To call my dear friend David Schoffman ignominiously mercenary would be to expend way too much syllabic energy in expressing the patently obvious. With the pluck of the doomed, David's je-m'en-foutisme in the face of what others might call "ethical challenges" is rather impressive.
A recent trip to North Korea will serve as a case in point.
At the behest of the U.S. Department of Treasury, David, together with about a dozen other representatives of the arts community visited that notorious hot bed of dangerous eccentricity in an effort to establish some sort of fig leaf of cultural rapprochement. Aside from getting a blistering sunburn David learned that for some strange reason the CIA likes to recruit men with comb-overs and acne scars.
Anyway, while in Pyongyang David discovered that the North Korean military elite had developed a taste, not only for Soviet lapel pins, 30 year old single malt scotch and the complete film history of Julie Adams but also for 20th Century American modernist painting.
Say the names Arthur Dove, Faun Roberts or Charles Demuth to anyone within the relative orbit of influence and you can watch a pair of cynical eyes grow moist with real emotion. David saw in this unlikely attachment a rare opportunity.
During a festive moment of inebriated intimacy he offered his hosts that if given two hours and the appropriate materials, he could reproduce an impeccable, museum quality facsimile good enough to pass for the real McCoy.
In the Soju charmed atmosphere of bilateral cooperation and unbridled greed, anything, I guess, is possible. It seems that David walked away from the trip fatter by about a million won.
Schoffman is known as a lowdown, self serving, prevaricating fabulist but if even half the story is true, (which is usually his average), it's one of his strangest adventures yet.
I wonder if his computer has been hacked.