Sunday, February 03, 2008

let there be light

It seems that there are a lot of lawyers who read this blog - probably almost as many lawyers as humans. And as many of you could no doubt testify under penalty of perjury, strange things happen in a law office after working hours. Namely, work seems to get done.

I don't know what it is about the nature of the law office that normal business hours are the least conducive time to getting anything done. Is this true of other professions? What is the point of having an office? I have a place where I sit for 8 hours a day and don't get anything done. Every little boy's dream. I guess all the astronaut positions were taken. Actually, when I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be either a) a brain surgeon, or b) a Salvation Army Santa. I guess I thought this was something I could parlay into a full salaried position.

But, dreams die, and since telling my mother that I've shredded my Bar card and have taken up professional photography is not a call I would enjoy making any time soon, I press on and go to "work".

One night last week I stayed a bit later than usual. Well, actually to me, 8:40 pm is obscenely late. This is due to my deep-seeded laziness. But I don't want people to know that, so I just say it was "a bit later than usual". Don't tell anyone, mmkay? You're a pal.

I emerge from my office and walk down the hall towards one of the exits. And on the wall outside of the small conference room that we have appropriately named, "the small conference room", what horror doth befall my eyes:

No way. That's not a... Oh for the love of all that is holy it is...

It's a Kinkade.

I'm trying to accurately portray my reaction in cinematic terms. You remember when Luke finds out that Vader is his father? Or when Charlton Heston sees the Statue of Liberty? It was like that. Like a "no" sound - but drawn out. Like, Noooooooo... And then sobbing. But there was no Millennium Falcon waiting to rescue me. No robot to give me a new hand.

And no, the picture I posted is not the painting that mysterically appeared on our office walls after hours, but does it matter? There is a cottage, some rat-infested overgrowth, and smog. You know, Kinkade kinda stuff.

Let me just say that I am not here to comment on the artistic merit of Kinkade paintings. That would require there to be artistic merit to a Kinkade painting. Ok - that was a cheap shot. I'm sorry. Seriously though - I understand the inherently subjective nature of art. I recognize that a few art history and analysis courses in college does not qualify me to slam the work of a painter who just happens to be popular.

Personally, my theory is that if you can buy it at the mall, it's not art. But I also think that if it has a face - it's meat. Therefore fish is meat. But the Pope has yet to return my calls. And he won't add me as a friend on Facebook either.

Although I don't really understand why these things are popular. I blame the Christians. I mean, you don't have to watch CNN for too long to realize that everything else is our fault anyway. Somehow, back in time immemorial, these paintings gained a sort of quasi-Christian status. They were marketed to Christian bookstores, and since, as the axiom goes, a Protestant and his money are soon parted, they took off.

Revival ensued because middle-class white people all over America were getting closer to The Almighty through their paintings of cottages. Really, America? Really? It's a cottage.

But all that is beside the point. If you like Kinkades - go nuts! If Kinkades help you feel closer to God - um, great! But why is there one in my law office? Our decor is sparse. So sparse it makes minimalist look trashy. The walls are tastefully lined with black and white photographs taken by one of the partners. I know photography, and I find all of them to be pleasant, many of them to be good, and a few of them to be outstanding.

And then someone sneaks around after hours and mounts a Kinkade the size of a van mural.

Even one of our clients was upset by it and the fact that it occupied so much precious Southern California real estate. He mentioned it to one of the paralegals, with an ever-so-thinly veiled disgust. Her response? "My God... It's a Kinkade. The look on her face was like she'd just seen Haley's Comet fly into her house and fix itself a grilled cheese sandwich.

At that point, we knew we were defeated. Without the paralegals on our side, there was no hope. I think our only choice is to get some of those special glasses that you use for viewing eclipses. You know, because of the light! It's so real! For now I must defer my hope to the next great Renaissance - when everyone recognize the One True Art Form.

Pictures of flowers.