'If I Were the Devil'

Exhibition at Castle Fine Art Gallery

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You know how movie trailers inspired video games trailers and, in turn, book publishers started making trailers for new books? Well, now there's such thing as art exhibition trailers and they are, on the whole, terrible. This one is good. Very good. It features the late American radio commentator Paul Harvey’s prophetic ‘If I Were the Devil’ speech, which was broadcast to a US audience in 1965. From drugs and alcohol to sex and gambling, Harvey’s speech postulated what the devil might do to corrupt society. Decades later, much of it is bob on and the speech is the inspiration for Wolverhampton artist Keith Maiden's brilliant (and free) exhibition of the same name. If I Were the Devil runs March 12 to 20 at Castle Fine Art. More pics, that trailer and a transcript, right here...



PAUL HARVEY’S ‘IF I WERE THE DEVIL’ FULL TRANSCRIPT

If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness.

And I’d have a third of it’s real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’

To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’

And then I’d get organised. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilise the rest with pills.

If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerising media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as thee way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be.

And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.

‘If I Were The Devil’ will be showing at Castle Fine Art, ICC, Broad Street, B1 2EA from 12th – 20th March. The artist will be in attendance on Saturday 12th March, 1-4pm, to speak to guests about the collection.

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