The Pope’s fantasy of a new inquisition centered in the USA is beginning to see some fruit. The target is an exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery about gay love which the ironically named Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights managed to have censored yesterday.
The exhibit, which has been called “bold and courageous” by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik, contained a number of videos by AIDS victims. Gopnik describes the offending material this way:
“As part of “Hide/Seek,” the gallery was showing a four-minute excerpt from a 1987 piece titled “A Fire in My Belly,” made in honor of Peter Hujar, an artist-colleague and lover of (film maker and artist David) Wojnarowicz who had died of AIDS complications in 1987. And for 11 seconds of that meandering, stream-of-consciousness work (the full version is 30 minutes long) a crucifix appears onscreen with ants crawling on it. It seems such an inconsequential part of the total video that neither I nor anyone I’ve spoken to who saw the work remembered it at all.”
The Brown Shirts at the Catholic League say the brief moment was “designed to insult and inflict injury and assault the sensibilities of Christians.” The Smithsonian, doing its best Barak Obama imitation, caved quickly, implying that the disputed art was not an important part of the exhibition, and apologizing to the offended Christofascists.
The official statement: “One work, a four-minute video portrait by artist David Wojnarowicz (1987), shows images that may be offensive to some. The exhibition also includes works by highly regarded artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Thomas Eakins and Annie Leibowitz. I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious. In fact, the artist’s intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was not the museum’s intention to offend. We have removed the video.”
Score one for the Pope’s efforts to convert the USA by force. It is, of course, worth noting that the Catholic League was not without the usual cadre of hysterical supporters. There was the entire Fixxed News Network, which trotted out Glenn Beckmann and Shorn Handready and the rest of the blathering dumbasses.
And, of course, the confederacy of dunces that recently took over Congress expressed shocked indignation and immediately began to threaten the Smithsonian’s funding.
There it is. The war for truth and justice and basic American values goes on. For the benefit of the new inquisitors, here is a real insult: “Get your hands off that Altar Boy!”