Ed Driscoll

'Smithsonian Yanks Ant-Covered Jesus'

Now there’s an epochal headline, which is currently running on the homepage of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Website. It says so much about the state of leftwing culture in America and its exhaustion after a century of trying shock the bourgeois — only to wake up and find that it’s become the bourgeois. The rest of us have seen these sorts of exhibitions all of our lives and (a) numb and (b) know it’s just a game, since the stakes, post-9/11, have been revealed to be so penny-ante.

Beyond the Blaze’s headline, here’s a quote from the story it links to:

By Tuesday afternoon, the Smithsonian announced that it would remove the portion of the exhibit which showed ants crawling over a crucifix, but insisted the rest of the exhibit would stay. In a statement, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery clarified that the exhibit was not meant to be “sacrilegious’:

“I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious,” the statement read. “In fact, the artists’s intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was not the museum’s intention to offend. We are removing the video today. The museum‘s statement at the exhibition’s entrance, ‘This exhibition contains mature themes,’ will remain in place.”

Among the exhibit’s “mature themes,” as we reported yesterday, are images of male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, a mouth being sewn shut and an Annie Lebovitz portrait of comedian Ellen Degeneres grabbing her breasts.

“It was not the museum’s intention to offend?” After a century of such exhibitions in museums across America and Europe, all from the same playbook, does anyone believe a word of the quote from the Smithsonian’s director? The Smithsonian was once a universally respected institution; but then, as liberalism become increasingly punitive, the institution lost much of its good will in recent decades.

But then, the same could be said of what once was called liberalism itself.