29 January 2009

The Treachery Of Images, 2009 PDX Version

1933.The world famous Magritte painting, The Treachery of Images, painted by the Surrealist master in 1929, made a statement about mapping meanings to objects. It, in case you haven't seen it (you actually have, if you don't think you have, you're just about to realize it), it depicts an unremarkable pipe (the kind you smoke tobacco in) with the legend in cursive beneath "Cece n'est pas une pipe" – this is not a pipe.

It teaches a lesson on meaning. As Magritte himself is said to have said:
The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe,’ I’d have been lying!
In the spirit I interpret coming from the great Surrealist (who also happens to be my favorite 20th Century artist) I provide what to me is a sign of the times:

Given the disucssion above, you can see this works no matter what POV you have. If you think Sam should resign, then the image explains itself. If you enjoy the play of semiotics, then you know that this is not a Mayor ... it's just an image of one, it can't vote or attend City Council meetings or fib about dating an 18-year-old when he should have known better, and it can never redeem itself or earn forgiveness, and you can make that observation whether or not you care about whether or not he resigns or continues.

And if you really like meta, the message can be that the news coverage about the situation may not be the true story of the situation at all (I wonder if we'll ever know).

So, as the master might have said about this, "The famous Mayor ... how people have reproached me for it! But can you elect it to office? No, it is just a representation, is it not? If I had written on my picture 'This is a mayor,' I'd have been lying!"

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