AN ALTERNATE TITLE for this trenchant satire might have been Apotheosis if Nonentity.
For here, in what might at first glance
look like a surgical operation in a cathedral,
Grant Wood has caricatured a disagreeable American vice:
glorification of the second-rate by mumbo jumbo.
The squat, paunchy, mindless, and self-satisfied center of
academic atlention in this mysterious ceremony has
just presented the old alma mater with a new,
if slightly reduced,replica of the Yale Bowl.
(This Limited Edition Original Book Plate/Lithograph, May still be for sale ) see Our Sales sites
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In return for this of enlightenment and culture,
he is their well-shod feet,which give
their extremely unbecoming mortarboards, ingress rite
are unconscious that they border on the obscene.
The healthy, laughing hatred of sham that motivates a
lithograph of this sort is apt to make the observer underrate the
artistry with which it is projected.
Notice the stance of the magnifico who is handing Mr. Dope his diploma.
Is it not the very essence of petty importance?
And is not the entire vacuity of Dope himself
expressed in his flat-footed, well-fed posture?
It leaves no doubt that he is one of the characters in Who’s Who, and
will be mourned by many when he
dies-particularly after the reading of his will.