No 'censorship' of Smithsonian video
I have followed the controversy over the video at the National Portrait Gallery [letters, Dec. 28] with great interest, particularly the suggestion that by removing the film the Smithsonian Institution was encouraging censorship and that we are now on some kind of slippery slope toward government censorship of art.
I’m not sure yet what kind of slippery slope we are on. It is my understanding that the artwork was removed from the Smithsonian but then made available to the public in a different venue, which as far as I know has not been shut down by the government nor surrounded by angry mobs demanding that the artwork be removed.
The Post recently published a lengthy commentary by Philip Kennicott decrying the decision and demanding that those responsible step down. The Post ran a clip of the video at issue, making it much more widely available to the public than it would have been in a somewhat obscure exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery.
The Post does not appear to have suffered any ill effects from its decision to publish this commentary or video; the government has not shut it down nor was it the subject of angry demonstrations along the lines of what we witnessed after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons (which we all know The Post steadfastly declined to publish). The artists appear to have been able to create their artwork free from persecution, as opposed to Salman Rushdie, who was the target of a fatwa, or Theo van Gogh, who was murdered for making a movie.
It certainly appears to me that the only people keeping the controversy going are those who opposed the decision. From where I’m sitting, dissent appears to be alive and well.
Carol A. Jackson, Gaithersburg
| December 30, 2010; 10:03 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, National Mall, arts
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