Join Editor-in-Chief Joshua Heston, Ethan Grubaugh and Dale Grubaugh explore the “gloriously messy middles” of provocative artwork, offensive fireworks, ideas of boycotting, free speech, and helping people rather than hurting them.

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Articles discussed…

Been thinking about…

The gloriously messy middle.

Opinion. Freedom. ‘Murica. Polarization. Usually in that order.

First off, StateoftheOzarks isn’t a political magazine, and it’s not going to be. But as editor-in-chief, I oversee our editorial narrative and — as we cover both traditional and contemporary culture — that means I get to decide what articles get published. And which do not.

And I’m not opposed to ruffling a few feathers, if I feel the need is warranted (as the stories from last week attest).

Tradition. History. Community. Culture. Society as it changes. And as it stays the same.

I chose this week’s feature articles for very specific reasons. Summer Firework Art is gloriously bombastic art, disposable, sudden, and often very, very politically incorrect. It would not be hard for self-appointed members of the so-called PC police to find something on a redneck firework display offensive.

And offense-taking seems to be the order of the day here in our glorious new America.

But first, take a look at Harlan Bonar’s art. Behind the immediate colors of a re-envisioned Civil War lies art profusely decorated with hard themes, nudity, and — if you subscribe to Bonar’s “Christmas letter-comic-strip-narrative” by mail — I do, in case you wondered — a heaping helping of profanity.

Sometimes it’s tough stuff. And good folks of a more church-going nature could shy away.

But, that’s the point. On left and right, we have those ready to take offense, to boycott, to declare loudly.

But it’s the in between in which life is lived loudly. Art is painted. It is where there is joy and pain. Honesty. Authenticity. And self-righteous soapboxes are best-left behind.


In the gloriously messy middle.

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