December 7, 2010

A Fire in My Belly.

No, this post does not involve Fat Bastard.

One week ago House GOP Leader John Boehner forced the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to remove a piece of video art called "A Fire in My Belly" from late artist David Wojnarowicz's exhibit.  Boehner along with Representative Eric Cantor, who will be the second-ranking member of House GOP leadership, are now taking it one step further by encouraging the museum to remove the entire exhibit altogether.  Why, you ask?  Because they claim it's offensive to Christians.  According to the museum's website, "The film, A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress (1986-87) is a poetic meditation on man, life, death, faith, and suffering made in part as a response to the AIDS-related death of his close friend, artist Peter Hujar."

Knowing the Religion Card probably wouldn't stand a chance by itself, they are trying to back their argument by reminding everyone that the Smithsonian receives some federal funding.  This really isn't an argument at all, considering there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all that good stuff going on in this country.  Last time I checked, artists don't have to clear their ideas with anyone, nor do museums have to run potential exhibits by the White House for approval.  Basically what they meant to say is that the exhibit was offensive to THEM, and perhaps also other religious persons and groups as they claim, and they are grasping for straws trying to find a reason to outrage the rest of the world along with them by suggesting that government money funded this objectionable art.  In direct response to this, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian noted that federal funding is not used to pay for exhibits, only infrastructure, curating, and staff.  So, there goes that argument.

I'm really, really tired of the Religion Card.  Message to you Christian conservatives:  You are not the center of the universe.  Everything does not revolve around you, nor do they revolve around trying to persecute you for your chosen beliefs.  Quit assuming that everything is about you, and you will stop taking every fucking little thing personally as some sort of slam against your religion and your character.  Quit worrying that things such as artistic expression might cause us to question religion, because that's already been going on for a long time by a shit ton of people anyway.  You are threatened by and afraid of beliefs different from your own, therefore, you try to eliminate that which you assume is slanderous and might cause people to think outside of your box.  Stop it.  Now.  I thank you.

Anyway, below is the piece of video art that was removed from the exhibit.  The piece has since been picked up by several other museums who are now showing it in its entirety.  I don't know if words can describe this thing.  It's weird, freaky, awesome, intriguing, brilliant, disturbing, and FUCKING SCARY all at once.  Watch it.


  1. Christians should be comforted by this work of art, not offended. I'm of the atheist/nihilist slant and even I immediately recognized the references to Jesus on the cross and all that jazz. These symbols would've been obvious to me even if I hadn't read your post first. See, Christians!? That's how pervasive and ubiquitous your religion, symbolism and ideology is. Be happy Christianity is included in artworks. I mean, sheesh, how flattering is that?

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  3. You make very good points. We are kindred spirits, my friend.