DATE: 2/10/2005 03:16:00 PM
Artists Vs. Free Speech - A group of anti-war artists are upset with the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland for displaying the work of Marine Sgt. Michael Fay. Fay's art is based on his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the preview of the art's exhibition, Fay wore his uniform and had a discussion with protestors.
"We are fighting an illegal and immoral war," Suzanne Hedrick, 73, of Nobleboro told Fay. "Without another viewpoint, without the faces of the victims and the ruining of the country, I'm deeply concerned."Anyone but me think she'd be less concerned if the horrors of war were portrayed without a positive view of the military? Then there's this:
While critical of his subject matter, the protesters also were upset that Fay came to the show in full-dress uniform. They said it indicated that he was on official business and promoting war. "The fact that he would come not dressed as an artist, but as a Marine is an affront," said Natasha Mayers of Whitefield. "I'm for real expression that's not paid for. This guy is paid for, he's been a Marine all his life, and this is a military point of view. The day-to-day part of war, which we can't imagine, is what we need to see. We need to see images that tell us the truth."This, of course, begs the question of exactly how an artist dresses. Note the use of the term "real expression." Expression "not paid for." Hm. I guess this means artists who take government money are only doing the bidding of the Congress or the President?
Keep this story in mind next time a liberal says they are in favor of free speech and free expression of ideas, or the next time you hear the "artistic community" whining about a crackdown on their rights because someone criticized them over something they said, sang or painted.
The protestors in Rockland had every right to stand outside the Farnsworth Museum with signs and slogans. They had every right to engage Sgt. Fay in debate. But they have no right to demand their view be forced upon Sgt. Fay's art.