I, for one, will defend "Yo Mama's Last Supper," a photo by Renee Cox that depicts Jesus Christ as a naked black woman. Rudy Giuliani heedlessly and foolishly charges the picture is anti-Catholic bigotry.
I say foolishly because the mayor opens himself up to the obvious riposte, delivered with deadly accuracy by Renee Cox herself to the New York Post: "In terms of his decency thing, I would ask him to return to the other commandment -- thou shalt not commit adultery."
I say heedlessly because Rudy's reductionistic equation ("nekkid lady Jesus" equals "anti-Catholicism") is just silly. To portray Jesus as a vulnerable, naked black woman is not in itself any more offensive than portraying him, as medieval artists did, as a baby sheep. "Yo Mamma's Last Supper" is not anti-Christian. It is, however, viciously anti-Semitic. All the apostles are black except for Judas Iscariot, described in news reports as a "white man." But take a look: Judas is actually a crude caricature of a beaked-nose Jew gazing devotedly at the black Jesus figure -- just before he (the Jew) is about to betray Jesus (the black woman) and his movement (of black men). Need I say more?
When it comes to defending the indefensible, surely those who've rallied around Grammy-honoree Eminem deserve an honorary mention in the Bill Clinton Hall of Spin Doctor Fame. Eminem sings beautiful songs about raping his mama, killing his wife, spitting in other people's food and attacking "fags."
For my own amusement and edification, I've compiled a partial list from various press accounts of why it's OK to honor, broadcast, perform with or make money off Eminem:
Elton "Please Love Me" John: "I'm a big fan. ... If I thought for one minute that he was (hateful), I wouldn't do it."
CBS spokesman Chris "We'll Make Piles of Money" Ender: "We believe there will be a lot of viewers interested in seeing him perform."
Grammy chief Michael "He's Not a Bigot" Greene: "He hates everybody. He hates himself. He uses the microphone as a therapist most of the time and doesn't edit himself."
Pat "Artists Will Be Artists" Boone: "I'm totally opposed to violence, racism and homophobia, but I vigorously feel that we must respect an individual's right to speak his mind, especially when it comes to all forms of art."
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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