Like any great work of art or architecture, Bishop Castle is a pleasure to visit on many (any) levels. Jim Bishop, its architect and namesake, and his caricaturistic anti-heroism has enough negative capability for all the Romantics put together, and his screeds are usually part of the sauce. But on a recent visit, absent Bishop himself, I found myself taken with the lovely and hilarious contradictions that Bishop and his castle embody, namely: Bishop’s Constitutional fanaticism and all-American rugged individualism combined with what is probably the most potent symbol of monarchical/dictatorial power known to humanity: the castle. And yet, by way of his total openness to the public, Bishop somehow manages to make his castle a beacon of messy, precarious, and thrilling democratic freedoms. With all its porta-potties, graffiti, ad hoc fixes, globs of chewing gum, rotten apple cores, vertiginous stair-cases, and its total at-your-own-risk attitude, Bishop Castle truly belongs to its visitors in a way that it only could in America.

Here’s to Jim Bishop and his freedom!

 

5 Responses to The People’s Castle: Bishop Revisited

  1. Mary H says:

    Never ceases to amaze me. So much work. So much creativity.

  2. Sarah says:

    I didn’t think that structure seemed entirely sound.

  3. Mike M says:

    Great treatment. Reveals Bishop Castle to be more than a castle – but also a cathedral and art gallery . . . perhaps even a shrine to art and humanity.

  4. Dianne says:

    Nifty pix. Thanks for these perspectives, especially from heights I never plan to ascend. What was the music? Lovely.

  5. Nico says:

    Jim Bishop is a crank and a nut and a treasure. Thanks to Noel Black for reminding us that J.B.’s still out there, doing his kooky thing, and thanks too for going, as Dianne says, to heights I plan never to ascend.

News

AP
March 27, 2017 | NPR · The president showed little interest in policy details. If he continues to focus superficially on getting a win instead of learning, Republicans warn that his priorities will continue to be derailed.
 

Marisa Penaloza/NPR
March 27, 2017 | NPR · The Zika virus may have infected more than one million people in Puerto Rico, including thousands of pregnant women. Doctors are watching babies born to infected moms who don’t show birth defects.
 

March 27, 2017 | NPR · Rep. Ted Deutch, the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee, is calling for an independent investigation into Russia’s alleged ties to the Trump campaign and White House.
 

Arts & Life

March 27, 2017 | NPR · Emma Donoghue tackles a tough topic with light and humor in The Lotterys Plus One, her new kids’ book about a boisterous blended family learning to accommodate a difficult grandfather with dementia.
 

March 26, 2017 | NPR · Bruce Feiler speaks about his new book, “The First Love Story,” and how the story of Adam and Eve is still important to relationships between men and women today.
 

March 26, 2017 | NPR · Deb Olin Unferth’s story collection delights in going in unexpected directions, and her sensitively-drawn characters feel the full, real, often contradictory and uneasy layering of human emotion.
 

Music

Courtesy of Polk and Co.
March 26, 2017 | NPR · With 18 new shows — half of them musicals — opening this March and April, just before Tony nominations are announced, producers have to take risks to get their shows to stand out.
 

Courtesy of the artist
March 26, 2017 | NPR · The singer-songwriter entered NPR Music’s contest with the song “¿Cómo Hacer?” She says it expresses her emotions about being unable to return to her family back home in Mexico.
 

Getty Images
March 25, 2017 | NPR · Charley Pride, one of the first African-American stars in country music, has sold more records for RCA than anyone not named Elvis Presley.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab