‘You Must Be This Happy To Enter’ by Elizabeth Crane

You Must Be This Happy To Enter by Elizabeth Crane, 2008

The magic trick:

Using a little bit of magical realism to alter the story’s themes

This story begins under the guise of snarky social satire. Art openings; the foibles of the privileged creative class.

But then it changes.

We get a little dash of magical realism – or maybe even call it science fiction. Now it’s still social commentary, but the themes are much broader than mere art scene mockery. It turns out less snarky and more sweet. And that’s quite a trick on Crane’s part.

The selection:

What happened was I was at yet another dreadful opening when some dude in those kind of architect glasses said to me something like, “That which doesn’t provoke has no meaning.” And, you know, first of all, who talks like that? “That which” – nobody is who. And second of all, well, it just, it burned me. It’s not irrelevant that the show that night was by this artist who does these giant installations of Barbie war scenes with like hundreds of Barbies with their hair all chopped off, dressed in camouflage and carrying machine guns. Dead and wounded Barbies all over, with their very lifelike guts spilling out. And Kens tending to the victims, dressed in those old-timey white nurse costumes with the little red crosses on them but with short pants and cutoff sleeves. I’ve stopped trying to figure out what people like this are even trying to say, because I’m not trying to hear it.

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