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
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- Secret Service stretched mission to protect employee, report finds
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week