‘Alt-Norman Rockwell’ image drives home the absurdity of arming teachers

Initially, I wasn’t sure if I could approve of someone defacing the work of the great American painter Norman Rockwell. But maybe something that potentially offensive (at least to an art lover like me) is worth it to get a point across.

This Tuesday, cartoonist for The Salt Lake City Tribune Pat Bagley published an image that reimagined one of Rockwell’s most loved works, originally titled “Happy Birthday Miss Jones,” which depicted a 1950s-era teacher being surprised by her class for her birthday. But in Bagley’s “Alt Norman Rockwell” version, the teacher has an ammunition belt slung over her shoulders and an assault weapon hanging by her waist.

I’m not sure if Alt-Norman Rockwell is Bagley’s concept — a Google search shows the image popping up on the Internet as far back as 2013. I’ve reached out to him and will update this article if I hear back. Either way, the picture’s reemergence is perfect in the sense that it’s an overblown yet conceptually accurate depiction of what many gun fetishists envision the solution to the phenomenon of school shootings to be.

For all we know it could even be similar to what President Trump was envisioning in his head when he recently suggested arming teachers as a viable answer.

Alt-Norman Rockwell

Posted by Pat Bagley – The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Off-putting as it is to see great artwork vandalized, envisioning American classrooms with armed teachers is also a vandalism of something sacred. The Alt-Norman Rockwell drives that home perfectly.

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