Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XII

The Rico (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.


Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Rico

Sitting in the back of a classroom, the front pew of a church, or a booth in a crowded coffee shop, the Rico resembles a precocious youngster, albeit with the intense look of one who is listening to the adults and taking notes. Bespectacled, brylcreamed, and besotted with its own self importance, the Rico nevertheless blends his way into the colorful atmospheres of political, judicial, and criminal organizations. It then begins its predator phase. The creature’s keen nose but terrible eyesight make the Rico a rather indiscriminate hunter. Wide swaths of loosely associated group members are often decimated with only the slightest of effort, leaving street corners and watering holes deserted. The Rico was once an habitual bottom-feeder, but there is evidence of late that it may be training its weapons, the subpoena, the grand jury, and the ambitious prosecutor, on bigger game.

 

Danny Grosso 

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XI

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The Wedge (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Wedge

The efficiently-built Wedge uses its form to utmost function.  Its keen sense for controversy guides it instinctively to places where it may do its work. Once there, often with the help of a little saccharine laced, demagogic grandstanding to loosen resistance, the Wedge inserts its smaller, knife edge into the fine gaps between constituencies.  It then uses its diverging contours to pry those constituencies wide apart. In its wake, homogeneous voter blocks are allowed to grow and fester without dissent, becoming wild self-seeding fields that spread with only the slightest need for cultivation. Usually a bit of rumor will do the trick. Hard times may call for a little old fashioned innuendo.

A Wedge can sometimes be subverted by a crafty predator so that the Wedge’s work allows the predator to better exploit formerly unassuming constituents. The once happy-go-lucky victims are left stunned, asking how they could have been so long unaware of the dangers creeping toward them, coming to steal away their liberties. Thereafter, in a strange twist, these misguided subjugants are most often found  effusively expressing their thanks to the predator for introducing them to the anxiety and misery that have taken over their lives. Researchers call this phenomenon the “New Normal”, wherein a formerly untroubled being adopts unrelated outside agitations, sometimes without reason, and folds them into the brittle contours of its mind. The transformation can sometimes be stark: see; Standing for the Anthem; Sharia Law in the Heartland; et al, and for historical context: Southern Strategy.

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. X

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The Gadfly (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Gadfly

The sound produced by the beating of this creature’s wings is the white noise for most every public hearing room in the nation. The Jack-of-all-trades of the political world, the Gadfly is seemingly everywhere and noisily so. It is the Gadfly that supplies the barracking commentary at village board meetings, the handmade signage at city council hearings, the affected commentary in capitol lobbies, and the chanting entourage at petition filing counters. Buzzing from one controversy to the next, with much elation, the Gadfly gathers ample campaign skills, but rarely acquires any administrative experience. Its nomadic existence precludes long studies of the efficient administration of specific offices. Rather, the Gadfly excels at somehow positioning itself as the go-to spokesperson for a sequential variety of causes, controversy to controversy, campaign to campaign.

There have been times when by flukes of electoral surprise, or criminal prosecution, as in Illinois, a Gadfly will ascend to high office. At those times the true nature of the species invariably complicates matters, and Gadflies in power are sometimes most noted only for the awkward practice of protesting themselves. Some say this is behavior is willing self-sabotage, as Gadflies thrown out of office have been observed to have regained their happiness, in their elements once again, standing wounded on windy street corners offering petitions to random registered voters for signatures.

 

-Danny Grosso

 

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. IX

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The Emolument (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Emolument

Long a denizen of back alleys and bus station locker rooms, the Emolument has had a bit of a coming out in recent years. Once shunned as a career killer, the critter is now being embraced by the (perhaps foolishly) brave, as if it were just another hard luck Joe trying to get along. Perfumed in possibility, with many arms clad in a glitzy sport coat, the Emolument has a puckishly attractive smile, and iron teeth. It mates for life, with multiple partners, and in doing so leaves a permanent virus within that can remain dormant indefinitely. Indeed, it is thought that most politicos associated with one or more emolument live out their lives without presenting any symptoms of infection. However, if the symptoms do begin to surface in a carrier, reaction is swift, evidenced by an immediate dash to the offices of a criminal defense attorney, and/or a hurried staging of a press conference, at which the carrier tearfully resigns from public office and refuses questions from the invited press.

 

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. VIII

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The Tweet (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Tweet

The Tweet species traces its lineage back to forebears of friendly disposition, bent only on including their neighbors in all of the happy moments of existence. Of late, however, the bend has become increasingly more severe, toward animosity, and, in some holding the highest of offices, toward self-incrimination. Researchers have not reached consensus on why this happens, but there is some evidence that that the Tweet may not actually know that it has turned its weapons on itself; there seems to be a level of innate ignorance that cannot be breached. Moreover, the Tweet, in malevalent form, often magnifies its damage to self by binding together with others of the species, forming a flock of misspent emotional energy, bent on humiliation, and called a Tweet Storm. Look for this flurry of crazed activity in the early morning hours of days when certain high government officials have no official events planned.

 

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. VII

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The Garland (2018). Oil and acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Garland

The Garland is an efficient, honest, and dutiful creature of exemplary character. Unassuming in appearance, yet often possessing a keen intellect, the Garland is usually found perched on federal appeals courts, honing its sense of reason among other accomplished beings. For most of its life, the Garland lives in the rarefied habitat of bipartisan adoration, receiving innumerable accolades, which, in turn, the creature dismisses as inappropriate. Here, however, begins the mystery of the Garland. Inevitably, notwithstanding is high station, the Garland is always and forever stunted and stymied. The attempts of its benefactors to elevate the Garland seem to be subject to rules so arcane as to be unverifiable, or to rules otherwise just made up by myopic majority leaders. The effect of all this is to leave the Garland in a state of suspended regard, still receiving the best wishes of all interested parties, but unable to ride the hot air of good will to rise to the highest judicial perch.

Still, wings clipped, it soldiers on, working its way through life each day, seemingly oblivious to the injustice of its story. Sometimes though, at night, along the Potomac, one can hear the creature discreetly chirp its song,  the uncanny “Call the vote, Call the vote…”.

 

Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. VI

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The Dark Presence (2018). Acrylic on wood. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Dark Presence

Long elusive and unspoken about, but lately a visible void and a subject of wide discourse, the Dark Presence rocketed into public view during the beginning of the endless wars of the 21st Century. Often taking the form of a featureless and shrouded bureaucrat, the DP can mix with the general population when it senses the time is right to maximize its influence on a wavering head of state. Through whisper-like voicings of some depth, the DP can turn the searching head and command the listening ear. This underestimated entity is rumored to be the Iago de facto to some of history’s most tragic figures. It may have brought down more politicians than junket mixers and video evidence.

In repose, as is its habit during times of general consensus, the Dark Presence provides little evidence of its impressive CV, instead biding its time in corners, spinning webs and deepening its opacity. Its incarnations over the years have progressively grown in stature, and it is said the the DP harbors a secret ambition to become a black hole that swallows up the entire government.

 

-Danny Grosso