Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Road to Respect

So, let's see if I have this straight. If a person objects to anti-christian artwork, say, PissChrist, because it is offensive to his religious beliefs, the museum has an obligation to continue the display in the name of art, expression and freedom. If a person objects to lewd artwork, say Maplethorpe, because it is offensive to community standards (i.e., the bluk of society doen't care to see what Maplethorpe can fit in his ass), the same cultural obligation obtains. The show must go on, the neanderthal objectors notwithstanding. Indeed, because they are neanderthal objectors, we'll rub it in their faces. And, importantly, while doing it the museum director will remain secure in the belief that the objectors will not hack her to pieces.

So, how to explain this? Reuters reports that "Museum removes erotic art after Muslim anger:"

A Swedish museum dedicated to world culture has removed an erotic painting plastered withverses from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, from an exhibition about AIDS after Muslims complained it was obscene.

Jette Sandahl, director of the World Culture Museum, which opened in Gothenburg a month ago, said on Wednesday thatthe painting by an Arab artist living in France was replaced by another less offensive one.

Why has Western society apparently determined that Muslims -- and only Muslims -- are entitled to have their dainty and delicate sensibilities protected from all vestiges of offense? How do Muslims rate an expression of dignity and respect that is not extended to any other religious group?

Here's a guess. Because it appears that Muslims will kill you in gruesome fashion (no, Mr. van Gogh? Family Armanious?) at the slightest hint of offense. In short, the Swedish museum director decided that all the liberal values in the world ain't worth shit when it came to keeping her head firmly attached to her neck. In short, society now respects the values of the group that is least entitled to that respect.

There's a lesson in all this somewhere, though I'm not quite sure for whom.