Wal-mart and the American Landscape: When I asserted that a museum of American art funded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton is a tad disengenuous, I wondered if it was over-the-top. But now that Morley Safer makes a similiar point, perhaps I was on to something. Safer's letter to the editor of the New York Times:
To the Editor:

Your paean to Alice L. Walton, the Wal-Mart heir who recently purchased Asher B. Durand's landscape painting "Kindred Spirits" for $35 million ("A Determined Heiress Plots an Art Collection," Arts pages, May 14), ignored a grand inherent irony.

All that Wal-Mart money was gleaned from the systematic destruction of the very American landscape Ms. Walton so expensively celebrates. Not to mention the equally systematic obliteration of thousands of family businesses and of course the creation of hundreds of thousands of sweatshop jobs.

The robber barons of yore, through contrition or vanity, also established enduring cultural institutions, but surely in this age of alleged transparency, it behooves the newspaper of record to make at least passing reference to the human and environmental price we all pay to satisfy Ms. Walton's ambition.

Morley Safer
(Via The Nation)

And: My mom hates you, Wal-mart.

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