more recently, Anna Nicole Smith.
- Look at the paintings of icons in the slide show to the left. Which do you feel are heroes, villains, and fools? If you don’t know some of the icons, see PROMOTIONS for all the slide show identities and my opinion of where each of them fall.