To the editors:

I was relieved to notice that Tom Frank is not a permanent staff writer. I am embarrassed to admit that I read Mr. Frank’s article, which attempts to set us all straight on why “impressionism sucks” [July 21], in its entirety. The editors of the Reader should be ashamed for allowing such an ignorant moron–who obviously knows nothing about art outside of what his petty little Marxist textbooks have told him–so much space.

I wouldn’t waste space with any brief treatise on the language of painting, art history, and where great artists like Claude Mount and Gustave Caillebotte fit in. Nor will I join in on any futile condemnation of particular financial trends in the global art market and the “sitcom Ellens” of society. Instead, I’d like to impart a little advice to Mr. Frank, who I perceive as rather young and fresh: remove the newly acquired U. of Chicago or Northwestern U. sheepskin from the wall, pack up and go back to the north shore or whatever suburb that bred you, and beg mum and dad for a few more sheckles (I know they’re already bogged down by your outrageous tuition debt) to get the fuck out and see the world! “Shock the bourgeoisie” (!), you are the “bourgeoisie” unless you forget this lame terminology and begin to understand that there are more important responsibilities of a journalist than generalizing and categorizing society and unjustly shitting on the names of reputations of great people who actually created something of beauty during their lifetime, dumb ass!

Marco Polo


Tom Frank replies:

For a person so proud of his undereducation, Mr.”Polo” does surprisingly well in the sterotype competition: he accuses me of being (1) a Red, (2) a loathsome Northwestern egghead, (3) a rich kid from the north shore. I’m a little disappointed that he missed the obvious anti-Semitic slur, but three out of four is probably enough to move his fellow lumpens to crazed riot-readiness.

The odd thing is that Mr. Polo pushes all the hate buttons in defense of–art! Monet would no doubt be proud of his rule-breaking (as would the curators of the Art Institute, which somehow escaped scot-free from Mr. Polo’s ravings against institutions of high culture). Even odder, he announces that he could tell me a thing or two about why Monet should always be revered–as though reputations in the art world were somehow free from fluctuation and academic debate. It’s kind of a shame you restrained yourself, Mr. Polo, because I would have enjoyed kicking your ass point by point as you babbled on about “the language of painting,” and so would all my supersmart, superwealthy, Diego Rivera-owning buddies from Red Conspiracy 101 at Northwestern.

But to tell the truth, I’m gratified by Mr. Polo’s response. The braying incoherent rage into which my tongue-in-cheek attack on Monet propelled him augurs well for my scheme against the worldwide art markets. Remeber how Dada worked: by attacking the icons of bourgeois taste and stirring the “Marco Polos” of the world into exactly this sort of fury. If we can cause an angry right-wing backlash in defense of Monet, well, hell, we’re halfway to global economic chaos already.