December 7, 2010

Hate Speech, the Blowback

Bullying and Censorship -

In an appalling act of political cowardice, the Smithsonian Institution last week removed “A Fire in My Belly,” a four-minute video clip, from an exhibit called “Hide/Seek” at the National Portrait Gallery. The privately financed show explores identity, gender and homosexuality in American portraiture.

The video, by David Wojnarowicz, is a moving, anguished reflection on the artist’s impending death from AIDS. It shows very quick glimpses of challenging and, at times, disturbing images...

One of those images, 11 seconds of ants crawling on a crucifix, drew an outraged denunciation from the Catholic League, a lay civil rights organization that receives no church financing. It called the video “hate speech” and said it was designed to “assault the sensibilities of Christians.” A spokesman for Representative John Boehner, the incoming House speaker, called for the Smithsonian to shut down the exhibition or “be prepared to face tough scrutiny” under the new Republican majority.

This "hurting the sensibilities" stuff is getting to be out of control. Despicable as the censorship by the conservatives is, I hope the liberals will learn from this blowback, and desist from conflating every criticism of the UN, Islam, and President Obama's policies into "hate speech".

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