Friday, October 8, 2010

Censorship in Action

Loveland is a town of about 50,000 in Northern Colorado. The city's national claim to fame is a service to postmark love letters on Valentines Day. Loveland is known locally as having a strong focus on publicly owned art--especially sculpture.

Now the city is in the national news due to the disposition of a controversial piece of art called "The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals". (This piece was exhibited in the museum, not in the parks.) This is art as social commentary. The series of lithographs criticizes priest pedophilia. Detractors say it's obscene and blasphemous. They believe the lithograph depicts Jesus in a sexual act, with a tiny Pope looking on.

There have been protests, and meetings between the public and local city officials concerning the art. Local priests have testified that they treasure children. Other citizens have decried the piece as pornographic. Supporters reply that pornography requires genitalia and since there are no organs in the lithograph it is not pornographic.

The discussion is important. That's what civilized people do.

Loveland people do, anyway. A fifty-something grandmother took her objection too far. She drove from her home in Montana down to CO--with a crow bar. She destroyed the piece, reportedly shouting "How can you desecrate my Lord?". This "deeply religious" trucker-lady was arrested. An anonymous fan soon posted bail.

The response to the Montana lady's act is very interesting. The artist, a rather self-important Stanford Prof, demanded the city of Loveland "restrain their mob immediately." That would be a mob of one. From Montana.

The woman's lawyer has come up with a unique defense. Here it is: The city of Loveland asked for it. Why? The town was "insensitive" to this woman's religious beliefs.

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