Saturday, December 03, 2005

My Protesters

This is the newspaper article that I mentioned in the previous post. I have no quarrel with protests, or liberal progressive thinking for that matter. However, I'm finding that the left, like many of their protagonists on the far right, are stuck in their own little retrogressive groves.

ROCKLAND - Free speech clashed with free expression on a downtown street corner Saturday as artists opposed to war protested the showing of combat paintings of Marine Sgt. Michael Fay at the Farnsworth Art Museum. Sgt. Fay stood ramrod straight when confronted by the small group of protesters upset with the Farnsworth for exhibiting his paintings of combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The afternoon sun reflected off the combat ribbons pinned to his green uniform, and the red chevrons on his sleeves glinted in the finish of his spit-shined shoes as Fay listened to his challengers.

"The protesters objected to the show's content and what they claimed was the museum's "implicit support of war." They said a more balanced show would include images of civilian deaths and mass destruction. To represent one facet of military life in combat zones without placing it in the context of the true costs of war displayed a lack of sensitivity, they said.

"....We are fighting an illegal and immoral war," Suzanne Hedrick, 73, of Nobleboro told Fay. "Without another viewpoint, without the faces of the victims and the ruining of the country, I'm deeply concerned."

"....Fay spent two years in the Afghanistan and Iraq war zones, armed only with a pistol, camera and sketch bag. Some of his work was done in the field, other pieces created in his studio from images he brought home. Fay retired from the Marines in 2000, "but 9-11 changed everything," he said. Fay, who lives in the Washington area, joined a Reserve unit and was posted to the combat zones.

"These in no way, shape or form glorify war," said Fay. "It has nothing to do with anybody ever pulling a trigger. I'm an artist; we do art."

While critical of his subject matter, the protesters also were upset that Fay came to the show in full-dress uniform. They said it indicated that he was on official business and promoting war.

"The fact that he would come not dressed as an artist, but as a Marine is an affront," said Natasha Mayers of Whitefield. "I'm for real expression that's not paid for. This guy is paid for, he's been a Marine all his life, and this is a military point of view. The day-to-day part of war, which we can't imagine, is what we need to see. We need to see images that tell us the truth."


Bob said...

Definition of irony: Using your right to free speech to protest someone's display of art, another expression of free speech.

BTW, the artist's "day" job is to ensure the protesters' continue to enjoy their constitutionally granted freedom of speech.

As my dearly departed and deeply missed grandmother was fond of saying: "It's all so strange."

Anonymous said...

Why is the uniform of a United States Marine offensive? Their right to protest was bought and paid for with the blood of Marines like him.

If the protesters want to display *true* courage, go to downtown Peking and start protesting for artistic freedom. We will see how long they last...

Anonymous said...

Am I dreaming, or is the USMC more open-minded than some in the arts community? They've commissioned an artist to portray what he sees, with no restrictions or directives. Hmmmm

Rob W said...

Make that the far left. Normally this is where I'd say that regardless of what people think of the war and its propriety, 95% of the population of the US of A supports the troops in the fight, with some wishing they'd come home sooner than others. But I suspect from your thoughtful writing that you already knew that. I'd have to agree with bob. And they said irony was dead after 9/11. It only got stronger.

Snake Eater said...

Sheesh. I'll tell who who's brainwashed here, and it ain't the Marine...

Edward said...

I just discovered your blog---well, better late than never. There are so many good milblogs...

Thank you for your service, and for giving us images of the incredible Marines as they serve to protect even the most undeserving of us.

I think that history will look with a kind eye on these brave and selfless Marines. It will forget the insane left, which is too bad for we will be plagued with the self-haters over and over.

Anonymous said...

You know, I work for Habitat for Humanity and I look at how these people are spending their time and I just gotta wonder.....There is so much out there that needs to be done and whether you agree with the war or not, it remains that we now have a responsibility to these people in addition to the tremendous responsibilitly we have to our men and women in and out of uniform serving in the armed forces. Other than probably New Zealand, I wonder where these people would like to go that would be better for them. I know where I think they should go that would be better for me...;>)

Every time I watch the movie God's and Generals, I wonder, "where do these people get the courage?" That kind of courage doesn't reside in my heart, that I know. Thanks for your courage and your willingness to do what many of us will not do.

Alan said...

Alas, a day late and a dollar short---again. I am just now finding your blog due to a friend, and sadder still, finding that you were in Maine at the Farnsworth Gallery.
As a Maine native, I'm embarrassed by the reception you rec'd. My heartfelt apologizies as a Marine, father, son, and grandson of Marines. I wish I had been there to offer a very pointed counter-view. Sadly, Maine has become,infested with people from "away" who, in seeking nirvana, have instead brought their pestilence with them.
As I continue to stop, sift, and read your drawings step by step, I am in awe of your talent and your dedication as a visual Ernie Pyle for those of us who wait.......
I say wait in the sense that only those of we service families with sons and daughters who serve can ever know in it's truest definition. My oldest son was a crewchief with Delta 2/2 attached to 3/5, 1st Mar. Div. during OIF, chronicled in Bing West's book, "The March Up".
My youngest?.....a Marine as well. You either saw, stood, or possibly even sketched him as you chronicled Fox 2/1 during Operation Steel Curtain and Iron Hammer. He was a machinegunner with Weapons Plt.
I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to glimpse the things my son and his brothers experienced through your eyes.
Needless to say, your blog is now bookmarked.
Semper Fi devil dog,