In a July 16 letter ["New Mural at Orbit DVD is Offensive," July 16, Xpress], David Lynch criticized public art at Orbit DVD by applying the discerning website knowyourmeme.com. Lynch referenced a sad and offensive Internet meme featuring a sloth (the same creature depicted in Orbit’s mural) and claimed this meme, which advocates violence toward women, is the lens through which we should view the mural.
Not everyone will like the Orbit mural. Art is subjective — a Rorschach test that reveals what’s in the beholder’s head more than the artist’s. It is your right to be offended by Orbit’s mural, but not for Lynch’s reasoning. I am in no way defending the sloth meme or the actions it advocates. Lynch is likely an intelligent man, but he fights with an absurd argument.
To demonstrate, I thought I would take Lynch’s logic — find memes and apply them to Asheville — to show how unfortunate his reasoning is. Some memes I found say we should randomly beat hippies and feed homeless people to others who are homeless. I bet these people are glad not all of us think memes are for real.
I found one meme set in public fountains similar to our Splashville. It encouraged people to publicly urinate on others. Further memes dare us to do depraved acts to public monoliths like Vance Monument.
No! Don’t do any of this. Memes are for the Internet. They are not guideposts for informed and rational humans. Please question yourself if you ever want to apply an Internet meme’s content to the three-dimensional world.
If you dislike some art, including the mural at Orbit DVD, that’s fine. But when we let our minds connect something to any random reference in the search for deeper meaning, we’re not thinking critically anymore.
And that’s the real shame in the criticisms of this public mural.