Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend?

Unorthodoxy Patrick J. Deneen Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend? In a liberal democracy, … Continued

Unorthodoxy

Patrick J. Deneen

Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend? In a liberal democracy, doubtless. But is such a society also required to acquiesce to the offense without objection, even when its culture, its sensibilities, even its most sacred objects are treated with disrespect, offense or rebuke?

I think not.

And that’s why I think the Smithsonian Institution did the right thing recently in removing an offensive piece of film from one of its displays, a decision that is appropriately and in the best sense a political decision, but one that does not amount to “censorship,” as too many of its sophistic and sophisticate critics contend.

A story that has received ongoing attention on the pages of the Washington Post has been the decision by the Smithsonian Museum to remove a controversial film from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. The film in question – “Fire in the Belly” – by artist and gay activist David Wojnarowicz included an image of ants crawling on a crucifix, which led Catholic League leader William Donohue to lodge strenuous objections to the exhibit. In quick order, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough directed National Portrait Gallery’s Director Martin Sullivan to remove the film from “Hide/Seek,” an exhibit that explores portrayals of homosexuality in American art. A controversy has raged ever since.

The decision by the Smithsonian has elicited widespread denunciations against censorship, none more vocal and articulate than the Post’s art critic, Philip Kennicott. In a recent column in the Post, Kennicott called for the resignation of Secretary Clough as well as arguing that another piece in the exhibit be removed in accordance with the wishes of its creator, AA Bronson. Kennicott argues that both these steps would have the effect of restoring the proper relationship of art to the democratic polity, which – he argues – is one in which art and the artist, and the museums that house the works of art, act as catalysts for debate, social criticism, and ultimately “progress.”

What’s striking about Kennicott’s argument is that he states his view of the relationship of art and the polity as if it were beyond debate and criticism, as a settled issue that the rest of the citizenry should simply accept as a directive from the the artistic vanguard who have arrived at this conclusion about art’s public role, even when it is the sensibility and beliefs of the public that are to be challenged by their own tax-supported institutions. Surely this is a moment when Kennicott’s own dogmatic presuppositions should be subject to the very forms of debate and criticism that he suggests should be the purpose of art – except, it seems, when it would challenge his own presuppositions about art’s purposes.

The heart of Kennicott’s argument – which I take to be representative of much of the artistic community that has rallied in its condemnation of Smithsonian “censorship” – is to be found in his recent column calling for the resignation of Secretary Clough. In a summary statement, Kennicott lauds what he describes as “the historic evolution of museums … as places where old forms of power are rechanneled to reform culture…. Among the most sacred doxologies of the museum is the conviction that controversy is a good thing, that it can be talked through, that it leads to progress.”

Thus, for Kennicott, museums – including publically supported museums like the Smithsonian – are to be agents of “progress” in the nation, loci of the “reformation” of culture. By this understanding, the existing form of culture is always insufficiently “progressed,” always likely to contain outmoded tendencies that need correction and “rechanneling.” Museums, and the art they contain, are to be sources of cultural correction for the masses.

Kennicott further explains:

The agenda [of the museums], the result of decades of efforts at reforming an institution that once bluntly manifested state and class power (through architecture, art and hierarchical social codes), is the backdrop against which Clough made his ill-fated decision. The modern museum has evolved from a straightforward display of power – this is Culture, so genuflect, ye masses – to a paradoxical place where old forms of power and discipline are harnessed to create new kinds of debate and criticism.

Museums are still supported by the wealthy and privileged, who generally acquiesce to exhibitions that aim at inclusion and diversity. The government, if it gives money, indicates its support for cultural projects while (ideally) declining to dictate message or terms to the institution. Scholarship and science still reign (or they should) but are filtered through new technologies and directed at increasingly diverse subject matter.

Museums are still supported by the wealthy and privileged, who generally acquiesce to exhibitions that aim at inclusion and diversity. The government, if it gives money, indicates its support for cultural projects while (ideally) declining to dictate message or terms to the institution. Scholarship and science still reign (or they should) but are filtered through new technologies and directed at increasingly diverse subject matter.

One can’t help but detect a certain presumptuousness in this passage – those who support the arts, whether the “wealthy and privileged” or the “government” (i.e., you and I, the taxpayers) are to fork over the dough and then be silent if and when artistic decisions offend or attack. Moreover, Kennicott appeals to “scholarship and science” as the impartial arbiters of such decisions, as if in the realm of artistic decisions there are not deep and inescapable values that are at issue. It’s quite clear that he seeks to invoke the authority of “scholarship and science” to place his preferred artistic displays beyond the “common sense” judgment of the community. But this is precisely what art in a democracy must consider and respect, the sense and sensibility of the commons.

It seems to me that the community whose “culture” is being offended is, in the first instance, under no obligation to support the persons or material that is doing the offending. The cries of “censorship” are designed to elicit immediate outrage, but they are severely misplaced – the word has been used so often, and so inaccurately, that we have forgotten what it means. “Censorship” occurs when a public entity represses or forestalls some form of expression. In this case (as in so many other similar instances) the government was not exercising “censorship”; it was not preventing the artist or the artwork from being created or displayed. Rather, the Smithsonian decided it had erred in giving space in its museum to this offensive artistic expression and decided to withdraw the exhibit from its space. This did not, nor does not, prevent this expression from being displayed in nearly an infinite number of other spaces (including the internet). The government did not censor – it exercised prudential judgment about the use of its facilities, just as the Post does everyday in what it decides to run and what it decides to leave off of its pages. Does a decision not to run a piece in place of an essay by Kennicott (or anyone else) amount to censorship? I think not.

But, imagining for a moment that the facility were not a museum supported with public funds, then it seems to me that objections and protests to such a display would be no less misplaced (think, for instance, of those who burned the CDs of the Dixie Chicks after they expressed shame at sharing Texas roots with George Bush. Or, for that matter, cries of public outrage after Dr. Laura Schlesinger used the “n-” word on her program). In a liberal democracy, an artist has every right to seek (though no obligation) to offend or incite public mores and opinion. But, by that same token, the community has every right to object to any such portrayal, and to reject the artist’s message. What the artist cannot ask is for the community simply to receive the critical or offensive message without a suitably strong reaction.

The poet, essayist, novelist and farmer Wendell Berry has written about this appropriate reaction by a community with great eloquence. He writes,

I know that for a century or so many artists and writers have felt it their duty – a mark of their honesty and courage – to offend their audience. But if the artist has a duty to offend, does not the audience therefore have a duty to be offended? If the public has a duty to protect speech that is offensive to the community, does not the community have the duty to respond, to be offended, and so defend itself against the offense? A community, as part of a public, has no right to silence publicly protected speech, but it certainly has a right not to listen and to refuse its patronage to the speech that it finds offensive. It is remarkable, however, that many writers and artists appear to be unable to accept this obvious and necessary limitation on their public freedom; they seem to think that freedom entitles them not only to be offensive but also to be approved and subsidized by the people whom they have offended. ["Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community"]

If one can fault the Smithsonian for anything, it is not withdrawal of the piece – it is its decision to have displayed it in the first instance without appropriate reflection upon the offensiveness of the imagery in its exhibit. Such institutions are regularly bullied by artistic sensibilities and need rightly from time to time to be reminded of the public’s taste and sensibilities.

Finally, one could – and should – take issue with the basic presupposition of the artistic community that Berry attributes to it for about the last century, and which Kennicott assumes to be settled dogma about the purpose of art. For such artists and critics, the role of art is to incite and even offend so that it can provoke “rechanneling,” “reformation” and “progress.” This is a contestable assumption – and one that has many counter-examples. Much of the history of art is the effort to render ever more perfect representations of the deepest cultural commitments of a community – perhaps to provoke, but not through offense, but aspiration and inspiration (consider the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for starters). At the very same museum where – and at the very same time when – the offending artwork was removed, there was also an exhibit of work by the painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s work serves as the appropriate counterpoint to Kennicott’s arguments (an artist that Kennicott, unsurprisingly, regards as “facile.”). Rather than seeking to offend the society in which he was creating his art, Rockwell most often sought to show that society its best self. In emphasizing family, patriotism, and the homely American virtues, he was not disinterested in moving his audience to embracing their better selves, but Rockwell sought to do so by showing them at their best, by inspiring and, at the same time, confirming the basic decencies of the society that provided him the avenue to speak and perform freely. His entire oeuvre was imbued with a kind of gratitude and decency, in contrast to spirit behind images intended to offend such as the work that was ultimately withdrawn from the Smithsonian

This is not to say that Rockwell was not a critic of America – he was that, particularly its damnable record on racial injustice. But Rockwell understood that education in a democracy always involved a gentle art of persuasion, one that neither too indecently offended nor too ingratiatingly flattered. In the words of the political theorist Wilson Carey Mcwilliams (from an essay in a forthcoming book that I have co-edited), the artist in a democracy bears as much responsibility of a respectful treatment of his audience as the audience bears in a responsible reflection upon the intended teaching. According to McWilliams,

In one area, however, censorship would be both safe and possibly helpful: the censorship of one’s self. Artists, scientists, philosophers, and intellectuals generally owe themselves and their fellow citizens the duty of gauging their utterances, works, and writing in terms of their likely impact on the life of man. There is no requirement that “all things be revealed” directly; as the greatest of teachers knew, parable and allusion will suffice for those “who have ears to hear.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., to take only one of many American examples, found it possible to say “shocking” things in an idiom which did not affront respectability (or at least, not often; audiences read more carefully in those days, and at least one critic discerned “obscenity” in Elsie Venner). And Twain was even more a master of the art.

There are, moreover, things which one should not say at all and research which one should not reveal in even the most guarded ways. The path of evil crosses the human highroad too often for some tools to be put into man’s possession. Scientists need that admonition, for their record contains crimes greater than any that may be charge to obscenity…. The decision to write or not to write, to speak or remain silent, to portray or to leave hidden, is always a political decision to be judged by its impact on men. If truth is a “good in itself” and art is truly for “art’s sake” neither needs a public revelation. That public expression is necessarily political, and sometimes of greater import for good or ill. Art and science have dignity because they matter, and artists and scientists acquire dignity from that fact. But dignity, like liberty, involves discipline and constraint. Surely that is the vital lesson we owe our fellow citizens and each other in our shadowed times.

It is worth debating the purpose and role of art – and in this sense I agree with Kennicott that art can and should provoke critical reflection – but it seems to me that the conclusion that we the people are to draw about art ought not to be dictated by the artists, but also by the judgment and sentiments of the people for whom they are ultimately being displayed. For all of Kennicott’s invocations of the words “democracy,” in the end I came away from his stance on the controversy, and that of too many in the artistic “vanguard,” is that he and they don’t like the demos very much at all.

By Patrick J. Deneen | 
January 4, 2011; 12:37 AM ET

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Unorthodoxy


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  • WmarkW

    Susan Jacoby discussed this issue a month ago, and after a little back and forth, I crystalized my position:There are not black/white issues here. Offensiveness is a reason why the Smithsonian might not display an otherwise worthy piece (I suspect their warehouses contain quality paintings of savage Indians, thieving Jews, happy black slaves, and disciplined women that they won’t show today.) Congress as the taxpayers’ mouthpiece also has a say in what the Smithsonian should show. But art also needs to sometimes offend to fulfill its role to challenge our paradigms. So there’s some “right” on both sides here, and it’s a matter of striking a balance.So my position comes down to this — the people who most strongly object to the removal of this piece, protesting the church’s inaction about AIDS, are generally political liberals, who strongly support the use of offensiveness codes to un-protect the right to say things not conducive to the interests of their voting blocs, like ethnic minorities, women, Jews and gays. The codes, as implemented in workplaces and schools, are generally vague and expansive, designed to give every listener the right to object as offensive to the expression of opinions. In the 60s, liberals fought for the right to free speech in numerous forums. As soon as they got it, they started denying it to everyone else. They should really look at this issue and ask “Is the Catholic League doing to David Wojnarowicz the same thing we do to silence the people who don’t think racism, sexism and homophobia are the primary problems of those communities?”

  • PatrickJDeneen

    WMarkw,

  • daniel12

    The entire history of art demonstrates a constant breaking of boundaries even if at times art has operated in a conservative fashion. Art has as its greatest role new ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking. And it is understandable why society would lag behind and disapprove of such advances, as most people are conservative in comparison to the artist. Where the artist makes a mistake is in assuming society owes him a living–especially when he offends. Where society makes the mistake is in thinking its superior numbers automatically can dictate to and overwhelm the individual. Society has always made THAT mistake at its peril. The great artist is a beast and a God and is all too willing to take on the majority–and history has demonstrated that slowly, inexorably, in the long run, he wins. In other words, war friend. Society, please keep trying to destroy the artist. Artists–remake society heroically. Society owes the artist nothing. The artist owes man a remaking of him in a greater image. Society does not make man–the artist makes man whether he be legislator, great conqueror, painter, writer, sculptor or philosopher. Society amounts to recalcitrant stone. These days a great artistic accomplishment is the internet–a most devious and tremendous artistic achievement, one in which society is fooled into feeling served but is slowly being permanently changed. Good luck conservative elements. It seems the conservative elements are the last to acknowledge what even they talk about at times: That one man can change the world.

  • areyousaying

    Let’s put the question another way:”Is a society required to grant an ancient religion the right to offend?”It is offensive to society that the Catholic Church bashes gays from the pulpit while hiding their own gay pervert priests from civil prosecution, but is what’s left of a free American society is required to grant them this right?

  • zeccacr

    ABSOLUTELY, THEY SHOULD BE REQUIRED. Freedom of speech is our nations FIRST amendment, and the most important. No one said you had to read those books that offend you or admire those paintings or watch those movies that offend you. This type of censorship is absolutely disgusting to me.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    But the “audience” was not offended. No one who saw the film on disply complained about it. Any discussion or opinion beyond that seems to me, disingenuous.Only Donahue claimed offense, but he was not offended; he merely exploited the art exhibit to promote his anti-gay angenda.And by the way, he is not a spokesman for the Catholic Church; his opinions are those of a private political hack.

  • paulhume

    Artists have no special right to offend.ANY FREE CITIZEN HAS THE RIGHT TO OFFEND! The right to do so is not confined to artists (or, to be less restrictive – those who claim that their production is art).Of course that is not the question your column poses. Is a museum required to police itself lest it offend, or more to the point, provide a public display of art that offends some?We will leave aside the role of Donohue as a prime mover in the complaints which led to the removal of this piece from the display, since he seems to regard any refusal to bend the knee to the Roman Catholic communion as an insult to that church.Let us simply ask: is that which a number of citizens regard as sacred immune from uses they regard as profane in the public forum. Answer: no, it is not.Publicly funded venues are in a tight spot in this regard, of course. Virtually anything presented as art can be depended upon to offend some taxpayer, who can then cry that his purse is being forced to pay for that which he finds repugnant. Mind you this objection by citizens who find tanks, bombers, public schools (or school vouchers), Medicaid, what-you-will, repugnant is not generally accepted.It is facile and easy (as facile as Rockwell’s paintings, or Leroy Anderson’s music, whatever hackneyed trope you wish) to say the Smithsonian should never have displayed the piece, as it is facile to say that every artist deserves a forum paid for from the public purse. It is inane to reprove an activist for action, because there are more moderate voices out there. Just as it is inane when the activists decry the moderates for not being as vehement as they are (both conservative and liberal movements display these kinds of fracture lines every day).The Christian mythos however is no more sacrosanct than any other, no matter how many people gets their knickers in a twist when someone puts the words Christian and myth in the same phrase (and I do not use the term myth pejoratively, I will say).

  • lxp19

    So you’re suggesting that gays, who have been systematically condemned and vilified and excluded by the Catholic and other Churches, whose leaders and followers claim the mantle of Christ and God himself in their vilification — you’re suggesting that artists should exercise a level of self-censorship to avoid offending and instead exercise “gentle persuasion”? They should just give the Church a friendly little nudge, perhaps, when the religions of Christ have worked to limit the rights of gays, to shame them, to keep them from teaching children or adopting children or enjoying a life of love and commitment with the person they love most in life, or even using a condom to prevent possible death by AIDS?Excuse me, but I think you are over reacting. Feeling offended is often a defensive reaction to being faced with a difficult truth, and the Catholic Church does not have a history of facing difficult truths with grace. Let’s address some of your points:1. I am sorry that you think you should have to fund only art that pleases you. I find that rather narrow-minded. What do we think art is for – to make us think or to stroke us, to make us feel good? Depending on the case, it can be either. But if we exclude art that is not soothing, we are left with the equivalent of muzak. 2. Believe me, I would much rather fund art that offends me than wars that offend me. In fact, I would trade the entire military budget to fund art that offends me. 3. Okay, say we should pull art from public exhibitions if it offends. Who gets to decide how offensive is intolerable? Members of a huge, rich, powerful institution claiming moral indignation? Some Joe who is extremely noisy and might actually be 100 times as offended? Someone with a pile of money who threatens never to give another dime to that museum? How can we tell if people are truly offended or if they just can’t bear to stare truth in the eye?4. Since art, by definition, can be interpreted many different ways, how can we hold the artist responsible for how people see his or her work? What if one person sees beauty where another sees crass meanness? Whose voice carries?5. We need to recognize that there is a qualitative difference between the offended feelings of an oppressor and those of the oppressed. The ants crawling over a cross is the expression of someone who has been the explicit target of the Church. I mean, he’s got a point. It is not easy to be the scapegoat of big, rich, powerful institutions who claim that God himself approves of such persecution. Seriously, the Church has more important problems to attend to.

  • viennatrip

    Rather, you should ask “Do you have a right to be offended?”The Mullahs certainly think so.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    WMarkw,Posted by: PatrickJDeneen | January 4, 2011 9:31 AMPerhaps, I shall forward to you a sampling of his opinions on Jews, et al.Speaking of whom, for Jews, idolatry is anathema. Yet, statues of Moses (Moshe Rabeinu), he great anti-idolater abound in the Justice Department.Your bud, Donahue, militant moron, has posted antisemitic garbage right here on this blog.As a Catholic, you ought to cease and desist. Your RCC is not the most respected organization anywhere at the moment, and you do not serve them well.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Pat,Following up on Mark’s post, do you think the Smithsonian has pictures of the 200 Nazi priests, the Utashe (there were and are other Nazi priests of course), slitting the throats of Serbian Orthodox, Jews, and Roma, holding dishes under their throats to collect the blood? Do you think the Smithsonian has them? They’ve been published, Pat.And speaking of thieving Catholics, jes’ followin’ up on your chat with Mark here, do you think the Smithsonian has pictures of the Nazi priests concentration camps, the ones they owned and operated?Pictures of them stealing everything their Serbian Orthodox, Jewish, and Roma victims had and depositing it in Vatican Bank?Pictures of Pius the Thief, watching over the deposit of the loot in Vatican Bank?Pictures of the thieving RCC refusing to settle with the surviving victims and their heirs?Pictures of the thieving Catholics who stole everything Jews had when their co-Catholics carted them off to concentration camps and murdered them?Pictures of Vatican Bank, one of the largest money-laundering banks in the world, laundering money for the mafia? Pat, get your nose out of my Congress. Stop blackmailing museums. Get the forest out of your eye and clean up your own filthy house.

  • mini2

    Censorship in any form replicates fascistic attitudes.This topic is NOT a matter of “faith” and, hence, is inappropriately considered here.That the exhibit was focused on AIDS suggests that the piece in question was aptly approved for its presentation. That the artist, raised in a Roman Catholic environment, was stung by that denomination’s treatment of “queers” and that he ridiculed its followers as so many mindless “ants” is also fitting.What is damning is that the society, while claiming its democratic leanings, is motivated by fear, unable to withstand the questioning of its very un-/ill-considered customs and beliefs whether political, economic, or aesthetic.”God” forbid that anyone mock the very unChristian behavior of self-proclaimed but unperforming Christians such as present-day Roman Catholics and their functionaries.

  • MidwaySailor76

    At least part of Mr. Deneen’s argument in this case involves a character judgment about the art critics and their charges of censorship, making the case that their objections to the removal of the piece makes them ‘arrogant.’It’s no less arrogant to assume that a piece of art should be removed because it offends one’s sensibilities. Are the rest of us to be subject to Mr. Deneen’s opinion about what is, or isn’t, art? Isn’t that just a little arrogant, as well?The knife cuts both ways.

  • environment1

    I hope art offends, since it ought to provoke some sort of thought in the viewer. If it doesn’t offend, incite, free, anger, bring peace, etc.; then it’s probably not art.

  • aahpat

    FIRST. It is political and religious censorship to remove the offensive material.SECOND. It was stupid and low class to ever have presented the program in a mass venue like the Smithsonian.Third. An artist has every right, even a duty to be offensive if that is what will best express the perspective they intend expressing.Fourth. People who express their antipathy to the offensive material are themselves committing a ‘constitutionally’ offensive expression in the perspective of many who hold the First Amendment’s “free expression” in high esteem.Finally. As long as organized religion seeks to impose itself on the culture of American society there will be many freedom loving Americans who will take First Amendment offense at what they perceive as the excesses of religious expression and express that antipathy with art that is contemptuous of the offensive religious expression.Simply put. People who take offense at the expression of others are free to ignore that expression.(Personally, I would love to see the Smithsonian hold a show entirely of religiously offensive materials. Everything from pictures of Allah to Piss Christ. I would like to contribute to such a program the police mug shots of all of the religious people, ministers and priests who have sexually abused their vows. And the religions that have sheltered them. Acts that I consider religiously and constitutionally offensive.)

  • david6

    I’m not much of a fan of slippery slope arguments and it seems to me that government agencies should feel more constrained in what they do than private organizations. I don’t think that if we give into Bill Donohue today we will be imposing blasphemy laws tomorrow and murdering governors who oppose such laws next week, but I have no use for Mr. Donohue or his orchestrated self-pity. He is a professional victim. Let’s ignore him.

  • MidwaySailor76

    For reasons not quite clear, Mr. Deneen (or the WaPo) included a painting by Norman Rockwell along with the article.I suppose this the author’s idea of what ‘art’ should really look like: a realistic, almost photographic, depiction of some slice of unoffensive Americana. If this is a depiction of what Mr. Deneen wants to see in a museum, he must be constantly offended. He should probably limit his art viewing to old issues of Life Magazine.

  • richard36

    Does anyone have the right to offend? Of course not. You can debate, discuss and comment. But to offend is to intentional do hard. That is wrong. It is generally motivated by hate.

  • WmarkW

    For reasons not quite clear, Mr. Deneen (or the WaPo) included a painting by Norman Rockwell along with the article.This painting is part of a Norman Rockwell exhibit that is being shown at the Museum of American Art at the same time as the Hide/Seek exhibit, although they’re in different parts of the building and the exhibits are not related.

  • judithclaire1939

    Why are ants so offensive? Ants are part of our natural world and they are interesting little creatures to watch. Many children love watching an ant house.This was politics. No politicians saw the exhibit. I do thank our Congress for helping keep the roof fixed on all of our Smithsonian buildings, but, there may be a need to charge admission in the future. I do think that if the crucifix were attached to an American drone dropping bombs on people in Afghanistan…that might really upset people. Artists have interesting minds. After 9/11, the Pentagon hired some Hollywood writers to help them expand their horizons! Many viewers do not understand that private money is raised for exhibitions and for purchases of art at the Smithsonian.Fear is a big part of our reaction to art. Look how long it has taken to change Don’t ask,don’t tell?

  • marcelosba

    “You shall not kill”a person offending an art work should be OK as well…

  • tsemmes

    Removing the video is an act of censorship just the way that removing data on global warming from a scientific report is censorship. For curators and scientists to do what they do, they need to be free of outside interference. They are already good at self censorship already. It is part of the job description. But if the goal of censorship is to prevent people from seeing something, then this was not very effective. The video is easily available on youtube and a link was posted on the washingtonpost.com site for a while. Censoring it only brought more attention to it. This seems to happen every time the Catholic Church censors something. A movie or painting that probably would have been mostly ignored is banned and then everyone has to go out and see it. They must know that is how it works by now. Which makes me wonder if what they want is for MORE exposure to the “offensive” material. They could easily have requested that a warning label be put on the video and no one except gallery goers would have been the wiser.

  • tsemmes

    Removing the video is an act of censorship just the way that removing data on global warming from a scientific report is censorship. For curators and scientists to do what they do, they need to be free of outside interference. They are already good at self censorship already. It is part of the job description. But if the goal of censorship is to prevent people from seeing something, then this was not very effective. The video is easily available on youtube and a link was posted on the washingtonpost.com site for a while. Censoring it only brought more attention to it. This seems to happen every time the Catholic Church censors something. A movie or painting that probably would have been mostly ignored is banned and then everyone has to go out and see it. They must know that is how it works by now. Which makes me wonder if what they want is for MORE exposure to the “offensive” material. They could easily have requested that a warning label be put on the video and no one except gallery goers would have been the wiser.

  • mhoust

    If the exhibits are funded with public tax money, the public has the right to chose whether to show the exhibits or not. The choice to show offensive material must be a pre-agreed upon decision, the reasons for doing so, and the anticipated benefits (if any) should be plainly stated.The Smithsonian is not a private museum. We, the people, have a right to dictate what we want, or do not want, to see there. We have the right to chose when and how we are to be “enlightened or broadened”. Is there a constructive purpose to showing anti-christian themed art? How about anti-Jewish, or anti-Buddhist, or anti-Islam? Gender hatred? Racial hatred? Good luck with justifying any of that. You might get away with that as a sub-gallery theme; but not as a major theme for the entire museum.

  • veritasinmedium

    Does anyone have the right to offend? Of course not. You can debate, discuss and comment. But to offend is to intentional do hard. That is wrong. It is generally motivated by hate. Your words offend me. You must be motivated by hate. You must be wrong. At least according to your simpleton logic, you must be.

  • veritasinmedium

    The video itself offended the protestors not because of the ants, but because a gay artist included Jesus in his work. This is just another Catholic attack on things their perverted Christianity has led them to deem wrong.

  • karlmarx2

    If a work of art doesn’t offend somebody in some way, then it probably isn’t a very good work of art.A sense of vitality, of the dangerous chaos of life, is offensive to a lot of people, especially in regimented cultures like ours. But it’s absolutely necessary in art, whatever the form. Otherwise it’s just wallpaper.

  • eezmamata

    Religious people are always easily offended by anything they can perceive as portraying their religion as ridiculous because they know exactly how ridiculous their religion is.American christians are kind of funny in some ways, they are All For Freedom Of Speech when it offends anybody else, but the first they see a possible idea that they are ridiculous just washed away their high-minded support of the first amendment like this morning’s dump.Christians, like all other religious types, are oppressors of anything not christian. In particular, anything anti-christian.Just how they can see themselves as being superior to the muslims in this matter is truly curious.

  • leslieswearingen

    The real question is, does the museum have the right to remove something that someone has found to be offensive.

  • braunt

    If artists should be allowed carte blanche to offend at will, would artwork that portrays homosexuality as vile, feminism as evil, and blacks as inhuman be OK to show at public galleries? Should racist artwork commissioned by the Ku Klux Klan be prominently displayed at the Smithsonian? These types of works, which certainly do exist, would most definitely be offensive; but should those offended be required to remain silent under the guise that protest is tantamount to censorship? How many of you, especially those defending Wojnarowicz’s and others’ of his ilk work, would countenance such countervailing “art,” regardless of whether it was taxpayer supported or not?If you play with fire, don’t be surprised if you get burned, or, as Mr. Deneen points out, if your objective is to offend, they don’t get miffed when the intended target gets offended. It is the right of the offended to speak out against the offense as much as it is the right of the artist to offend. By the way, isn’t that what the artist in this case was trying to evoke – discussion of the issue? Or does modern Liberalism expect society to merely accept its reimagining of social mores without question? That seems to be what Mr. Kennicott and many posters here seem to be promoting. Perhaps Mr. Kennicott should have remained silent as his speaking out against the removal of the offending artwork amounts to censorship of those originally offended by it. Could those offended by Mr. Kennicott’s point of view demand the Post fire him because his views are offensive to some? Can one not see the childish logic in Mr. Kennicott’s thinking?It is controversies like this one that lead me to believe that government should no more fund public art than it should contribute to religious activities. As I recall, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution covers both freedom of expression (speech, art, press, etc.) and religion. If there exists a “wall of separation” between church and state when it comes to religion why would not that wall also come between state and speech? Federal courts have held that the provision of government resources to religious institution in almost any form amounts to unauthorized favoritism (aka establishment) towards that religious belief at the expense of others. Would it not then follow that government resources used to support speech (in this case presented as artwork) would favor that point of view at the exclusion of opposing viewpoints?Let “art” be privately financed, get the government out of the picture, and the vast majority of the problem goes away.

  • solsticebelle

    “Religious people are always easily offended by anything they can perceive as portraying their religion as ridiculous because they know exactly how ridiculous their religion is.American christians are kind of funny in some ways, they are All For Freedom Of Speech when it offends anybody else, but the first they see a possible idea that they are ridiculous just washed away their high-minded support of the first amendment like this morning’s dump.Christians, like all other religious types, are oppressors of anything not christian. In particular, anything anti-christian.Just how they can see themselves as being superior to the muslims in this matter is truly curious.Posted by: eezmamata | January 5, 2011 11:05 AM”Bingo! I could not add anything to this so I am just c/p’ing it since it cannot be said enough!

  • LeeH1

    Gee, it is obvious what is going on here. You can offend Christians, whites and straight people, because that is good. But to offend atheists, blacks or gays is bad. One is art. The other is hate speech.After all, I don’t see anyone here defending Capt. Honors for his videos shown on the USS Enterprise. He was removed from command in a blatent act of censorship.It is wonderful and good to offend Christians. It is wrong to offend Moslems, for example. One is art. The other is hate speech.Anti-Christian art, such as “Piss Christ,” “Dung Mary” or the crucifix covered with ants is art. Selections from the Ku Klux Klan artworks, or anti-gay works, are evil hate speech.Thank God we have excellent artists and critics who can tell us what to think and what to admire! Otherwise, we would be forced to view art based on quality and excellence of performance, rather than political correctness. Then where would we be?

  • Carstonio

    “The conclusion that we the people are to draw about art ought not to be dictated by the artists”? Oh, please. That’s just demagogic pandering to resentment and anti-intellectualism. It’s not much different from the dishonesty of the Cyber News Service, which showed 11 seconds of Wojnarowicz’s half-hour video out of context to wrongly frame it as an attack on Christianity. Deenan’s use of the word “sacred” for culture suggests an appalling lack of perspective. In principle, no symbol or other cultural element deserves special protection. That’s a concept that really depends on context, motivation, and perspective, none of which are endemic. Different symbols mean different things to different people. No one gets to control or decide what a symbol should mean for others. What CNS and Bill Donahue and Deenan are saying is that the context and the artist’s intended message don’t matter.

  • georgedixon1

    Artists have the right to do what they wish. They do not have a right to subsidiesAs for the “bravery” of leftist “art” in America….LOL….when they take on Islam’s treatment of women and homosexuals, then they will be braveAs for now, most public art displays the fact that the ear is more sensitive to crappy music than the eye is to crappy “art”

  • judithclaire1939

    Mr.Deneen, Surely, you viewed the exhibit and the vidio that is still there and even the tiny vidio that was removed…all talk and no action? Would it be offensive if you did not view the exhibit and still wrote about it…Pssst you still have time to view it and/or to tell us when you viewed it. Thank you!

  • BootmanDC

    mhoust wrote:The public did not have that choice. The decision was made by a single administrator based on a complaint from the Catholic League.

  • fishcrow

    The funny thing is the whole situation could have been avoided if artistic talent were still a requirement for exhibition in a serious gallery.Being an oppressed minority with something to say does not mean you are an artist.I’ve shot better footage when I accidentally hit the video camera button on my iPod while fishing for my keys.

  • rcubedkc

    Guess not.They just took the N word out of Huckleberry Finn.Now only kanye west and other lowlife dogs have complete freedom of speech.

  • jasonmason

    The modern museum has evolved from a straightforward display of power – this is Culture, so genuflect, ye masses – to a paradoxical place where old forms of power and discipline are harnessed to create new kinds of debate and criticism

  • Itzajob

    Having lost friends to AIDs in the 90s, of course I was offended by this video. But if it had displayed even a modicum of artistic merit, I’d have said, go ahead and display it. The problem is, it didn’t. Even Capt. Honors’ videos were more artistically impressive. Perhaps then the Captain’s appalling oeuvre would make a better test case for the propriety of displaying homophobic art at the Smithsonian.

  • jfv123

    There is no definition of who an artist is.The question is really: Does anyone/everyone have the right to offend other people?The second question, however, is:So, artists, feel free to offend others to your hearts content. Just don’t expect sympathy when you cry about others withdrawing support for your efforts.Go ahead: Burn a Koran. Piss on Jesus. Do whatever you want. Just don’t expect much public money to support what you are doing.

  • bobmoses

    Of course artists have the right to offend. The don’t have the right to have their works hung in property that they do not own.

  • kenk33

    Ants crawling on a symbolic Roman torture device… OH NO!

  • garoth

    The question is not whether the RC church or anyone else has the right to comment on this piece of work, or the right to find it offensive (I am a pastor, and find it actully rather meaningful). The question is whether a publically funded institution is, or should be, in the business of censorship. Certainly there are things that challenge decency, and there might be some arguement there – but this work does ot challenge those boundaries. This is more under the order of “protected speech;” the question is: do those istitutions that are supported by the government through tax-payers’ dollars, have the right or obligation to censor those things that some groups might find offensive? If a nation honors free speech, then the answer is a strong, “No!” and the curator has not only done a disservice to the artist and the artistic community, but also to those freedoms which we hold most precious. The museum is a public forum for the exchange of ideas, including those that some may find offensive.Perhaps we should only allow pictures of flowers in vases in public museums (no – that is too “tree-hugging”), or pictures of animals – puppy dogs, wilcats, elk, beautiful birds (maybe the NRA wouldn’t like that – it might discourage people from hunting, or animal lib people might fear these animals were being abused). Pictures of people might have too much arm or leg showing – or not enough; vegans might object to paintings of dinner if meat is present (I’d be opposed if meat and cheese weren’t – and maybe a beer!). Historical figures might be good, except that revisionists might object (keep thm out of Texas!). Cubists, with no reality to paint, might be unobjectionable, but some folks just don’t like modern art. Hell, let’s just close the museums down, buy some piece of junk “art” from Wally World and call it “culture!”

  • Carstonio

    The issue here isn’t about whether specific works of art deserve taxpayer support – there’s no way any group of citizens could agree on what the criteria should be. The real issue is the demagoguery. Bill Donahue is the latest in a long line of leaders who create phony controversies by condemning art out of context, or sometimes by deliberately lying about the content. Anyone who tells you that such art could only have been intended as attacks on religion is either trying to emotionally manipulate you, or is holding onto the absolutist falsehood of “you’re either for us or against us.” Let’s keep some perspective – does any reasonable person believe that Christianity would face away just because of 11-second clip in a Wojnarowicz video or from a Serrano photo? Even if these artists set out to denigrate a religion, why should believers in that religion care what they think? It seems like a minority among believers really thinks that art deserves public support only if it says nothing bad about THEIR religion.

  • Carstonio

    Oops, I mean “would fade away.”

  • rj2008

    How long was that on display before Donahue saw it? The public didn’t react against it until Donahue and Glenn Beck told them to. Then Eric Cantor threatened the Smithsonian to withold funding. What exactly is so offense in this piece of film, the guy who made it died of aids, he probably saw some kind of methaphor between the natural world and the futility of spiritualism. Was that video actually going to do harm to anyone? Was anyone forced to watch it? It was just another attention getter for Donahue, who should clean up his own back yard before he says anything else. Who died and put all these conservatives in charge of dictating what Americans can see and read and think? I thought this was a free country and we all can decide for ourselves. And by the way all you high minded right wing conservatives is that cloth still covering the Justice statues bare breasts?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Boehner’s blackmail of the Smithsonian and its capitulation will go down as a black mark in this country’s increasingly black sectarian history.Anyone who bothered to view the video saw it as art and was moved by it.As for offense, I am offended as is every other Jew I know by the STATUES (!!!) of MOses (Moses, our teacher) lining the Justice Department. Although this isn’t the place for theology, I will say this: Perhaps, it is this nation’s idolatrous nature to which the decorated JD pays homage that keeps us far from attaining just government, government of LAW, not men, Christian or otherwise.So, PAT DENEEN, gonna protest the idols lining the Halls of Justice?Shall we seek a Jewish equivalent of the militantly moronic, antisemitic tax exempted Fats Donohue?

  • edbyronadams

    “The issue here isn’t about whether specific works of art deserve taxpayer support – there’s no way any group of citizens could agree on what the criteria should be.”One wonders why tax dollars are spent in this manner then or, barring its eradication, why the chosen elites who decide how the money is spent, should be totally isolated from that annoying will of the people matter.

  • WmarkW

    “As for offense, I am offended as is every other Jew I know by the STATUES (!!!) of MOses (Moses, our teacher) lining the Justice Department. Although this isn’t the place for theology, I will say this: Perhaps, it is this nation’s idolatrous nature to which the decorated JD pays homage that keeps us far from attaining just government, government of LAW, not men, Christian or otherwise.”Farnaz, you keep bringing this up.No one WORSHIPS, in the literal sense, these statues of Moses. They’re artistic depictions of a very famous (probably fictional, but we won’t go there) individual. Written law codes are one of civilization’s most important achievements, so naturally one of its most revered pioneers will be depicted within our legal buildings.It’s no more a graven image (in the Decalogue sense) than David Chester French’s statue of Lincoln in his memorial.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Farnaz, you keep bringing this up.No one WORSHIPS, in the literal sense, these statues of Moses. They’re artistic depictions of a very famous (probably fictional, but we won’t go there) individual. Written law codes are one of civilization’s most important achievements, so naturally one of its most revered pioneers will be depicted within our legal buildings.It’s no more a graven image (in the Decalogue sense) than David Chester French’s statue of Lincoln in his memorial.Posted by: WmarkWAre you saying that Christians (including Catholics) worship images, statues, videos of Christ?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    They’re artistic depictions of a very famous (probably fictional, but we won’t go there) individual. Written law codes are one of civilization’s most important achievements, so naturally one of its most revered pioneers will be depicted within our legal buildings.

  • Kingofkings1

    Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend? Yes. But the artists should first be allowed to submit to being subjected to offensive experiences directed at his or her mother from several sources

  • Kingofkings1

    FarnazMansouri wrote:——————————————Farnaz, you were in the gutter with your zionist preoccupation long before I decided to see what I’m missing from a differing view.I searched the websites you mentioned and did not find Rachel Corrie, or the news of the daily killings at the checkpoints in occupied Palestine, most recently because a young man took a wrong turn at the checkpoint and a young woman had recently demonstrated against the Israeli/American occupation of Palestine

  • WmarkW

    Farnaz, you were in the gutter with your zionist preoccupation long before I decided to see what I’m missing from a differing view.Farnaz is on an anti-blasphemy kick.A couple weeks ago, under Jacoby’s board, I asked about contradictory interpretations of parts of the Talmud, and she got on a kick where the only possible positions on Judaism are sucking up and Joseph Goebbels.And since I don’t do the former, I must be a blasphemer only suitable to called names and anyone who agrees with me.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I searched the websites you mentioned and did not find Rachel Corrie, or the news of the daily killings at the checkpoints in occupied Palestine, most recently because a young man took a wrong turn at the checkpoint and a young woman had recently demonstrated against the Israeli/American occupation of PalestinePosted by: Kingofkings1 Honor killings, for those who may not know, are the murder of a woman, usually, by her brother, for the crime of having been raped. They comprise one out of every three murders in Palestine and are not considered crimes.The articles also failed to report on the checkpoints in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, UAE, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, etc. The articles failed to report on Saudi Arabia’s increasing murders of refugees trying to enter.The articles did not report on the theft, murder, and ethnic cleansing of the ME’s three million Jews, crimes against Christians in Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi ARabia, Syria, etc.The articles did not report on the Jerusalem University mass murder, mass murder in the synagogues, mass murder in the streets of Tel Aviv, mass murder at Zbarro’s.The articles did not report on the murder of seven year old Joel Chen, by islamist Palestinians.From your islamist gutter, KOK1, you can’t even see my ankles.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    A couple weeks ago, under Jacoby’s board, I asked about contradictory interpretations of parts of the Talmud, and she got on a kick where the only possible positions on Judaism are sucking up and Joseph Goebbels.And since I don’t do the former, I must be a blasphemer only suitable to called namesPosted by: WmarkWBUT FIRST–Answer the questions I posted below, please.AND THEN–I’ll post what I had in mind for you and KOK1 and Pat. (I hope your islamophobia won’t get in your way with the King of kings, aka Ramses.)

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Patrick,I’m not naive enough to hold out much hope for you; however, I paste below the comments of a blogger who shares your views. From your point on the hate scale to his, it is not very far at all. Trust me on this. I am an Iranian Jewish refugee.This blogger, btw., is a Muslim from another country, currently living here, who shares YOUR, not my, American values.Pat, when your “Catholic leader,” Donahue posted an antisemitic essay for OnFaith, your co-Catholics expressed outrage at Quinn for allowing him to write for this forum. They found him to be an embarrassment, a leader of the “illiterate,” wrote one.What I find interesting is that every Catholic academic I know says the same, that, despite the RCC’s honoring him. I’m hopeful that reading your essay will disabuse Catholic colleagues of their faulty Donahue notions.Now I have a question: Should taxpayers be required to fund via the granting of nonprofit status a racist moron “Catholic leader”?See below for the views of one of your supporters, Pat:Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend?”Yes. But the artists should first be allowed to submit to being subjected to offensive experiences directed at his or her mother from several sources”Posted by: Kingofkings1 | January 5, 2011 7:43 PM

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Mark,Re: My previous post to you.I recall the Talmud question and my answers. I gave you the definitive web site, containing all credible sources, bilingual, I believe.At all events, I don’t like dealing in English translation for the obvious reason. So if you wish to continue to “discuss” Talmud, I’d prefer you paste or type the passages in Aramaic. I myself am working on Bruria, and would certainly welcome scholarly feedback.

  • Kingofkings1

    Fundamentalist Farnaz wrote:Farnaz, you are not a good spokesperson for zionism. People who hold extrmeist views are unequivocally of unstable mental composition, e.g Hitler, McCarthy, or Avigdor Lieberman. On the other hand, individuals who are moderate and inclusive of others, including their enemies, have left a positive lasting mark on our history, e.g historical Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and prophet Muhammad. I see that my attempts to broaden your perspective for your own benfit are not appreciated, and you enjoy the filth in the gutterA closing note: You assume a lot of things, and I suggest you discard that habit for your own benefit, because when you ASSume things, you make an ass out of yourself.

  • WmarkW

    Farnaz, is this the question below, you want me to answer:There are three repetitions of the Decalogue in the Torah, and the two that are not in Duetoronomy, contradictorily prohibit “graven” images in one case and “molten” in the other, because they were written by northern and southern priestly traditions attempting to de-legitimatize each other’s temples.Since the last Temple was destroyed, Jews have tried to reconcile these contradictory texts by saying they both prohibit worshiping man-made artifacts. Whether the respect some Christians attach to a crucifix or Muslims to the Kabaa stone constitutes thing-worship or just the respect of an important symbolic icon, is too arcane a question for myself the atheist to be interested in.But artistic depictions of historical figures like Moses in a government building are not intended as worship-objects, even if a few people might choose to do so individually.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Abou Ben AdhemAbou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,”And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next nightLeigh Hunt (1784-1859)

  • Kingofkings1

    Farnaz the fanatic wrote;”Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend?—————————————–First Farnaz assumed that I’m a muslim immigrant. I was born and bred in the US, unlike herself. I never declared my religion, and I don’t feel a need to either. I don’t need farnaz to tell me my rights. unlike Israel, we will not create a parallel life her for the muslims, however much Avigdor, Farnaz and Daniel pipes would like that idea.Second, Farnaz assumed that the potentials artists’ mothers were encouraged to be assaulted. That is not the case. The artists use a nonphysical assault on others’ sensitivites. I proposed that the artists be subjected to nonphysical forms of sensitivity training such as being subjected to namecalling and drawing grotesque pictures of those whom they love. A christian may love jesus and a jew may love Moses, but even atheists love their mothers. Being subjected to such namecalling should make the artists sensitive to calling others names or humiliating the things/ideas that others hold as sacred and/or dear. Putting words in other people’s mouths is a disgusting art.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    WmarkW,Thank you for your learned discourse, although I have no idea where you learned it. Relics, statues of profits or anyone else is strictly forbidden. The irony of erecting statues of Moses, the inversion/perversion has not gone unnoticed.In your Judaic Studies, you should have come across a footnote on the prohibition against drawing or otherwise representing Muhammad, which many although not all, Muslims hold, along with the origins of said statute.For Jews, statues of Moses are almost literally nauseating.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    As usual, Mullah KOK1 lies, obfuscates, bloviates. He did, indeed, say he was a Muslim immigrant. This country, however, will not ethnically cleanse itself of Jews as he and his friends Ahmedinejad, the Surpreme Corrupt Bastard Leader Khameini, and the murderer of Gov. Taseer would like.His sickening words for American artists speak for themselves.”Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    “A christian may love jesus and a jew may love Moses. . .”Jews do not “love” Moses, you illiterate mullah.

  • Kingofkings1

    fanatic and foul mouthed farnaz: PS, you failed to give credit of the Abou ben Adhem to the poet who originally inspired that lovely poem to Attar from Iran and the one who inspired Rumi – all from the land where your ancestors came from (Iran) but which you are keen having the US to destroy. I will go ahead and add your name to the list of individuals who can only love those who share her version of divine and divinity.

  • jimwalters1

    I have to agree that the term “censorship” is being grossly abused in these sorts of debates. The work in question has neither been confiscated nor destroyed nor otherwise been prevented from display in other venues. The artist in question has neither been prosecuted nor persecuted. You can argue whether the removal of the work was a good policy decision, but calling it “censorship” cheapens the term to the point of making meaningless when the real thing comes around.The government has the right to decide which art it will support. Freedom of speech does not require the government to provide grants or museum space to any particular work or artist, and failure to do so is not censorship of that work or artist. It can choose to support all art, some art, or no art all. Since it is ultimately answerable to the people, the government needs to take the opinions of the people into account. Society does not owe artists a living, although a wise society will support its artists. Again, one can argue whether the decision to remove this work was the correct choice, especially since it was done in response to criticism by people who never saw the entire work in context, but that still does not make it censorship.Over the last century or so artist have become excessively self-important. It seems to have become a truism that it isn’t “True Art” unless it is either offensive or incomprehensible to lesser beings (i.e., non-artists), or simply bites the hand that feeds it. “True Art” can be offensive or abstruse, but it doesn’t have to be. It can try to improve us by appealing to the best in us as well as shaming the worst in us. It can have an accessible surface above its hidden depths.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Ignorant rabid Mullah KOK:Moron, I’m familiar with Rumi, you complete Idiot. “Love” is not a word Jews use with respect to Moshe (Moshe Rabeinu), Dolt. The human experience comprises more than love and hate for this and that, Fool. Hence, although I certainly do not love you, I do not hate you. I cannot say the same for your buds Ahmedinejad, Mubarak, and the Supreme Bastard Leader. Hypocrite Blogger, ni mon semblable, mon frere ni.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Mullah, may I suggest a truce? Unlike you, I’m running out of invective.

  • Kingofkings1

    Filthy mouth and fanatic Farnaz used the following constructive words and managed to do it all in one sentence:IgnorantAnd you, madam, are no lady, and should stay at least 500 ft away from any facility in which there is a gathering of children. Furthermore, you are a disgrace to your race and religion. I believe you’ve outdone Avigdor Lieberman, at least today.In regards to artists – the good ones inspire us to do good. The bad ones have only filth and negativity to offer.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    M. Mullah, I take it that is a NO. In the meantime, you have called me fanatic, I take it that following the last visit from Child Protective Services, your unfortunate wife has removed your imperiled daughter to surroundings safe from your sorry self.Regards,

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Btw., Mullah, your co-Mullahs strew rose petals at the feet of the murderer of Gov. Tazeer. You do them, your “race,” your “religion” great honor, as always. We know who you are. We’ve seen you in action. Up close. And personal, Mullah of Blood.

  • Kingofkings1

    Farnaz the foul mouthed fanatic (FTFMF) wrote:As for artists whose claim to fame is that they arouse hostility in others, I say these are a lazy bunch who know that their abilities are otherwise unworthy and can only be noticed as a result of the shock factor. The best response of the community would be ignore such fools, but an almost naked ignoramus at a busy intersection shouting obscenities during the rush hour would be hard to ignore. Some people just revel in their notoriety and ill deserved fame.PS I learn something everyday, and don’t feel offended when somone does provide me with new information, unlike some people as FTFMF, Avigdor Lieberman, Daniel Pipes, and Glenn Beck, who believe they know everything.

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