A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jeff’s Garage Sale

Call them whatever you want – garage sale, yard sale, junk sale, whatever – it’s one of those events in which somebody wants to get rid of unwanted stuff, but feels it’s too good to throw in the trash can. These sales usually happen during the warmer seasons of spring and summer, but some can happen whenever the need for money arises. One recent sale has the Philadelphia arts community up in arms.

The seller, we’ll call him Jeff, needs some money. He doesn’t need it for the usual reasons people have these sales. He’s not looking to buy a car, or furnish his house, or finance a vacation. No, Jeff is more ambitious than that. He wants to add two floors to his hospital. That’s two floors, two ceilings, four walls, doors and windows, furnishings optional.

The object of the sale is the Thomas Eakins painting “The Gross Clinic”. It’s a very familiar work for those people who know about Eakins. It wasn’t well received when it was first unveiled in 1875, but down through the years it has grown in stature so that it is now considered Eakins masterpiece. The board of trustees for the Jefferson University Hospital (Jeff’s full name), have decided that they are not in the art business, and have found buyers in the National Gallery and something called The Walton Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

No, not the poor Waltons that lived off their Virginia farm, and were polite enough to say good night to each other with every sunset. The Waltons in question are the multi-billionaire retailers bent on world domination (italics mine). Yes, those Waltons.

Many people don’t have a problem with Jeff’s motives or their right to sell the painting. They do feel slighted because the local art community wasn’t given a shot at bidding on the Eakins work before the deal was finalized with the buyers. Fortunately, the art community has been given forty-five days to raise money for a counter-offer. I hope they’re successful, but when I heard the news I could only think, “Thank God Jeff doesn’t own the Liberty Bell.”

I can just see that ad in the papers now:

For Sale: world famous antique metal icon of freedom. Slightly defective. Serious inquiries only. Will accept best offer.

Yes, I’m grateful that the federal government owns the Liberty Bell. The US government doesn’t need the money as badly as Jeff. This is true despite the fact that it’s been acting like a giddy teenager armed with Daddy’s credit card with an no spending limit for the past six years and running up record budget deficits...



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