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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hypocrisy? What Hypocrisy?

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) closed down on Tuesday the main gallery where the controversial "Kulo" art exhibit is on display.

In a statement, the CCP said threats to persons and property influenced the management's decision to close down the gallery.

One of the artworks displayed in the gallery — artist Mideo Cruz's piece, a mixed-media collage called "Poleteismo" — was criticized as "blasphemous" and then vandalized last week.
Read more here.

Unbelievable. I am not a fan of this particular piece of art (and I am not even aware of this Mideo Cruz fellow’s existence prior to this), but my objection to this man’s “art” is purely aesthetic, and not because I think the “artwork” is “blasphemous.” 
If they don’t like it, why pay attention to it? Why exert such efforts to draw attention to it? That artwork has been in existence since 2002, and was exhibited all over the frigging place before being brought to the CCP.
And look at this, a lawyer (and a Catholic organization) is even threatening to file a criminal complaint ”against those behind the exhibit.” And the politicians are not far behind. One senator even promised to "give a hard time" to the CCP board, and is asking for a "review" of the CCP's funding. Priest, nuns and laymen staged demonstrations. Commenters in various internet forums are clamoring for the heads of Mr. Cruz and of the entire CCP board. A veritable mob has formed. 
What a world we live in. The country has many more pressing problems; there is a severe shortage of schools (what few schools we have were even damaged by recent floods), rising criminality, rampant poverty, unemployment, and on the other side of the globe London is burning, US stock markets are in a tailspin, and here we are concerned with an artwork that’s nobody even heard of until now, and done by an obscure Filipino artist!
Ironic that media played a role in the subsequent censorship. This is sensationalism at its best.   
I remember reading an anecdote about Noah Webster, which goes something like this: Two society women approached Noah Webster at a party and congratulated the eminent lexicographer for not including “dirty words” in his dictionary; whereupon Noah Webster exclaimed, “What! My dears, have you been looking for them?”  
Surely we have better things to do than look for “dirty words”?
I don’t know which is worse, censorship or hypocrisy.
The tragedy is that we are not spared from either.
And oh, I almost forgot--ignorance, the scourge of civilization.
Our society reeks of it.

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