Me Myself and Vincent Van Gogh

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Me Myself and Vincent Van Gogh

Copyright © November 17, 2011 Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

The lyric poet of the early 70’s, Don McClean, in his song Starry, Starry Night, said of Vincent Van Gogh

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Vincent Van Gogh, in reality was no lover of humanity. He was a self centered egotistical intellectual in the sense of the word intended by Paul Johnson in his book Intellectuals. Johnson’s last word is simply “Above all, we must at all times remember what intellectuals habitually forget: that people matter more than concepts and must come first. The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.” (Page 342)

Van Gogh chose his religions as they suited him. At various periods in his life he was a Protestant, a Catholic, an Atheistic free-thinker, or a Hindu. He chose his friends as they could profit him, paying for supplies when needed, or food, lodging and alterative substances of sorts. He chose his version of social responsibilities as it best provided for his own welfare (three hots and a cot), using the private charities to support him through his disease.

Van Gogh used and abused his brother’s sense of responsibility to promote himself as a misunderstood artist. His brother owed him a living because he was selflessly dedicating himself to the cause of humanity by his personal aggression towards it. Paul Johnson, speaking about Rousseau, says “he was the first intellectual systematically to exploit the guilt of the privileged.” (Page 11) This could as easily apply to Vincent.

He abused other artist friends who were after years of struggle at last achieving recognition because they understood the value of sponsorship. He assaulted the artist friend Gaughan, who was closest to him, out of jealous contempt at his success.

He took advantage of the welfare of institutionalism before it became a state-run robot.

He cut off his ear (really just the lobe) to prove how unstable he was mentally, hoping to gain the sympathies of possible future donors. If others might be able to exploit the illness of this tortured soul, and profit by it, it might also provide some fame and fortune for himself.

He cut off his own ear lobe because he, like all abusers of the system, realized that a little blood goes a long way. Loss of an ear is what history would record. “Oh my! This poor dear tortured soul cut off his own ear to punish himself for the guilt he was inflicted with by the Judaeo-Christian religion!” In reality, he cut off that micro-pork-chop shaped piece of fat at the bottom of the ear that women find most appropriate for nothing else than adornment. Quite the martyr, that Vincent!

Finally, after garnering no rich supporters willing to fall prey to his guilt-tripping manipulations of a society still immune to such nonsense, Van Gogh, the great Vincent, decided to use the ultimate guilt trip to secure his recognition as a god in the pantheon of dejected heroes. This is the attitude expressed in the childhood ditty

“Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
Guess I’ll go eat worms”

Van Gogh chose suicide for the same reason that every other suicide chooses “worms”. Suicide is an attempt to achieve immortality. It is a way to say to everyone else “I am so important. Listen to me.”

Van Gogh’s suicide was not the frustration of a man trying to express his love for a rejecting lover. Rather, it was the hateful challenge to the society of that time that did not believe he had anything useful to say. In dying, he could and did make himself a suffering servant. He became a Christ figure deserving of much more attention than just another crappy painter who didn’t have enough talent to accurately draw the figure.

There was no poetry in the death of Van Gogh that challenged the world to better things. There was no more than a third rate artist who used everyone around him for his own advantage in life and finally used a guilt-trip suicide to promote himself to the liberal pantheon of gods and goddesses adored by free-thinking free-loaders today.

Van Gogh, like all self-immolationists in modernist pantheons, sought through death a place of sainthood without having to do anything that actually benefited any one but himself. Van Gogh is the epitome of the “Me Generation”. “I am so important that you should enshrine me despite the fact that my importance is only as extensive as my own self-enshrinement”.

Van Gogh’s god was himself, and when that did not work for others, martyrdom for the cause of self was his only recourse. Like every suicide “victim” his intention was martyrdom for his own glory. (Slightly different from Jesus Christ!) Like Van Gogh, the typical suicide is no more than an attempt to deify one’s self.

Suicide is the ultimate selfish act. It is an attempt to make all your detractors and enemies feel bad about how they (supposedly) treated you. It is the ultimate guilt trip laid upon those who realize that you may be little more than an idiot who thinks he has something to say. It is the grandstanding of self-importance.

In reality, despite all the beautiful eulogies, since no one wants to speak ill of the dead, most people realize that the guilt is not their own, and that even in death, idiots still have nothing to say.

We still have nothing to learn from Vincent about real beauty and truth. His love never was true. That is the nature of self love. Beautiful colors. Swirling painted strokes. All serving no more than the self-love of another premadonna who thought he was somehow better than the rest of us.

Vincent Van Gogh
Rest in Peace


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


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