Show-and-Tell Time!

Once again I am postponing the usual current health information, this time in response to a harsh interview last week of the founder of MUM by a big-city newspaper, which may or may not be published. I want to take time to discuss the issues.

The reporter, a woman probably in her twenties, said I was exploiting women.

"I beg your pardon?" I said.

She hesitated. "Well, you're getting a lot of publicity for the museum, aren't you? Do you enjoy it?"

"Yes! It's stressful, but it livens up my life."

"Aha! You're running the museum because it's exciting. You're using women to put excitement into your life!"

"Gosh . . . "

"And how much money have you put into MUM?"

"Oh, maybe $3000 or $4000."

"And how much have you gotten back?"

"Probably $500 over three years."

She leaned forward, studying me with huge eyes.

"I think MUM is a contribution to social history," I said. "It's probably the only really valuable thing I will ever contribute to society, and I'm proud of it."

"Well, yes, it's valuable, but...."

Suddenly she got up and said, "OK, Mr. Finley. A photographer will call you to arrange an appointment. Thanks for your time."

What she asked is on many people's mind, mainly, I think, because few people believe menstruation is worth discussing, but then few people believe that women's history is worth discussing. There's very little of it. It's been simply beneath remembering in a male society. So I must have other motives for running the museum.

Another of the reporter's comments deserves mentioning and leads to something I want to show you. She had gone upstairs to use my bathroom, and after she came back she said, "I see you have paintings of young women in your living room. Why do you paint them?"

"I'm an artist, and I like women. I also like faces. I've painted people all my life, sometimes professionally."

If you've read the FAQ, you know that art runs in my family, as does interest in women (my grandfather started the Miss America contest). I guess I've combined the two, and added an interest in taboo social history. Take a look at the paintings and illustrations I've put up here on the MUM Web site. The reporter saw some of these. I hope you enjoy them!


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