1. I assume the lack of an ear is the “fairly easy” part. But what’s the “unexplained element”? Why mention an unexplained element and then not say what it is? Are you purposely being opaque?

  2. I was probably overly concerned to avoid spoilers, making the write-up post too vague or confusing. As I saw it, the rather good joke is the one Lord F and beckoning chasm identify, that he is excluded because he can’t properly wear a mask – due to his famously missing ear. That was the CIDU element as far as I was concerned – not difficult, but funny.

    What dollarbill took for granted in his submission email, but was entirely news to me, was that “immersive experience” means at the moment a form of art exhibit, and that there is one of these currently traveling devoted to Van Gogh. (Which he reviewed quite favorably.) So that means the show he can’t get into is his own, adding an ironic element. That was good to know, but for me was not necessary to the joke, and so was not the CIDU element.

    I can see how someone could regard that irony as constituting the joke, and I wouldnt argue the point, though I disagree, and see the joke as centered in the ear bit.

  3. Interesting, Mitch4, as I’d (somehow) assumed that the exhibition was for his Van Gogh’s own work…though how I automatically came to that conclusion I don’t know.

    I guess there’s no real reason to have Van Gogh otherwise, because if it was an exhibit for anything else (“When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” or “Doctor Who”) you wouldn’t get any irony.

    A bit like an old Isaac Asimov story, where a scientist brought Shakespeare to the present day and anonymously enrolled him in a literature class devoted to his own work…which the Bard flunked.

  4. Total fail by being the wrong ear. However, the mistake is understandable because all of his self-portraits were mirror images; Van Gogh used a mirror for their creation.
    The good news is that the gag can be subtly fixed by reversing the sign. :~)

  5. Oh. I was wondering what Immer#### Exhib#### was supposed to be. I still don’t get what that has to do with anything here though, until informed above about the traveling Van Gogh show. Doesn’t really add to the gag.
    Kevin A makes a good point regarding the wrong ear – self portrait – mirror image thing.

  6. It wouldn’t be totally ironic if Van Gogh were prevented from seeing his own exhibit. These things happen.

    Rather famously, when the stage show version of “Superman” opened in New York in the 1960’s, one of the creators of Superman, living in poverty, could not afford to buy a ticket.

  7. There was a story in one of Ron Luciano’s “Umpire” books about a dinner held for one of Mets players, and security wouldn’t let him in for some reason. So he ate dinner in a restaurant across the street. I can’t recall the player’s name, and the library doesn’t have e-book versions of those.

  8. Going by various sources, it’s not entirely clear if van Gogh cut off his entire ear, or just a part of it. I read once that he may have only cut off an earlobe.

  9. Currently in Boston there are not just one but TWO Van Gogh “immersive experiences” operating, creating much confusion.

  10. And as Nitpicking Man, I immediately thought that Vince just needs a $1 mask clip to hold the mask on. Or an N95 respirator, which is held on by straps above and below the head, not ear loops.

  11. I recall an old joke (probably from a Bennett Cerf collection) about a teen-ager trying to take out of the library a book with a title like WHAT EVERY SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY SHOULD KNOW and being told by the horrified desk attendant “Oh, no, you have to be 21 to check that out!”

    (I thought I’d seen old sex-ed-lite books with such titles, but a quick DuckDuckGo plus a little messing around on WorldCat didn’t turn up any I remembered, so, probably indeed just a joke.)

  12. When Abbie Hoffman’s book “Steal This Book” came out, I asked the clerk at the bookstore whether I should steal it. She said no, I had to buy and pay for it.

  13. After having seen one of the many immersive Van Gogh productions very recently, my only thought was the irony of seeing Van Gogh show up to see his own works. I missed the ear part that you all seem to have caught onto immediately.

    Not cheap, but a must see, in my opinion. It’s a great experience. People go back with new viewers, sometimes.

    What’s next? Immersive Klimt already in LA and Chicago. More with other artists, given the demand. They ARE big productions, I’ll grant you that.

    So many competing exhibits everywhere! A review covers that fact in this article.

    No paywall– https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/07/arts/design/van-gogh-immersive-experiences.html minus half of the pics.

  14. Honestly, I’d rather examine the actual paintings. 🙂

    I think I did see some of his paintings at a museum in Boston in the ’90s.

    For the full experience I wish museums would let you touch the paintings. Feel the brushstrokes.


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