Friday, November 23, 2012

Frederick Varley, the (not) Great War, and the madness of Black Friday

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Frederick Varley was one of Canada's famed "Group of Seven" painters. Originally from England, he served in World War I and became an "official war artist," producing some astounding depictions of the horror of that senseless conflagration.

Here, for example, are For What? and German Prisoners. Recently reading a book about the Group of Seven, I meant to post them on Remembrance Day, but for some reason -- and I realize I'm engaging in some questionable analogizing here -- they seem appropriate on this Black Friday.

First because what they depict is similar, I think, to the state of our culture/civilization as reflected in the madness that is Black Friday.

And second because we'd be much better people, and have a much healthier society, if we spent a bit more time thinking about the horrors of the "Great War," among other such things, and a bit less time waiting in line at Best Buy and then trampling everyone and everything in our consumer-crazed path to get hold of the latest tech gadget or other insane bargain that we think will somehow fill the sorrowful emptiness that lies within each and every one of us.

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