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Tomarken.com > Dr. Yarrum > Monologs with Murray, Day One (08-12-02)
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Monologs with Murray, Day One
08.12.02

day one

I have always loved quotations, epigrams and the like.
It goes back to the Sunday mornings of my childhood when I would jump into bed with my father with a copy of Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap book.
It was loaded with pithy sayings chosen by Hubbard and was my introduction to the wisdom of the world. I would read each one to my dad waiting for his opinion.

Most of them were so mild and pedestrian that he would pass over them with a shrug.
With sharp crayon he would write in the margin.
1. “fool and liar!” (he didn’t like it)
2. “right for the wrong reason” (fool)
3. “J.S.” his initials (I wish I had said that)
Often I would read something that I could not understand. I was about eleven.
My father’s comment was, ” if you understood it at your age, it would be tragic”.
I was mystified when he agreed with two quotations that seemed completely incompatible,
He would quote Walt Whitman,
I am large, I contain multitudes!”
And finally he floored me when he said,
“If something is true, it’s opposite is equally true.”
He was right!
He was a wise man, free with affection.
Lucky, lucky me!
I am now 85 years old and am still warmed by the love of that man .
\He was an artist, a painter, and we would go to the Metropolitan Museum.
He would stand transfixed before the painters he admired, especially the Impressionists.
I remember asking him who decided that these paintings were great enough to hang in the Museum, expecting some technical , arcane response.
He smiled and said, “If you like it, it’s good and you don’t, it’s bad”.

This was my introduction to the profitable profession of art criticism.


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