OutFront: Our last conversation got a lot of attention and really seemed to upset a lot of people. Why do you think that happened?
Rockwell: It seemed as though people were especially bothered by the fact that I was Norman Rockwell’s granddaughter and was somehow showing sympathy toward terrorists. They saw this as a desecration of Norman Rockwell’s message. The problem with this is that Norman Rockwell has a near-universal appeal that is not restricted to America, in my experience. This is due, in my opinion, to the humanism of his work. For many on the right, however, Rockwell’s work symbolizes something much narrower: a lost Eden in which life was simpler, ‘traditional’ family values were not questioned, and, well, white people were in the majority. Showing sympathy (read ‘humanism’) toward an other (Muslims, alleged terrorists) that is seen as directly threatening America and that particular view of American life is therefore treason of the highest order. The people who were upset by your story about “The Little Book of Terror” couldn’t see that link between my work and my grandfather’s: the impulse to find the humanity in all people. It’s just that the people in whom I try to find it are sometimes harder to relate to than the folks down at the soda fountain.
And my favorite answer ever!!
OutFront: You’ve spent time in India. What can you tell us about the country?
Rockwell: I’ve spent a good deal of time in India, over the years. Lack of funds and a small child have prevented me from visiting recently. India is extremely diverse in so many ways–linguistically, culturally, socio-economically–the biggest mistake one can make about India is trying to boil it down to one characteristic, although this is very popular in journalism.