Thursday, February 16, 2006

So This Means God Is On Our Side, Right?

Jesus with Phoenix Missile
Well, that's one way to decide on this piece of art. Of course, Barcepundit is less sanguine about it; he knows what the artist is up to when he displays this at a fair in Madrid:

As I've said many times before, I'm not a believer, but I know when I see a religious offence and more than that, I know when I see a double standard by people who say that we should respect artistic freedom when one religion is mocked and also say that the Mohammed cartoons are an intolerable offence to people's religious beliefs.
Unlike Barcepundit, I am a believer. And I agree with him that the point of this piece of "art" is to offend, to be edgily avant-garde.

But it fails on both levels:

mockery of Christian icons has long since jumped the shark. It is sooo 1980 you want to pat the "artist" on the head and wish him better luck next time.

It also fails to offend me. In fact, I wouldn't mind owning a copy. I wouldn't actually pay money for it, but I wouldn't mind having it. I could put it in the tulip bed, under the mimosa and next to the cow skull which has mums growing out of the eye holes -- my memento mori. The Jesus-with-Phoenix missile statue would make a nice counterpoint.

One of Barcepundit's readers emailed him:

"Just saw your story with the picture of Jesus holding a Phoenix missile. I was commissioned into the U.S. Navy through Aviation Officers Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Pensacola, Florida (remember the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman"). I remember that the chapel on the Naval Air Station had a statue of the Virgin Mary in it holding an F-4 Phantom in her hands (Our Lady of Loretto is the patron saint of aviators). Context and perspective make all the difference."
That's the point, isn't it? Context and perspective actually provide the meaning of any event, and it is the participant's provision of meaning that matters. I was in that chapel many times as a child and I'm sure I saw the statue holding a jet. It wouldn't have made a particular impression: a Catholic school education includes lessons on the concept of the just war.

In a naval chapel, such an icon would make sense: anyone who knows enough jet pilots for any length of time knows jet pilots' widows. My cousin was one at the ripe old age of twenty three.

Wish I did remember seeing that statue.


Anonymous said...

In a naval chapel, such an icon would make sense: anyone who knows enough jet pilots for any length of time knows jet pilots' widows.
Well said Dymphna.

Chip said...

Jesus selects a long-range air-to-air missile used only on the F-14 Tomcat? The Lord works in mysterious ways.

This really pisses me off, and gets right to the point.

A drive by a bloc of Islamic nations for a global ban on "defamation of religions and prophets" has thrown a major kink into U.S. hopes for an overhaul of the leading U.N. human rights body.

Dymphna said...


It's time to give the UN a suitcase and a watch and tell the whole dang lot of them it's time to go.

A. Eteraz said...


big difference is that the image has been 'normalized' in christian civilization for quite some time. when i come back ill explore the strange relationship of the image with islam.

in the meantime you should read 'my name is red' by orhan pamuk.

X said...

I agree with the point, but it's hard to get mad at a statue holding what looks like part of a micro machines playset I used to play with when I was a titch. Well... 14.

Late developer, what can I say?

Dymphna said...

haakon b. dahl--

I almost put up an image of a Tomcat letting those missles go. And I considered putting up the F4 phantom, too -- the one mentioned by the former NAVCAD from Pensacola. To me, they are beautiful, the same way those large -- huge-- electric pyramidal towers, lines strung through the pasture land like striding giants. There is a beauty in technology, in the singing wires, in the slipping of the bounds of gravity...

Archonix-- which point are you agreeing with? I'm not mad at the artist; in spite of his best efforts to be blasphemous (I guess one can infer that from his work) he fails, miserably. I'd love to have one of those statues for my in the country, waaay out here, the military have permission to use our airspace to do low-flying practice runs. It makes the dishes rattle and the cats run under the bed, but I like the sound; it's reassuring.

Guess I just spent too much time around Navy pilots to be offended by things like that.

It's not that I like war, it's that I believe that when you are attacked the best thing to do is stand up and go out to encounter the VD Hanson shows so well in "Carnage and Culture."

And one of my contrarain heroes is John Boyd. Now there was a troubled man, but what a pilot! And what a thinker.

benning said...

There's also the ignored fact that Muslim art has shown Mohammed for centuries. No problem with that. It's only now, when the Islamic world has gone stark, raving, mad is the display of images of Mohammed a problem.

The MSM is a collective flock of cowards for not publishing those cartoons. Publishing art offensive to Christians is okay with them. Muslim art and cartoons that depicts hateful images of Jews and Americans is okay, too.

Screw the MSM!