The National Portrait Gallery reignites the culture wars

District of Corruption

Pat Buchanan has drawn my attention to the latest scandal brewing in the culture war between Red America and Blue America. This comes at a sensitive time when White Americans are gearing up to celebrate the Christmas season.


Here’s the gist of the story: the National Portrait Gallery, one of the Smithsonian art museums in Washington, is hosting an exhibition (the most expensive in history) called “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in America,” which is described as “homoerotic” and “a show about gay love.”

As part of the exhibit, “Hide/Seek” contained a short video called “A Fire in My Belly” by someone named David Wojnarowicz, a homosexual artist who died from AIDS in 1992, which was dedicated to his gay lover and partner Peter Hujar, another artist who died from AIDS in 1987.

The controversial video shows ants crawling on a crucifix for eleven seconds. It then cuts to the mouth of a man being sewn shut, a gruesome picture of Jesus, a cockroach, and Wojnarowicz taking his pants off, playing with his genitals and and masturbating on camera.

The description tells of Wojnarowicz’s “poetic, yet furious, condemnation of the way greed, religion, and selfishness conspire to label certain people as outside the scope of our caring.” It says nothing about the fact that he wouldn’t have contracted HIV in a monogamous heterosexual relationship:

“A portrait of the video’s creator David Wojnarowicz, buried up to his face, is also in the exhibit. The catalog description says of the image: “Here, on the brink of a premature death, Wojnarowicz is at once disappearing peacefully into the American landscape and being violently suffocated by it.”

In his book, Wojnarowicz fantasized about shooting blowdarts dripped in HIV positive blood into the necks of Christians and conservative politicians who are said to have “murderous intentions.” America, you see, was “violently suffocating” him:

“… and I’m waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping Amazonian blowdarts in ‘infected blood’ and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastikas that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions.”

Bill Donahue and the Catholic League didn’t like “Fire in My Belly” and protested this outrageous example of taxpayer funded homosexual revenge porn. Eric Cantor warned the Smithsonian to “be prepared for serious questions come budget time.” John Boehner has called for the Smithsonian to shutdown the exhibition or “be prepared to face tough scrutiny.”

The Gallery folded and removed the Wojnarowicz video while standing its ground on the larger exhibit.

The Pink Narcissus

“The Pink Narcissus” remains on display. The National Portrait Gallery’s description for the video says, “The film is a surreal portrait of the youth’s emergence into gay life, his coming out symbolized by the metaphor of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly.”

A boy as a butterfly: your tax dollars at work.

Blue America Reacts

The removal of the offensive video was hardly the end of the matter.

The Washington Post has weighed in to decry “self-appointed censors” and “political pressure.” The removal of “Fire in My Belly” is “highly disappointing.” In their words, it is “a platform for cultural debate” and shouldn’t be “the target of a misguided political vendetta.”

Blake Gopik mounted a hysterical defense of the video from the pages of The Washington Post style section. “Hide/Seek” is “crucial” and “courageous” and “a first of its kind.” He gave the whole exhibit “a rave review.”

According to Gopnik, “Fire in My Belly” is not the problem at the National Portrait Gallery. The real problem is the Norman Rockwell exhibit just down the hall. That is what should get the boot. He can’t stand the nostalgic view of America that Rockwell presents.

“Rockwell’s vision of “Freedom of Speech,” . . . doesn’t invoke a communist printing his pamphlets or an atheist on a soapbox. It gives us a town hall meeting of almost interchangeable New Englanders, no doubt agreeing to disagree about something as divisive as the rates for those new parking meters. For this, the Founders risked powder and ball?”

As a “man of ideas,” Gopnik goes on to call for Washington’s art institutions to “have the guts to mount the video” in “a rare redemptive moment.” Artists have the right to express themselves. Those who don’t like it can vote with their feet.

“A great museum is a laboratory where ideas get tested, not a mausoleum full of dead thoughts and bromides.”

If Gopnik can’t handle Norman Rockwell, I somehow doubt he would support a Triumph of the Will exhibit, or a remake of The Birth of a Nation. A laboratory of ideas for thee, not for me.

Andrew Sullivan thinks Jesus “exemplifies” the suffering of homosexuals dying from AIDS. He died on the cross for homosexuals. Christians don’t understand their religion and are engaged in “an assault on our humanity.”

Predictably, The New York Times has also chimed in as the definitive and authoritative voice of Blue America. In their eyes, the removal of the homoerotic video is “an act of political cowardice.” This exhibit is nothing more than a set of “culturally challenging images.” Some of the most important roles of art and of museums are to “challenge, disturb and enlighten” the masses.

Translation: the role of public museums is to “challenge, disturb and enlighten” White Christians and shock and scandalize Middle America. Offensive books, videos, and images which “challenge, disturb and enlighten” our elites (i.e., Passion of the Christ) and their “protected classes” must be kept out of the public sphere.

Protests and Hearings

To their credit, Republicans in Congress are showing signs of growing a spine and are threatening investigations to put a stop to this nonsense. The deficit hawks are swooping in to take advantage of the growing backlash and recession to target the Smithsonian with budget cuts.

Meanwhile, homosexual protesters are charging the National Portrait Gallery and using civil rights era tactics to “reintegrate” the video into the exhibit.

No one in Middle America is going to respond well to the “Piss Christ,” “Fire in My Belly,” or “Charles Devouring Himself” as a free speech cause. On the contrary, it will be seen as a provocative, antagonistic gesture that exemplifies the hypocrisy and contempt of our patronizing, progressive elite toward White America and its Christian values.

The same thought police and nanny staters who are always demanding that we show “sensitivity” and “understanding” and “mutual respect” to other cultures are absolutely determined to gut and tear down the foundations of our own civilization without ceding so much as an inch of ground. 

Glorifying mentally disturbed homosexual perverts like David Wojnarowicz is just one means to this end.

Of course all this is being done by the Lords of the Earth in the name of our own “progress” and “enlightenment.” The Frank Richs and Christian Landers of the world are far superior to all of us “hayseeds” and “rednecks” and “bigots” and “racists” who live out here in Real America. They never miss an opportunity to flaunt their imagined sense of superiority over the rest of us.

Vanguardists: The Other Side of the Coin

After dredging through this news cycle, I can’t help but observe that there are some people in the White Nationalist movement who sound almost identical to homosexual freaks like David Wojnarowicz or liberal scolds like Blake Gopik. The “lemmings” video above was uploaded less than nine hours ago on YouTube.

David Wojnarowicz’s ants on the crucifix paen to his dead AIDS infested boyfriend brings to mind a Big Von essay from a few years ago. I found a copy of it on a website called “National Futurism.” Hoffmeister talks of pulling his pants down so that ants can enter his anus and a recurring dreaming of being a woman:

“I pull down my pants, so that the ants can enter my anus. The tickling sensation of the ants entering my anus makes me giggle. I am sure I read somewhere that having ants settle down inside your body will make you less of an individualist prick. I want to belong and the ants entering my anus will help me achieve this goal. Finally I shall become a member of the group that I am a part of. My ethnic interests demand that I subjugate myself to the process of having ants enter my anus. The ants form a collective. One of them grows really large, and Clint Eastwood as the pilot of a fighter jet has to destroy it.

When I was a man, I dreamed of being a woman. Now I dream of being a man. Sometimes I dream of being neither. And then I dream of being either. Is a man a woman, and is a woman a man? Are both sexes like a plug and an outlet? Is the connection severed when the plug is pulled out? The cowboy moaned in a dusty bedroom above a bar in Butte, Montana.”

There is a thriving discourse out there among alienated vanguardists who also use terms like “lemmings,” “patriotards,” “booboisie,” “Jesus freaks,” “X-tians,” “flaggots” and so forth to ridicule and attack “the wrong sort of white people.” They are of the same mindset of their SWPL brethren.

They also look down their noses at their fellow citizens. Some vanguardists see themselves as a vastly superior elite and entertain wild fantasies of a collapse of civilization after which they expect rise to power and become “a new aristocracy.” Everyone else is a stupid conformist who watch spectator sports.

The Myth of the Lemming

In reality, the “lemming” has always been a myth. Ordinary people are nowhere near as gullible or slow as vanguardists claim they are. They are entirely capable of seeing through the liberal media bias and pointing out the contradictions in the prevailing narrative.

Two decades of polling have shown that White Americans have little respect for the "mass media"

The legitimacy of the mainstream media has collapsed to the progressive ceiling. The backlash to “A Fire in My Belly” is just the latest example. No one but Blue America takes MSNBC or the NY Times Op Ed page seriously anymore.

I could point to other examples like Newsweek being sold for a dollar, the declining circulation of newspapers, the rise of the Tea Party, or politicians like Sarah Palin ignoring “the drive-by media” and directly connecting with their audience through Twitter and Facebook. It is has never been easier for the so-called “lemmings” to connect with each other and tune out the ramblings of the political class.

The gap between White Advocates and White America is not as large as the professional outcasts imagine it to be. Instead of twisting the nose of our White audience, which is better left to progressives who despise the natives, it makes a lot more sense to shed light on all the common ground we share.

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