This little ditty on NPR this morning about the Smithsonian Exhibit, Hide and Seek, an exhibition of Gay portraiture. Seems Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor and Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League is upset that taxpayer money is being used to showcase what they consider to be unacceptable art. Here’s the link:
Its a doubled edged sword when government underwrites the creation of art. Exhibitions can confer a type of sanction that promotes censorship in service to state sponsored propaganda. From my perspective that is not the issue at stake here; but if you listen to the audio Bill Donahue condemns museums as “liberal elite institutions”. Mr. Donahue probably considers Hide and Seek as the latest subversive initiative by Obama’s Politburo to undermine American Family Values.
Mr. Donahue, still smarting from Andreas Serrano’s Piss Christ gets off his best shot in America’s escalating culture war by asserting that “working people, like himself, (read real Americans) don’t go to museums. He says they go to WWF wrestling matches.” He sarcastically suggests that perhaps government funding of the arts would be better spent underwriting WWF ducats for the masses. Beholden to his dogma, Mr. Donahue fails to recognize the difference between pedestrian commercial camp and artistic pursuit. He confuses the spectacle of bread and violent circus with aesthetic encounter, discovery and contemplation.
Mr. Donahue’s insistence that his position should be viewed in the same light as Muslims reaction when depictions of the Prophet Muhammad appear in visual art presentations is disingenuous. Muslims prohibit all visual representations of the Prophet Muhammad. The same prohibitions of promoting visual images of Jesus Christ is not a common practice of Christian denominations. Secular democracies also do not sanction fatwas and post bounties for jihadists to take out apostates and infidels. That is a unique blessing of secular societies that fundamentalists, religious zealots and Mr. Donahue fail to perceive.
File this one under the dumbing down of America Series, Triumph of the Willfulness.
Walt Whitman: Calamus Poems
You Tube Music Video: Aaron (Gay American) Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Risk: culture, censorship, homophobia
Yesterdays “We Are One” concert was a joy to watch. It was an event that sought to celebrate America’s rich political and cultural history. The exuberant crowd that gathered to celebrate the incoming Obama Administration reveled in the message of optimism and hope for a rebirth of an inclusive America. It was a celebration that could only occur in a country with a deep abiding commitment to democracy and the belief of a people who still believe in Americas promise and its highest ideals.
The celebrants stood near the monument honoring the “father of our country”; who led a band of revolutionaries to struggle in the cause of liberty thereby birthing the world’s first constitutional republic. The gathered stood facing the monument of ‘The Great Emancipator.” They stared into the eyes of our republics greatest sentinel that stood watch, guarding the door of liberty during its greatest time of peril preserving our more perfect union of free people who freely give their consent to be governed.
The people stomped, swayed and boogied to the music around the great malls reflection pool. Hopefully, some paused to take notice that the pool reflected an image of a great people, comprising a much greater nation. It is a nation only made whole and enriched by the wide diversity of its many parts, perplexing complexity and splendid contradictions. These are the universal characteristics that Americans share and it is how “out of many, becomes one.”
You Tube Video: Aaron Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man
Risk: democracy, a more perfect union