Who Cares? Not Tom Ripley. Not Banksy. You.
The talented Tom Ripley is at it again in Ripley Under Ground, the second book in Patricia Highsmith's "Ripliad" series-- this time his victim is an unlucky art patron named Thomas Murchison, who rightly suspects that the painting he has bought is a forgery-- unfortunately he has stumbled into one of Tom Ripley's sophisticated con games-- and because he can't adopt Ripley's amorality, he ends up a corpse, but Highsmith has bigger fish to fry than just murder: Ripley asks Murchison, "Why disturb a forger who's doing such good work?" and this raises one of my favorite artistic/philosophical debates, which is portrayed in both the documentary My Kid Could Paint That and Banksy's perplexing film Exit Through The Gift Shop . . if there is any way to objectively judge art, then it shouldn't matter who painted the picture-- if it's good, then it's good-- but, of course, our brains don't work like that; art buyers want to be sure that it is prodigy Marla Olmstead that painted the canvases they spent so much money on, not her dad, and when Oprah revealed that James Frey's "memoir" A Million Little Pieces is actually part fictional, people were outraged-- including me!-- and so I suppose I should come clean here and reveal that Sentence of Dave is actually written by a trained donkey, not a computer program . . . but I'm sure you all suspected that from the start.