The True Victims of Rhetoric

Over this past weekend, I had the privilege to visit the wonderful city of Amsterdam. During our trip, we made an effort to see cultural buildings and museums. The museum that I enjoyed most, maybe on this entire trip, was the Moco Museum. This building held original pieces of art from Salvador Dalí, and Banksy.

 

Banksy is a modern day street artist who tackles social issues in today’s society, such as war, economics, and politics. One of my favorite pieces that I saw was simply called “Bomb Hugger on a traffic sign.” The image shows a young innocent girl hugging a large bomb that would be dropped by a military airplane. Banksy uses this image to emphasize the true nature of war, rather than rhetoric from the media and politicians. The young girl represents purity, while the bomb is representing evil. Banksy, in the image is attempting to challenge the press and politicians who try to portray war in a positive light, suggesting that it is necessary to promote freedom, democracy, and peace against terror. It’s such a contradictory rhetoric obscures the darker notices that come with war, such as greed, power, money and domination.

 

An image like this invokes the issues that we’ve been discussing throughout our time together in Italy. The question of is rhetoric inherently deceptive pops up again. I find it amazing how these issues have started since the Sophists and are still prevalent in the 21st century. Banksy is attempting to tackle this issue, presenting the other side of the argument that is not always present. He shows that typically the true victims of war, the ones that are always kept in the shadows, are the innocent civilians. Banksy is able to use his notoriety to bring light to the deceptive tendencies of today’s media and politicians, and we need more people like him working now more than ever.

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One thought on “The True Victims of Rhetoric

  1. I think this is an interesting point here that can be made about how artists chose to use their notoriety. Banksy is currently using his fame to push a political agenda, notably pointing out the flaws of many modern governments. However, I believe similarities can be seen between Michelangelo and Banksy. While Banksy points out the flaws that plague modern government, Michelangelo openly challenged the church and their authoritarian practices. To me, this could be observed in how he painted the Sistine Chapel. He depicted Saints fully nude and, in one instance, engaging in alleged sexual acts. He also chose to paint a clean shaven Jesus Christ, which was a huge departure from traditional depictions of Christ. Michelangelo painted this way because he had to show that the Church couldn’t control everything. They didn’t have the right to tell an artist how to depict historical/religious figures because each artist can depict them in their own way. Michelangelo was able to succeed at this, for a time, mainly do to his notoriety and, in doing so, paved a path for future artists.

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