Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:39 PM
Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:54 PM
This formulation is entirely new to me. It is my understanding as a constitutional matter and a practical one that freedom of religion is completely consonant with freedom of expression and tolerance, not dissonant, not something that must be balanced against free expression. Freedom of religion certainly doesn't mean freedom from anything that offends our religious sensibilities. Tolerance means that I put up with anti-gay craziness and you put up with anti-catholic craziness and together we put up with Jack Chick.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:58 PM
Edited by mrmando, 03 January 2011 - 07:59 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:00 PM
Ok, just watched the video. Not too much different from some of the "art" videos my fellow students made in art class in college. Not too much different from a video I could make, without any skill, if I had a competent camera, a few old toys, a trip to the slums, perhaps a day's trip to Mexico, and let's say a recording of Green Peace protestors in Seattle. Nothing really that offensive or earth-shattering in my own personal opinion, but I certainly do want to have to pay for that. Can't help it, but I find it hilarious that that this whole story is inspiring statements like this -
"An institution [the National Portrait Gallery] that stands for American art simply must show American art," said Mattress Factory co-director Barbara Luderowski. "Anything less is a violation of our freedom of speech and expression."
And this -
Former New York Civil Liberties Union director Norman Siegel was also on hand for Sunday’s protest, calling on the Met, MoMA and local politicians to speak out against Smithsonian’s decision to pull the video. "Where are they? Where’s the mayor? Where’s the governor?" Siegel asked. "We’re here to get them to speak out – because they could be next."
Oh if I only had the job of being the Smithsonian's PR press man right now. It would probably be great fun.
: Chair = everyday utilitarian object; crucifix = sacred symbol declared worthy of veneration.
Well, crosses were once everyday utilitarian objects, too, at least in the Roman world; and some chairs are considered sacred symbols nowadays, too (whether it's St. Edward's Chair, about which there is some ballyhoo in The King's Speech, or whether it's the throne that the Pope sits on when he speaks ex cathedra, etc.). These things slip around, as intersubjective meanings are wont to do.
: If I were about to set fire to an Orthodox icon in public, would you as an Orthodox believer try to stop me?
That's an interesting question. I would certainly stop you if you had stolen the icon from our chapel. And I would probably try to persuade you NOT to destroy the icon, or I would let you know my displeasure in some way. But would I try to steal it from you, if it was, in fact, yours? Probably not. Though I can imagine some of my co-religionists might feel differently about that.
While it is currently not against the law to burn the American flag, for example. Plenty of Americans would be perfectly happy to use violence if necessary to prevent someone from doing so. Then of course, plenty of American judges would find the fact that the guy upon whom you committed assault was in the act of attempting to burn the flag as a ... shall we say, primary mitigating factor during suspended sentencing.
If I was the PR spokesman for Smithsonian, I would casually remark that due to budget restraints, this exhibit was merely the first in a string of exhibits about to be eliminated due to their loose and somewhat questionable categorization as "art" in the first place, and due to the fact that we can no longer afford (for the time being) to practice the same whimsey with the English dictionary definition of art, in which, perhaps, a country with a smaller national debt could afford to indulge itself.
I think Kathryn Jean Lopez fairly summed up the primary motivation of the "bunch of politicans" that are now causing such an uproar in the art world.
Edited by Persiflage, 03 January 2011 - 07:05 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:59 PM
That's not freedom of expression balanced against freedom of religion and tolerance. That's freedom of expression balanced against its potential to incite 'clear and present danger'. That standard was later upgraded by the court to 'imminent lawless action' (ie a riot), which is the current constitutional test. Nothing about religion in there.
That particular case is under consideration by the court, but actually, yes, it is. I agree with the ACLU on that one.
Well, it depends. It's perfectly fine to ask each other to chill out. It's something else to claim offense in order to suppress a point of view.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:13 PM
The debate about public funding for art is probably a large part of what secretly animates this discussion (along with Bill Donahue's need to manufacture scandals to line his pockets when end of year fundraising time comes around--that's how he makes his $400,000 annual salary). Arts funding in the US is of course, miniscule, about at the level of Canada's arts funding, even though they have 1/10th of the population, despite countless studies that have shown that public funding of arts generates economic growth far beyond the cost of the initial investment. Arts investment = arts economies = jobs jobs jobs. But setting that aside:
Who decides what art is good, and what art is offensive? Because frankly, the hyperrealistic pictures of soda cans you've linked to strike me as profoundly, offensively bad art, on par with dogs playing poker. Who decides what "common decency" is?
Edited by Holy Moly!, 03 January 2011 - 08:14 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:31 PM
I didn't claim that the idea of balancing the rights of free expression and religious freedom with the virtue of tolerance is enshrined in the Constitution. (I mentioned it before I brought up the Constitution.) Rather, it is a stab at how a reasonably civil society might look: a three-legged stool, as it were. Two of these ideas are explicit in the Bill of Rights; the third is a principle that we might use to guide the way we apply the other two. On a bluegrass discussion board (worlds away from A&F, I know) I've run into knuckleheads who think Ricky Skaggs is violating the Constitution by talking about his religious beliefs during his concerts. Even a little further out than that, we have organizations like Bash Back!, whose idea of civil discourse is to disrupt church services, run onto the platform and scream blasphemies from the pulpit in the name of free speech and gay activism. Will we just keep turning up the volume on both sides until we're screaming so loud we can't hear the Constitution any longer?
Edited by mrmando, 03 January 2011 - 10:03 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:44 PM
Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:11 PM
The irony is: that's one of the aims of Fire in the Belly, if anyone would bother to listen.
David Dark, again: "being offended by a work of art, the bible, or a film is the first stage of recieving its witness."
Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:58 PM
Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:02 PM
Well, what you seem to refuse to accept is the possibility that those symbols weren't "other people's"---that he engaged them from a perspective of sincere sympathy and interest.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:00 PM
Edited by SDG, 03 January 2011 - 11:08 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:41 PM
Edited by Holy Moly!, 03 January 2011 - 11:50 PM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:57 PM
Again, it documents violence. It doesn't inflict violence. Unless you think Wojnarowicz was lying when he described his sincerity in using images of Christ. It's a shame we can't ask him.
Posted 04 January 2011 - 12:01 AM
So this is a request for basic civility? I mean that in all honesty. It is pretty much this hermeneutical question about symbols that tilted me back to Protestantism. I am completely unconvinced that any symbol is due anything. Symbols were made for man, not man for symbols.
Edited by M. Leary, 04 January 2011 - 12:11 AM.
Posted 04 January 2011 - 12:33 AM
Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:01 AM
Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:05 AM
Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:30 AM
Edited by SDG, 04 January 2011 - 08:31 AM.