Art’s Troubles

I Duly acknowledging that the plural of anecdote is not data, I begin with some stories drawn from the recent history of liberal democracy. • In November 2010, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution removed an edited version of footage used in David Wojnarowicz’s short silent film A Fire in My Belly from “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery after complaints from the Catholic League, and in response to threats of reduced federal funding. The video contains a scene with a crucifix covered in ants. William Donohue of the Catholic League claimed the work was “hate speech” against Catholics. The affair was initiated by an article contributed to the Christian News Service, a division of the Media Research Center, whose mission is to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.”

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