Disgusting. An artist has made a portrait of Ted Kennedy using liquor bottle caps, rusted Oldsmobile Delmont 88 ignition keys and those plugs that protect you from swimmer’s ear – and the Huffington Post is celebrating it.
Well, no. That would be newsworthy. Instead, HuffPo’s “Gay Voices” page is celebrating a portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made from condoms. According to HuffPo’s super-impressed Megan Griffo, Milwaukee artist Niki Johnson “hopes to take aim at the church's stance on using condoms, but also promote sexual diversity and a more open discussion about sexual health.” These young idealists, out to change the world with their condom art!
Johnson began “Eggs Benedict” in response to Benedict’s 2009 statements about condoms not being the answer to the African AIDS epidemic. “The entire project took 270 hours spread over three years to complete, Johnson estimated – 135 hours individually opening the condoms, laying them out and planning, and 135 hours threading them through wire mesh,” Griffo wrote. Now would be the appropriate time to wonder if the National Endowment for the Arts kicked in for all those rubbers.
And for the life of her, Johnson can’t figure out why some folks are upset. “Someone said that if I’d made a portrait of Muhammad, I'd have been stoned or something. I just thought, but the great thing about this country is that we have a freedom of expression and we can stand up for what we believe in.” That’s right. The Constitution guarantees your right to waste years and thousands of dollars to take adolescent shots at someone else’s faith. (But it still doesn’t hurt that public disrespect for Catholicism and its symbols generally doesn’t end in fatalities.)
“‘I see it as an inclusive piece,’ she said. ‘Yes, it says something about the church’s position on sexuality, but it also embraces diversity with humor and irony.’” Oh, well, as long as we’re worshiping at the Church of Diversity, no harm done.
Johnson also told Griffo the portrait “demystifies the condom” and, with “her choice to use several colored condoms, sometimes layering them to make new hues, also promotes diversity in sexuality – the portrait is quite literally ‘very rainbow.’”
While demystifying the condom is certainly a worthy goal (after all, it’s not like they give them out in high schools or anything, right?) but what’s the point of promoting “diversity in sexuality?” Is she encouraging viewers to go out and find something new to be sexual with? If so, we can be absolutely certain the NEA ponied up our tax dollars for “Eggs Benedict.”