Monday, July 30, 2007

On the Separation of Church and State

My subtitle for the coming rant is "Separation of Art and Mass Media." I am a true believer in a higher power...The Arts. My particular sect worships at the altar of the concert stage and in the tabernacle of the recording studio. The Arts... Music, Dance, Painting, Sculpture etal are the only true religion in that they lift man's condition to heights not perceptible in the empty promises of the baser religions. Indeed, the so called "world religions" are nothing more than patrons of the arts...true religion's best customer as it were. To compare the base world religions to my true religion would be, to paraphrase Mark Twain, comparing a "lightning bug to the real article."

Something very disturbing occurred on American television this past week and every true artist should be alternately shaking in their boots and seething with indignation. Fox Network's "So You Think You Can Dance" brings the art of dance to a broad summer audience. This last Wednesday, Judge Mia Michaels appeared on the show wearing what appeared to be the dress uniform jacket of the United States Marine Corps. In addition to Ms Michaels' fashion statement, the show featured a dance combination in celebration of peace, love and brotherhood created by choreographer Wade Robson. That these two unrelated events would precipitate the ensuing shit rain of politically correct balderdash exceeds all understanding.

On the following night, Mia Michaels made a statement on the show insuring the audience that she had not intended to offend anyone by wearing a military style jacket. WHAT?!! Who was offended and how much power must they have to cause Fox the expense of wasting precious airtime on this absurdity? By the humble delivery of the statement, one would think that Ms Michaels had had the words "Fuck America" tattooed on her forehead! We can assume that either the network received sufficient negative emails from every trailer park with wifi and folded under the pressure, or that the internal propagandists themselves were offended at the nerve of a choreographer wearing what she deemed a smart looking jacket without first clearing her wardrobe with the Oberleutnant of political fashion propaganda.

In the next moments, Nigel Lithgow was made to kiss the ring by way of his explanation of Wade Robson's intent, and apology for any offense taken by viewers, ostensibly watching huddled in fear from the same trailer courts. OUT-FUCKING-RAGIOUS! The inquisition is alive and well at the Fox network. There was not a shred of fairness afforded the supposed offenders of the dogma. They were declared guilty and made to confess in order to keep their place in the heaven of national television.

These are artists. Sensitive, thinking people who use their talent to communicate ideas to each individual according to their own powers of taste and perception. They owed neither apologies nor explanations. To think that wearing a military costume on the one hand, and portraying peace as being better than war on the other somehow offends our troops or gives aid and comfort to the enemy is horsecrap of most refined quality.

Contrary to the belief of these conservative jackals," love of country", "love of god" and "mindless regimentation" are not mutually interchangable terms. But just as the arts were co-opted by the church for the purpose of self-aggrandizement throughout history, these soul-less judges of what we are to believe have co-opted the arts today for the glory of their religion...the bottom line. And woe to the artist who dare foul the temple by expressing individuality or compassion.

In 1987 I appeared on the popular nationally syndicated dance show "Solid Gold." It was the Reagan Years. The original fashion theme of the artist with whom I appeared was of a military nature and I decided that a few military accessories might add a nostalgic touch to my wardrobe. I wore the insignia of U.S. Army Intelligence (excuse the unavoidable oxymoron) on one lapel and the insignia of the Soviet space program on the other. On one shoulder was a CIA emblem, on the other the designation for the First Air Cavalry. My Jacket was further decorated with patches of military organizations from numerous countries. And on my back I wore the Grateful Dead skull and lightening bolt. Was I making a statement? Fuck no. My criteria for each emblem's inclusion to the outfit was simple. Did it look cool.

Judging by the ordeal of Mia Michaels and Wade Robson, and the embarrassing drivel squeezed from the mouth but surely not the soul of Nigel Lithgow, The Fox network's gestapo would have impaled my head on a pole at the parking lot entrance. Somewhere in a storage locker, that jacket still exists. The style is out of date and all of the patches probably look corny by today's standards. But if there is ever a next time...that coat is coming out. And my only apology will be for giving the ass to anyone who is "offended" by it.

What will I do on next wednesday? Will I tune in? You bet! I support my fellow artists in their endeavors to touch their audience. But I will be taking notes of the products that put money into the greasy palms of the Fox fashion police. And whatever they're selling, I'm not buying. Not a big deal, I know. But when I go to services at my church, I'll have a conscience unencumbered with inane adherence to neo-con butt-twaddle.

The True Religion of the Arts may have to rent out rooms from time to time in order to survive...but it should never be for sale.

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