At first glance, George Zimmerman's painting of State Attorney Angela Corey, executed in vermilion, carnelian, rhodamine, yellow and orange, is bizarre. With its rough strokes, it resembles the maniac wall daubs that are de rigueur for television serial killers who always have human blood around to paint runes, witchcraft symbols and mysterious messages.
To Duval County Courthouse denizens, however, it's hilarious. Corey is famous for the erubescent rages for which her predecessor, Harry Shorstein, fired her. When she terminated Ben Kruidbos, the IT director who testified that she withheld evidence from Zimmerman's attorneys, the rubor of the ensuing litigation and the uproar in the press were of equal magnitude.
Among criminal defendants, she is the scarlet virago of maximum charges, maximum bail and maximum sentences. To her supporters, she is justice incarnate; to her detractors, outrage incarnadine.
Red becomes her.
Who knew that George was a wit? Not the nattering classes, which pegged him as a loser and cop wannabe, terms repeated endlessly, like echoes in the empty canyon of modern journalism. I suspected otherwise, initially when I listened to him speak Spanish, his best language, and later when he arrived at trial with a quarter-million bucks he'd scored on the Internet for his defense. The sale of his first painting, of an American flag with blue stripes, for $108,000, reinforced this impression.
In exacting some tiny payback on his tormentor, his choice of weapons was interesting. Nearly all prisoners, under a rough blanket in the solitude of a cell, dream of smashing the skulls of the prosecutors who put them there. Zimmerman chose, instead of a club, the paintbrush.
This is insightful. Most elected officials are notably humorless and irony-challenged. When teased with a funny painting or a bon mot that has more than one meaning, they're helpless.
Zimmerman made his artwork by projecting a photograph onto canvas and painting over … More