BUT IS IT ART? // Mascara Baby


TATI: OK, Tony, my first question. Why did you tag this illustration as NSFW? I remember ASPHYXIATION and FELLAQUIO and I can see why they wouldn’t be safe to look at if your boss stands behind you. But this?

TONY: Hm. Because of the shape of the baby’s mouth. It’s actually a rather intimate part of the female anatomy that I’ve composited there.

TATI: Oh… really? This blot? Is it a vagina? Are you kidding me?

TONY: Oh, no, I’m not kidding in the slightest. You see, this was based on the disgust I felt after watching a documentary about child beauty pageants. The crass sexualisation of these young souls by their parents was all for the sake of winning… well, what? A cheap trophy? A ribbon? Prestige? What prestige? I was deeply offended that human beings would exploit their own flesh and blood in such a deplorable way.

TATI: Blah-blah-blah… Let’s stick to the topic, Tony. So, is it a baby inside a womb? Or is it just a face with a vagina-shaped mouth?

TONY: Hey! I’m spilling my guts here, lady! Couldn’t you be a wee bit more patient?

TATI: I’m rescuing your reputation, sir. Be grateful.

TONY: Fine. It’s the latter. A face with a vagina-shaped mouth. I was honestly hoping to shock people with the blatant juxtapositioning of these two elements, and get them thinking about why they found it so offensive. In short, I wanted to provoke discussion. As it turned out, no one really picked up on these themes anyway. So, I feel this illustration was a failure.

TATI: Why do you say this?

TONY: Perhaps it wasn’t clear that the baby’s mouth was a vagina. Frankly, visual communication is an ongoing challenge for me. I guess many artists struggle with this… or maybe I’m just not a very good artist. While I may render something a certain way, it doesn’t always mean that the themes I’m trying to convey are necessarily being received and understood as I intend them to be.

TATI: It wasn’t even clear that it’s a face. I guess you needed to put the picture vertical. Then your intent would be more clear. Didn’t you think of this?

TONY: Oh, I see! The egg trying to teach the hen, is that it? Yeah, I have a Bachelor of Visual Arts. And you?

TATI: I have eyes, don’t I? You over intellectualised this illustration.

TONY: Look, you’re probably right. I’m willing to concede that. But what would you have done?

TATI: Firstly, rotate it. And… maybe some details. Streaks of mascara would emphasize two things: crying and makeup. And a pacifier. It would show that the baby is an infant. (You probably like that. A vagina sucking a dummy. Old pervert!)

TONY: What the HELL?! NO! Why on earth would I like that? I think I know who the pervert is here, Tati, and it isn’t ME!

TATI: Just do this, baby. Make the changes. And then we can ask our dear readers who was right.

TONY: Why do I get the feeling we’re going to burn in hell for this?

TATI: Want to bet?

© All rights reserved 2017

Moses and the Open Eyed Sneeze (Postscript)

1 Another year, another wrinkle in the face of Father Time. Moses certainly feels like that mythical figure, sans the wings, scythe and hourglass of course. 2 He sits on the porch in a rocking chair, smoking his pipe and keeping a watchful gaze over the two children playing in the sandbox nearby. 3 Gershom and Eliezer are still quite young. They’re the apples of their mother’s eye, and admittedly their father’s too. The fruit of their collective loins you could say.

4 Look at the cheeky scamps. They play so well together!

5 Moses allows himself an indulgent smile… and then sees the unthinkable.

6 Eliezer’s holding an object over a bucket in which the bubbling water is turning red. Gershom is parting that same water with another object. 7 His looks strangely like a… a phallus?! What the hell?! If that’s the very dildo that Moses tried to present Zipporah with some years ago 8 then the object in Eliezer’s hand must be the artificial va… 9 Oh my God! It’s Zipporah’s gift to Moses!

10 “Hey, you filthy ruffians! You’re not allowed to rummage through our… adult stuff! Children don’t play with parents’ toys! Gershom! Eliezer! Are you listening, Eliezer?”

11 The cute little boy Eliezer, the angel with gold ringlets, slowly turns to Moses. He smiles a disarming smile and, loudly and quite clearly, says one four-letter word. 12 Moses’s jaw goes slack.

13 Yeah, I guess he’s right. That is what you’d call it… Still, little boys shouldn’t use such profanity!

14 Moses is so shocked that his eyes remain fixed open. AH-CHOO!

© All rights reserved 2016

Moses and the Open Eyed Sneeze (Chapter Four)

1 Craning carefully, Moses peeps into the kitchen.

2 Zipporah is fluttering about the cookstove, crooning something or other. Thank God she seems to have mellowed. 3 For now. 4 Oh, maybe she has even tried his gift? Her complexion does appear rosier than usual. 5 Moses heaves a sigh of relief. The last thing he wants is to bring another storm crashing down around his ears.

6 Zipporah should realise, after all, that he gave her that dildo not because he’s a sick old pervert, but because he cares for her. 7 He doesn’t want her to have to settle with his limp old todger, not when her sexual appetite is just hitting its prime.

8 Hey… what is she singing?! It has the lilt of a bygone era, and the words are simple and scabrous. Is it a folk song?

9 “…a young lover came to a woman while her husband went for a beer…”

10 Say what? Cold sweat breaks out over Moses’s body. He knows this song.

11 “…the lover kissed and fondled the woman while her husband went for a beer…”

12 What the hell? I’m not going to take this crap! I’ll help her to recall the end of this song!

13 Moses takes a deep breath and, stepping out from behind the door, lets fly.

14 “…but the husband didn’t go for a beer, the husband stood behind a door and listened…”

15 Zipporah jolts as if poked by an electric shepherd’s crook.

16 “Oh! Honey? Sorry… I didn’t notice you. How long have you been standing there?”

17 “…and the husband killed both of them with an axe, and after this went for a beer.”

18 Moses lets that last line dangle in the awkward silence between them. Just for a moment. He then harrumphs.

19 “I only just got here, sweeten. What are you doing?”

20 “I’m cooking something special for our dinner tonight. Would you like to help me?”

21 And, just like that, Zipporah turns back to the cookstove, a smile replacing the shocked look from seconds before. 22 Moses’s brow bunches into a frown. What is she up to? Before he can ask, 23 she faces him again with something in her hands. It’s a brown paper package about the size of a flashlight. 24 Moses searches her face for a clue. The smile is still there but with… hey, is that a hint of defiance?

25 Trepidatious, Moses opens the package. It turns out to be…

26 “What the… cunt?!”

© All rights reserved 2016