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The Smithsonian caves to conservatives - Comments

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 1 by Jos Gibbons

Religious homophobia is weird because it operates in such a different way from all other forms of religious bigotry. I realise it's one of the many examples of something the texts say people should die over but which legally nowadays they can't. But why do religions put so much creativity into homophobia? Things gays can't do (when these people win): marry, adopt, serve in the military ... Have exhibits of their paintings ... Is there any arbitrary punishment which won't make sense to all these bigots?

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 15:20:29 UTC | #557266

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 2 by AsylumWarden

I wish to lodge an official complaint.

There various religeous establishments currently at large in my country (UK) openly distributing material I consider obscene. This material included pamphlets, billboards, adverts and videos. Included (but not limited to) amongst this offensive material are suggestions I should repress and discard my scientific education in favour of unproven superstitions, exchange my only free morning in the week to sit in a drafty building praising an imaginary malicious being that publicly endorses (amongst others) slavery, incest, rape and genocide and the notion that I shall forever be submitted to torture for failing to do so.

Now, powers that be, this may sound trivial to you, but as part of my belief structure, this is highly offensive. It should be noted that these organisations are partly funded by the taxes I pay. I think they should have a duty to respect my beliefs and cease production, distribution and public display of such material immediately. I notice those across the pond who share my beliefs are experiencing similar offense from an organisation called the Catholic League, I believe.

I trust you shall look into this matter immediately and ensure an immediate halt to this vile material.

No?

What's that you say? You're telling me to get stuffed? But why? Why aren't my beliefs being respected here, and my ability to get offended absolutely mollycoddled?

Oh right, I see. I didn't use the key word 'religeous' before belief. I'll shut up now.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 15:27:55 UTC | #557271

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 3 by Agrajag

Here in Illinois, the Governor is about to sign a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions. This morning I heard on NPR that the cat-lick church has criticized him for his position:

Bishop calls out Catholic governor in Illinois for approving civil unions

Quinn said something to the effect that he had followed his conscience, that people should generally follow their consciences, and that his conscience isn't bothering him.

I'm proud to have voted for this guy!

Steve

EDIT: The bishop said "...the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.” Pot, meet Kettle.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 15:42:02 UTC | #557278

cristinabories's Avatar Comment 4 by cristinabories

Yes, again a few loud mouths pretend to represent the public. In a Washington Post informal poll, 65% of respondents were of the opinion that the exhibit should not have been pulled out. Here is the email for the museum... take a minute to send them your opinion too! npgnews@si.edu

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:10:13 UTC | #557293

Randy Ping's Avatar Comment 5 by Randy Ping

Bill Donahue is the only person from the Catholic League that I've ever seen on television.... I often wonder if he also the only member. Most Catholics I know wish he'd shut the fuck up because they consider him shrill, whiney and somebody who goes around looking for ways to be offended.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:13:20 UTC | #557299

Randy Ping's Avatar Comment 6 by Randy Ping

Bill Donahue is the only person from the Catholic League that I've ever seen on television.... I often wonder if he also the only member. Most Catholics I know wish he'd shut the fuck up because they consider him shrill, whiney and somebody who goes around looking for ways to be offended.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:14:02 UTC | #557300

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 7 by JumpinJackFlash

One guy with a computer.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:19:45 UTC | #557306

keithapm's Avatar Comment 8 by keithapm

Sorry that title won't do, but don't worry I've fixed it:

Smithsonian caves to morally bankrupt, scientifically illiterate bigots who take their inspiration from a two thousand-year-old collection of the myths, laws, religious dictates, social norms and pseudo-histories of a certain coalition of middle eastern tribes, selected in furtherance of the particular religious and political viewpoints the compilers wished to expound.

Maybe not as catchy though...

This story infuriates me. So much for free expression. I suppose the offence incurred by the gay community at such an action, pales into significance beside the offence of the God Squad?

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:30:23 UTC | #557315

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 9 by AsylumWarden

Absolutely Keithapm.

In fact, that's what we should encourage. Get the gay community to protest using similar terms and say how many different, diplomatic ways they get told to STFU.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:45:46 UTC | #557330

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon

They just wanted to cop a gander at the exhibits; prurience personified.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:59:47 UTC | #557340

reebus's Avatar Comment 11 by reebus

This censorship is surely illegal and unconstitutional. Religions have to realise the world doesn't revolve about them and take things so personal: you're just not that important in people's minds when they make decision and pretentiously overinflating your importance with this kind of transparently proselytising opportunism. The work was nothing to do with christianity, it was more to do with a human whose natural 'personal religion' was worshiping his lover which happened to include some borrowed iconography. Now this might not be allowed to people of christian belief, but the artist doesn't subscribe to christian rule so is not bound by it; he is subject only to the secular rule of state, which not only has not been transgressed, but rather celebrated in the form of free speech and expression for the enrichment of all people who have a right to enjoy art and its thought provoking expression. So the censorship is actually an affront to humanity, human creativity, love and freedom. Of course this explains why the objection is purely religious.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:00:36 UTC | #557342

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 12 by crookedshoes

I just sent this e-mail to them:

Why bow? You have betrayed the world of art. Your decision making panel or board should consider what an ART museum is and what it isn't. By taking down ART and not defending it's RIGHT to exist you have essentially removed yourself from art relevance. All this decision does is appeases a small group of bigots (and YOU KNOW that's true) and costs you your credibility from here on out. The side capable of rational thought (YOU) should have thought more rationally about this.

I am hosting a meeting of the GSA (gay straight alliance) club at my high school. The Smithsonian is about to get 30 more reminders that they did the wrong thing. Let's try to "bully" them into reinstating the piece and telling whomever is offended to go pound sand.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:42:00 UTC | #557364

viralmeme's Avatar Comment 13 by viralmeme

re: ant-covered Jesus ..

I can well understand why Christians would be upset by this. Is there any other historical figure they could have chosen such as Ibn ‘Abdullāh ? See at 0:44 sown up lips being depicted. If I wanted to see stuff like this I would have got out a Clive Barker movie ...

Fire in My Belly

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:42:47 UTC | #557366

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 14 by Cook@Tahiti

Reminds me of Willliam Wilberforce's objection to the genitals on the statue of Archilles in Hyde Park almost 200 years ago...

http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app?service=external/Item&sp=I17:chastity++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++::&sp=16257&sp=X

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:44:15 UTC | #557368

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

Hold on. A statue of someone being slowly tortured to death on a cross is fine, but it's offensive if you add ants?

Isn't there something wrong here?

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:52:09 UTC | #557374

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 16 by Stafford Gordon

I think the video is badly made and fails to make any clear point; but I chose to watch it, no one forced me to do so.

My dislike of it is irrelevant, the maker has the right to have the work exhibited, and everyone should have the right to sees it; or not, as the case may be.

The religious project themselves on to their gods and take the whole thing personally; I would have that their sky fairies would be able take care of themselves, but apparantly not.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:53:20 UTC | #557375

BoltzmannBrain's Avatar Comment 17 by BoltzmannBrain

I resent the way "conservative" is being used in this context. The implication appears to be that anyone who identifies as a conservative is a homophobe, and anyone who leans toward conservatism leans toward homophobia.

I think it's propaganda, just as bad as talking about "left-wing conspiracy theorists" in the context of 9/11 truthers (even though there would be more truth to that, since over half of liberals are 9/11 conspiracy kooks).

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:59:46 UTC | #557379

The Plc's Avatar Comment 18 by The Plc

Bill Donahue's attack on homosexuality, claiming that it's to blame for pedophile priests, was one of the most depraved pieces of religious bigotry I've ever seen, and I'm from Northern Ireland, I should know.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 18:02:47 UTC | #557381

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 19 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Comment 15 by Steve Zara :

Hold on. A statue of someone being slowly tortured to death on a cross is fine, but it's offensive if you add ants? Isn't there something wrong here?

Once again, short, sweet, and true! ;)

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 18:27:08 UTC | #557392

bluebird's Avatar Comment 20 by bluebird

Ants crawling around on Jesus, what would EO Wilson do ;)

Hmmm, interesting to see that John Boehner is involved. While Donohue is an obvious buffoon, I've suspected for a while that Boehner is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He's another politician to keep an eye on, but I digress...

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 19:16:04 UTC | #557409

Aquaria's Avatar Comment 21 by Aquaria

I resent the way "conservative" is being used in this context. The implication appears to be that anyone who identifies as a conservative is a homophobe, and anyone who leans toward conservatism leans toward homophobia.

Maybe it's because most polls show conservatives being the most strongly homophobic, as in opposing same-sex marriage. One poll showed that 77% of conservatives are opposed to same-sex marriage, compared to 44% of moderates and 27% of liberals.

When 77% of a political group are opposed to same-sex marriage, that means homophobic bigotry is rampant in your little tribe, enough to have your tribe associated with it as a whole, like it or not. If you don't like being associated with that, then stop being a conservative (your brain will thank you for it), or get conservatives to stop being homophobes.

It's your PR, bud. You fix it. Stop expecting decent, sane people to give the benefit of the doubt to an ideology that attracts bigots in droves

I think it's propaganda

You can think whatever you like--that doesn't mean you're right or that you know what you're talking about.

just as bad as talking about "left-wing conspiracy theorists" in the context of 9/11 truthers (even though there would be more truth to that, since over half of liberals are 9/11 conspiracy kooks).

Citation seriously fucking needed. And no, pulling a number out of your ass does not qualify as a citation.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 19:34:15 UTC | #557422

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 22 by SoHelpMeReason

The attached video needs to be watched.

I think the idea of using Jesus was not to offend conservatives or for pure dramatic effect. It's a sinisterly truthful comparison. Who's side would Jesus be on? In the video, even though we're seeing homoerotic images, roaches, spilling blood, human corpses, and unsettling traumatic flickerings in general, a part of the message is that he's not siding with the haggish, heart-penetrating, screeching, voice of condemnation resounding to the beat of a slightly terror-inducing drum. The frightening voice echoes widespread public sentiment in the time of the piece's creation, that being gay is "unclean", and the idea is to force the viewer to refuse approval for an opinion they themselves may have previously held staunchly to.

It's a powerful work. I really appreciate it. Through all the massive sexuality, irreverence, violence, cadavers, and dark horrifying imagery, it's the banshee voice we hear that is the most soul-freezing and terrifying. It shrieks "uncleeean!" as the accuser, and yet we can only find ourselves believing this witch to be stained by any kind of impurity, and we'd consider ourselves most ill-fated to ever have to come across her.

It's so provocative and heavy. I was quite a bit scared watching it. Good art.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 20:40:37 UTC | #557464

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 23 by Cartomancer

Hold on. A statue of someone being slowly tortured to death on a cross is fine, but it's offensive if you add ants?

The latter is, by definition, anty-christian.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 20:49:32 UTC | #557471

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 24 by aquilacane

images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as homoerotic.

When has gay art not been homoerotic?

I have to say, I would like to see some gay art that doesn't revolve around fucking or dying from fucking. How about the struggle for equality? Something about being seen as the same that does not incorporate an ejaculating penis somehow. Unless gay artists have no other interests. Personally I find it all very boring and obvious.

Ellens tits, wow, that is genius.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 21:00:26 UTC | #557481

David Millar's Avatar Comment 25 by David Millar

Let me see if I fully understand this . . .

If a Scottish football referee had forwarded a link to the David Wojnarowich video it would cease to be "art" and would instead become "hate speech"? Or, if he claimed the Pope warning sign was "art" instead of a "joke" he could have kept his job?

I'm not trying to be flippant. I do realise that the context of actions (and art) is important. However there does seem to be an awful lot of offense being taken over things that could just as easily be let slide.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 21:03:13 UTC | #557488

Mr0Joshua's Avatar Comment 26 by Mr0Joshua

"like ants on a plastic jesus"

I think I just found my new catch phrase!

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 21:09:47 UTC | #557492

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 27 by Mr DArcy

**

The latter is, by definition, anty-christian.

**

We should maybe anticipate many more such wordplays. Jesus cultivates his Christian army, whilst no bighead Himself, He was a carpenter. He was no thief but instead hoped to lead His flock to the honey pot where fire would be fought with fire and the Pharaohs and slave makers would be led to become leaf cutters and no longer crazy, and Jesus would be happily gliding across the water.

http://antstuff.net/html/species_of_ants.html

(Those more creative than me, will no doubt, be able to fit in the Yellow Citronella, Jack Jumpers and Bullets!)

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 21:36:29 UTC | #557506

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 28 by Stevehill

You can always judge the level of freedom a country has by a list of the things they like to ban.

As at 2007 the USA was, sadly in common with Britain, an "endemic surveillance society" according to Privacy International. I'd say it's rather worse by now.

"Land of the free" my arse.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 21:39:52 UTC | #557510

The Plc's Avatar Comment 29 by The Plc

Here's a youtube link to the video, let's make it go viral! Come on, lets make the Catholic League's bullying backfire spectacularly!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fC3sUDtR7U&feature=player_embedded

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 22:00:49 UTC | #557525

BoltzmannBrain's Avatar Comment 30 by BoltzmannBrain

Comment 21 by Aquaria :

Maybe it's because most polls show conservatives being the most strongly homophobic, as in opposing same-sex marriage. One poll showed that 77% of conservatives are opposed to same-sex marriage, compared to 44% of moderates and 27% of liberals.

Which is irrelevant, because there's a difference between correlation and causation.

If you don't like being associated with that, then stop being a conservative (your brain will thank you for it), or get conservatives to stop being homophobes.

Actually, I'm not a conservative, but your point is completely foolish anyway, e.g. most atheists over the last 100 years were also communists -- does that mean we should stop associating ourselves with atheism? At least half of liberals appear to be both 9/11 truthers and moral relativists, yet I'm not going to tell you to stop associating yourself with liberals unless you believe that these doctrines are a direct consequence of the liberal Weltanschauung.

Citation seriously fucking needed. And no, pulling a number out of your ass does not qualify as a citation.

These petty temper tantrums are only a testament to the moral and intellectual vacuity of a dyed-in-the-wool tribalist who thinks every political question lends itself easily to a nice and neat, black-or-white little slogan of an answer, which can be engraved in marble and handed down the generations.

About 33% of Americans support 9/11 conspiracy theories. Furthermore, polls have shown that liberals are almost three times as likely as conservatives to implicate the Bush Administration as being responsible for the 9/11 attacks. When we throw in the even wider prevalence of 9/11 truthers in Europe (with an astonishing 67% of Germans supporting the conspiracy theories), it appears reasonable to say that at least half of liberals, across both Europe and the U.S., are just as nutty, in terms of propensity toward conspiracy theories, as the Birthers.

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 22:34:27 UTC | #557540