Loser's Guide to Life
I was looking at a CD the other day, mindful of the terrible piracy that goes on at great cost to the world. It hurts us all, you know. Vessels are plundered of their precious cargo of lite rock, pop-funk fusion, screamo, grind core. Occasionally the pirates find a chest full of louis d'or, which they just throw overboard, of course.
But I was rather intrigued by the cover art of this particular CD. Who painted that? What's it called? I looked all over the CD case, took out the insert, examined it with my loupe, and finally found: Mortiz von Schwind "Im Walde", ca.1848, in tiny letters. I was surprised because usually you can't find anything. Record companies use details from paintings all the time, and it doesn't matter what the painting is, or whether it has anything to do with the content of the CD. Some people might think this no better than piracy—worse, really, because the artist's work has been hacked up and used to promote something else.
But those people are saps, because if you looked into it, you would see that record companies perform a valuable service, a bit like Ducks Unlimited, by wisely husbanding several centuries of European art so that it can continue to provide advertising images well into the future. Their practice is both sustainable and reponsible. And cheap.