This week’s media log is all about media and religion. The picture above shows Former First Lady viewing an art piece by Mideo Cruz on the controversial art exhibit “Poleteismo” (polytheism, or the worship of one or more god/s in English) at the CCP 1(Cultural Center of the Philippines). The art exhibit was controversial because the Church and its supporters were disgusted on some of the works portrayed at the exhibit (one showed Jesus Christ as the Disney character Mickey Mouse while another would be the the picture above; the crucifix with a male sexual organ attached at the bottom along with condoms strung around the crucifix). the Church claims that the exhibit should be out down (which it was a few weeks later) because it was sacrilegious in a way that it defaced sacred icons of the Christian religion. Charges have been filed against the artist, the Church accusing him of violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code on obscene exhibitions and indecent shows. Mideo Cruz however, defended himself by stating that his works were under legal grounds and that this is enough reason to be published as it his under his right to free expression.
The media played an important role in this controversy as it allowed the people of the Philippines to give their sides on the controversy. People watched the news on TV as the media covered it. Netizens offered their opinions, support criticisms through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Those netizens who offered their support to the Church say that the artist has “gone too far” while Mideo Cruz’s supporters insist that what he was doing was within the boundaries of his right, so there is nothing really wrong about his exhibit and that people are just “over-reacting”. Personally, I am neither for nor against his work because for one, I believe that anybody has the right to display whatever is in their mind in an artistic way while my religion compels me to say that this is a perverse and sacrilegious way of presenting a form of art. To think that putting in a male sexual organ in an icon of one of the most sensitive and dominant religion in the country and not expect criticism for it still baffles me. While stating that I am neither pro nor con on this issue, I will agree to the fact that the artist has gone too far in putting some elements that are frowned upon by the Church in its religious icons.
A fallacy that I saw in those who defended the artist and his exhibit was the age old “it is fine because it’s under the freedom of speech, and if it’s under freedom of free speech, he can post what he wants”. This type of thinking is wrong. This is textbook example of Stage One thinking wherein an idea is considered correct only because there are others who are more experienced on the subject say so. Another thing that makes the statement into a fallacy (and I learned this in my RVLC class) is that just because it is freedom of speech does not make it total freedom. Freedom in this case is not total because it is still has limitations and governed by constitutional law. This freedom is limited to prevent others from using it as just as an excuse (like in this case where the otherwise sacrilegious and otherwise offending artworks are being defended under the guise if this ‘freedom).