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

CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
June 27, 2016 | NPR · The justices ruled 5-3 that a Texas law setting requirements for clinics that provide abortions — a law that was expected to cause many clinics to close — was unconstitutional.
 

June 27, 2016 | NPR · As he accepted BET’s Humanitarian Award, the actor spoke about police brutality, oppression and the appropriation of black culture. “We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries,” he said.
 

HBO
June 27, 2016 | NPR · NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says HBO’s most popular series soared this year with plots that moved beyond George R.R. Martin’s published books.
 

Arts & Life

Wikimedia Commons
June 27, 2016 | NPR · The Toast — the funny, literary feminist website, gleeful kneecapper of high culture, center of cheerful misandry, and habitat of the courteous commenter — is closing. We have an appreciation.
 

HBO
June 27, 2016 | NPR · NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says HBO’s most popular series soared this year with plots that moved beyond George R.R. Martin’s published books.
 

June 26, 2016 | NPR · New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham died Saturday at the age of 87. New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet discusses his life and his nearly 40 years of work for the paper.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
June 27, 2016 | NPR · Two fixtures of Philly power-pop — Sam Cook-Parrott and Michael Cantor — come together for an atmospheric and melancholy track anchored by carefully executed harmonies.
 

NPR
June 27, 2016 | NPR · The best albums of the first half of a year stuffed with (far) more than its share of heartbreak, surprise, innovation and beauty.
 

June 26, 2016 | NPR · Following the aftermath of the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, listeners share more of their post-‘Brexit’ songs.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab