Deep Shit

 

Sioux Chief Medicine Bottle sits over the skinless corpse of a settler and performs a ritual to conduct the dead man’s spirit through the process of dying. However, the annoyed spirit emerges “Well, now you’ve done it!” and curses Medicine Bottle with Benjamin Franklin’s words, “Where carcasses are, eagles will gather” speaking to the American symbol’s penchant for death (and an easy meal) and the Colonial retribution Medicine Bottle can expect. Medicine Bottle also curses the dead man “God-damn your shit-filled soul”. The text floating above Medicine Bottle is a beatific, esoteric sonnet instructing the departing spirit to seek peace by cutting attachment to the world left behind or else end up in the “World of Unhappy Ghosts”. The nature of the text then shifts from pseudo-spiritual rationalizations (“All matter is one to him who holds the key to the cosmos”) to the reality of land squabbles “Then there was murder, grim and appalling”.

The portrait of Medicine Bottle used for this drawing was the last one taken of him before he was hung. The text was taken from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Bible (King James version), The Conquering Sword of Conan by Robert E. Howard, Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, and the writing’s of Benjamin Franklin.

The title "Deep Shit" has three meanings:

as in being in trouble
as in spiritual depths, expressed in casual language
as in an expression of sarcasm towards trying to be “deep”

 

E.A.B. 7/8/09