A reader writes:
The participants of the Hunky Jesus contest aren't having a Mohammad contest on Easter because most of them grew up Christian, in a Christian-majority country. So your whole "Why don't you do this to Muslims?" thing is ridiculous. Making light of our own experiences with oppression is cathartic, and obviously funny to some, since the Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence have been doing this for 30 years, raising awareness and money for HIV/AIDS. I'm a Christian who sees kids – some of them Christian! – having a good time. (Also, a lot of these people are straight, so "some homosexuals" should be "some people.")
Thank god we've moved on from being afraid of our enemies to just living our lives – drugs, sex, offensive jokes and all. I think the Sister said it best at the beginning, "Jesus has a sense of humor," and neither of us knows how hard he was laughing that day.
Get real, Andrew. The only difference between the Hunky Jesus contest in San Francisco and South Park's depiction of Jesus lies in your own personal taste.
Whether you can see it or not, the latter is savagely tasteless for the vast majority of religious folks in America. The Hunky Jesus contest provides an outlet for those who, having migrated to the cultural safe haven of San Francisco, can now lampoon the traditional figures imposed upon them growing up. Regrettably it's not as "high-brow" as South Park, and doesn't quite attract as many bomb threats as you might like. But it does have cultural relevance.
It may very well empower prejudice against gays. But that's hardly seems your concern. So where do you draw the line? Gays in Dolores Park can make fun of Jesus, as long as Andrew Sullivan finds it funny or "smart". Otherwise they're lame bigots, spreading prejudice?
Well, yes. As I said in the first post, I would defend the right to present this lame, tired, unfunny piece of dreck. And since we are judging performance art, of course my view is subjective. Another:
Was this contest more offensive than the South Park episode featuring the Virgin Mary spraying blood out of her vagina onto the Pope? If you ever took your lips off Parker and Stone's asses, you'd realize how ridiculous you look comparing a multi-million dollar play and a weekly cable television series to a YouTube video of a couple of drag queens ogling some hot men with beards on Easter. Apparently it was a revelation to you that a local costume contest doesn't often portray depth and nuance. Perhaps if it had featured more vaginal blood from the Madonna it wouldn't have offended your tender sensibilities so badly.
I kept waiting to see something in that contest that would have sparked the outrage that obviously compelled you to post the video in the first place. What was it? Their declaration that they wanted to "piss off some Christians"? Is that so much worse than Bill Maher saying religion is a "neurological disorder"? Maher's constant disdain for religion in general, and Christianity in particular, certainly hasn't kept you from appearing on his show over and over again.
Maybe it was the part with "pain slut Jesus" that set you off. Again, is that much different than Parker and Stone's torture-porn obsessed, sadomasochist Mel Gibson? The point of the two depictions is the same: parodying over the top interest in passion plays . Please, elaborate on what has gotten your knickers in such a bunch about this video. Frankly, I found some of the costumes rather clever (including the winner) and plenty of the guys were hot, which was I'm sure what the organizers were going for.
It was depicting the Passion of Jesus as a sado-masochistic act (which is entirely voluntary rather than the brutal torture Jesus suffered) and the genius wit of depicting "Jesus Fucking Christ" as one dumb homosexual mock-sodomizing the other. Neither of these things is creative, just offensive. And neither of them is even shocking, which can justify some glorious moments of blasphemous humor, such as South Park. And then there's the decision to do this at Easter. Like GaGa pulling Judas out of a hat – and timing it so as to maximize offense.
Again, I would fight to the death, as they say, to defend the free expression rights of these smug liberal bigots. But they remain smug, liberal bigots. Let's see what their attitude would be if a religious right group did a public performance art mocking gay marriages in the Castro – with graphic sex acts meant to ridicule gays. I'm sure they'd try to prosecute them for hate speech. Let's say it took place on gay pride. Somehow I think offense would be taken and the demonstrators labeled immediately as bigots.
If they're bigots, why aren't these Sisters Of Perpetual Self-Indulgence?