|Jesus Chasing the Money Changers From the Temple-El Greco|
In the High Renaissance, a figure's turn, the pose called contrapposto, stood for balance, depth, and human perfection. El Greco exaggerates Jesus's twisted, elongated body to all but a parody. For Michelangelo, as in tradition, Jesus's right hand pointed to the saved, his left to the damned. (When it comes to godhead, lefties need not apply.) El Greco has it all backward. He sees salvation as if through a clouded mirror.
Even sorting left from right takes work. The crowd swirls around Jesus. A dealer at left, among the bad guys and bending to salvage the burden of his trade, has the youthful strength and perfect foreshortening of a hero. More confusing still, he leans into one version of the painting, his back to the viewer, obscuring his pose and flaunting his butt. On Jesus's good side, Temple elders kneel, not in praise of God but to debate the outcome in puzzlement. It may serve as a reminder that they did not necessarily prove supportive.
Strangest of all, one may well leave remembering none of this. At the far, far right, away from it all, a young woman weaves forward, alone, her basket poised delicately above her head. Behind her the Temple arcade lies almost empty. Do her downcast eyes stand for modesty and virtue, the side of the saved? Does she represent all that Jesus condemned, when he "would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple"? Or does a whole world still go on, all that fuss an overwrought performance, like last year's summer blockbuster?
The work's asymmetry—its twin vistas of packed bodies and empty space, of sky and Temple—rip apart any Renaissance ideal of balance and perspective. Paintings this wild, one might think, come once in a lifetime. Michelangelo alone passed through enough stylistic changes to fuel art for decades. He left copies to assistants, if that, and moved on. Better think again. El Greco repeats almost the same composition half a dozen times or more over the course of some forty years—and it is anyone's guess why. (Link in title of painting above for the entire review.)
|VALENTIN de Boulogne|
|VALENTIN de Boulogne|
These are samples. Follow the links for 4 pages of them.
DeLillo has orchestrated Eric Packer's Act as an EVENT! And as a dream worthy of a Freudian essay. Packer is both subject and object as he vanishes numbers referring to capital. Packer Capital is a hedge fund speculating in global circulating capital. Eric Packer is borrowing yen in huge amounts to buy stocks, commodities, whatever, that are expected to rise in value. The amount borrowed will be paid back at a lower rate. He hopes. The yen can only go so high. But it keeps going higher. By throwing the billions of capital of Packer Capital at the yen, he has disappeared the capital and fortune of the people who invested with him as well as his own. He has driven the money changers and thieves from the temple. Jesus didn't get all the temples. Packer doesn't get everyone but he does crash the money supply.
Let's say I bet the yen is going to go down - called shorting the yen - I "sell" yen worth 10 to 1 dollar. If the yen drops in value - relative to the dollar - over time, then when I buy back the yen at the lower rate the money I have made is the difference between the rate I ''sold" and the rate I "paid". You are "selling" without having the yen, but you promise delivery at a time in the future when you buy your yen cheaper. So you have sold high, and bought low. This is what hedge funds do. They speculate. They gamble.
Now if in the time of Jesus a money changer changed currency at a certain rate and by the next day the currencies he had as capital for money changing changed in value, he would have less-or more maybe- capital to work with. They are gambling. This is what they were doing in the temple when Jesus drove them out. And this action of Christ was the final straw leading to his death. Looking for causes always. Speculating on currency is in the Order of Production. This was being carried out in a sacred place, defiling it.
This is what DeLillo has Eric Packer do when the world wills him. Drive the yen so high that all other currencies implode to nothing. You see gas prices at the pump are not going up.
The dollar is going down. But the assassination of Osama Bin Laden has made the dollar stronger. Read that as the US image. So gas prices at the pump are dropping. The image of the US has been strengthened. All smoke and mirrors.
Eric Packer has been described as self-destructive, impulsive, a loser, a gambler, etc. Well, I guess we could describe Jesus in similar terms, couldn't we?