Friday Ephemera
Friday Ephemera

Transgressive Art Shocks Educators

The student artist, 17-year-old Liz Bierendy, said that she depicted the man and woman as married with wedding rings. According to [School Superintendent, Peter] Horoshack’s press release, the scene was painted over because “some of the members of the Pilgrim High School community suggested that the depiction of a young man’s development from boyhood through adulthood as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many of the students at Pilgrim High School.”

Ms Bierendy’s offensive and incredibly radical mural can be seen here. Do try not to gasp. Via Instapundit.



Wow, we've done it. We've actually come full circle.

Hey that makes me radical and dangerous. Cool.


I insist that she get a government grant to reproduce this mural and display it in museums across the country.

(Also, I miss the old monkey header on the blog. The blow button is meh.)



Based on the apparent thinking of those who saw the mural as problematic, you have to wonder what kind of mural would “represent the life experiences of many of the students” without potentially offending or ‘excluding’ someone. Presumably, a single man growing up without a wife or girlfriend would also be ‘unrepresentative’ of someone’s life experience too. Likewise, a gay man or a gay woman, coupled or otherwise. Perhaps those who took umbrage believe it’s necessary for high school art to feature every possible configuration of human coupling, non-coupling and general lifestyle, presented equally and without any discernible preference, which would make for a somewhat doctrinaire and very busy mural. Or maybe they, the educators, just don’t like representations of whatever they consider bourgeois and ‘heteronormative’.

After all, being bourgeois is a terrible, terrible thing.


some of the members of the Pilgrim High School community

So was it students or just teachers who wanted it painted over? A fiver says no students complained.



“So was it students or just teachers who wanted it painted over?”

Apparently school officials felt the scene might be “offensive to students that do not come from the ‘traditional’ family.” The articles I’ve seen don’t mention any actual complaints from students. But then, it’s so much easier to take pre-emptive umbrage on someone else’s behalf.

Political correctness gone mad. And it is at it's maddest(?) in academia, where it can have the largest impact on the young.


I wonder if there would have been the same complaint from the school officials if the final scene was two men, wearing wedding bands, with a small child?



No there wouldn't. There would be a complaint from a student or parent who would immediately be labelled homo-phobic and intolerant by the school officials who would be incredibly pleased to demonstrate how progressive and tolerant they are.

If you find this scenario ridiculous then you too are homo-phobic and intolerant.

And fascistic.

And probably Zionist.


What’s interesting is the assumption that high school students are so incredibly delicate that an innocuous mural could leave them emotionally crushed.


What’s interesting is the assumption that high school students are so incredibly delicate that an innocuous mural could leave them emotionally crushed.

For 'assumption' read 'pretext'.


Still no sign of any students actually complaining about the mural, but I did spot this:

The 17-year-old Pilgrim High School Junior who painted the mural said the whole controversy is “ridiculous.” Bierendy herself comes from a single parent family and says she did not mean anything by depicting a family unit as a man, woman, and child. “A family is a family,” she said.


"Let's all be different, just like me!"

Mr Potarto

I thought it was interesting that a girl chose to depict a boy growing up and becoming a husband and father.

But then I thought about the reaction had she shown a girl growing up to be a wife and mother and I realised she didn't need that aggro.

Aus Autarch

This has undertones of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas; seeking to destroy art because it threatens your ideology or because it provides an alternative to the worldview you wish to impose on a captive population.

I'm glad to hear that the superintendant stepped in to stop this, but I hope that more is done to the individual administrator so that it causes angst to future micro-totalitarians. There are *far* more important issues to be addressed in education than this mural; that an administrator had time to spend considering this issue suggests that there are too many bureaucrats in this system. Fire this inidividual Delete the organisational and distribute the responsibilities across the remaining administrator. Rinse and repeat each time this (or something similar) happens, and this sort of inappropriate interventionism will dry up swiftly.

Aus Autarch

PIMF: "Fire this inidividual Delete the organisational" should be "Fire this individual and delete the organisational role"


Last week I was discussing with a friend the attempts of comic writers to shock and offend ... people like Warren Ellis, Mark Millar and Garth Ennis. Good storytellers, but stuck in a kind of adolescent taboo-transgressing schtick which doesn't work in 2012 when I can summon anything from videos of beheadings to beastiality by powering up google. I pointed out to my friend that I can cause more shock and offense than zombie-rapists, gay omnipotents etc by simply expressing a traditional, conservative, old fashioned outlook.



“…old-fashioned outlook.”

A week or so ago, I did catch myself using the word stoical to describe a certain kind of emotional restraint and mental independence. Even the concept seemed antiquated. Or radical, depending on your point of view.


Competitive Football annoys lefties..


Once again, let's consult the Liberal Position Generator. Take an idea which seems obvious and sensible to a normal, sane adult, and come up with the most bizarre inversion, then defend that inversion with claims of hate and bigotry. Let's fire it up:

Normal, sane adult ideas:
1.) Starting a family is a part of growing to adulthood.
2.) A family starts with a man and woman getting married, then having children.
3.) Children should be encouraged to respect the norms of their society.
4.) Censorship of art is a bad idea, unless the artwork is so offensive there would be actual harm caused by displaying it.

Bizarre inversion? "It's WRONG to show that heteronormative family unit! COVER THE MURAL AT ONCE!"

The Liberal Position Generator never fails!


Once again, let's consult the Liberal Position Generator.

Question: When is a 'hate crime' not a 'hate crime'?

Video here:



“Question: When is a ‘hate crime’ not a ‘hate crime’?”

Ah, but the fashionable formula for racism – as peddled by Shakti Butler, Jane Elliott et al – is “prejudice + power.” “Power” being something that only people of pallor can have. And so clearly the lone white tourist – the one being punched, robbed, stripped and having his teeth kicked out by a mob of ten black thieves – he was the one with all the power. Obviously.

Didn’t you get the memo?


David: "the one being punched, robbed, stripped and having his teeth kicked out by a mob of ten black thieves – he was the one with all the power. Obviously"

This was the risible argument (far worse than what she said) brought out in defence of Diane Abbott when she made a few mildly racially offensive remarks. Racism can only exist, it seems, within an (unspecified) power dynamic. So Abbott MP (representing a good many poor whites) could freely say anything and not be accused of racism.

Never mind about racism between ethnic minorities, we'll sort that out later..

Rafi: "For 'assumption' read 'pretext'"

Again, there are those consciously wishing to destabilising the "heteronormative" family, and those who innocently go along with the reasoning that 'no member of designated victim group should be made to feel uncomfortable'.

The latter end of the spectrum may be more numerous - but their foolishness in ignoring all the ramifications of their actions* is a force to be reckoned with. As much so as those attempting to manipulate them.

* thinking exclusively of victim groups and trying to save them from designated sorts of hurt. As though noone and nothing else will be affected by the narrow focus and implicit disapproval of the nuclear family.



Yes, Diane Abbott, the chronically sweaty class warrior. The would-be “first black female leader of the Labour Party” who isn’t keen on “blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls” working as nurses on her turf and who declared, quite emphatically, that “the British invented racism.”



...also that 'West Indian mothers will go to the wall for their kids', and that 'whites love to play divide and rule'.

The most comical of her defenders was Steven Baxter in the New Statesman, who observed:

'"If it had been the other way around," is the general thrust of these arguments. Well if it had been the other way around, it would have been the other way around. If it had been the other way around, everything would have had to have been the other way around.'



I suppose Baxter’s problem is one common to many leftists, i.e., a preoccupation with groups. He writes in terms of one (ill-defined but presumably generic) group oppressing and “dominating” another (equally ill-defined but presumably generic) group – a scenario that’s just asserted as a moral full stop. The problem is, it’s difficult to be realistic about these notional, rather fuzzy groups. The alleged disadvantages of the group in question are applied to – or worn by - whichever individual is the subject of the article, regardless of the irrelevance or perversity. (See, for instance, this attempt by Omar Kholeif.) And it’s much easier to get away with question-begging and non-reciprocal ‘principles’ if you keep things conveniently abstract and collective.

I guess that’s the appeal.

Sanity Inspector

Teh shtoopid, it burnnnnssss...


I've noticed this a lot over the last few years. Some left-wing apparatchik pops up in the media talking about the 'Black Community', the 'Gay Community' or the 'Muslim Community'. They genuinely seem to have no conception that these 'Communities' actually consist of individuals, with hopes, fears and ambitions and needs which are their own. To me, it's the same as someone saying: " They all look the same to me". I understand, I think, why they do it - it's easier to control people if you depersonalize them and individuals are such nasty, messy things - I just don't understand how they get away with it.



“To me, it’s the same as someone saying: ‘They all look the same to me’.”

It can be very much like that.

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