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Friday, April 11, 2008

How One Sees Onesself

There's a very interesting TV show on IBA. It's totally Israeli in Hebrew, and I don't know if they got the idea from somewhere else.

They bring three artists to a famous/prominent person, the site of his/her choice, and they must paint/draw a portrait of the person. After that meeting, the artists finish the portrait in their studios from photographs taken at the session.

Then the finished portraits are later brought to a "gallery" and displayed to the subject, who gets to choose one to keep.

Last night the subject was MK Dr. Arieh Eldad, MD. He chose the setting to be his living room in his home in Kfar Adumim, which is in the southern part of the Jordan Valley, though I think the TV guy referred to it as "Midbar Yehuda," the Judean Desert. The Eldads have a balcony with the most dramatic view of a waadi, desert mountain cliff.

Eldad is generally ignored by Israel's media, since he's a proud right wing nationalist. During the prepainting session, he joked about it by saying that he hopes that the artists won't paint his "horns," alluding to the fact that Left wingers consider him a monster. His pleasant personality, talents and intelligence are probably whet frighten them the most. Finally they gave him a forum which brought out the best of him. Unfortunately, the show was broadcast at 11pm, when most people are going to bed, or using their TVs to watch movies.

The resulting paintings were all very different. Eldad described one as looking just like him today, which was painted by a female landscape painter. The second predicted what he'll look like in the future, and the third took him out of the comfortable chair he had posed in and used the dramatic waadi as background.

Most of us are vain and want to be seen in the most flattering lights possible. We would go for the first or third painting, but Arieh Eldad, one of the world's top plastic surgeon burn specialists, sees things very differently. He chose the second picture, the one that ages him with wisdom and experience.

His "postscript," the few words of politics they didn't edit out, was food for thought. He mentioned that the members of the Israeli right wing professors group consists mainly of scientists and mathematicians, not those in the humanities, and that's because "it's more logical to be right wing."

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
Have a Happy and Blessed Shabbat


YMedad said...

Actually, the end of the credits note that the idea came from a British program. And on the hill plateau, that portion of Israel is still the Judean desert.

Batya said...

Thank you for the clarifications.
I rarely read end credits in Hebrew; even in English, they are hard to read with reading glasses. The distance and size have to be "just right." It's also a problem in airplanes. The "individual screens" are the wrong size/distance.

I didn't realize that the Judean Desert and Jordan Valley meet.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dr. Eldad's final observation. Scientists and mathematicians are humbled daily by the truth. Their statements are meant to be checked and confirmed or disproven using convincing and reproducible logic, and, as such, they don't have the luxury of maintaining utterly indefensible hypotheses.

Batya said...

Thanks for your comment. I guess I really am the CPA's daughter after all!