Skip to comments.Univ. of Maine Flag Desecration Revisited
Posted on 04/20/2008 12:52:41 PM PDT by bioqubit
Exchange over flag desecration at UM at Farmington
Yes, and two other points. The First Amendment also entitles you to say stupid things. However, your job as an institution of higher learning is to point out to students when an idea is, in fact, substandard. Putting flags, and shreds, on the floor...this is an idea? This is the part where the art professor would have engaged her in a didactic process which would lead to a more powerful statement without being so childishly simplistic. Flag on the ground? This is what ignorant protestors do in third world countries. So, this also reflects poorly on your institution's ability to develop an idea.
I remember, with my father, the debates we would get into. It was engineer, him, versus, scientist, me. I would have an idea for an experiment. He would push, provoke, criticize, challenge and I would push back until we ended up with an experiment that was a much better idea. Art can and should go through the same process.
Years ago, a study was done to address this question: Why do some artists stay artists and why do others leave the field? The answer was a surprise. The researchers learned that the artists who stayed did so because in their art they were seeking greater understanding of something. Theirs was a quest for some kind of deeper grasp of their object(s) of expression. The ones who left on the other hand, did art for shock value. They were more interested in impressing their audience. That's not to say the former wouldn't do something shocking. But it is in the context of a pursuit that is an artist's unfinished business in his life, not a display.
As for the second point, know this: When a person steps on the American flag, burns it or desecrates it in some other manner, they are also doing the same to the Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and every other foundational document that defines this, the greatest nation in human history.
I, for one, have been and remain in a state of awe, at the jarring contrast one commentator offered a few years ago. Because these two events were nearly simultaneous, he asked, "What kind of nation is it that, at the same time, is sending not one, but two probes to Mars, and pulling a murderous dictator out of a spiderhole?" What kind of nation, indeed. A nation with a lot of unfinished business as concerns the liberation and expansion of the human race and the human experience.
I'm not so sure you are contributing to that unfinished business by hiding behind the First Amendment and defending what you could have improved and elevated to a higher level of protest. So, Ms. Kalikow, I suggest you look at your unfinished business and rethink what you will do by learning from your mistakes rather than using the First Amendment as license for stupidity.
Perhaps art schools ought to think about their definition of ‘art’.
If it includes actions, speech, intent to shock others, intent to offend, it is probably not ‘art’.
Oh yes, and if it includes harm to other iving beings such as starving a dog to death.
I guess this moron never heard of hate crime legislation which I bet he supports. As long as it is only repugnant, unpleasant and offensive to white hetersexual Christians.
Part of the problem is that the fine arts have gone off the rails in a big way. A lot of it is nothing but useless trash, but no one dares criticize it.
I think the strongest argument in this letter is not patriotism, which likely means little or nothing to typical left-wing academics, but the artistic argument. What kind of an artist pulls a stupid, ignorant, trite, simple-minded stunt like this and calls it art? It’s not art, it’s a political statement, of a particularly stupid sort.
You have to attend college and spend a lot of time and money majoring in art in order to learn to trample the flag?
What ever happened to the idea that fine art should represent the good, the true, and the beautiful?
Hey, it’s Maine. Ya know, California East but colder......
How about a first amd protected “art project” that paints these on a banner:
QUEERS SHOULD ALL DIE OF AIDS!
JEWS ARE GREEDY MONEY GRABBERS!
NI##ERS SHOULD GO BACK TO AFRICA!
And so on. Would the university say the same thing that they said in defending flag desercration? Of course not.