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Visions by Jean Koning


by Jean Koning

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Visions: on America by Dutch artist Jean Koning is a collection of columns written for an e-zine called The Noise. Koning writes in a tone that is blunt, humorous, opinionated, and unapologetic. There is a little bit of everything discussed in the succinct little snippets of life that Koning writes: sex, drugs, commercial art, finger pointing, rap music, coffee, public transportation, war… Did I mention that there is also some Oprah, Tom Cruise, and Hillary Clinton mentioned? And, best of all, some mentions of The Smiths and Morrissey?

Though the subtitle is on America, the book is about a lot more than how non-Americans see America. The book is rather a reflection on life, the insight of one person who is without a doubt the culmination of personal experience. And it is refreshing and interesting to see the way that my culture, that of America, is seen by people in Europe. The opinions expressed are always amusing and never offensive, and maybe a bit pleasingly hedonistic, which we could all use a bit more of in today’s world where news reports of international conflict shake us to the core. It also speaks of human reservation and the limitations that we place on ourselves, sometimes for propriety, and sometimes just because we want to fit in. Koning questions what art is, what freedom is, and why we place so many restrictions on our nature for the sake of what we perceive to be the better good. Yet, ultimately, the book is just funny. If you are a patriotic American, maybe an extreme right-winger, you might want to shy away or calm down a bit before you pick this book up because it is not a kiss ass book or a series of articles about “what’s so great about America.”

I particularly loved the part about Tom Cruise’s Interview With the Vampire role being nothing more than a ploy for him to come out of the closet to Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. If only, Koning, if only.

I hope to see you on Oprah soon. ( )
  morbidromantic | Jun 28, 2009 |
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