America in miniature, and, it follows, the...


March 04, 1991

MARYLAND IS America in miniature, and, it follows, the governor's mansion is Maryland in miniature, or should be.

So, Hilda Mae Snoops, the official state hostess, wants to put painted screens on one of the mansion's doors. She unveiled them at a meeting of the Governor's Mansion Trust last week.

Her plan to grace the mansion with this example of East Baltimore folk art quickly drews scoffs from some. "I'm a tremendous fan of the folk-genre of painted screens and they are a marvelous art form for Baltimore but they couldn't be more incorrect for a Georgian revival mansion," said Stiles T. Colwill, a former curator with the Maryland Historical Society, who suggested Ms. Snoops should "go back to Eastern Avenue."

There's a way to prevent painted screens from clashing with the red brick of the Colonial-era mansion, and to allow the mansion to fulfill its role as Maryland in miniature. Screens alone are not enough; the mansion needs formstone.

Of course, the curator types would scoff again. But we say to Ms. Snoops, "Go to it, hon."

...* * *

OVERHEARD in a high-class establishment the other day: First Person, "The superiority of Western civilization and values over vTC others is demonstrated by the different war rhetoric in the Persian Gulf.

"Our side talks in passionless, sorrowful, military bureaucratese. The other side shouts intemperate bloody boasts and threats."

Second Person, having (we later learned) just seen the new "Henry V" video, smiled and quoted the king's famous battle charge at Harfleur, "once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;/Or close the wall up with our English dead./In peace there's nothing so becomes a man/As modest stillness and humility:/But when the blast of war blows in our ears,/Then imitate the action of the tiger;/Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,/Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage."

First Person mumbled, "What's literature got to do with civilization?"

* * *

HEADLINE WRITERS beware! These could be the times that try the soul of even the hardiest copy desk veteran. With the Persian Gulf war now a smashing success for the U.S. military, wartime heroes could quickly find themselves pressed to enter the political arena.

It's been done before. Remember Dwight Eisenhower? Squeezing his name into headlines was bad enough (he became "Ike" in one-column heads). But horror of horrors, what do you do to make "H. Norman Schwarzkopf" fit? Or worse, how do you accommodate "President H. Norman Schwarzkopf"?

Do newspapers start calling him "Schwarzie" or "Norm" or "HNS"? Headline writers had better keep their fingers crossed the general remains happily in the military.

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