Thursday, June 03, 2004

Prudes are Winning

I find this contest very disturbing. Not because Photoshop isn't a good tool, and not because good people don't have real skills using it.

Rather, this contest seems to presume Attorney General John Ashcroft was correct when he hid the work of master craftsmen because it does not sit with his desire to impose morality on others. (Hmm, seems a bit like a flame. If you've got a better way to say this, please let me know. -jsd)

Contest Directions
If you've ever walked into a musuem with your child, you were certainly shocked at the flagrant nudity being touted around for pure shock value. Whatever happened to morals? Whatever happened to kissship? How can you appreciate art when it's so...nude? In this contest your task is to make nude art work-safe in creative ways. Remember, cleanlines is next to godliness.

Why do conservatives seem to be claiming a moral highground on hiding nature, art, God's handiwork, etc. rather than taking the highground of teaching children how to appreciate this?


Anonymous said...

I'm assuming this contest was in response to Ashcroft covering up the statue that's behind him when he does his press confrences.

Consider for a moment, that maybe, just maybe, he got tired of partisan journalists taking low angle shot of him with a pair of tits behind his head. Just a thought.


Jeffrey Davidson said...

I intrepret it differently. I think the contest is a genuine attempt to make art "safe." And I disagree with the idea most of the paintings you would find in an art museaum needs to be made "safe." (Note: I am deliberately not talking about the more recent trend to use sex, vulgarity, and activities outside of accepted norms, etc. in art in an attempt to shock the viewer. The contest was about hiding classic artwork, not Maplethorp.)

And while I think it may be possible Ashcroft was upset with photo-journalists, I am more inclined to think he could have (a) moved the podium or (b) moved the statue.

Lastly, it seems that your second para. seems to be one of understanding of Ashcroft, while really taking a shot at (liberal) media. And frankly, I don't buy it.

Paul Davidson said...

Interesting that you wrote: Note: I am deliberately not talking about the more recent trend to use sex, vulgarity, and activities outside of accepted norms, etc. in art in an attempt to shock the viewer...

The phrase "outside of accepted norms" stands out to me. I argue that accepted norms are significantly lower than you might think. Spend a week listening to Howard Stern or watching MTV. These shows are not subsidized by some charity or government agency. They prosper due to the sheer market demand for their content. Consider the size of the multi-billion dollar porn industry. These are society's norms even if they are not yours and the viewer is no longer shocked. This is the community standard.

Children are exposed to this stuff either directly or indirectly. Some say parents should control what their children are exposed to and I agree; however, while I can control what my kid watches, I cannot stop the 10 year old that sits next to her in class and spends the afternoon watching the "99 problems but a bitch ain't one" video etc. with his older brother. You might argue that this exposure won't affect his attitude. I'll save that discussion for another time.

As to the "more recent trend" phrase above, we have yet to match the Romans, but there truly is nothing new under the sun.

Censorship. I have no answers, only questions. Perhaps it is impossible to legislate morality, but don't we all impose our morality on others to some extent. In the meantime, let's get the dialogue going!