Live From Wilmington

Piss Christ

Happy Patriot's day everyone! I'm out in Wilmington today, enjoying a nice golfing vacation in a place that's considerably warmer than Boston. I don't know anything about golf, but this is still nevertheless, totally awesome. Quick post today. Apparently, people have violently attacked a piece of art from 1987 known as "Piss Christ," as part of an anti-blasphemy campaign (link to story). The artwork is a photo of a crucifix immersed in a jar of the artist's piss, hence the super literal title.

I've always been a huge believer in freedom of speech, and this case is no particular exception. However, lately, especially following the hubbub about Pastor Terry Jones, I've been wrestling a bit with the limits. While I'm not a religious person, and find the activity of fundamentalists to be pretty hard to fathom some times, I get that this artwork is kind of a dick thing to produce, given the beliefs of so many others. Regardless of the intent, it's a pretty big "fuck you" to a ton of people who (in a way that I will never really get) derive some greater meaning from even the most minor representations of their faith. And sometimes, when you're enough of a dick (e.g. have a fake trial of the Koran and then stage a burning of another people's holy book with the intention of getting enough media attention to piss people off), you get a lot of people angry enough to go around and kill people in response, or something similarly ridiculous.

At the same time, limits on speech, just because it is going to piss someone off, is frankly ridiculous. Someone will always be pissed off about what people say (e.g. Dutch Muhammad cartoons) and it frankly seems ridiculous that the entire world should have to hold it's tongue because some crazy people are going to get super offended and then go on a rampage in reaction.

So how do you draw the lines? Be insensitive and let the jerks take over the airwaves, or give in to the wusses that can't suck it up and just live their own lives? Is there any clean way to cut a path down the middle?

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