So, apparently Thomas Kinkade, famously dubbed the "Painter of Shitty Paintings for People with No Taste" (or something along those lines...he paints those godawful paint-by numbers landscapes, each of which features a prominent light, which supposedly comes from Jesus), is extremely exploitative in the way he does business, duping gallery owners who happen to be Evangelical Christians into signing on to bad financial deals, etc. He apparently plays on the fact that they share a common faith, yadda yadda, and screws them financially. So he got sued. It's been in arbitration for a while, but he just lost again. Read this whole article, but this is particularly interesting:
At a weeklong presentation for prospective Kinkade Signature Gallery owners,
company executives "said they would support us as partners in spreading the
light," Spinello said at the time of the arbitration award. "They said their
business was blessed."
In its February 2006 decision, the arbitration panel
said Kinkade and other company officials used terms like "partner," "trust,"
"Christian" and "God" to create "a certain religious environment designed to
instill a special relationship of trust" with the couple.
What the company
didn't tell them, said their attorney, was that they would have to sell
Kinkade's works at minimum retail prices while the artist undercut them with
discount sales, some of which he made himself on cable television.
I tend to agree with Amanda Marcotte here, that this kind of situation just strengthens the idea that we should never pretend that Evangelical Christians, regular Christians, or believers of ANY religion are necessarily any more "moral" in their daily lives than anyone else. In fact, I would suggest that we need to finally break free from the idiocy, imprinted in our society, that morals and religion are in any way related to each other in the first place. Amanda puts it this way:
If anything, it exposes how businesses that use evangelical Christians as their
customer base exploit that faith to get them into fucked-up financial
situations. I’m thinking quite specifically of Amway, who took full advantage of
the Republican party’s soft hand both with fundamentalists and with people who
run pyramid schemes to run rampant over the past decade, and who needs to be
squashed out of existence completely.
Yep. It's actually the same exact mindset that leads Evangelicals to gulp down without question the missives from Focus on the Family, and other groups of that ilk. (And the Republican party/Fox News by extension, since they've all co-opted the same group of people.) The idea is, "Well, these are Christian people! They wouldn't lie to us!"
Anyone who has monitored the Religious Right for more than five minutes knows that, when it comes to telling the truth, Religious Right organizations are among the most shamefully dishonest organizations on the planet, and they use the (undeserved) veneer of morality assigned to them to manipulate and fool people. I actually saw a comment on a website, I can't remember which, but it was from an Evangelical Wingnut sort, and as part of a larger, misspelled, poorly constructed, all caps rant against liberals, it said, "you people don't have any proof, you only have science!"
And I was like...wow. These people are probably not all that sharp to begin with, and they have an imprinted need to psychologically prostrate themselves before those they consider to be Daddy figures, and I get that, but it was still amazing to see just how deeply "Christian" organizations and right-wing media have brainwashed their sheep.
Anyway, this Thomas Kinkade business is just a small piece of all of that, in my opinion.
And god, his paintings are shitty!