Those of you who read The Art Part may have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately. The reason is earthy: twelve days ago my body reacted to an injection of X-Ray contrast medium by selectively shutting down and leaving me prostrate in body and mind. I’m recovering now and I hope I’ll be back soon, camera-equipped.
But here’s something that interested me a few days into recovery. The first copy of my local newspaper that I was able to read all the way through left me moved to the point of shakenness. Said a letter to the editor: a Florida politician has been using McDonald’s vouchers and folders full of official-looking promises of government aid to lure Latin American immigrants lawfully in Texas onto buses, then transport them to liberal Massachusetts and drop them there, thousands of miles from their scheduled immigration appointments. Once they’re off the bus, the immigrants discover that their official-looking documents are fictions and they are now stranded incommunicado.
Writing about that, the widow of a friend of mine used the word cruel. I agreed, and in the days pre-X-Ray I had been following the story in the news. But post-X-Ray I was overwhelmed. Oh yes it IS cruel! Now I know! It makes me so sad! Mommy, help me!
I felt to that degree a few days ago, but not so much now. This probably signifies recovery. But in consequence of convalescence I think I’m learning why people buy fictional “supplements” to the socially determined aspects of their bodies’ chemistry. Their conditions of mind are equally deficient, equally unsupplementable, and incurable.
The utterer of the confident grace quoted in this image is Macbeth (act 3, scene 4), fresh from the murder of Banquo. Macbeth will grow troubled after he sees Banquo’s ghost, but the words of his grace still fill the atmosphere inside the Black Diamond with assurance. They teach that all there is within that enclosed system has a meaning expressible by an imagery of the hungering body, including the image of the chef with a czar’s bearded face who rushes through northern Pennsylvania in a carload of the killed meats on which he has worked his art. Further down the line during this era of taking in, other diners are hungrily filling the great teaching museums of New York and Chicago with images transported from settings in which they were formerly alive. Rushing across land and sea, they are on the way from landscape to couvert.
New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47db-5505-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99. Color and detail restored. This menu is hand-dated on page 3, “October 2nd., 1900.”