David Letterman Enjoys the Finer Things in Life, Like Gum Art

By

Last night David Letterman attended a photography exhibition he helped put together featuring the work of Late Show writer Steve Young, who takes pictures of celebrities entering the Ed Sullivan theater with the same piece of gum in the foreground of every photo. Here are some possible analyses of this exhibit:

- gum is everlasting and throws into sharp relief the ephemeral quality of celebrity

- gum can be bought with money, reminding us that in a consumer culture, celebrities are just another commodity

- gum loses its flavor after a while; likewise, talk-show appearances are best when brief

- gum is malleable and points out the ways we each shape ourselves to conform to the “teeth” and “gums” of society

- gum is chewed by both men and women; ergo, gender is performative

- gum is gray when chewed, a comment on the harshness of aging in the youth-obsessed modern world

- gum was made in the 1860s using chicle exported from Mexican; the historical reading of this piece warns against relying on other nations for financial assistance to fund our entertainment complex on the increasingly flat global “stage”

- gum is, surely not coincidentally, the backwards spelling of “mug”; and so too is the mechanical process of chewing gum - taking the external and making it internal - an inversion of the process by which a mug shot seeks to bring the internal state of the subject to his or her exterior surface

- the Ed Sullivan theater needs a better cleaning staff