Tuesday, April 03, 2007
What's wrong with the chocolate Jesus? Is it that his genitals are showing? Or is it that he is made of chocolate? OK, so it is milk chocolate - should have been dark chocolate, but hey. Also it's perhaps somewhat ambivalent that the sculpture appears to depict the crucified Christ, rather than the sweet Jesus image, but Christians have been saying for centuries that he is the source of all sweetness, so why not. Maybe the Catholics who complained are worried that someone is going to eat the sculpture, but don't they eat the body of Christ in the communion ritual?
Buddhists make holy images from butter. Pagans revere naked gods (some are so ithyphallic it makes your eyes water) and goddesses. Queer Christians celebrate Jesus in love. When the male disciples rebuked Mary Magdalene for pouring perfume over Jesus' feet, he praised her and rebuked them. I think he'd feel the same way about this. It's a sensual thing. There's even a song by Tom Waits called Chocolate Jesus.
Some of Cavallaro's other work is quite disturbing, particularly the stuff he does to perfectly harmless pillows. It's clearly meant to disturb, to make you think. Just because something disturbs one's sensibilities, that's no reason to ban it or make death threats against the artist. It's interesting that a Catholic spokesperson said "They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan." No, because Muslims would make death threats... It's almost as if Muslim extremism is encouraging or licensing other forms of extremism, and there is a climate in which it will eventually become impossible to do or say anything for fear of offending someone. There was a documentary recently about the controversy that surrounded The Life of Brian, which speculated (probably correctly) that the film couldn't have been made in the current climate of fear.