3.19.2012

Is McNaughton Painting Propaganda?

I am so confused. I'm a high school teacher here in ------. You are such an amazing artist and I fell in love with your painting of the man on the bench being ignored by all the presidents... but then I looked at your other stuff. Why are you just painting propaganda? I have a hard time believing that someone with your talent and obvious depth of insight could paint stuff that seems so.... extremist. You could easily be remembered as one of the great artists of our time. But this weird political stuff seems more fitting for bumper stickers! I'm not writing this to be mean I just don't understand. I really wanted to buy a copy of the aforementioned print for my class, but I feel sort of uncomfortable with the Rush-Limbaugh-Esque nature of your other pieces. I'm sure you're super busy and what not, but your responses to "liberal" criticisms didn't really answer my questions. I'm a swing-voter but I have a hard time getting behind the idea that Obama is a socialist and I tend to view people who hold such ideas as hysterical contributors to the divisiveness that is polarizing Washington and keeping politicians from accomplishing anything. But I have a hard time seeing you that way. You're too talented, and too articulate!

I guess what I'm trying to say is- I want to love your work. I want to buy it, even! But I'm afraid that doing so would constitute brainwashing my students. Since I just got done teaching a unit on letter-writing, I thought I'd follow my own lesson plan and send you a quick note Thanks for reading!
 Jennifer


My response:

Jennifer, Thank you for sharing your feelings with me. Things usually appear extreme to those who are not familiar with them. Artists have always used their skills to communicate to the world what they believe. To think that we live in a country without significant peril is to not see the forest for the trees. What is happening in America is bigger than any party. As a teacher you are in a precarious position. You must open the eyes of your students, but conservatism is often frowned on in the public schools. "Propaganda" is a word used to describe media used by Fascist and Communistic regimes to influence the people. I am a single individual who is using his First Amendment rights to speak out against a president and an administration which is harming our country. I see real propaganda every day from the mainstream media as we are told what to think about government and society. Even our public schools have changed from teaching American Exceptionalism to multi-culturalism. Sex education is expected to be taught to children as young as Elementary school age in some states. If my standing against such things is extreme, yes, I am guilty.






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47 comments:

  1. Keep using your talents as you are. Propaganda is exactly as you describe. She sounds like te hype she's feed by unionistas and not being a true teacher.

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  2. Here are a few things: Forest FOR the trees. And to say that propaganda is a "word used to describe media used by Fascist and Communistic regimes to influence the people," is quite ignorant. Propaganda is biased or misleading information, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. ANY political party can and does utilize propaganda. Fascists and communists do not hold the monopoly on propaganda. And God forbid we teach kids about multiculturalism. I mean, seems like we should stick with egocentrism, and Americentrism, which is a word I just made up.

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  3. My problem with you Jon is that the Propaganda is based on right / left paradigm which is not based on a complete truthful picture.

    You are not extreme enough, but you can't afford to offend everyone, you need to feed your family, so I understand you got to do what you got to do. Keep selling your half truths, you are in the perfect state for your type of pandering.

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    1. half truths? I don't think I completely understand what you are referring to?
      How are they half truth pictures...??

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    2. I am surprised at your ability to control yourself. Usually when someone disrespects the dear leader his followers smash windows and set things on fire. Wait, did I just describe OWS or the SA brownshirts? Or both?

      Talk about pandering. I would suggest education, but supporters of the current regime care little for facts. So I will suggest taking a good long look at the pot before calling the kettle black.

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  4. all the usual Left wing buzz words: propaganda, extremism, divisivness.....just keep in mind....you dont stay on the center line...as they it....or your evil and must be silenced. As far as Rush goes...they guy has near 20 million listeners....who on the other side comes close to that? and he who has numbers like that is the one hated? Seems strange to me.

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  5. I think that she may misunderstand your passion and or purpose. I don't believe that you are trying to hurt anyone with propaganda. I see your paintings as a reflection of your whole heart, which loves God above all else, and you are deeply concerned regarding the path that our country is taking. We have lived as a blessed nation for a long time. There are reasons that God has shown us his grace. When you truly have a relationship with God you understand our world in relationship to Him. Unfortunately, many believe in God, but do not know Him. They judge events, and even art, by what makes People happy. This makes all the difference.

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  6. I wonder if this teacher read the article with Elle MacPherson. Elle says "of course she likes Obama, she' a socialist". If the socialists really like the man, why does this teacher find the concept that he is socialist, extreme? Some honest critical thinking would be helpful, though not easy to get past the emotion that clouds her judgement.

    This teacher should meet people that immigrated from communist and socialist countries and ask those people in what direction we are headed and does it worry them. It frightens me this person is a teacher, I hope it's not social studies.

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  7. The average american girl is able to get pregnant at 12.5 years old. Sixth graders (elementary school) are eleven to twelve years old. Which means there are sixth graders fully capable of having a baby. At what age do you propose we tell them about it?

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    1. I want to handle things of this nature as the parent. It is my responsibility to teach my children about sex and other issues. I propose that parents start taking a more assertive role, stand up for their rights to teach and train their own children at a time when the parent deems it necessary. Not all parents are going to parent well. But we can not regulate, mandate and dictate just to make sure the children without engaged parents are taught these critical issues of life.

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    2. So at what age will you allow our public institutions to educate our children?
      Will you allow it their senior year in high school when most are already 18 (adults)?
      How about public college? I hope my wife's gynecologist is allowed to know where the parts are and what they do.
      In Europe where they are completely educated as children, teen pregnancies are one-fourth what they are here. Abortions are way less and crime is lower. Because unwanted children seem to cause society more problems.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teenage_birth_rate_per_1000_women_15%E2%80%9319,_2000-09.svg

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_pregnancy

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    4. Here we go again teen pregnancies highest in states with abstinence-only policies.

      http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/04/10/461402/teen-pregnancy-sex-education/

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  8. I think her letter was well written. I appreciated the fact that she didn't just attack you and say you were doing horrible things with your talent. She simply didn't understand, and was expressing her concern from her point of view. I don't think, however, by purchasing your art "would constitute brainwashing" her students. Actually I think that your pictures would bring up some awesome discussions with her students, where positive and negative ideas can be brought to light. Some students will agree with the painting, some will avidly disagree. She doesn't have to rant about why she agrees or disagrees with it. She doesn't have to say if one political stance is right and the other wrong. She can speak from a non-bias perspective and really make it an amazing learning experience. High school students probably have a lot to say, and a lot they would like to know.
    Even more so, I like your response! Yeah, not everyone will agree with you, but who cares. As an artist you are exercising your right of freedom of expression. I agree with you on most of the issues portrayed in your paintings. It's great that someone isn't afraid to speak out against someone as powerful as the President. Some may not like it, and that's okay. It doesn't make you wrong to paint it!

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    1. I totally agree with this!! I think it could open up discussions not just with high school students, but probably with the other teachers as well !! Keep doing what you do Jon!!!!!!

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    2. I am also in agreement! I think she was respectful and sounded earnest in her inquiry. I also want you to know, Jon McNaughton, that I am so impressed with your work. It excites me to be able to share you work and to learn so much. Your work is brimming with information and a perfect picture/pictures of my stands in all of these areas. Keep fighting! I can not wait to purchase one of your works.

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  10. Jon, I think I like you even more than I already do. You are right on with your response to this teacher. She obviously has been in the classroom teaching what she has been spoon fed by the local Board of Education which oversees what is in the textbooks. Our country has grown and prospered and become a superpower so she can enjoy the life she has chosen. Since FDR and the New Deal, our country has shifted from Liberty of the individual to big government control over the 99%. This teacher needs to study the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. She should also read the Federalist Papers and teach our real American history in the classroom. She should know that she has been and is being manipulated by her school board and she is not allowed to be a free thinker.

    Jon, keep up you beautiful paintings and messaging. One of these days I will have one or more of your paintings.

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  11. You handled the question a lot better than I would have, I'm afraid. This was merely a teacherly way of getting you to sit down and shut up. As one artist to another, keep up the great work.

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  12. Dear Jennifer,

    I believe this will help explain things a little better. It's all tongue-in-cheek!

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  13. Question is do they teach teachers to be true these days? I've had some remarkable teachers in my time but at the same time I've had teachers who I felt were bitter, angry, & racist. They would oft times blame the so called white man for all their problems. I went to a conference called "The Minority becoming a majority". All I heard was the incessant whine of how everyone owes them. While riding home we discussed it. When it came to be my turn to speak I clearly reminded everyone that I'm not a minority and that I'm I'm perfectly capable of making my own destiny. There are people who do need help and I have no problem with that but for all those lazy people who aren't doing squat but using up all the so called gov. money. It's not YOURS!!!!! IT'S MINE AND EVERY OTHER AMERICAN WHO BUSTED THEIR BUT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF THEMSELVES. So to the current folks in the Capital- You do best to remember who your BOSS is!!! You were chosen to represent. You are not leaders- You are Representatives!!! As of late y'all are nothing but a bunch of thieves!!! I pledge allegiance to the USA as founded by the Fathers of this Nation under God!!! You are a Teacher!!! Read the Constitution. Teach the kids what the constitution says! It is YOUR JOB!!! YOU TEACH THEM! DO NOT LET THE MEDIA DO IT FOR YOU!!! I studied journalism in college- They are only lucky if they use a spell checker!!! They do not live by what is taught. Congress passes bills without reading it? Where's the Three Branches? Sister Someone has to sound the warning voice!!! We listened to those who have gotten their way cause they were few and shouted louder. The time of turning the other cheek has passed. JM!! You are doing great!!! Jennifer- Listen to the voice in your heart. You know this to be true and cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. Teach those kids correct principles and let them govern themselves.

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  14. Keep on Painting your wonderful paintings. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your paintings speak volumns. I have a hard time understanding anyone who thinks Obama has done a good thing for this country. I am hoping there is something left to build on when he is gone.

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  15. "...I have a hard time getting behind the idea that Obama is a socialist."

    That statement alone from this teacher is disturbing and reflects a lot of the ignorance in this country. I don't say that condescendingly, either, because I was just as ignorant 10 years ago, oblivious to the Constitution or what it meant to live in a free country or even why we've had freedom for so long. Now I see law officers who don't know the law and representatives that have no understanding of or respect for our Constitution. One has to do their homework. After responding to this teacher, I would have given her a link to the Constitution and told her that if she REALLY wants to understand, she should read it! And while she is at it, read the documents of the Founding Fathers, not the distorted historical creations of those who don't want the truth to be known.

    Keep up the great work! Your art expresses what many of us are feeling inside!

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  16. I love your paintings Jon. They speak volumes. All of this is happening to us NOW, not at some future date. If we don't wake up as Americans and stop this movement than we have lost everything and we have no one to blame but ourselves. People say they don't want things to change because of their children. Well what kind of a life would they have under Socialism and a wicked Tyrant, and yes that is how I view the man who pretends to be our President. What would it be like for them if they were under full government control. That is what is about to happen. Thank you Jon, for speaking up through your paintings. Hopefully they will touch the people on the fringes that just don't know what to do or think. Hopefully it will help swing their votes from Obama. I too think this teacher should read the constitution and really get a knowledge of it and then teach her students the correct way of government.

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  17. Truth be known, Great artist have painted history as it was as far back as paintings go. I am grateful for this Awesome artist who is painting reality for future generations to look back at history and marvel.
    Perhaps it will make them want what America stood for and strive to be free without tyrants dictating every aspect of their lives. We need more folks like Jon to do the same thing so the unborn 100, 1000, 10,000 years from now will have a model to formulate their lives with.

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  18. Dear Jon,
    May GOD continue to bless you and your work. I see the world that you paint every day. Remember GOD has warned us all that there will be a time when 'good will be called evil and evil will be called good.' Romans 12 is how we are to respond with our gifts. We live in an age where the world is upside down, children are murdered before they catch their first breath, assisted suicide, no respect for anyone or anything, the end times are upon us. Let those with ears hear, and eyes see. Praise the Lord our GOD and father and His Son Jesus along with the Holy Spirit. Be with us now and forever. AMEN

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  19. Why are Liberals so afraid of the truth, whether it be in print or paintings? When artists of the left leaning persuasion display a crucifix or a painting drenched in urine, that's art or the artists expressing their-selves. Of course we know the Teacher's Union is an honest and upstanding organization that is only looking out for the welfare of our children!?!? Propaganda?? What is wrong with alerting the populous of an encroaching dangerous situation, like a hurricane or tornado or socialism? Our constitution is being trampled as well as our rights and freedoms are being eroded and this teacher is concerned about what you are painting??? And then she puts in that dig about Rush Limbaugh!! Pure Liberal tactics. We are losing our country and watching it being destroyed right before our very own eyes by this criminal administration and everybody is concerned about what you are painting!!! You keep doing what you're doing. There are not too many true conservatives out there that have the guts to tell it (or paint it) like it is. GOD has blessed you with the tools to convey the truth. Keep up the good work.

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  20. Of course what you're painting is propaganda! Perhaps not in the way Jennifer meant it. We all spread our own personal propaganda everywhere we go. Propaganda is biased information, intended to persuade. Your art is not neutral, it's not diplomatic, it's not shy-- it's biased, one-sided. And good for you. If it wasn't one-sided, it would scarcely be art. If it wasn't one-sided, it wouldn't be courageous. God bless you for your fearlessness. Take the propaganda accusation with gratitude- you're not here to placate the nation. You have a message. You are spreading the message. Definitely propagating your message through your work which is propaganda. No shame there.

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  21. An excellent reply to a well-written letter. I thoroughly enjoy your work, and always look forward to the next one. You speak for so many in your paintings, and are a master at what you do. Thank you for your masterpieces.

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  22. As Stephanie put it, of course these paintings are propaganda. "One nation" is Adalbert Volck in the medium of Goya.

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  23. PROPAGANDA is what we've been hearing from the state-controlled-media...PROPAGANDA is what we've been getting from Hollywood...PROPAGANDA is what has been forced on us by liberals!

    You, sir, are an extremely talented artist who has grabbed our attention with your thought provoking pieces. Keep up the good work. Those of us that are already engaged in fighting the machine need all the help we can get to wake our fellow Americans out of their walking slumber before it is too late for this country.

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  24. She pretty much hit all the liberal styled 'talking points' without even realizing it. Sometimes they really do not see the forest for the trees. Thank you for your art!

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  25. Art has been used in support of ideas for a very long time. If you want to talk propaganda, look at the state portraits of Uropean monarchs. Guernica anyone? Che t-shirts? Come on folks, the only thing surprising about this is that it represents a point of view which certain audiences have never been exposed to. More is the pity.

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  26. An art critic has attacked your work as being "bad academic derivative realism". I suppose the depraved unskilled examples of the contemporary "Art World" are truly legitimate. It's an upside-down world.

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  27. Kudos to you, sir, both for your well-written answer and for painting about things that matter to you. In recent years, I was a member of a local community arts group - they hold monthly meetings, sponsor and participate in local shows, etc., and each month members can submit a piece to be considered for "artist of the month." In 2009, I lost track of how many submissions were homages to Obama. I wonder if this teacher would have had any problem with those?

    There is no shortage of left-leaning artists, and they are made to feel no embarrassment about putting their political passions into their work. Why in the world should it be right for them, but wrong for you?

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    1. His expression is only 'perceived' wrong by the uneducated voters who have left their education up to people who get paid to say what they say, but will get fired if they don't.

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  28. Propaganda can make headlines, and headlines can line your pockets. It is all propaganda, Jon just needs to feed his family.

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/03/20/controversial-painter-depicts-obama-with-burning-constitution/

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  29. If you ever need a straw man to point to ... to say "see - I'm not as extreme as that guy" ... just refer the correspondent to my blog.

    ;)

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  30. I wonder if Jon will get audited by IRS for this?

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  31. She has a hard time getting behind the idea that obama is a socialist? Good grief! This is a sample teacher in our school system! WHERE and WHAT is her news source? Does she have a news source? Is it the other teachers? administration? her higher education alma mater? Why don't people CARE about finding out the truth so that a truly educated decision can be made? WHY, WHY, do people keep believing the lamestream media? People are so gullible. Don't they know that truth is not found on main street? ...but off the beaten path!!! Don't they know that power and money corrupt? Do they want to know who in influential positions (leadership, corporations, and media) is corrupted and who isn't? It's just automatic to think the only corruption is the 'other' party pacifier. BOTH party 'establishments' are corrupt. The party platforms are just election stages that "we the people" see.

    Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light. - George Washington

    All great truths begin as blasphemies. - George Bernard Shaw, Annajanska (Think Ron Paul)

    Truth will only make you unpopular. - Wolfgang Borchert, The Outsider (Think Ron Paul)

    The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice. - Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena (Think party establishment prejudices and preconceptions.)

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    1. I'm one of the Obama supporting, gullible socialists who believes the lamestream media. So someone as wise as you should have no problem answering my questions about Ron Paul. Please feel free to refute any of them and/or answer any of them.

      1. He wants us to be like Pakistan economically.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/opinion/05kristof.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

      2. He’s a devotee of Austrian Economics instead of Keynesian economics. But again I ask, where is the hyperinflation you guys have been warning us about? The Keynesians said it wasn’t going to happen and so far it hasn’t. It’s been four years now. How long do we wait or is your model wrong?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szf-kD1a2vM

      3. Wants to make it so the products I buy don’t have to tell me what’s in them or how much.

      4. Wants to eliminate our navy’s control of the oceans so we have free international commerce, which will send us back to a system where the local areas are controlled by the locals and we are charged for using their sea lanes. Like it was for most of history. No more international waters. South China sea, anyone?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-15790287

      5. He wants the value of the dollar to be higher versus major currencies. This is absurd, since our food and housing is locally bought so the dollar being lower doesn’t effect the local economy. But a higher dollar just guarantees more imports and less manufacturing jobs here.

      http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/25/opinion/strong-dollar-advocates-make-a-weak-case/

      6. His policies will raise the tax rates on the poor. With either his flat tax:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/leonardburman/2011/10/24/what-is-a-flat-tax-surprise-it-is-a-vat/

      or sales tax:

      http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-289.html

      or excise taxes:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USFederalExciseTaxShareByIncomeLevel.1979-2007.png

      This is why I'm not voting for Ron Paul. Since i'm "gullible" you should easily be able to show me the error of my ways.

      Obama 2012

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  32. Dear Mr McNaughy.

    You are doing a great job a spreading hate. This is exactly what this country DOESN'T need. You should be ashamed of yourself. Pure and utter trash.

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    1. Agreed. Mr. McNaughton - you are so disrespectful. Going to the mall for a corn dog shouldn't expose me or my family to offensive bigotry. I think if Provo Towne Center had to remove their Victoria's Secret models from the window, then you should have to remove your distasteful "art" as well.

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  33. Those who love socialism...

    Come in France.

    You will enjoy being robbed 2/3 what you are paid for just to finally live in a third world country.

    France had one the highest standard of living in Europe before a socialist president was elected in 1981.

    We now have only left-wing parties and one of the weakest standard of living in Europe.

    Not to speak about no freedom of speech and only socialist propaganda available in the news.

    A French engineer.

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    1. Je ne crois pas que vous êtes français.

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  35. It is not Propaganda. Deeper thought is put into Propaganda. This doesn't qualify.

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