Smithsonian Exhibit Uproar Shows Homophobia's OK

National Portrait Gallery in throes of old 'culture wars'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2010 9:41 AM CST
Smithsonian Exhibit Uproar Shows Homophobia's OK
Protesters hold masks in support of artist David Wojnarowicz on the steps of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Smithsonian’s removal of a video that showed ants crawling on a crucifix amounts to Washington “gay bashing,” writes Frank Rich in the New York Times. Gay artist David Wojnarowicz's artwork wasn’t taken down because it offended Christians—that was just a “perfunctory cover for the homophobia actually driving” the complaint of a right-wing activist. "Even in a time of huge progress in gay civil rights, homophobia remains among the last permissible bigotries in America."

“The Smithsonian’s behavior and the ensuing silence in official Washington are jarring echoes of those days when American political leaders stood by idly” amid an AIDS epidemic—and “a throwback to the culture wars we thought we were getting past now.” Instead, “it still seems an unwritten rule in establishment Washington that homophobia is at most a misdemeanor,” Rich writes. “America’s signature cultural institution” can still be “easily bullied by bigots.”
(More Frank Rich stories.)

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