Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Other random stuff

random group of quotes I liked on Eyeteeth.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.—Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

Thought-provoking entry from Edward Winkleman on potentially offensive art and Islam.

Now in the political blogosphere I'm fairly well known for blasting any even remotely biased anti-Muslim rhetoric, and I'll most certainly do so in the future, but I'm personally sick and tired of Western art institutions getting this so spectaculary wrong. If you're going to scrap exhibitions for fear of offending Muslims, you MUST, MUST, MUST also scrap exhibitions for fear of offending Christians (e.g, the Offili piece in the "Sensation" exhibition), or Jews, or Buddhists, or whomever. Full stop. It doesn't matter if they're less likely to resort to violence in their protests, the only honorable rationale for censoring work that critiques Islam is that you, as an institution, consider all religion off bounds.

Now, I would disagree that there is something inherently more violent about Islam than other religions, but otherwise I think this is a great point. It just smacks a little of "I'm not racist, but...". The discussion in the comments is good too.

Edit: See comments. I didn't mean to imply that Edward was racist! Just that I was uncomfortable with the way his statement was formed.

Related article at Common Dreams : West Cowers From Defense of Dane's Liberty to Draw . I think this article makes a clearer arguement.

New (to me) artist : Lari Pittman. Wow, are these paintings full of ... stuff. I'm fascinated. It's like a post-modern hallucination. Pop art on acid. Graffiti gone baroque.


At 12:26 AM, Blogger Scenic Artisan said...

censoring a show to appease...or with the thought to appease any uppity religious group is so disturbing to me.

its just fear, the worst of all our emotions....

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Joseph Barbaccia said...

Off the cuff, Lari Pittman's earlier work seems so much more personal in style. The work from the 90's is so 60's.

An unbalanced artistic expression will cause imbalance. But then that is some artists' intent.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Edward_ said...

thanks for the plug, but I'll leave it to my Muslim boyfriend to answer whether I'm racist or not, or whether mentioning that I am known in the political blogosphere as an advocate of tolerance toward Muslim culture (don't take my word for it, ask the conservative bloggers who continuously use me as their example of the sort of leftist who does this) is merely setting a context to avoid folks from thinking I haven't given this topic much thought.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Edward_ said...

Not at all Amy...just wanted to clarify that 1) although I realize you're right...with no context that language does lend itself to the typical "I'm not a racist..." type interpretation but 2) I really am held up time and again as The Leftist on the political blogs who'll stomp on your head if don't choose your words carefully when discussing Islam (which was more a nod to the Rightwing bloggers I know who read my art blog than anyone else). I'm most definitely overly sensitive about it myself.

Thanks again for the plug!

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Amy said...


Didn't mean to imply that you were racist. Just that the way you stated that paragraph rubbed me the wrong way, because I've heard that form so many times from people who are racist. Should have been clearer that it was the language choice that I objected to. I have an Arab Muslim roommate and dear friend, and I might be over-sensitive. I do get where you're coming from.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Scenic Artisan said...

where in the mix did racism come into play? i thought the talk was about religion?

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Amy said...

sorry, I was referring to the common statement from bigoted people (who don't always realize what they are saying is prejudiced) "I'm not racist, but..." fill in the blanks. I found Edward's statement to be uncomfortably close to that form. I should maybe have used the word bigoted.

Though there is some element of racism in some of these statements, IMO, because we're usually talking about people with roots in Asia or the Middle East when we refer to "Violent Muslims".


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