Among history’s searchers was that crazy old ‘Man from LaMancha.’ His creator described the search this way: “Too much sanity among the madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is, not as it should be.” [Miguel DeCervantes]
Then there was another crazy old fella, Norman Rockwell, who just this week got himself another biography. Titled ‘The American Mirror,’ it’s based on the premise that the celebrated illustrator mirrored what America once was and could be again. The book’s author Deborah Solomon puts it this way: “Rockwell prodigiously created ingenious genre-scenes, each one a self contained piece of theater set in a small town dream-scape of malt shops, fishing holes and gentle drollery.”
Americans [at least those born in the last century] must ask themselves if searchers like these are visionaries or fools, clear headed or fuzzy minded. To my knowledge there isn’t any hard and fast rule by which to judge the answers. But it does occur to me that — just like art & theater critics are forgotten long after what they critiqued has become a classic —
Cervantes and Rockwell have ascended to the American pantheon of prophets. People know their names, their works, and one may impute their visions.
If this were not so, if misty dreaming were no longer permitted, how flat and stale would be our world. Think of it. A world without very silly sentimentalists, just very serious bankers and biologists.
Let me stop right there! For me such a world would be like a Geometry assignment that had no ending. A theorom by theorem study in Cervantes’s madness….
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