Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that by this point you’ve heard about “Chocolate Jesus.” And yes, “Chocolate Jesus” is different than “Muddy Jesus.” This is “Muddy Jesus”:
And this is “Chocolate Jesus.”
Artist Cosmo Cavallaro sculpted a crucified Jesus Christ out of 200 pounds of delicious milk chocolate, and the Lab Gallery, located inside the Roger Smith Hotel in New York, planned on displaying his masterpiece throughout Holy Week and through Easter. Apparently “Our Sweet Lord,” Cavallaro’s name for the piece, isn’t the first time he’s employed food in his art. He’s a food artist. Or something.
Anyway, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League of America, which, by the way, has no affiliation with the Vatican, called for a boycott of the hotel which houses the Lab Gallery, and called Cavallaro’s sculpture “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” The only reason Bill doesn’t like the thing, at least as far as I can tell, is that the Jesus is naked and everyone might see that the Lord had a healthy, chocolaty dong. Take a look at Cavallaro and Donahue on Anderson Cooper:
I do think Cavallaro is an oddball, but ironically enough, Bill Donahue comes off crazier than the artist. Does Bill really think that a chocolate Jesus represents an assault on Christian sensibilities? Or that Cavallaro’s “Sweet Lord” sculpture deserves to be thrown in the garbage? Cavallaro seemed genuinely taken aback when Bill said that if he were a member of Al-Qaeda he’d have Cavallaro beheaded. I haven’t read the Bible in a while, but frankly, I don’t remember Jesus advocating beheadings. But I’m sure Bill has a direct line to God, so if he says something or someone is bad, then we should probably believe him.
This isn’t the first time Bill’s reared his fat head and caused problems for people. Donahue and his bitching was the reason that Miramax dropped Kevin Smith’s movie “Dogma,” forcing Kevin to find another distributor. Bill attacked Louis CK’s show “Lucky Louie” and called it blasphemous, obscene, and “depraved,” without having seen one episode. Bill also continually gives Disney and ABC hell for what he calls their pro-homosexual agenda. He also claimed that the sex scandals in the Catholic Church were due to the actions of homosexuals and not pedophiles, because he doesn’t see a difference between a pedophile and a homosexual.
The problem with people like Bill Donahue is that they think they possess the power to determine what is Holy and what is not. I’m pretty sure we used to call that kind of mindset “hubristic.” Unfortunately, the danger with Bill Donahue is that he wields an enormous amount of power, so much so that unlike the normal wingnut Bill can actually get things done. Hence, “Dogma” loses a distributor, Louis CK receives an inordinate amount of bad press for his show “Lucky Louie,” resulting in cancellation, and Cosmo Cavallaro is forced to hide his “Our Sweet Lord” out of fear that some crazy person will destroy it.
If Cavallaro had only been able to provide some type of socio-political interpretation of his art I don’t think Donahue would have been able to attack him quite as easily. For instance, when I look at “Our Sweet Lord” I see a brilliant indictment of America’s commercialization and secularization of the Resurrection of Christ. Many Christians seem more interested in eating candies and hiding eggs for their children instead of observing the death of their savior, and if I were Cavallaro I would have claimed the Chocolate was a representation of the secularization of Christ’s crucifixion. In Eddie Izzard’s award-winning stand-up show “Dress to Kill,” Eddie addresses this candy / Christ juxtaposition:
Unfortunately, Cavallaro wasn’t that smart. He used chocolate because he finds it “tasty.” If he hadn’t have been such a dipshit he might have really made Donahue look like a total ass. Instead, he sounded a little crazy, and Donahue did a fair job of making himself look like an ass.
And yes, I realize that tonight’s episode of “South Park” referenced the douchebaggery of Bill Donahue, as well. I was actually editing the rough draft of this while watching the episode. If you missed it, be sure to catch one of the ten million times it replays this week.
UPDATE: FizzogBlog has a every interesting take on this whole thing. And he was able to avoid using terms like “douchbaggery,” when discussing this.