|Jack Valenti Summoning Cthulhu, October 2002
|Karl Rove: Puppetmaster, October 2003
This year, I've had a hard time coming up with a subject for my October collage. It's not that there aren't plenty of scary people in the world. But I haven't been able to think of anyone who truly scares me the same way past collage subjects did. I began to wonder why this was so.
One thing I noticed, looking back at past collages, was that none of these people scare me anymore. Heck, I couldn't even remember Jack Valenti's name until I looked up the blurb on my web site archive. It's like all my past monsters have been, not slain, but diminished. They've lost their power to inspire fear.
|Tower of the Neocons, October 2004
|Jim DeMint's House of Horrors, October 2005
Finally, I realized something: at the time I made each of these collages, I felt that their subjects' power was underestimated. What made these people scary to me was not just their ideas or their agendas, but the fact that they were power-hungry and almost no one seemed concerned about checking that power.
|The World According to Glen Beck, October 2010
(Yes, I'm aware there's a significant gap in my ouvre.)
Since I made each of these collages, the people in them have all either been fired, retired, or acknowledged as a threat (sometimes all three). Nobody underestimates their ability to manipulate or their lust for power anymore.
And that's why I'm having trouble thinking of a subject for this year's October collage. Bashar al-Assad? He's a scary guy, but he's also got half the world trying to stop him. Texas Judge William Adams? Also scary, but also a known quantity. Plus, since this is about people I personally am afraid of, I do have to consider that a judge in a distant state has very little power to affect my life.
When it comes right down to it, there are only two people I can think of who really, honestly, scare me, and I don't know that either of them are a fit subject for a picture collage. The first is an unnamed North Carolina social worker who took a friend's child away; I don't have any way to get a picture of her to use for the collage. The second is a local businessperson who's running for political office, and I'm leery of vilifying someone I occasionally see around town (I live in a very small town), even though I know this wouldn't be the first time she's been portrayed negatively.
I'll keep trying to come up with a truly scary person to immortalize in pixels before the month is over. On the one hand, it's good not to be afraid. But on the other hand, it's bad for my art.