November 27, 2009

Art and politics

Last night, the gang of young people at my house stayed up very late playing the game where you write the names of famous people on little slips of paper, and then yell clues to your team members until they guess the person on your slip of paper. So when the little neighbor kids came to visit this morning, the kitchen table was littered with slips of papers. Boy in Black, my nocturnal son, was asleep on the couch, and Shaggy Hair Boy was rolled up in a quilt on the floor. As Little Biker Boy sat down at the table to color pictures, he asked me about the slips.

Biker Boy: What’s that one say?
Me: (reading) Abraham Lincoln
Biker Boy: I know! He was a painter.
Me: A painter?
Biker Boy: Yep. He painted so fast that he didn’t have time to wash the paintbrushes. He’d just stick them in his mouth. Like this.
Me: Get that out of your mouth.
Biker Boy: Ask me another one.
Ponytail Girl: I need a pink crayon.
Me: (without looking at the slips) George Washington.
Biker Boy: Starry Night! That was his painting.
Biker Boy: We saw a picture of it.
Ponytail Girl: Can I have another cookie?
Boy in Black: (raising his head from the couch, where he’s sleeping) George Washington was the first president, and Abraham Lincoln was the 16th. (He goes back to sleep.)
Biker Boy: Presidents? We learned about presidents.
Ponytail Girl: Me too! I know the president.
Biker Boy: The black dude? What’s his name?
Me: Barack Obama
Biker Boy: Yeah. He painted this girl. And her eyes move and follow you around the room.
Me: Leonardo da Vinci? Have you heard of him?
Biker Boy: He was a ninja turtle guy. Teenage mutant ninja turtles, heroes in a half shell, turtle power —
Me: How about Claude Monet?
Biker Boy: Oh! A girl in a blue dress. And her butt sticks out.
Ponytail: Ha ha. Her butt sticks out.
Biker Boy: My art teacher showed us pictures.
Me: How about Vincent van Gogh?
Biker Boy: Yeah. I think he was a president too.


Overeducated Twit said...

Heh. Sounds like Biker Boy is equipped with about the same knowledge as the average college freshman...

kathy a. said...

oh. dear. at least he got one cultural reference half-shelled right -- is his mom playing videos from her youth? but you'd think he could do better on the current president than "the black dude."

Xiomara A. Maldonado said...

Conversations with young ones are always intriguing and full of rich material! They really do say the darndest things.

rented life said...

ouch. Where was he during history class?

jo(e) said...

Well, he's only eight. And he was a missing child for a couple of years -- I don't think he was in school during those years.

What struck me was that the stories the art teacher had told him had clearly made an impression -- he was very excited to talk about famous painters, even though he didn't get any of the names right.

Jackie said...

A missing child? Do I want to know what that might mean?

Also, keep me posted if you get a package soon....

heidi said...

Painter/president. They are similar words. Maybe we should require that our political leaders be artists. Id vote for that.

Jodie said...

I think I like the way this kid's brain works.

All politicians are painters. They paint a picture and we vote for the one we like best. That's how they get elected president.

George Washington's crossing of the Delaware was at night under a Christmas Sky.

A Starry Night. Ask anybody.

Sarah Sometimes said...

If I didn't know you for the truthful soul you are, I would think you were making this all up! It's too priceless.