Ever since my very first exposure to it in 1979 as part of a Smithsonian Institution art-history seminar, one of my favorite art venues in Washington, DC, has been the venerable Phillips Collection, a few blocks east and perhaps a block south of the DuPont Circle DC Metro stop.
The Phillips Collection
There are many reasons for my respect and enthusiasm for “the Phillips,” but certainly one of the most salient reasons for my “evangelical” work on behalf of the Collection is that the Phillips houses Pierre Auguste Renoir’s great Luncheon of the Boating Party (hereafter Luncheon). (I refuse to call it, as some critics do, Boatman’s Lunch. Computers are expensive and I would rather not throw up on mine.) Aside from the sheer beauty of the painting itself, I enjoy watching others’
As someone who is moving into the outer fringes of what we may reasonably call “old age” – I will be 70 on 5 April 2019 – I have already learned some valuable lessons, all of which will apply to some and some of which will apply to all. For whatever it may be worth, the following is what I have learned so far. Pick and choose the lessons that are relevant to you.
o Old age need not advance gradually
With me, I began to move into the exurbs of old age in a single week, perhaps even a briefer time than that.
In late August of 2012, I was returning from a 3-week trip to Wichita, KS, to see relatives, what few I have left in my family of origin. I was jammed into the back seat, just forward of the tailcone, of a small Embraer jet on a flight to Denver to make connections
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48 (KJV)
Anyone who has read any of my “Skeptic’s” columns, especially those published after the last disastrous presidential election, will know that one of my favorite targets is a group I refer to variously as “boutique progressives” or “liberal purists”, the latter term borrowed from Bill Maher, who has the same grievance against progressives. What (Bill and) I mean by that are liberals, left-wingers, progressives who insist that a political candidate, in order to be worthy of our support, absolutely must conform to every principle, every jot and tittle, of progressive ideology, without exception. They must, in other words, be ideologically perfect, i.e., the kind of perfection demanded of Chri