In the aftermath of the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon, “why?” is the constant refrain from my mother-in-law smugly snug in her Fox network cocoon.
Why, as if we, the “blessed”, are somehow miraculously immune from the horrors the world bears witness to day in and day out.
I am just as smugly content in my own cocoon; the very day of the bombing I was reading that morning’s New York Times and blithely by-passed an article concerning a bombing in Somalia, 2o left dead. Yet this domestic act of terrorism does hit home and it does hold my (our) interest , self absorption one of our lesser sins. This self absorption was stunningly reported in today’s NYT, when interviewing a participant, the New Hampshire native reflected “It’s heartbreaking to not cross the finish line, you train so hard for this, …It’s sad, but I’m safe.” although I am happy she is indeed safe I would prefer for her to express gratitude, her concern about having not finished a race seems indelicate given the grief experienced by so many.
What has struck me as singularly painful is the amount of amputees these jerry-rigged pressure cookers created. Although not at all cavalier, three reported deaths seemed to me at the time to be less devastating- we after all, bore witness to 9/11.
But the subsequent images of amputees: the pain, the pale bloodless faces, the kindness of stalwart by-standers, these images touched me deeply. In pondering this current horror, I instictively turned to a master at depicting pain, Otto Dix.
Dix as many know, was a fervent chronicler of the unpleasant , the ugliness of man; he was also an expert at depicting the amputee, often as a criticism of war and its excesses. On an unconscious level I turned to Dix and of course found numerous images, disturbing, awful, yet human. I will not post them all, the link above provides a full catalog of his work, but this one, from 192o, The skat Players is a personal favorite.
The Skat Players
Oil and collage on canvas
The following link from MOMA gives an insightful analysis of the work, MOMA link .
This will pass, but in the mean time I hope to carefully and thoughtfully take every act of terror personally, or to at least read the full article. It is the least I can do.
Until next time, take care,