My Stomach Could Churn That

We watched the surprisingly disturbing documentary last night called My Kid Could Paint That. We weren’t 20 minutes into the story when I smelled that these people were conning the public in a big way. Itching to get the 411, I had to go online. The controversy was all over the place.

Although the big turning point of the documentary surprised the filmmaker himself, the story progressed in a predictable direction from my viewpoint. The Frenchman at first defended the art community. “How could they be fooled?”

“Honey, they believe in the Bible! Of course they believe a 4-year-old girl who can barely write her name is producing precise, controlled paint strokes. People want miracles.” I pointed out that Marla could barely paint the letters of her name, but that the paintings themselves had very precise brush strokes in them. Now, the coordination to write is a very special training for the muscles, I admit, but so is the ability to create repeated brush strokes of exactly the same breadth and motion all over a canvas.

Puzzling over the motor coordination of a 4 year old, we argued a bit about whether Mozart actually wrote his first piece at 4. I told him that his father Leopold described little Mozart as having more ink on himself than on the page, but that it was undoubtedly music that he’d written — and good music, at that. The motor coordination he possessed was superior in every way — both in writing and in performing.

Of course, there’s the brilliant film moment when the child confesses on camera that her little brother had actually painted one of the pieces about to be appear in a gallery and not her. But her parents don’t react to that. No one does.

Then there was the weirdly quiet reaction to the 60 Minutes segment that exposed the fraud. The parents sat on the couch and just sort of…smiled. And then wilted. Perhaps they were in shock. If it were me, and my family was being libeled on national television, I’d have hopped off the couch and threatened to punch the tube.

Regardless of whether they’re cons or not, the whole thing is stomach churning — the exploitation of children, the gullibility of adults, the graceless reaction people had to the idea of being fooled. But mostly I felt badly for this sweet little girl, who will have to sort out this huge mess in her head for the rest of her life.

Silliness, Both Virtual and Venal

First of all, screw that silly LiveJournal strike. What a bunch of horseshite.

Second, I can’t believe the nonsense that continues over the so-called Shroud of Turin. It’s merely more evidence of how deluded human beings can latch onto a single explanation of something and pursue it to the frayed ends of reason. The BBC writer says, “The mysterious image of a crucified man has refused to lie down and die.” Please! Actually, it’s more like the cranks won’t lie down and die. They can’t come up with a single document — not one line of writing — that was contemporary with the supposed life of Jesus, but they have this mysterious “shroud” of the “historical Christ”? What next? The Toothpicks of Turin? The Toilet Paper of Turin?

Thankfully, there’s plenty of great work done on debunking this madness. Check out the article about the French scientists who created their own Shroud.

King Arthur: Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail.
French Soldier: Well, I’ll ask him, but I don’t think he will be very keen. Uh, he’s already got one, you see.
King Arthur: What?
Sir Galahad: He said they’ve already got one!
King Arthur: Are you sure he’s got one?
French Soldier: Oh yes, it’s very nice!

Glad to see the BBC, though, is on top of entertainment, if not science.

The Unveiling

Remember the ad agency gig I told you about? The site is about to launch. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available. I’m a bit biased, but I really like what we did.

Unfortunately, my client on the project informs me that the flash designer we hired turns out to be a con artist. She says that he disappeared for lengths of time and left her in spectacularly bad situations with the people for whom we were creating the site.

Apparently he’s famous for ripping off people’s deposits, which she discovered too late. When she demanded that he return her graphics and other collateral, he refused unless she paid him. I’m not sure how they resolved the stand-off, but she did hire a mutual friend of ours to swoop in and save the day.

(If it’s the same guy, he used to be — and might still be — a Scientologist.)

At this news, I decided to Google the name of Mad-ame Scientist, with whom I had a hell ride on Friday for my ailments, shelling out many hundreds of dollars for treatment and medication that, it turns out, wasn’t much help. Rather than uncovering lots of patient praise, I discovered she is a popular prescriber of medical cannabis. While I’m all for medicinal uses of pot, this was not what I was hoping to see as her “high” point. I’m now mentally reviewing a conversation I had with a friend right after the exam. Even if by some miracle her diagnosis was accurate, Mad-ame Scientist definitely sounded addled.

I have a second opinion scheduled for Thursday morning.