Archive for September, 2012

9-27-12 Our Bill

Published by under Interplay








Warm, winning, wonderful — and wrong. Come on, Mr. President. WalMart?

At his Global Initiative conference in New York Sunday, our Bill challenged WalMart’s CEO to set up in Libya, help with that war-torn country’s unemployment problem. “If the new president of Libya asked you to open a store in Tripoli, would you consider it?”

Now, that’s what Libya needs. A non-union business specializing in low wages, short hours, no benefits, selling shoddy merchandise guaranteed to last a week or your money back. All this and an ugly building, to boot. Capitalism’s finest export. Stash those Kalashnikovs, scrape the mud off your boots, start stocking the shelves with smiling daisy T-shirts. If a family is lucky, the happy employee might bring home a pay envelope with enough cash to board up one of the bombed out windows.

I don’t mean to throw cold water on the darlin’ boy’s idea. In fact, I have a proposal that – if in all modesty, I do say so myself – can only improve the project while instructing the eager populace in the nuts and bolts of how capitalism works. And, it won’t cost the boss a dime.

What I propose is the extending of the Crystal Bridges brand into the, actually, onto, the blank walls of the newly created Libya WalMart. For those of you too busy with your own small affairs to keep up with the billionaire Waltons, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art under construction in Bentonville, Arkansas and scheduled to open this November, is the culminating ambition of heiress Alice Walton. Her buying power has alternately made smaller museum curators flash green with envy, or just gnash their teeth. As an example of how she works, ” . . . she paid the New York Public Library a reported thirty-five million dollars for “Kindred Spirits,” a masterpiece of the Hudson River School, by Asher B. Durand. The library’s decision to deaccession the work was controversial. Durand’s painting commemorates the friendship between Thomas Cole, the landscape painter, and William Cullen Bryant, the nature poet, depicting them standing on a rocky promontory that overlooks an idealized Catskills vista. In the NYT, Michael Kimmelman compared the sale to the destruction of Penn Station.”

To prove her capitalistic bona fides, Alice got a tax write off for her museum. The Arkansas legislature passed a bill exempting the museum from the state’s six-percent sales tax, a boon to Crystal Bridges, given that it has since bought hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of art.”

SO! This is my proposal. Paste four-color blow-ups of Alice’s hard-won art all over Tripoli’s WalMart interior with identifying plaques stating the cost of each and deducting the state’s six percent write-off.

That ought to give a little hope to that maimed and hungry Libyan crowd.

Our Bill photo courtesy of the SF Gate, AP photographer Mark Lennihan.


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