Glaring Omissions reproduces tips received from readers in the last week that weren't covered on Gawker, either by accident (it happens!) or by design (it happens more often). This week, we bring you a very very special edition of Glaring Omissions.
Where Wronwright Got His Zulu Spear*
Michael Stevenson's learned essay on war souvenirs primarily focuses on the British in 19th century Africa, but touches on more recent examples. Via Maggie's Farm.
A topic of some personal interest.**
* Where the heck have you and that spear been lately, anyway, Wronright?
**New readers will be disappointed to learn my loot did not actually include any gold bullion, gold-plated weapons, or artwork of note. Though I do miss that Saddam painting that U.S. Customs relieved me of, that it might be returned to the grateful Iraqi people. Fortunately, I was allowed to keep the rest. You'll see it on Antiques Roadshow in about 50 years at the Mumbles Menino Memorial Convention Center.
Appraiser: "Well, this is very exciting. Your grandfather was a notorious international art thief, war criminal and tabloid hack in the early 21st century ... I have to say, this is just a fabulous collection. What's the story with this landmine?"
Crittenden: "Well, apparently Granddad narrowly avoided getting blown up by a bunch of those in Kosovo. He always used to say, 'War Zone Rule No. 1, stay on the pavement when needing to pee.' But the funny part was, he carried that thing through three different airport security checkpoints, and no one batted an eye. His Iranian-born photog pal who had a couple of the same things got quite a working over by some fat, moustachioed customs agents at Skopje, however. Those guys were really mad and weren't buying the 'journalist' line until they figured out there weren't any explosives in there."
Appraiser: "Gosh! How about this hefty brass profile of Saddam. Looks like it belongs on a men's room door!"
Crittenden: "Well, that's where we keep it, down at the 10-bedroom cottage on Nantucket Granddad bought after he won a Pulitzer for Tabloid Excellence and the New York Times and Washington Post were begging him to write columns for them. Of course, he recognized they were dying organizations and ended up founding the vast 'Forward Movement' Internet media empire instead. No, wait a minute. That's not how it went. He died penniless, living in a refrigerator box under a highway overpass. Now I remember."
Appraiser: "Of course. Viewers might remember that the New York Times and the Washington Post were things called 'broadsheet newspapers.' People used them to train puppies, which is ironic, because they ultimately went out of business after people figured out they were full of crap. Some people say it was because they were so boring. The Boston Globe is a good example of that. They had all kinds of hypocritical ideas about 'objectivity,' and no stomach for cheesecake, celebrity scandal, the things we've since learned truly matter. The last of the big broadsheets disappeared about 2015. They failed to make the jump to the Internet the way the great tabloids like the New York Post and Boston Herald did. Hold on, my mistake. All of them were killed off by 'Gawker' and 'Perez Hilton.' "
Crittenden: "That's right. Gramps always said, 'Broadsheets suck!' He also had no time for something called the AP, which he said was a no good bunch of America-bashing terrorism cheerleaders."
Appraiser: "Oh yes, Al-P. That once illustrious news organization came to a sorry demise after its top management and members of its Washington and Baghdad bureaus were found to be collaborating with terrorists — they prefered to call them 'militants' — and they were relocated to the Great Crusader Gulag at Guantanamo, to be held indefinitely without charge while their Korans were flushed down the toilet. No, wait a minute. That's not it. They actually still dominate American news with pro-terrorist pap. Now I remember. But what's this?"
Crittenden: "Well, that's a bayonet Granddad picked up in the trenches in front of the palaces in Baghdad, and that helmet with a big hole in it was lying around after a particularly fierce engagement on Haifa Street. Granddad always said the guy's head was not in it when it got the hole, or you wouldn't want to be touching it."
Appraiser: "This shard of marble is interesting."
Crittenden: "That came from one of Saddam Hussein's obscenely lavish palaces. The rst of the Iraqi people were all living in mud huts, when they weren't been tortured, executed and dumped in mass graves, that is. Not like today, when Iraq is one of the economic powerhouses of the Middle East. You can see where a GI artist painted it up with the insignia of the unit my granfather was attached to, the map of their route through Iraq, and the words, 'Critter Was Here.' "
Appraiser: "This is a category of folkcraft we call 'barracks art.' Very collectible. Now, the news articles mention an infamous painting ... "
Crittenden: "Yes, Grandad said the 'bastards' at U.S. Customs wouldn't give it back. They said they were going to return it to the grateful Iraqi people. Apparently, federal agents actually paid someone to appraise the painting, to see if it was an al-Rembrandt or ibn Gogh. It was deemed virtually worthless, with a value of $800, but at that time that was $400 more than federal regulations allowed Granddad to steal from Saddam Hussein."
Appraiser: "Where is it now?"
Crittenden: "You know the last scene in that classic film, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' where they wheel the Ark of the Covenant into a vast government warehouse? We think it's there. Next to the Ark."
Appraiser: "Yes, we're all dying to get into that warehouse. Now, what do you think this is all worth?"
Crittenden: "Not worth the trouble, Granddad always said."
Appraiser: "Ha ha ha. Actually, given the provenance ... these news articles from Pravda, Cuba Socialista, the New York Times and so forth calling him an art thief ... your grandfather's prominence as a third-rate Internet ranter, and the quality of this collection, I'd have to say at my auction house we'd start this at $1,000 and work our way down from there."
Crittenden: "Wow. That's a lot. But we'd never part with it. You know, the sentimental value ... hang on, did you say $1,000? Uh ... do you have a business card?"