Never mind that only 55 percent of the Smithsonian's budget is federally funded, that generally exhibitions are mounted through private fundraising, or that, as the Washington Post notes, Hide/Seek in particular "was funded by the largest number of individual donors for a Portrait Gallery show … underwritten by foundations that support gay and lesbian issues." Never mind the truth -- that your tax dollars really aren't supporting a whole 11 seconds of hot, hot Formicidae on Yahweh action.
Nope, that bluster was enough to turn the Smithsonian, America's most prominent cultural institution, totally chicken and pull the video. On Tuesday, NPG director Martin Sullivan issued a statement that read, "I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious. In fact, the artist’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."
So while acknowledging that the work is not sacrilegious and its meaning has been misreported, they're getting rid of it anyway. Congratulations, whiners! You win again. The show, which runs through Feb. 13, promises visitors it explores "how major themes in art were influenced by social marginalization," but the Catholic League, Boehner and their god-fearing, gay-averse cronies may have strong-armed their way into the Gallery's curatorial discretion, by caving to pressure, the NPG is no longer just exploring marginalization, it's actively perpetuating it.
Yeah, well, take that! I mean is there anything worse than a bunch whiny taxpayers? And besides, the artist was gay and died of AIDS so we're talking about a sacred work of art here. Sheesh!
By now everyone should know the rules-Christians threatening to cut off funding over offensive art is very, very bad. Muslims threatening to cut off your head over offensive art is okay because you deserve it for not being more sensitive and multi-cultural and you know, enlightened. And besides, these weren't just any Christians complaining. They're Catholics. (Would Williams somehow be less riled up if John Boehner were Methodist?)
People like Williams believe that Christians should be neither seen nor heard. If they must exist, they should keep to themselves. Not a standard that she would impose others. I would think that taxpayers of any stripe have the right to speak out. I guess I'm not very enlightened.