Someone Tell This Florida Councilman You Can’t Censor All The Boobs In Museums
The mayor of Jacksonville Florida announced this week that he will not pull funding from a local museum or force them to take down a photograph a local city council member found “pornographic.’ It’s a beautiful portrait of a naked pregnant woman, by photographer Angela Strassheim. I don’t know how he responded to the city council president, verbatim — but I’m assuming he said something like, “There are boobs in art, you idiot. Get over yourself.”
City Council President Clay Yarborough (yes, he’s a Republican, how’d you guess?) was wandering around the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville last week when he saw the photograph of a nude pregnant woman. He immediately emailed the chief of staff of Mayor Alvin Brown and requested the mayor revoke more than $200,000 in taxpayer funding the museum gets through cultural grants. What the hell? Who thinks the world works this way? I don’t like it – so no more funding for museums! Ever! I hate to break it to you, President Idiot Yarborough, but there are a lot of boobs in art. A lot.
Here’s an email President Overreaction Yarborough sent to the Huffington Post:
“Given that any member of the public, including children of all ages can enter, and are in fact encouraged to do so, as City Council President I take great offense on behalf of the people of Jacksonville that the City would accept this. Unless Mayor Brown supports this inappropriate, pornographic display, and accepts that anyone, including children can enter and see it, I insist that you immediately cause to be pulled all funding designated for MOCA for the current fiscal year or otherwise explain how this will be addressed within 24 hours.”
Children of all ages! Even ones who may be suckling off their mother’s breast, while looking at images of a breast. Oh my god! Yarborough would probably just drop dead of shock and horror if he saw that.
You’re in a museum. There are boobs in museums, everyone knows that. Get a grip. Pulling funding from a cultural center in your city because you are personally offended by the site of a pregnant woman’s boobs is the most ridiculous thing, ever. The Huff Post reports that “Mayor Brown referred the matter to the city’s office of general counsel, which told Yarborough that the city could not remove the artwork without violating the First Amendment.” Oh, that pesky little First Amendment. The one that stops politicians from running around and willy-nilly censoring things they don’t like.
“The museum and artist have First Amendment rights to exhibit artwork in a leased public space, even if it may offend some members of the public,” Jason Gabriel, the city’s general counsel, wrote on Tuesday in an email to Yarborough. “While the city can choose to fund agencies or activities however it wishes (including those involving speech), it cannot discriminate or base its decisions on viewpoints with which it disagrees.”
Relax, take a deep breath, and silently step away from the boobs if you don’t want to see them. There are many of us who don’t find the site of a naked pregnant woman disturbing and pornographic, and we’d like the art left alone, thank you very much.