Saturday, September 29, 2007

Piss Christ

Well must we remember this masterpiece of provocativeness, this high-water mark of American culture: the NEA-funded provocateur slash artiste Andres Serrano’s provocative “esoteric medium” depiction of a crucifix in a jar of the provocating artist’s own urine. My, how … now what is the word I’m groping for?

And how courageous. Because remember all those museums we intolerant hateful bigot Christians were provoked into burning down? Anyone who assaults the icons of the Holy Church is really taking a huge risk. Pat Robertson televised the burning at the stake of 17 junior high art teachers. Billy Graham got on TV urging the destruction of San Francisco. I myself beheaded several street mimes during that affray -- you can just imagine their screams. Yeah, I’m sure I think I might remember something like that. It was the same year, 1989 as I recall, that we were out to get Salman Rushdie. Boy I'd love to get my mitts on the million dollars our, um, elders offered for his head.

Or not.

So putting aside my heavy-handed jape, here’s the question. If a few cartoons -- depicting, say, the “prophet” Mohammed pbuh with a bomb for a turban (for so it is wrongly reported. Alas, according to Salmon Rushdie, "the face of that cartoon is that of the most radical Muslim cleric in Denmark -- the one that toured the Middle-East displaying the cartoons.") ... or, um, the “prophet” Mohammed pbuh saying, “We’re out of virgins -- stop the suicide bombings” -- gets the Danish embassy burned down in Beirut, and calls hundreds of thousands into the street in various Moslem cities, what, pray imagine, would “Piss Mohammed” get? The word “frenzy” seems inadequate.

It turns out, then, that our provocative artistes are simply poseurs. All that even the most egregiously offensive speech provokes, from the mass of Americans, is a boycott or a letter-writing campaign. To face a scorching letter to the editor -- quel courage! Theo van Gogh got a warning letter, pinned to his chest with a serrated butcher knife -- but this had the salubrious effect of ensuring no more blasphemous Dutch documentaries. So it worked out well for both sides -- no more blaspheming of Islam for the Moslems, and no more being murdered in the streets for a while, for the Dutch.

And then the Danes, victimized by the Religion of Piss for publishing a few cartoons. I am a Dane, from the 1880s. Here’s why I love that: The Danes, more than any other people, protected the Jews from Hitler. The story goes that the occupying Nazis ordered that Danish Jews were always to wear a yellow Star of David in public. The story goes that on the day this law took effect, not only the Danish Jews, but all the Danes had sewn such a star on their coats. Even the king. For this story, I love the Danes. For this, they are a great people, and I am honored to share their blood. Because we must protect the weak, and the vulnerable, and any race that does this makes itself noble.

That's why I love to be American. We are a noble people. ... What's that? You disagree? Your judgment is unsound -- but feel free to object.

But any people that burns embassies because of six cartoons published in an obscure newspaper in a tiny, distant land -- such a people makes itself small. Imagine being part of such a small, fearful, cowardly religion. Cowards express anger through mob violence. Every country, every nation, every race, every culture, every religion has made itself small, at times. Some perish for it, and some outgrow it. What shall we, a great people, do with the Moslems, a small people? Two things. We must be great, and strong, and unwavering or something like it. And we must pray, or hope, or somehow work for the result that the Moslems grow up. Because small offenses, like “Piss Christ,” do not provoke us. But I can think of something that happened one bright late-summer morning a handful of years ago, that did. And if it happens again, well, “Piss Mohammed.”



akfox said...

Not to be vulgar, but I think a "shit-quran" would be more appropriate.
If only someone would publish tp with quranic verses on them I could make that happen now.

Jack H said...

A niche market for Charmin: Qur-Anus.

I was originally thinking "Fuck Mohammad" -- I'm just afraid of the fatwa.