Crowned Head Firmly Attached to Its Neck

From the collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Crowned Head Firmly Attached to Its Neck

Pages turn the paper rustles
The textbook preens itself
knowing its value and arrogant with it
Just to touch the pages may make a difference
though that theory is not proven.
The textbook does not
discourage the idea
and indeed
its high price in the bookstore
lends credibility. Everyone
is persuaded none dare to speak against
what the textbook says.

Cover of "Interview With An Art Book", artist book, 2011.

Cover of “Interview With An Art Book”, artist book, 2011.


16 thoughts on “Crowned Head Firmly Attached to Its Neck

  1. Anything that calls itself culture that you can pad out with lots of photographs fits this description. I’d never thought of that point before, but it’s true that if you put an out-of-reach price tag on a book people believe it’s telling the truth. Like the politician in the Armani suit versus the one in trainers and sweat pants.

  2. Or the more expensive house, and so on. I have even seen this with my art sales. You would think, lower price, better for sales, but that is true only to an extent. People depend on a price to tell them what something is worth. I remember quite a few cases where I raised prices and sold more. People like the confirmation of worth?!

  3. Yes. And the practice of needing a new edition each year, so that old ones can’t be re-used. Textbooks are a racket, I am sorry, but that is what I think. People would be better off reading original sources.

  4. Thank you. The snobbery! The elitism! of the first year text book in any subject! I gasp. And I think in particular of my accounting and geology textbooks. I think they looked down on me.

  5. If people rely on the price tag to tell them what’s good, you need to set your prices high. I can understand that mechanism. Art appreciation isn’t taught much any more.

  6. There seems to be a balance. Too low, and it must not be worth even that much. Too high, and who would want that thing for that price? I have heard them both. You must get thick skin to sell your work in street fairs. Of course, I’ve thought the latter quite often, but if I see an under-priced gem, well, I grab it and feel lucky.

  7. After 20 years of going to art shows, you bet you get an eye for the gimmicky, the trite, the hum-drum…and the wildly original thing that reaches out to you from among it all!

  8. I love the personification of the textbook as self-assured and brimming with the authority of someone who knows their worth. I’m also familiar with the implication of price points on books. Many text books in my life have earned their price tag but others have definitely been of the “fur coat and no knickers” variety.

  9. It takes a good eye though to recognize the difference between kitsch and original. It also depends on how much it costs. A light up crucifixion scene from the Vatican gift shop won’t set you back as much as a light up sheep in a jar of formaldehyde. If you really want light-up kitsch…

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