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re: Persecution? (Not.)
By Mike Doughney


Time: Fri, 01-Oct-1999 22:06:02 GMT     
IP: 207.239.111.82

:I believe that this is a matter of free
:speech/expression. Art is art and no matter how
:disgusting or how provocative it may be, the
:artist has a right to his/her expression....as
:any of us do.

Well, that's great.  There's only one big problem
with your post; you've bought their language.
There is nothing in the exhibit in question that
is either "slanderous" nor exhibits "persecution"
of anyone.  The most celebrated piece, that has
drawn so much attention from Adolf Giuliani, was
done by a Catholic, as was "Piss Christ," the
last artwork to generate this much fuss.

:If an art exhibit contains "art" which slanders
:a group of people because of their sexual
:orientation or their race or their religious
:beliefs how should those people who are slandered
:react? Do those people have a right to shut down
:an exhibition of art which does that? Should we
:as a society permit that kind of exhibition?

(I sense a string of the evangelist's "diagnostic
questions" - that is, questions for which the
writer has already pre-decided the answers -
particularly since the word 'art' has suddenly
sprouted quotation marks as the writer moved from
paragraph 3 to paragraph 4. I take it you think
the presence or absence of quotation marks
determines whether or not the art is a protected
form of speech?)

There is nothing to discuss here, since "slander"
nor "persecution" have not occurred. (As always,
answering "diagnostic questions" is a waste of
time.)  What should be discussed is why certain
groups and politicians shout "slander" and
"persecution" whenever their name or their icons
are presented in what might be somehow
interpreted in an unflattering light, through
their FFUDD* colored glasses.  A Catholic who
works with elephant dung and photos of the human
body in his artwork; odd, provocative, perhaps.
A way long way from either slander or
persecution.  Nothing in it that actually
embodies words or language that could be called
slanderous.

This is what happens, though, when a group that's
politically influential way beyond their actual
size is expecting to be persecuted.  It is part
of the Biblical American identity to both expect
persecution and to imagine it when it doesn't
exist.  This is their announced strategy: get
into everything and gum up the works, bringing
things to a complete standstill over
controversies that are completely of their own
making so that nothing gets done.  They think
that it offers them opportunities for evangelism,
and perhaps in their twisted world a few people
actually find this kind of whining all the time
to get attention attractive, and they think that
brings them success.

Most people just don't care.  And if Giuliani and
company had spent their time and the taxpayer's
money on something worthwhile rather than
whining, we wouldn't even know that that exhibit
existed.  Why is he doing this, and then turning
right around and suing the museum claiming that
the artist and the exhibit's sponsor want him to
raise controversy?  This is nuts.  But it makes
perfect sense when you see them, over and over
again, insist that evangelism is helped by
persecution.  If the persecution doesn't happen,
they have to make it happen, and thus any use of
their icons that they can twist around and claim
embodies persecution comes under attack.

*FFUDD: Fear, Frustration, Uncertainty, Doubt and
Despair.  Gotta cover them all.


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