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Monday, June 23, 2008

This So-Called Artist.... a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

Anger Over McDonald's Crucifix Art.
Artist Janitzio Moreno and his controversial work (right)
(Article in red; my comments in blue)

AN EFFIGY of a fast food icon on a crucifix in Alexandra Palace has sparked outrage among Christians this week.

Teenage protesters allegedly pinned the exhibition organiser to a wall as they demanded the removal of a figure of Ronald McDonald hanging from a cross on an island in The Lake on Saturday. (well, good for them! It's important to remember that when asking 'What Would Jesus Do?', the answer is sometimes raise a ruckus and knock over a few tables)

Trefor Jones, Baptist minister of Campsbourne Baptist Church, said: "I haven't seen it yet but these kinds of things never impress me. In this country people get away with all sorts of ridicule of the Christian faith."

Tony Peakall, organiser of the Tidy Art exhibition, which runs until Sunday, June 22, revealed how he was attacked by around 10 girls. They reportedly grabbed him and shouted at him to take it down. He said: "When I tried to explain about the piece they said if it was a Muslim symbol we wouldn't do it because we would get bombed." (or least threatened with a human rights violation).

It was scary. They threatened me saying I would be lucky if something doesn't happen to me. We have no plans to remove it." (I hope the girls didn't threaten personal harm - maybe they were referring to his Final Judgment)

Janitzio Moreno, 47, of Great North Road, Highgate, who created the life-size dummy clad in the familiar yellow outfit and curly ginger wig, was shocked at the reaction. He said: "I'm not apologising for it. If there are reactions then it tells us more about the society we live in. I think a lot of evils in the world are a direct result of religious fanaticism, and this is another little example." (So protesting against a work of "art" that mocks Jesus Christ is an evil result of religious fanaticism? Give me a break! If he wanted a reaction, he should have put a turban on Ronald's head and strapped bombs to his body. That would have sparked a much larger reaction)

Reaction to the controversial piece from people at The Lake was mixed. One woman called it an "attack on McDonald's capitalising on selling people unhealthy food" and not Christians. (I bet this woman is a product of public education. If that was the artist's intention, he could have chosen from any other style of execution to punish McDonald's for the sin of exploitation. There are other ways that would send that message explicitly - like lethal injection, or an electric chair. Instead, he chose the form that is clearly identifiable with the Christian faith - an execution, by the way, of the most innocent person ever to walk the Earth. This artist knew what he was doing - he desired attention and figured this was the way to go about getting it. And look! He's in the newspaper!! And in my blog!)

While John Sharp, 43, of Terront Road, South Tottenham, said: "Religion is important to people and they have the right to protest. Faith is more important than art."

Brendan Munro, a minister of Pray Haringey, said: "There is no call for pinning someone against the wall. There are bigger things to worry about. We should always be able to have serious and honest debate about things without getting het up." (Defending one's faith is a pretty big thing to worry about, minister! What did Christ say in Sunday's gospel? 'He who acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father.' These girls did the right thing, and I'm willing to excuse their approach because of their age or level of maturity. And I'm not so sure I would have reacted differently if I had seen it)

The Bishop of Edmonton, The Right Reverend Peter Wheatley, declined to comment. (This guy belong to the USCCB or something?)

Among the other pieces surrounding the lake is a chicken made out of Tesco carrier bags and a mannequin with a dress made from feathers. (Sounds like one crappy art show)

A spokesman for McDonald's said: "It seems inappropriate to place an image of Ronald McDonald on any religious artefact." (So that means no Inquisition Toys in upcoming Happy Meals - no Hamburglar on a Rack, Mayor McCheese in an Iron Maiden or Fries Guys in A Pot Of Boiling Oil. Good.)