Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Censorship and the Religious Right

Once again a group of prominent  republicans has joined forces with he Catholic League to put pressure on an exhibit that offends them.

Last year, A Fire in my Belly: a compilation video by David Wojnarowicz was successfully banned from a Smithsonian Exhibit called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture thanks to political and financial pressure from House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader, Eric Cantor and the machiavellian Bill Donahue of the Catholic League.  I responded with (Hell)Fire in my Belly(video included) after the event.

This year the Brooklyn Museum is under pressure to remove the same video.  Per Right Wing Watch:

Republican state senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation to have the government withdraw “all public funding of the museum”:

“It is outrageous for an institution that accepts funding from city, state and federal governments to display content that is so blatantly disrespectful and offensive to Christians during the holiday season,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for hatred and ignorance.”
Senator Lanza believes that the actions of the Museum are analogous to a hate crime. He is calling for all public funding of the museum to be withdrawn.

That’s right, he actually said that without a hint of irony.  “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for hatred and ignorance.” As if we didn’t do that already by paying his salary.  For that matter, you can find tax-exempt hate every sunday morning.    The image in question is 10-12 seconds of ants crawling on a plastic crucifix.  

The good news is that the Brooklyn Museum is not backing down.  A statement from the museum spokeswoman Sally Williams said that Wojnarowicz's video “is an expression of the artist’s outrage at indifference to human suffering during the early years of the AIDS crisis... We strongly encourage anyone who has concerns about ‘Hide/Seek’ to visit the museum and view it in person."