The video: Glenn Beck and leading House Republicans are condemning a controversial exhibit at the Smithsonian National Gallery, inciting another debate about censorship and public funding of the arts. The central point of dispute — "A Fire in My Belly," a 4-minute piece of video art by the late artist David Wojnarowicz — features images of, among other things, ants crawling over a crucifix, male genitalia, and a human mouth sewn shut. (Watch it below.) After incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner said that museum officials "should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January," the Smithsonian removed the video, but now the entire exhibit has come under fire. Titled Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the show bills itself as "the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture," and has drawn both critical raves and conservative outrage over gay themes and the inclusion of images of men in chains and Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts.
The reaction: Doesn't Boehner have bigger things to worry about — like, say, WikiLeaks, the Korean crisis, or the economy, asks Mike Vilensky at New York. This just shows, says Tanya Somanader at Think Progress, "that a celebration of anything LGBT-related cannot exist without inciting right-wing backlash." Oh, c'mon, says Rick Moran at American Thinker. The video, at least, isn't art. It's "some schlock merchant looking to shock" and "The National Gallery failed utterly on all levels" in accepting it in the first place. Watch "A Fire in My Belly" below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Ronald Reagan turned America into a nation of children
- The crusade against Iraq War supporters has forgotten someone: Hillary Clinton
- 8 things the world's most extraordinary survivors can teach you about resilience
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- Why scientists can't kill HIV
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
Subscribe to the Week