Catholic Renaissance 'Maybe Fake' Painting in New James Baar Short Story Fights for Salvation of Baby Boomer Deconstructionist Historian

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In a new short story, “The Real Thing,” published digitally by, Novelist James Baar, author of “Ultimate Severance” and spinspeak lexicographer, pits a possibly fake 15th Century Catholic masterpiece as a “living fingerpost” in a Faustian struggle involving greed, ambition, free will, elitism and unadulterated hubris.

A potent Catholic Renaissance painting, possibly a fake, plays the central character in a new James Baar short story published by

The short story, “The Real Thing,” pits the religious masterpiece against a Baby Boomer deconstructionist historian in a free-will struggle for his moral and eternal salvation.

Baar, novelist and lexicographer of spinspeak, said the new story is part of a 21st Century series in the Catholic literary tradition of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.

“The Real Thing” follows two Baar war stories – “Believe Me!” and “Somewhere on the Elbe” – exploring varieties of guilt, spinspeak, memory and absolution at the start of the War on Terror and the end of World War II. Amazon Shorts published both last fall.

In “The Real Thing,” the Baby Boomer historian, John (Jake) Wolfgang Drayton III, inherits a 15th Century painting, “The Crown of Thorns,” from his old-money, tax dodging, religious father as “a living fingerpost.”

Baar said the “game that this possibly valuable bequest sets in motion plays out in a contemporary stew of greed, ambition, free will, elitism and unadulterated hubris.

“Besides the painting, others involved in the struggle include the historian’s avaricious yuppie wife, supercilious art experts, and smug academics. In the end, Jake Drayton, much like Faust, must make a choice.”’s Amazon Shorts digital publishing program is an online offering of "never-before-seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on" The program makes possible the downloading of digital copies of individual short stories for 49-cents each.

Baar's new business novel, "Ultimate Severance," describes an Enroned world awash in spinspeak – a world peopled by flim-flam artists on and off Wall Street, imperial CEO's, smarmy pols, five-star spinmeisters, entrepreneurial mobsters and assorted mountebanks. Early on he makes clear that this "return to normalcy" was made possible by the "quite by accident" launching from a submarine of a spray of new "lite'n kleen" missiles carrying nuclear warheads to Syria and Iran.

Baar is also the author of "Spinspeak II: The Dictionary of Language Pollution" and an earlier business novel, "The Great Free Enterprise Gambit." He is editor of the "Spinspeak Letter" weblog.

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