Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lincoln Goes All In

I see that others have already picked up on this, but I was reading a news item about the coming flood of investigations the new Republican-controlled House intends to unleash when I noticed something very interesting in the background of the photo of Rep. Darrell Issa of California.  It's a painting executed in a very niche style: Republican Art.  It depicts a bunch of Republican presidents playing poker and busting a gut at a joke presumably told by Abe Lincoln, who appears with his back to the viewer.  Here's a closer look at what may be the cheesiest sh*t I've seen this side of a Thomas Kinkade

While the obvious analogy is to "Dogs Playing Poker", I think this painting perhaps has more in common with the popular dorm room poster, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, as both works replace the nameless figures in a familiar artwork with representations of historical figures in order to make some comment on those figures.  In the case of the reworking of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, the viewer is supposed to gather than Elvis, Bogart, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe were, despite (or because of) their fame, just as lonely and isolated as Hopper's diner crowd.  In the painting I'll call Republican Presidents Playing Poker, the message appears to be that were these leaders of various eras to be gathered around a card table, they would surely find themselves to be kindred spirits, as unified in their Republicanism as the poker-playing dogs are by their dog-ness.  As for the joke Lincoln is telling in the painting, I'd be willing to bet Bush 41's pile of chips that it involves Nancy Pelosi. 

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