ambrosia in, garbage out


To: The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)

Re: Proposal for Funding Grant

From: Ian W. representing Lucy K. B-W.


It has come to my attention that you have funded incredible works of art in the past, including the Shakespeare in American Communities program and the NEA Jazz Masters. I also read that you have occasionally funded projects dealing with human excrement.

Sure, you must be thinking, that is so 1996! Andrew Serrano’s Piss Christ is yesterday’s papers. But my daughter Lucy begs to differ.

Yesterday morning around 4am, she became dissatisfied with an ill-fitting diaper, and took it off in her crib. What happened next could only be described as a “shitsplosion”. By the time we arrived around 6:45am, there was very little in the room that hadn’t been soiled: walls, sheets, draperies, the bumper, the rails, several stuffed animals and various other surfaces were dealt with in a Jackson Pollock-like artistic frenzy. Even former NEA-grant-receiver Karen Finley – the chocolate-smeared woman – would have been proud.

While throwing away most of her bedding, and indeed, most of that part of the room, I began to think: am I throwing away an accidental masterpiece? A testament to our culture and our times? As my wife and daughter spent forty-five minutes in the shower, I began to think “perhaps!”

So I ask you now: how about supporting the arts for the littlest Americans? Let’s start early with this generation, so they should know performance art when it happens. After all, won’t somebody PLEASE think about the children?!?

Your most humble svt.,

etc., etc., etc.


0 thoughts on “ambrosia in, garbage out

  1. Matt

    This article tells you everything you need to know about modern “art”:
    “Britain’s Royal Academy of Art put a block of slate on display, topped by a small piece of wood, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.
    “The slate and wooden stick was actually a base meant to hold up a laughing human head made by British sculptor David Hensel.
    “But when the academy, which has an annual competition for its prestigious summer exhibition, received the work, the head arrived separately.
    “The academy included the chunk of stone and the small bone-shaped wooden stick in its summer exhibition in London, which showcases the work of emerging artists.
    “Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently,” the academy said in a statement. “The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted.”

  2. Anne

    “Holy shit, Batman. Are we in a mess!”
    Matt — love the article. Yeah… that’s kind of why, at the last hour in college, I changed my probable major from art history to Am. civ. The modern art criticism we were reading was seductive at first, then started getting a bit too rarefied (read: insane) to swallow. Take that, Clement Greenberg!

  3. The Other Lee

    I could not help but laugh at “shitsplosion.” I know one day I’ll have to deal with something like this, but still just the name is hilarious.

  4. cullen

    One time in the grocery store when I was holding Emily and hustling a little too hard, I took a corner briskly and the shit flung and flew literally (it didn’t hit the fan). I quickened my pace, alerted the cashier as to a clean-up needed on the frozen food aisle, bought up my beer (and more diapers), and got the hell outta there.
    Speaking of a smart take on modern art, anybody out there know the DAvid Wilcox song, “Leave it Like it Is”.

  5. mcf

    anyone remember the hoo-hah over public funding of the brooklyn museum’s sensation exhibit featuring the virgin mary covered in pachyderm dung?
    this entry brings it to mind… i guess i’m free associating on this cloudy, humid morning in nyc…
    but seriously, this is one of those moments when you KNOW you love your child… otherwise you wouldnt get anywhere CLOSE to that mess!!
    happy weekend, all!

  6. joe q.

    Having lived through many such horrors with my two, I understand your distraction today. However, I am anxious to read an Israeli/Hezbolla dialog among your following. Kindly initiate.

  7. alan

    It makes me feel better knowing this happens to other people as well. My boy should be potty training soon, so I have some interesting times ahead I am sure.

  8. Jody

    Interesting how the president’s utterances this week have set the language for Ian’s last two entries, plus quick references from others. Perhaps Bush is about to tap into the profane sensibilities of X’ers. Current events probably make the Oval Office sound like rehearsals for Goodfellas.
    Oh yeah, new parents, there are a few times when every kid has some shit scenario in which the volume and spread are nearly incomprehensible.
    It is truly a robust medium for the toddler class-

  9. Beth

    This is off the hilarious shitsplosion topic, but I wanted to follow up, Ian, on the conservation topic: my husband and I did finally sign up for Con Ed’s green power. It is a very good feeling, knowing that wind and other renewable power sources are powering our indoor cool air, etc.
    And since I mentioned my dog’s illness in previous comments, I wanted to relay the sad news that he passed away on Wednesday. Jordan was one of those dogs who was always happy no matter what, and who managed to warm the hearts of even non-dog people. Even as I’m grieving, I’m smiling at all the wonderful memories.

  10. Martha

    I’m told I created a similar “masterpiece” when I was Lucy’s age and I have to say I don’t have any artistic flair in adulthood. Could it be that my early impulse was squashed from this experience? I’ll never know…
    Beth – so sorry to hear of your loss. Maybe he and Chopes are out rolling around in some messy, smelly meadow together!

  11. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Beth, I am so sorry about Jordan. Be gentle with yourself and your grief!
    And, Ian, I remember those days . . . and I am glad they are over. Just wait until the explosive rotavirus hits!

  12. Rebecca

    Yuck. Lucy’s fingers will probably still smell like shit for several days. Only one of my 3 ever did that, but I will never forget it!
    My neighbor has twins that did the shit painting every day at naptime for almost a week. They thought it was hilarious, of course. The Mother finally had to duct tape their diapers on at naptime, because those girls could get out of all their clothing.
    Very soon, Lucy will graduate to crayons and markers. GFWD, remember when we were on the phone and I was laughing because Henry found a red marker? Here is what had happened while we were talking.

  13. michelle

    Not to be all whatever, but, um, I’ve written grants to the NEA and they aren’t all “gentlemen”. As in, there are ladies in the pool who make the decisions regarding funding. Perhaps you could call them “folks”. Or, “ya’ll”.

  14. GFWD

    That’s hilarious and certainly explains the reason for your laugh. I see that I have a lot to look forward to when my little guy gets bigger. I just hope he isn’t bright enough to undo his diaper after making poopies!


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