I've blogged previously (1, 2, 3) about the International Freedom Center's plans to build a "Freedom Center" at Ground Zero, which would catalog America's sins, like slavery and segregation, along with the Soviet gulag, Chinese re-education camps, and the Holocaust.
Now, Wizbang points out another potential threat to the solemnity of the 9-11 memorial. Apparently, New York's Govenor Pataki has allocated space at Ground Zero to the Drawing Center, a SoHo gallery that, in the past, has featured virulently (and predictably) politicized art. Example: "Homeland Security", which depicts a jet airplane dive-bombing the crotch of a naked, spead-legged woman.
As New York's Daily News wrote in a June 23 editorial:
Works such as "Homeland Security" belong nowhere near the sobering pit where the twin towers stood, but the prospect of such a sacrilege arises because Gov. Pataki and his lower Manhattan minions have given space there to a SoHo art gallery called The Drawing Center. What were they thinking? Did they even take two minutes to glance through The Drawing Center's catalogue, which, besides "Homeland Security," also features such artistic creations as:The good news is that Pataki realizes that installing a blame-America-first exhibition atop the graves of the 9-11 victims is not a savvy political move. The Daily News reports that on Friday, he issued a statement concerning what type of material will, and will not, be welcome at the memorial site:
The infamous hooded Abu Ghraib figure, the wires falling from his wrists to arrange themselves into the word "Liberty."
A connect-the-dots organizational chart fancifully linking George W. Bush to Osama Bin Laden and former Texas Gov. John Connally and some oilman here and some financier there.
And so on and so forth. In short, it's plain as day that The Drawing Center does not bring to the downtown planning a single-minded respect for the memories of the dead - which is, after all, the point of a Ground Zero memorial, we would think.
Gov. Pataki drew a line in the sand yesterday, declaring he will tolerate no America-bashing on the sacred soil of Ground Zero.Sounds good, in theory. But once the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center gallery are built, what is to stop the people behind them from doing whatever they like? Their statements on the matter, from the same Daily News article, are hardly reassuring:
..."We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom or denigrates the sacrifice and courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11."
He added, "The Daily News did a good service by pointing out some of these things. We do not want that at Ground Zero; I do not want that at Ground Zero and to the extent that I have the power, it's not going to happen."
..."Sure, there can be debate," Pataki said when asked if his tough stance jeopardized free-speech rights. "But I don't want that debate to be occurring at Ground Zero."
Tom Bernstein, the Freedom Center's chairman, pledged in a statement to preserve that sanctity. The center "must, and will, honor humanity's march toward freedom and highlight America's role as a beacon for freedom throughout the world."Nowhere in these statements is there any kind of assurance that the two groups will avoid the kind of controversial material at issue. And why should they? They know they'll able to play the First Amendment martyr role if any attempt to condemn them or their exhibitions is made.
The Drawing Center released a statement saying it would work with the state to resolve the "inevitable tensions" between "remembrance and cultural activity."
Sadly, I fear that Governor Pataki, despite his fine words, is either lying or being played for a fool. His promise to preserve the solemnity of the Ground Zero memorial site is as empty as the gaping footprints of the fallen towers themselves.
Over in the Wizbang comments, SoHo resident Michael Negroponte, who has some interesting relatives, accuses the Daily News of McCarthyism.
The Dread Pundit Bluto has more.