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Chocolate Christ!

Entry 506, on 2007-04-02 at 15:41:16 (Rating 4, Religion)

What is the best way to draw attention to an obscure work of art and ensure that it is the biggest news of that type for the next week? Its to complain bitterly about it, point out how it offends you, and demand it be removed from display. Who would have known about the life-sized, naked, Christ figure made from chocolate if the Catholics hadn't caused the trouble they did?

The last big incident I remember of this type was the "Bloody Mary" South Park TV episode when it played here in New Zealand (I blogged about this on 23 Feb 2006). That night South Park had an unusually high number of viewers, thanks to complaints from certain sectors of the community who found it distasteful. I have spotted reporting and pictures of the chocolate Christ in many places recently. I'm sure that wouldn't have happened if people had just ignored it.

The other question is: but is it art? I believe it is, just like I believe Bloody Mary was legitimate satire. Clearly the chocolate Christ is intended to ask questions about the original religious meaning of Easter and the more recent materialistic interpretation. This seems like reasonable commentary to me.

The Christians have a point when they say that if Mohammed was treated in the same way there would be much more trouble from the Islamic community. But they are only comparing one form of relatively mild over-reaction, to a possibly more extreme one. Both are wrong, and even if one is a bit less wrong than the other, it doesn't justify it.

So again I say to the Catholics: just get over it! The church has enjoyed special privileges for almost 2000 years and they probably expect to get everything their own way by now. But its becoming increasingly common to criticise the church so, unless they want to be really busy complaining and making themselves look stupid, the Catholics had better get used to it!

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Comment 2 (668) by OJB on 2007-06-09 at 16:42:54: (view earlier comments)

I think its good to fight for what you believe in, but its important to choose your battles and not start campaigns which are just going to make you look foolish and draw more attention to the subject than it really deserves. Its also important not to force your beliefs onto others when they are purely a subjective opinion, and its important not to force censorship onto legitimate art.

I suppose you could say that making what might have remained a small event into something more major forces program makers and artists to be more careful next time so they can avoid negative publicity, but I think any publicity is good publicity for many people and the controversy might even make production of similar material in the future more likely.

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Comment 3 (752) by WF99 on 2007-08-14 at 05:16:13:

Although I'm arriving rather late in the discussion, I just wanted to make my approval of the figure.

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Comment 4 (753) by OJB on 2007-08-14 at 07:21:35:

On what basis do you approve of the figure? Is it as a valid artwork, a valid social or religious criticism, or just a bit of a dig at Christians?

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Comment 5 (763) by WF99 on 2007-08-14 at 10:37:32:

I interpret it as a remark on the secularization of Easter.

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Comment 6 (766) by OJB on 2007-08-14 at 10:42:37:

Exactly. And a comment on consumerism and capitalism in general. I think that by that standard its a perfectly acceptable commentary and I think it does count as being art.

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