Monday, January 14, 2008

You pick: George Bush, Iraq or Lisa del Giocondo?

It's a Tough Call - Or Is It?

The top of my home page gives me a list of news articles to choose from.

Here, from Reuters, were the top three when I logged on today:

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah hosts George W. Bush at his desert playground on Tuesday when the U.S. president will get a taste of how the royals live in the world's richest oil-producing monarchy.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraq's defense minister said on Monday his country would need foreign military help to defend its borders for another 10 years and would not be able to maintain internal security until 2012.

BERLIN (Reuters) - German academics believe they have solved the centuries-old mystery behind the identity of the "Mona Lisa" in Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait.

I went right to the "Mona Lisa" article. It wasn't until I was half way through that I asked myself: why did I pick this one instead of the other two?

The Bush article was easy, of course. We've all known for years about the ties of the Bush dynasty to the House of Saud. Presumably the king will show George how a REAL ranch is run and he will have the enough diplomatic skills to warn Bush not to get his foot stuck in horse manure (this is Riyadh, George, not Crawford).

Skipping the second article, however, took me aback: was I so war-weary that the possibility of ten more years and hundred of thousands of deaths didn't mean very much to me? Did I need a break from the political world so badly that I chose to read about the origin of a painting?

Let me defend myself here for a moment. First of all, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is not just another painting and it's not just a world-reknowned painting. The Mona Lisa is an icon. It is a icon of stability and hope: there is something permanent about that enigmatic smile and it gives us hope that if Lisa del Giocondo can still survive through it all, we can too. We can survive the Bush administration and Iraq.

The end of the article added something to my self-esteem in choosing it:

The painting, which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, is also known as "La Gioconda" meaning the happy or joyful woman in Italian, a title which also suggests the woman's married name.

Thank you, Leonardo. Thank you, Mrs. del Giocondo.

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