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March 31, 2007

Sweet Jesus!

An opinionated fool on April 6, 2007 09:08 PM EST writes:
bogus protests

From the "outrage" caused by Serrano's Piss Christ, to protests of the The Last Temptation of Christ, to the Danish cartoon incident about Muhammad, the fatwah on Rushdie for The Satanic Verses.... it seems to me that pathetically shallow believers need to broadcast their outrage about these "insults" in order to pretend a depth of commitment they lack.

Imagine how outraged they'd be if a prophet claimed to hear from God, a Lord claimed that bread and wine were his flesh and blood, and yet another came down the mountain carrying tablets of law he alleged to be from God.

If we are lucky, these outraged believers will begin to see themselves in the mirror, and see that their protests are bogus. Until then, Monty Python is right, "Blessed are the cheesemakers."

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Steve on April 3, 2007 09:26 PM EST writes:
Mary Beth Crain suggests that the "real issue" is censorship.

Weeeeellllll, no. Not really.

As much as he might like to think so, Mr Donohue is no more a censor than I am.

If I, for example, take umbrage at one of Ms Crain's postings and say "that's awful, she should be banned from posting", what effect does that have?

I have no official position. I can't coerce Ms Crain by force of law take down her posting.

My effect: zip.

Okay, so the gallery pulled the exhibit in the face of objection from public opinion, albeit a very small but perhaps overly vocal segment thereof.

That's part of the dynamics of public life and interchange.

If anything, any "censorship" by pulling the piece, has been far offset by the publicity afforded by Mr Donohue's ballyhoo. How many readers of this forum would even have heard of this piece if not for all the hoohah?

Mr Cavallaro should be (and probably is) doing the artistic equivalent of the happy dance.
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Mary Beth Crain on April 2, 2007 02:09 AM EST writes:
The Real Issue Here

It seems to me that the artist's motivation is not the real issue here. Rather, it's censorship, and the terrifying direction in which Bill Donohue and the Religious Right is taking this country. Salem, McCarthy, Hitler--this is just a new version of an old and deadly disease, which can only be cured with the magic bullets of intelligence and tolerance.

If people don't like Cavallaro's work, they don't have to patronize the gallery that's exhibiting it. But they certainly don't have the right to shut the exhibit down. And even that wasn't enough for Donohue, who's on a mission to close down the hotel that housed the gallery. "They're morally bankrupt," he honked, "and we're going to see that they're financially bankrupt as well!" Such a lovely man. Where will his witch hunting end? Or rather, how far will we allow it to go?
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Steve on April 1, 2007 09:32 PM EST writes:
J. Spaulding chides me "That's pretty cynical, Steve."

You betchum, Red Rider.

Obviously, I'm only speculating on Mr Cavallaro's motives -- they may be as pure as the driven snow.

There is, of course, a symbiotic relationship between the offended and the offender. They need each other to continue and grow.

One only has to watch certain FOX News programs to see how well this works.
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KM on April 1, 2007 01:43 PM EST writes:
Why doesn't someone make a chocolate sculpture of Bill Donohue hanging on a cross? Isn't there a chocolate bitter enough?
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J. Spalding on April 1, 2007 12:49 PM EST writes:
That's pretty cynical, Steve. People have always managed to be insulted by artists, but that doesn't mean the artists' intentions were simply to insult. It just seems too easy to dismiss an artist by saying, "Look at the controversy. That must have been his motivation."

Cavallaro says he's a Catholic and that he created his Jesus for artistic reasons that have nothing to with pissing off Bill Donohue. A good question is: What does the sculpture itself suggest?

I look at it and think that the Catholic League, not Cavallaro, created a controversy to raise their visibility. The League's job is to be offended, and it's hard for them to justify their ample funding if there aren't heathen artists like Cavallaro out there threatening the Church with their sculptures.

As you say, let's call a spade a spade, right?
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anonymous on April 1, 2007 12:00 PM EST writes:
I can't decide what degraded this article more: the comment ". . . but, being Italian, he wasnýt exactly restrained by propriety either," or the ad hominem digs at Donohue's physical appearance and IQ. Not to mention the absurd comparisons to Hitler. The article might have been more effective if it had contained an argument in place of all the venom.
Are we "progressive" Christians progressing more towards Christ, or towards egoism? Personally, I find it hard to comprehend how Humanism and Christianity are viewed as compatible philosophies, or why "freedom of speech" is given precedence over spiritual concerns. In any case, we are clearly not "progressing" towards real tolerance -- see "Italian" comment.
I for one can sympathize with the Catholic stance. When I say "hallowed be Thy name," I mean it.
Maybe the word means something slightly different to different people. But can we agree to make loving God and loving our neighbors our first priorities, as Jesus instructed?
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Steve on March 31, 2007 11:12 PM EST writes:
While I certainly support the artist's rights in this matter one has to harbor the slightest suspicion that perhaps Mr Cavallaro might be just the teensiest bit disingenuous when he claims that "My Sweet Lord" is not intended as an insult to Catholics? Hmmmmm?

The controversy certainly raises his visibility in the art world and beyond.

I'll bet his prices just jumped a notch.

Being the significant other of a professional artist, I'm personally all for notoriety and increased sale prices but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?
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J. Spalding on March 31, 2007 07:23 PM EST writes:
On the CNN video report, the Catholic League's Kiera McCaffrey accused the artist, who's Catholic, of "hate speech" and "digging the knife at Christians." And how does she arrive at this conclusion? Because, she said, the artist wouldn't have made a similar sculpture of Muhammad during Ramadan. Why? Out of fear, possibly for his life. In other words, if you wouldn't do it or say it in Mecca, then don't do it or say it here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Well, at least she doesn't try to conceal her intolerance.
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Christian Dad on March 31, 2007 03:27 PM EST writes:
I'd like to comment on how much I enjoyed this article, but I'm afraid Bill Donohue might show up at my door and scream at me.
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