Yesterday, in my WordPunk article — Built for Beautiful Failing — I wondered if Art hates or heals. Yesterday, in the New York Times, I received a reply to my query in a story concerning an Art display in a vacant Midtown store: “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama.”
The NYPD and Secret Service quickly closed down the “Assassination as Art” display.
Brown paper packaged the controversial title.
Do you think that “Assassination” display was Art — or was it something else? Should its ideas and arguments have been so quickly shut down by the city powers?
In another WordPunk article I wrote — Jesus Christ, Something Offends Somebody — I argued that True Art always offends someone’s sense of decency and honor and that is actually the real intention of Art in the marketplace of societal values and norms.
Censorship always follows Art that too closely tempts that common sense of community decency. We saw that happen yesterday in Manhattan and regularly in antiquity.
Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Hillary Clinton recently made us aware of that ominous millstone in the American mind as she linked her staying in the democrat primary hunt with her seemed, secret, wishing that Barack Obama would find the same end as Bobby Kennedy.
Barack Obama has often been connected to the Kennedy family — JFK, in particular — in the media as the best new hope worth supporting and cherishing. Ted Kennedy came out early to support Obama. Caroline Kennedy is serving on Obama’s Vice-President search committee.
Some even believe Barack is the next wave of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream and the reincarnation of Abe Lincoln’s intellectual, but folksy, leadership style.
Now we must wonder if there is more danger to the sanctity of cultural values in wishing for an assassination, or in creating an Art display wondering about one, or is the worst crime of all trying to eerily connect a current political phenomenon back to beloved, historical, icons that shared a similar vision for change — and were shot in the head because of it to remove the threat to the repressive status quo?