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« If you want to see Ramadi | Main | With nothing to go on, the Iraq war polls say nothing »

December 13, 2006



Wal-Mart Heir's Bid for Art Riles Philadelphians

A Fight to Keep an Eakins Is Waged on Two Fronts: Money and Civic Pride

Frank Warner

That second article, in The New York Times, seems heavily biased toward selling the painting.

The only important facts there are (1) the Jefferson alumni gave the painting to the university in 1878, and (2) the university considered it so important they created a whole gallery for it.

The article totally ignores the sense of betrayal to the alumni.

It focuses on Mayor John Street trying to keep Philadelphia art in Philadelphia, and plays on the indignation of a few alumni who don't like the mayor telling the university what to do.

Instead, the Times should have asked why the board of trustees arranged this sale now. Why too lazy to do real fundraising? Why in such a secretive way?

They did it in secret because they were ashamed.

jj mollo

There are many correct actions that are unpopular. For instance, President Bush persists in his approach to the Middle East and Iraq because he knows it is right, even though everyone else in government has already caved to the multi-culturalist, trans-national progressive, sovereignty-relinquishinq, appeasement proponents.


There is today a symbolic artifact epidemic. In my neighborhood, the local concerned citizen committee spent $300,000 to acquire a beat-up wooden whorehouse that served beer to George Washington in 1777. It collapsed completely in the next windstorm and they were left with a pile of rubble. There are many much more worthy sites which cannot be maintained for lack of funds. Such acquistions should be evaluated realistically and carefully from a cost-benefit, risk and liability point-of-view. Does the sentimental value justify tying up that kind of money? Society's resources are not unlimited.

jj mollo

The big problem here is the pervasive suspicion of officials of any stripe. This suspicion is certainly well justified in some cases, but it stems from the fact that there are not enough trustworthy public personalities that are willing and capable of getting involved. It's part of the bowling-alone phenomenon. We need to find ways to recruit and promote people from the general population to monitor and support this sort of responsibility. Leaders need to be grown in the grassroots and propelled into action. If everybody felt connected to the decision-making process, maybe we could allow necessary but unpopular decisions to take place, and thus avoid a tremendous amount of turmoil and angst.

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