Beat Around the Bush
Politics has gotten stranger and stranger these days. The current president communicates primarily through incoherent tweets. His would be challenger communicates primarily from video chats in his basement. And it’s sort of unclear if the election is even going to go ahead as planned due to the continuing Coronavirus crisis. But here’s something that literally nobody ever expected to come out of 2020: former President George W. Bush is now an avid oil painter, publishing a book which showcases his portraits of immigrants.
Now it’s not uncommon for has-been politicians (much like has-been reality TV stars) to publish a book in order to try and stay relevant. Usually there’s a ghostwriter involved. Usually it’s published in hardcover and inexplicably sold for $24.99. Usually it’s the subject of a tacky display in the entryway of a Barnes & Noble where the author may appear for a book signing if the bookstore is in New York or LA.
But the book itself is usually in the style of the chronological “autobiography” you were assigned to write in 6th grade — not in the style of a coffee table art book that will sit decoratively on the table for years without being opened before eventually being sold for one dollar at an estate sale.
Still, George W. Bush deserves some respect for putting this out there. (He’s a better artist than Pam from The Office.) The political undertones are that immigrants are valuable contributors to America, and immigration should be a nonpartisan issue. It’d be easier to take the message seriously if it wasn’t coming from the guy who’s legacy is invading Iraq for no apparent reason.
Art critics say George W. Bush has gotten technically much more skillful since his first paintings leaked in 2013. Those ones were referred to by critics as art by “Forrest Gump” — not sure whether that’s a bigger insult to George W. Bush or Forrest Gump.
But he has to keep busy somehow. Nobody’s banging down his door for speaking engagements like they are to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And nobody is making detailed Oscar-worthy biopics about his life, the way they are about his forgettable VP, Dick Cheney. Why not sign up for a few wine ’n sip classes and then go all out Bob Ross?
Seriously, buy George Bush’s book of oil paintings. If nothing else, it will remind you that not every Republican president was an international embarrassment in politics for the twitter glory (in fact, some just wanted the presidency to launch their mediocre art careers).