Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Poor wittle wabbit!

I've probably shared this story on the blog before. As evidenced by the painting above, my mother-in-law is a wonderful watercolor painter.

Violent, too.

True, you sometimes have to look for the violence, but it's there. Well, it's not always there. But sometimes it is. Okay, it's there only in one particular painting. This one. When my m-i-l (shorthand courtesy of Justcurious) first displayed this painting years and years ago, I was thunderstruck that she would paint something so violent--here a wounded bloody bunny hiding in the bushes, waiting out its last few minutes alive on this planet with a quiet dignity. Normally she paints landscapes and western wooden fences and flowers and waterfalls. She brings an original eye and hand to these themes, and most people find her paintings artistically skillful and morally very uplifting. As she says, the world is plenty busy with ugliness; she wants to contribute beauty.

And that's admirable even if it's not exactly my own personal credo. My credo is more like this: Make your viewer cry--if from beauty, fine, but if not from beauty than from whatever is at hand. Which often means eyeballs, hands, and bees.

Okay, that's ridiculous. That's not my credo. Please.

(It is.)

I didn't see my interpretation of the bloody rabbit painting as much as an interpretation per se as a statement of the obvious--the painting clearly depicts a bloody dying rabbit dying with dignity. As a result, I didn't hesitate to share my take of the painting with my mother-in-law. After all, she's the one who chose to bring such carnage into the world.

Me: "Mom, all I can say is....wow. I confess to being astonished with your artistic departure here. It's a real stretch, and I'm just blown away that you'd depict suffering so purely, so unapologetically, and without blinking. I am MOST impressed. Bravo."

Her: "Blood? What blood? Where? No no. That's not blood! That's just the red clay dirt in the snow. The rabbit is in the woods resting, looking out, ready to explore the world. This is a painting about adventure!"

Me: "But the bloody rabbit is surely dying, right?"

Her: "That's not blood! It's a perfectly healthy and happy little rabbit. I'm the artist, right?"

Me: "But the artist doesn't have the final say on its meaning once it's in the public domain. The painting must speak for itself, finally. The rabbit is dying. Let it be a poor dying rabbit. Please. For me?"

Her: "You silly guy."

Me: "Anyway, I'd like to own it this painting, if that's okay with you. I want this ...um, health and happiness in our home. Yes, that's what I want."

Her: "Sure, it's yours."

And so we do own it.

When the family visited the Cleveland Museum of Art last summer, I saw this painting (below) and took a photo of it to show to my mother-in-law.

I don't know its real name. I call it "The healthy and happy bunny taking a little snooze and getting ready for its next adventure!"

I'm such a good son-in-law.

I take the silence on the poll to be utter condemnation of my horrible cruelty. My low low no-good meanness. My petty twisted stunted stinkfoot stump of a soul.

I am so ashamed. So very ashamed. You remember Elmer Fudd at the end of "What's Opera, Doc?" after he has slain happy ol' clever lovable Bugs Bunny?

"What have I done….??

I’ve killed the Wabbit.

Poor wittle bunny…

Poor wittle wabbit!!!"

(Here he collapses and bursts into uncontrollable tears of remorse and regret.)

That's me.

Oh Andy, what have I done. Forgive me???

The most underused button of my inner mental keyboard?


The most overused button of my inner mental keyboard?




Steven Taylor said...

You mentioned feet again.

justcurious said...

That's what I was thinking, ST.

shinigami-sidhe said...

I have told Timekeeper I will no longer complain that Andy gets polls when I don't.

shinigami-sidhe said...

But in the interests of free flow of information, and also spite, I want to make sure everyone who doesn't already know this trick is aware that you can vote as many times as you want on these polls as long as you clear your cookies in between.

Andy D. said...

Obviously your best and most truthful post ever!

No harm done. Of course as to your concern about your actions, hey if the shoe fits...

.... worship it! Apparently!


Mike Bailey said...

ST: Pretty good one, ST.

Pretty Good.




Pretty good.

Steven Taylor said...

A masterful (if perhaps obscure to some) response.

And, I would note that you got Andy D. to mention shoes.

Andy D. said...

Tear, down, the Poll!!
Tear, down, the Poll!!
Tear, down, the Poll!!

Alternate version:

Tear, down, the Poll (, Stinkfoot!!)!!
Tear, down, the Poll (, Stinkfoot!!)!!
Tear, down, the Poll (, Stinkfoot!!)!!

Mike Bailey said...

Your every wish...

Consider it done.

Yours, Stink****

(I don't dare **** or otherwise ST will comment on it.)

Steven Taylor said...

Turning feet into a censored swear-word, that's me!

shinigami-sidhe said...

Didn't you at one point claim that your blog had integrity, and followed some rules, including, but not limited to, a rule that every post had to have a photo?

Just askin'

Andy D. said...

You a sick man. Sick, and dee-sturbed with a capital DEE.

On so many levels...

I will say, I too saw some violence in this, actually. Interestingly I did not project it onto the bunny in the busy. I imagined that he had just seen his parent/sibling killed in front of him, was hiding and catching his breath, and would leave to plan a life of plotting revenge on the mangy fox who did it to them...

Your version? Wimpy. Pure-D, wimp-o-rama. "Oh, the bunny was hurt a little therefore must creep into the bush to await the next grisly act before his certain death."

My version? Rambo, baby.

Kill da wabbit, my hiney -- da wabbit kill YOU! When you least expect it, too.


Mike Bailey said...

You put our comments side by side. Mine, a poor little rabbit hurt and dying with dignity. As sometimes happens in nature. Yours, a scarred psychotic rabbit "hopped" up on performance-enhancing rambo drugs, ready to start a kiling streak that will surely NOT end with the death of his original enemies.

Yep, I be twisted all right. Shoot.

Andy D. said...

The title of my movie: "Rabbit Stew 2: Take No Prisoners and Show No Mercy"

The title of your movie: "Throw Me In The Briar Patch, Not So I Can Escape, But So I Can Meet a More Certain and Ghastly Demise"

My book: "The Velvetine Mercenary"

Your book: "The Wind in the Willows As I Lay Dying"

Mike Bailey said...

I read these titles and think, "ooh, mine are so much more interesting. I'd love to read 'em!"

So I'm thinking you're right.

Andy D. said...

You've got the bloody baby rabbit death painting hanging in your kids' room, don't you. And tell them the story of misplaced trust and the certainty of death alone in the forest, every night don't you.

At what age do the bedtime stories turn to our involvement in Vietnam?...

justcurious said...

Really? I always thought it was blood.

Mike Bailey said...

JC: Word.

Mike Bailey said...

AD: "our" or "your"?

justcurious said...

Have your m & f-i-l accepted you yet?

Mike Bailey said...

JC: I couldn't feel more accepted. Truly. They do the best they can fo sho. But it's a tall order that task. And ongoing.

shinigami-sidhe said...

I agree with AD that that bunny is not the one dying, it's just witnessing the death of a parent or something, but I really don't see a Rambo bunny out of this. I see a bunny that will never get over the trauma of witnessing bloody violent death and in later years will be maladjusted, unable to form meaningful relationships with other bunnies, and die alone as a result of substance abuse.

Mike Bailey said...

S-S: I am at a loss of words what to say. Certainly what I won't say is how each of our respective interpretations reveal.....um, never mind.

timekeeper said...

Once again....another childhood heirloom made fun of and abused on your blog. Thank you for that!

Mike Bailey said...

Timekeeper--how wrong you are. there's no making fun of the rabbit painting. I love that bloody thing.




Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that thinks the bunny has either:

A) Just finished destroying a larger, stronger opponent whose arrogance and underestimation of the bunny left the door open for their death?


B)Observing from the bushes as part of his job in which he utilizes his God-given speed and agility to run furry-woodland-creature-fight-club standings and outcomes to the burrow bookie who is otherwise engaged at another illegal fauna sporting event being held at another location?