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‘…a very stable genius…’

DONALD J. TRUMP, Tweet 6.1.18.


One of the prints hanging in my grandmother’s

bedroom was Waterhouse’s ‘Echo

and Narcissus’. In a bosky, rather

English landscape, Narcissus and Echo –

before he became a flower and she a sound –

lie and sit respectively: she entranced with him,

and he with himself in the slow brook.


As a boy I thought it a picture

of a good looking chap and a pretty girl

with water and lilies, that might have featured

in one of Busby Berkeley’s productions,

which flickered across our nine inch telly.


Though most of the people I have met since then

have been angels in waiting it would have been

helpful, I know now, for some exegesis

of the painting, to see beneath the masks

of the few egomaniacs I have known,

uncover immediately their seeming charms,

their rhetoric of self-righteous blame,

their instant shifts into public self-pity

and paranoia, their betrayal of friends,

their creation of their very own doomsdays.




The narcissist’s narcissist, Adolf Hitler,

echoing Horace to an extent

consciously or not, opined the year

Rommel was defeated and Stalingrad

relieved, “Wars are all very well. Art lasts.”


By the time he was Chancellor there were

so many ‘Village with Mountain View’, ‘Lake

with Mountain View’ and ‘Village and Lake

with Mountain View’ signed Adolf Hitler

and on sale as the genuine article,

that the artist decided it was time

for a definitive catalogue. Agents

were dispatched across Deutschland and Österreich

to purchase all paintings attributed

to him. Sadly, for posterity,

the artist was not able to determine

fake genius from true.




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • John Huddart
    December 17, 2019

    Or maybe this one – with its personal reflection, fine eye for historical detail, and reminders of today – and wry hints about the monsters one meets in a lifetime of working with professionals!

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