By this time, of course, you will have heard all about yesterday’s kerfuffle in which our Orange Headed Duce told the Guggenheim to hustle over to his bedroom a precious van Gogh paining, Landscape with Snow. But, then, the folks at the Gugg responded something along the lines of “No, way, José,” and offered instead a golden toilet from a previous art installation.
It was the kind of story that get lots of chuckles from readers, and much ink from the nation’s (anti-Trump) columnists. But, I don’t suppose that anyone is taking it too seriously. After all, it is a case of a few artsy types telling a member of our economic elite to go (expletive deleted) himself. Happens all the time. So what’s the big deal?
I am going to argue that most people, and almost all columnists, aren’t really getting the picture. This incident, I’m going to say, is way more important than it seems.
Specifically, this event is unprecedented. It is not unusual for the White House to request that great works be loaned to the government for display during the term of office of any particularly president.
But, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a case in which the museum that owns the art has rejected the request with an insult…and, let’s face it, this was a pretty brutal insult. With its reply—the offer of a Golden Toilet—the Guggenheim has openly said that Trump is not only a tasteless vulgarian, but perhaps a piece of excrement in his own right.
I would submit to you that the Guggenheim’s action is a declaration of war…or rather, a recognition of the war that’s been going on for some time…inside our own Elites. The people, and classes of people who make Guggenheim possible (many of whom are very powerful and very rich) have said that they do not accept Trump, will not accept him in future, and will always regard him as an interloper, a fraud, and even a tyrant.
Which, for Trump, our illicit president, could be a mortal danger.
And for the rest of us…?