Out of the Temple

Kinkade makes the baby Jesus cry

It's the Jesus, stupid.

I find it disagreeable, intolerant and boorish when people sneer at and disparage "Christians" as monolithically disagreeable, intolerant and boorish. But at the same time, it's not the atheists who've declared a Culture War. In the same week that we here in OC have both the Westminster and Santa Ana school boards raising their Morals like sandbags against the swelling decadent culture, Kinkade, whose flock is interchangeable with Paul and Jan's or Jim and Tammy Faye's, comes to town. At least when Kinkade's flock sends money, they get a nice calendar or coffee cup in exchange. But whether he tithes (and we assume he does), it's just unseemly to make that much money off Jesus. It's all very confused: after close to a bottle of wine, a person could say, with only a bit of editorial hyperbole, that Kinkade rapes his Christian faith for hard cash and that Jesus would throw him out of the temple.

It was Norman Rockwell and the Guggenheim, of course, who pioneered the art of sticking one's thumb into the eye of the art world way back in 1991. But Rockwell was modest and good-humored. Stick some brass Jesus hands on there, and the galling trademark symbol that seems to negate art wherever it's found, and maybe a small Messiah Complex, and you've got your Culture War in a bottle.

Bottoms up!

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