Michelle Bachmann’s Art History Lessons

michelleb Michelle Bachmanns Art History Lessons

Earlier this year, Michelle Bachmann asked an audience in Iowa if they had ever watched the film series "How Should We Then Live?" We sure have.

The New Yorker’s profile of presidential contender Michelle Bachmann has no shortage of choice revelations. She sometimes lies about her biography, we learn. She helped found a charter school in Minnesota that flouted the separation of church and state. She calls her private plane the “Barbie jet.”

However, what really caught The Observer‘s attention was the fact that, in 1977, Ms. Bachmann and her husband Marcus watched a ten-part film series by the late theologian Francis Schaeffer–called “How Should We Then Live?”–that provides an evangelical-inflected view of Western art and philosophy, along with some healthy speculation that the U.S. government may be brainwashing people with mind-controlling drugs.

Watching the films was a “life-altering event” for the young couple, according to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who shares:

“The iconic image from the early episodes is Schaeffer standing on a raised platform next to Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and explaining why, for all its beauty, Renaissance art represented a dangerous turn away from a God-centered world and toward a blasphemous, human-centered world.”

Happily, the video is available on YouTube. To see “David,” fast forward to 0:47, and imagine that Michelle and Marcus Bachmann are watching along with you.

Intrigued, The Observer decided to a bit more of the series and can now also recommend episode eight, titled “The Age of Fragmentation,” in which the theologian shares his thoughts on modern art and music (he’s generally not a fan, though there’s some nuance to his ideas), as he wanders around the Museum of Modern Art, visiting works by Cezanne, Picasso and Duchamp.

“The universe is not what [Jackson] Pollock in his paintings and [John] Cage in his music said it was,” he explains, as we watch him (sort of) replicate Pollock’s painting technique with paint cans hanging on strings. Here is the first part of episode eight:

The National Endowment for the Arts is going to thrive during a Bachmann presidency.


  1. Martin says:

    if only the obamii were so closely scrutinized, for example the or the Michele, Mrs O, (Lady O! the second, or third, after Jackie and Oprah), and her doctoral dissertation, unreadable even though i read it, it is sociology/ poly sci, and i have a phd in social science, and even more unreadable having been taken down from google books

    or the obamii writings at Harvard law or his opii/ corpus when at Columbia law/ lore school (where i clerked for a while in the law libe clerking there meant putting books back on shelves)

    Eric, maybe you have some of them you were at Columbia, no? and now at the WH, or is all that attorney-client confidentiality, oh dear

    although the inscrutability of the divine does suggest hubris and apostasy and heresy, even schismatic, by close examination, in the church of the obammi

    mikey at Sistine was gay, and smuggled some gay beefcake butch hugs into the ceiling, not the usual Sistine revelations, you have to know where to look and the locals did and objected, after the fact, mikey flattered his papal patron (an whole separate story), and the BadBoy parts were left ok, although other nudity was later painted over,

    David, elongated, with oversize head, is in the Mannerist style, btw, what can we make interpretively of that

    pederasty anyone? oversize head is the sign of early childhood (the human head is more adult size than the body, at birth and childhood),and David’s innocent facial vacuity may also be a pedophilic dream

    who knew?

    Mikey was a mocker, we should know, and resented the assignment to paint the ceiling

    1. Guest says:

      What? These are the writings of an insane person.