Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight wrote that Pamela Geller and her “hateful ilk” displayed the “freedom to do something stupid.” But Knight wrote a passage that is surprisingly ignorant of what’s in the newspapers:
Geller and her claque pretend that they are the beleaguered defenders of a dire threat to 1st Amendment guarantees of free speech. Apparently we are not meant to notice that no attempt was made to shut down, censor or otherwise prevent their ugly art exhibition from taking place.
....Other than those two amateur jihadis with assault rifles.
Knight began his jeremiad:
Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which organized the Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest near Dallas that led to a fatal shooting Sunday, is a staunch supporter of the cherished American freedom to do something stupid.
The former Manhattan socialite proves it almost any time she opens her mouth, and she proved it yet again by organizing an art contest to determine who could produce a cartoon about the prophet of Islam — knowing that many Muslims consider this to be sacrilege.
Now two people are dead.
It's one of those awful moments when there is no one to root for on either side.
"Now two people are dead"? As if they didn't start shooting at cops with assault rifles? Knight can’t make any moral distinction between Geller and the terrorists:
Who looks good in this mess? Not Geller, whose AFDI is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activities of organized extremists and domestic terrorists across America. And not the shooters, a couple of would-be assassins about whom little is yet known.
Naturally, Knight trashed the contest as an art collection: “ Entries rose to the level of junior high school notebook doodles pumped out by pimply, insecure adolescents.” As to the challenge of drawing Muhammad, he cracked “Yes, indeed, you can draw him. I just can't help but wonder why you'd want to. To pump up the hate, perhaps?”
This was the last paragraph: "Congress has made no law abridging the right of free speech for this or any of the other hack artists. The show itself was proof enough of that. But neither is there a law that requires liking their cheap propaganda, which is all that Geller, [Geert] Wilders and their hateful ilk are after."
But Knight is no stranger to mocking Jesus and the Bible. Back in the Clinton years, he compared communist revolutionary murderer Che Guevara to Jesus:
"He's simultaneously endowed with the humility of an everyman and the larger-than-life presence of a hero...In the proliferation of his image since his death (he'd be 69 today), he's remained an ever-youthful demi-God. Chesucristo, superstar." -- Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight on Che Guevara, October 18, 1997. [Italics his.]
And the Republicans were Herod and the “Piss Christ” subsidizers at the National Endowment for the Arts were somehow John the Baptist in another Knight screed:
The NEA is the head of John the Baptist, which will be served on a golden platter to that seductive Salome, Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition, whose Nov. 8 snake-dance so charmed Republican Herods in Congress that they are lining up to grant the ruinous wish....Eager candidates for the [presidential] nomination agree that the party's extreme right wing, a minority prominently featured on the podium at the 1992 convention in Houston, will be necessary to its delivery. So they're ready to deal, in order to keep the extremists happy." -- Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, February 27, 1995.
Of course, when the Brooklyn Museum hosted a Chris Ofili painting surrounding a Virgin Mary with dung and porn images in 1999, Knight suggested the museum operator was "P.J. Barnum with scruples."
[HT: Gary Hall]