Thursday, December 02, 2010

Yuletide Cultural Bullying

Wow - sometimes backsliding culturally goes so unseen and unnoticed, to where you wake up and think - huh - is it really a 1990-culture war all over again?  Eerily enough - 20 years later - the Smithsonian's move to remove David Wojnarowicz from the Hide/Seek exhibit, namely the "Fire In My Belly" video, is like a sad synchronicity. Something that's not grabbing headlines as it should be, and not angering enough people.  Just in time for Christmas - and even more sadly enough - on World Aid's Day.
It is, however, self-edifying on two fronts - The exhibit is called Hide/Seek: all about that gay and often hidden desire, so subtle and lurking that no one knew (or cared to know). The National Portrait gallery is showing the other "secret history" of America - one that angers conservatives if taught and expressed and causes religious fervor, such that, the artist is hidden under a campaign of intolerance.    The gallery has works that start to evolve and become more prevelant and then show what happened with the epidemic.   Maybe there will be a shift in heart among the intolerant to see an arc of work, then a crisis followed by many deaths.
And secondly, that Wojnarowicz was practically showing the stifling silence and censorship that was killing his friends and loved ones in his work (including this one). It is amazing that this has come up AGAIN. As pointed out in prior posts, the man meant not to go quietly...  He wanted to serve as cultural beacon - and his "One Day" work is very much the anticipated panacea of gay bullying if there ever was one, and this work here is very much a religious work (and derives images from biblical passages and themes) as pointed out by Andrew Sullivan.
So - we must say thank you once again for illustrating our point, Bill Donahue - your timing on World Aid's Day shows you've got real showmanship potential.    Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for you) - the world has a secular device called "the Youtubes", and while we email the Smithsonian to ask that they project this on the biggest wall possible - I'll gladly post this here...

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