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A different sort of case for the International Criminal Court

June 26th, 2011 · 40 comments

First, a bit of global trivia: The Hague may be best known for its war crimes tribunals, but the Netherlands’ third-largest city is also home to one of the best-known masterworks of Dutch art, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. And second, something you probably already know: we Americans (at home or abroad) can be pretty obnoxious sometimes. Rachel from Santa Clarita, California can talk to you about all of the above.

While visiting the Vermeers at the Hague’s Mauritshuis Museum, she stumbled upon this entry in the guestbook from a fellow Californian. In fairness, Rachel says, “The writer does have a point; the way that the paintings are displayed makes it difficult to see/appreciate them. But I think trying the curator in the Hague is a tad excessive.”

It is a crime against humanity to place the Girl w/ a Pearl Earring against a dark green background It should be placed over a light gray background to optically recover the tone of the painting. The museographer should be tried and condemned right here in the Hague. Y.J. (an art critic and painter from LA)

It is a crime against humanity to place the Girl w/ a Pearl Earring against a dark green background It should be placed over a light gray background to optically recover the tone of the painting. The museographer should be tried and condemned right here in the Hague. Y.J. (an art critic and painter from LA)

related: The art of passive resistance

FILED UNDER: Americans abroad · art · Netherlands

40 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Jessica

    Would you mind typing out what you think it says? I bloody can’t read it on that white paper with large lettered blue ink.

    Jun 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Ali

      If you hover over the picture it shows what the note says.

      Jun 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   S.

      Hey Ali, I’m pretty sure that what Jessica meant to say is that it’s a crime against humanity to have such large lettered blue ink on white paper. It should’ve been written in black ink to optically recover the tone of the note.

      Jun 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm   rating: 64  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Jamie

      Or you can click on the photo too — figured that one out by accident one time. :-)

      Jun 27, 2011 at 7:14 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Canthz_B bang

      Or just read Kerry’s addendum.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 9:20 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Kathleen

      You’d probably get a faster response if you suggested the owner of this site be tried and condemned right here on the internet.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 9:30 am   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Jimmy James

      The internet finds you guilty, and sentences you to fifty hours community service, picking up litter from Charlie Sheen’s twitter feed.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   Kate from Iowa

      or picking up the foreskins at Russell Crowe’s.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #2   katie_2256

    The “art critic & painter” at the end ruins their whole message. Getting an A in primary school for art and having your mum stick a picture you drew up on the fridge does not make you an artist.

    Jun 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

  • #3   cat

    and this is why that painter doesn’t have a place to showcase his/her art

    Jun 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #4   Uninspired Required Name

    I just face-palmed, seriously, had to be a Californian making the U.S. look bad, again. Dammit.

    Jun 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   AA

      Ha. I was actually more surprised it was a Californian than a Texan, y’all.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 12:03 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #5   James L.

    This is not an obnoxious American issue. This is an obnoxious, opinionated artist, who could just as well have come from any other country.

    Jun 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm   rating: 55  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   AA

      …but Americans still suck most of the time.

      Ever stop and think what “patriotism” means and how many ‘mericans are total hardcore about “AMERICA, FVCK YEAH!!” ??

      This concept hit me like a ton of feathers last week while reading American Rifleman (Go NRA!! llz) and perusing the ad for the Colt “Proud to Be An American” special edition pistol shown here:

      Yes, oftentimes being American and acting a fool is completely frowned upon by the *enitre* rest of the world. This should tell us something.

      Anyway, I am occasionally ashamed of fellow citizens here. I’m hardly gung-ho about being from the U.S., but I do realize the many freedoms we have here that no other country can offer.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 12:10 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Canthz_B bang

      So, the single issue of guns is what’s on our minds “most of the time”?

      I think I might have to differ with you. I also think that anyone acting a fool is frowned upon by reasonable people, no matter the nationality of the fool.

      Sure, we suck most of the time, but that’s not why. It has much more to do with our ignorance of others. Our “Why can’t they be just like us?” attitude.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 12:38 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   clawson

      Sure, this kind of obnoxious comment *could* have been made by someone from anywhere, but, in this case, it WAS an American…one who advertised himself as one, no less. So…in this case, I think the point (joke?) is valid.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 7:01 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   sloop

      I agree with CanthzB, the nationality of a fool doesn’t make the fool so i think the point is not valid americans are no more likely to be fools than anyone else. You don’t see them running up the street in front of bulls here in Atlanta, because only a fool would do that.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 8:47 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   Canthz_B bang

      There is what I think may be a singularly “American” trait. We tend to always think we are right and attempt, to the chagrin of many worldwide, to export our ideals and values to others totally disregarding the fact that as nations go we are just a baby.
      We don’t stop to consider why others have done things the way they have done for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years longer than we’ve been around.
      We need to learn to appreciate the long, proud histories of others (such as the Chinese), stop our Euro-centric, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian view of world history, and stop saying dumb-ass things like “God bless America” because, last time I looked, America isn’t mentioned in the Bible. If you believe in God, surely you believe God should bless all mankind.

      Nothing wrong with love of country (I love America and wouldn’t rather live anywhere else), but there’s no need to look down our noses at anyone else.
      By the same token, hatred of America purely motivated by resentment and jealousy is just as wrong-headed.
      The US has not always been a mega-power (ironically, probably wouldn’t be today were it not for Hitler and Tojo given our isolationist past {beware of foreign entanglements – Geo. Washington}). There was a time when the British burned down our capital city for instance, but where does the world turn when there’s a major crisis to be addressed? You can love us or hate us, but at least admit that you need us.

      It’s not so hard to understand that a Brazilian or Australian is just as proud of his country as I am of mine. Believe it or not , my fellow Americans, not everyone is chomping at the bit to get here. They’re perfectly happy where they are.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 9:34 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #5.6   Jimmy James


      You claim to be an American, but the V gives it away- he’s Roman! Let’s get ‘em, everyone! Romanes eunt domus! Romanes eunt domus!

      Jun 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #5.7   Oh Geeeee

      @sloop You clearly do not agree with CB as you just proved his point. He said (paraphrasing slightly) that Americans act like dicks when they adopt an ignorant attitude that disparages other cultures and you did just that. Amazing.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #5.8   The Elf

      Don’t you mean “Romani ite domum”? Now write that 100 times until you get it right.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 7:45 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #5.9   Kore

      I’m from Hawaii and I can assure you that people from all over the world suck equally, especially while on vacation. Americans, Japanese (stop with the picture-taking!), Australians (put some pants on!), I mean *everyone*.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #5.10   Clumber

      Pants in Hawaii? Only 25% of my genes are Aussie, but I doubt I’d even pack pants for a trip to Hawaii… Or are shorts ok, just ixnay on the ongthay? If the latter, I am pretty certain such was part of the Geneva Conventions.

      Jun 29, 2011 at 7:52 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #6   Canthz_B bang

    Luckily, poor penmanship isn’t a crime against humanity, so the writer was able to safely leave the country without an involuntary visit to The Hague.

    Jun 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #7

    Well, he did say he’s a “painter” and not an “artist”.
    Maybe his medium of choice is the Glidden kind.

    (eta: this was meant as a response to #2)

    Jun 27, 2011 at 12:45 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #8   Grant

    Ah, but that way they can put the painting on tour and charge you £20 a time to see the painting against a variety of backdrops and in a wide range of settings.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:48 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #9   Buck

    Funny, ran across a similar entry in a guestbook at a National Park museum for which I used to volunteer. They were complaining about the lighting on a display case housing small artifacts from the site. Seems we didn’t spend enough money on “non-glare coatings” for the case. That person happened to be from Germany. So…

    Jun 27, 2011 at 5:22 am   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #10   Graham

    What! It’s a real painting!

    I thought it was just a film with that bloke who was the King thingy and Scarlet O’hara.

    Anyway, America isn’t real, it’s just a made up place full of rednecks, lawyers and fast food junkies. And art critics.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 5:56 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Canthz_B bang

      You are so right. America isn’t real…America is an idea…a dream, a place where any and all dreams are possible for those willing to work towards theirs, if you will.
      A place where, if born into poverty, one need not end up there. A place where talent reaps rewards.
      Perfect? No. But damned good nonetheless and destined to become even better if cooler heads prevail.

      Jun 27, 2011 at 10:11 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Graham

      So, just like every other country in the world then.

      Except in most other countries people are much more able to laugh at themselves. And understand the joke.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 6:36 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

  • #11   Me

    “Hague” is also my last name!

    Jun 27, 2011 at 10:05 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #12   anonymouse

    Here’s a link with a photo of TGWTPE in the museum.

    You be the judge.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #13   orange dog

    Not to paint with too big a brush… but this is a clearly artist PA not American PA. Cultural myopia doesn’t enter into it.

    BTW, the mixture of passive aggression and anal retentiveness is a wonderful composition. The strokes of arrogance and sarcasm give it a rich, bold texture of pretension (just like this comment).

    Jun 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   The Elf

      Completely. “Ugly American” stereotype would complain about how explanations of the painting weren’t in English first or how they were overcharged to get in or how the cafeteria (if there was one) didn’t have chicken fingers. “Ugly Artist” stereotype complains about the setting of the painting because, obviously, they know better.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 7:53 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #14   Srlsy Guys!

    Art Critic. Read: I studied art at community college once.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #15   dersk

    On behalf of all cloggies: donder op, trut.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #16   isa

    Something the owner of this site probably didn’t know: all countries have people (at home or abroad) who can be pretty obnoxious sometime.

    I lived in Europe for several months and I still deal with them for business purposes here and there, and since I am an Asian American I get both the “why can’t you Americans do things our way?” And “you Asians have weird cultures” reactions from some people. *shrug* There are considerate people everywhere; there are idiots everywhere.

    I don’t consider myself an artist, but I do like to go to the museums. And I have seen/heard similar PA notes and comments by “critics” from all over the world…

    Jun 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #17   bliffit

    I was hoping for more elegant or distinctive handwriting. This “artist” appears to be marginally competent at CorelDRAW at best.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #18   sonny bishop

    If this “critic” had done their homework, they would have known that the original backround for the painting was a “smooth, glossy, hard and deep translucent green”. Dark backrounds were used to enhance the three-dimensional effect of the figure.

    Jun 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #19   blart

    That’s a Californian for you.

    Jul 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up


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