I am offended by something that matters . . . Johnny Poole.
To the Editor:
In a recent article in the UVU Review, Johnny Poole wrote a ridiculous editorial about Utah drivers and Mormon art. As I read through the article, I had a bad taste in my mouth for Poole’s sense of humor and negativity for Utah and the people who live here. It was clear from his writing that he has a bone to pick with Mormons and it expressed itself through his disdain for Mormon art.
He starts his article by saying he has a personal list of “sociopathic-behavior-inducing grievances.” His first grievance is Utah drivers. Sure, like any state, we have rude people on the road, and I don’t like it any better than the rest of you. Mr. Poole puts all of us in the category of “Utah Drivers” and says we are simply “stupid, not evil.” He then goes on to imply where real evil lies, in his opinion. (By the way, I have lived in 6 different states and find it is the same no matter where you live – Utah is no different!)
Poole talks about a recent trip to Deseret Book and his disdain for all the “smarmy Mormon art” he had to look at. He states that this art is meant to be “the centerpiece of your living room.” Then he goes on, “If we continue to tolerate this hockey crap, it’s only a matter of time before walls across Utah are decked with garish depictions of a giggling Christ in a Hawaiian shirt jumping rope with a bunch of white kids (and a token sprinkling of black and brown children) while giving the viewer a big cheesy thumbs up.”
This was truly offensive to me because of the broad generalizations and obvious contempt for the Mormon culture. Poole assumes that the hundreds of thousands of Mormons who purchase this art are idiots, and he is somehow a true art connoisseur.
People buy art that reflects how they feel about themselves and the world they live in. No Mormon I know would buy a painting as the one he describes. In fact, it is a very irreverent and offensive description of the Savior and clearly exposes Mr. Poole’s contempt for such things.
The last thing I must mention in Poole’s review is the description of Jon McNaughton’s painting, “Peace is Coming.” If Poole had done five minutes of research before he became the profound art critique he thinks he is, he would have found that this painting is based on the scripture in Isaiah 2:4 which states “They shall turn their swords into plowshares, neither shall they learn of war anymore.” The painting doesn’t even have any LDS references. Then Poole goes on to ask a series of negative questions: “What the hell is McNaughton trying to say here?”; “Why are all these people fighting in the same war and who’s on which side?”; “If this is Heaven and all the fighters are already dead, why are the cities burning in the background?”; and “Maybe most importantly, why does Jesus look as though he is not totally sure of where he is?”
Okay, so Poole asked a bunch of questions. Why didn’t he take the few minutes of Internet research to find the answers? Let me help him out! First of all, this painting is poignant to anyone who has served in the military or is sensitive to those who fight in war. It does indeed show Christ wearing a symbolic robe, walking through a battlefield surrounded by soldiers from all eras of time. It includes a modern day 101st Airborne division soldier who is an actual Bronze Medal of Valor recipient kneeling at the Savior’s feet. This painting represents the very moment in time when these soldiers finally realize that peace is coming. The smoldering ruins of a city in the distance are actually the ruins of the World Trade Center after 9/11. The Savior moves forward and surely looks as if he is in command.
Poole says, “Do people actually look at this junk and confuse whatever it is they’re feeling for spirituality? Isn’t that both insulting and brazenly condescending? Real art evokes real feelings, other than contempt by an artist for their audience, that is.”
Who is Poole to tell anyone what spirituality is? Is he the expert on “real art?” Does he think he knows what the artist was feeling? Poole’s arrogance is nauseating.
This article was filled with ridiculous generalizations. I hope Poole is not a regular at UVU Review. If so, they had better review Poole! Obviously, his purpose was to be humorous and no doubt those who sympathize with his feelings will crack a smile. However, next time you write something like this, Johnny Poole, try to do a little research first!
To The Editor,
I would first of all like to thank UVU for some of the instructors on its staff. I’ve had some amazing teachers who have inspired me and helped me to figure out what I want to do with my education.
Unfortunately, not all of my teachers have had the same effect. I’ve had one teacher in particular this semester who, in my opinion, doesn’t know how to teach. He knows the information but doesn’t present it well to the class. He ridicules members of the class. The majority of the time, he shoots down answers my classmates give, even if they are correct but aren’t the exact answer he was thinking of. I think this is an unacceptable way to treat students, and it has created a very uncomfortable atmosphere in the classroom. I think UVU should be better than this, especially now that it has reached university status. We are students paying for a better education. We deserve teachers who want their students to succeed, learn the material and experience a good learning environment.