If someone wants to belong to a particular religion, I may find it unnecessary and silly, but I truly do not care at the end of it all. Someone’s personal faith doesn’t bother me. What I don’t get, though, is why certain super-religious people still want to participate in things the rest of us do, even though it offends their beliefs to the core.
Take for instance when a company out in Utah took R-rated films and started editing their content so they could rent them to their largely Mormon customer base. It was called “CleanFlicks,” and it was supposed to be the fundamentalist answer to Netflix, I guess. Artists create art from their vision and the story they want to tell, so it really bothered me when CleanFlicks started up, and made me incredibly happy when they went under. I’ve always thought if orthodox religious people want to have movies or other forms of art that cater to their belief system, they should, oh, I don’t know, make it for themselves.
Which brings me to a story Dan sent me to write about. Over on reddit’s “ExChristian” subreddit, someone made a post about the material he was given to study art history with at a Christian college in Florida that he attended.
Wanted to be a cartoonist for quite a while but my parents were terrified of the ‘weirdos’ at art school. The compromise was enrolling me in PCCs Fine Art Program. Except I’d never learn to draw a decent figure there, which is what cartooning is all about.
My creative drive died and I flunked out of their program, still regret all the time I wasted there.
Art textbooks sold in the book sale were also censored. I just bought mine elsewhere even though having the uncensored book would have got me in trouble. I’m not paying full price for a defaced book. (reddit)
Apparently Pensacola Christian College offers art history classes, which is fine on the face of it, because so many famous painters worked for the church, and anyone who has visited Europe knows this to be true. That being said, the key to this story isn’t what Pensacola Christian College’s art history books show its students; it’s what the books don’t show them that is cracking people up and making the story go viral.
The outside cover of the textbook is unassuming enough. Until, that is, you look at the painting in the bottom right corner. Is that woman really wearing a big, black smock? Well, not in the original, but hey, maybe the publishers were just being extra cautious to not get accused of peddling pronographic materials…even though it’s a classical painting.
Once you start delving into the pages, though, that’s when things get even more hilarious and stupid. The entire book contains famous paintings that are censored into oblivion. Because nothing says “sinner” like a boob or a butt that was painted a hundred or more years ago, right?
What fascinates me is that in the sample above, they’re censoring religious imagery. Those are paintings depicting angels and cherubs. I don’t know anyone who slaps the salami looking at paintings of angel breasts, but apparently that’s what this art department was really worried about.
Also, not for nothing, but as a former member of the church myself, I know for a fact that acts of sex are written about quite often in the Old Testament. The story of Onan, for example is literally about a man who has sex with a woman who isn’t his wife, and he “spills his seed” on the ground instead of in her, causing a whole big thing with God and whatnot. I’m not sure if students at the college are asked to read that story, but it’s in the first book of the Bible.
So why are they doing this? What, exactly, can you learn from a book on art history of large portions of the actual artwork are covered up with ridiculous and yet hilarious black smocks and blobs?
But if you really want to understand just how ridiculous it is to censor art this way, you don’t have to look any further than what the publisher did to one of the most famous religious paintings of all time. Maybe, in fact, the most famous.
Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is truly breathtaking. Again, I’m not a religious person any more, and I wasn’t when I visited the Vatican myself, but there is no denying that up-close, in the room, there is true artistic wizardry going on in there. He painted the room in such a way that it seems to have its own light source, and the depiction above, of God creating Adam, is maybe the most famous painting of a Bible scene ever.
I can’t imagine anyone being titillated by the Sistine Chapel. Honestly, if you get juicy groins looking at this painting, I kind of feel sorry for you, given that it’s 2019 and you have access to insane amounts of free fap material that isn’t, well, a 400+ year old religious painting.
Censoring art is never cool in my book, but censoring art that you’re trying to learn about art from is the epitome of stupid.
h/t Bored Panda
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.