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You Asked: What Would Rockwell Do?

Published: October 10, 2009

One reader suggests that if Rockwell were alive and illustrating today, he would be painting covers depicting “the insane world of today with technology run amok …”  Here’s what we think …

Take a look at Lands of Enchantment from 1923: A lad is reading a thick book with intense concentration, and no wonder—the stories of medieval knights is exciting stuff. Young Eddie, in his imagination (which Rockwell generously supplies in the background), becomes Sir Edward, saving the damsel from … well, whatever dreadful fate he was saving her from.

Today, would Eddie be playing in a video arcade? While the young boy concentrates on the game, maybe Rockwell’s background would show hero Eddie, his knight’s armor replaced by a self-contained, pressurized spacesuit, blasting intergalactic bullies with his Super Laser while racking up an impressive score.

<em>Serenade</em> by Norman Rockwell. September 22, 1928.

Serenade by Norman Rockwell. September 22, 1928.

How about the boy serenading the girl from 1928? This is a no-brainer to 2009 Rockwell. On the new cover, the boy would be having his female friend listen to a cool tune on his iPod. It may not seem as romantic, but when you’re 14, this is hot stuff.

And finally, one of our favorite Rockwell covers: The Gossips from 1948. Mabel tells Sue something, Sue tells Jane, who tells George, and so on, and so on. By the time the gossip gets back to Mabel (via Rockwell himself, in the painting), she had a completely different piece of gossip to be shocked over.

<em>The Gossips</em> by Norman Rockwell. March 6, 1948.

The Gossips by Norman Rockwell. March 6, 1948.

Fast forward to 2009: Mabel e-mails Sue about one of the neighbors. “Honestly, that Herman was going out to his mailbox in his robe, which he never bothered to close. Well, he never did have any class.” Sue whips out her cell phone and texts this juicy tidbit to Jane, who Twitters George, and by the time 2009 Rockwell tells the same story back to Mabel, when he ran into her at Starbucks, she is appalled to hear that her neighbor Jim disrobed in the supermarket! An ironic twist (that she will later post on her Facebook page) on the efficiency of technology that Rockwell would have loved. And somehow, we think 2009 Rockwell would have pulled it off.


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  • Janet Garritano

    How true!!! Perfect connection between the old and the new!!