Compare And Contrast

Drop a crucifix into urine, and become the hit of the Manhattan art world, and hired by the New York Times. Drop a Koran into the toilet on the campus of NYU? Arrested for a hate crime.


So when will the NYPD start raiding MOMA and the Times’ press room for displaying “art” such as this to even out the glaringly obvious double-standard?

Just about never is the timeframe that comes to mind, unless Catholics turn to suicide bombing. Or as I wrote last year when Newsweek manufactured the first Koran-in-the-can siting out of whole cloth:

If the media wants to claim that defacing the Koran in a POW camp full of captured terrorists is the crime of the century, then it needs to follow its own logic to its natural conclusion: no more claiming that “art” such as Piss Christ is a bold artistic statement. No more episodes like this on Law & Order and other TV shows, unless they’re roundly condemned by the press. An article such as Rod Dreher’s “The Godless Party” should be a multi-part investigative feature in the New York Times. There should be regular articles condemning the attacks of the ACLU against religious Christians or Christmas celebrations.

Because without a similar tone to coverage of religion in the US, Koran abuse stories at Gitmo looks exactly like it is: grandstanding hypocrisy of the worst order.

And it’s even worse coming from government officials, rather than radical chic artists and journalists desparently trying to manufacture controvery.


Update: Here’s a 1999 Salon article subtitled, “New Yorkers apparently do not support Mayor Giuliani’s holy war on the Brooklyn Museum”, the same museum that displayed the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung that the Times used to illustrate its story about the Cartoons That Dare Not Be Shown early this year:

The public’s overwhelming and sophisticated rejection of Giuliani’s inquisition suggests that it ought to be possible for a defense of free expression to coexist with a more vigorous debate about the content of art. We can defend the NEA, defend the imperative for radical, taboo-bashing, experimental art-making, and still ask if the Whitney would so readily display a sculpture called “Piss Torah,” with a scroll dropped in a jar of urine.

Nahh. That’s one question that’s been firmly settled in the interim.


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