I DON’T know much about 91-kilogram chocolate statues of Jesus, but I know what I like. When I heard about the giant edible Christ, I badly wanted to make like an Easter egg and smash it on my forehead. Or better still, bite off both ends and suck my coffee through it.
The exhibit of a 1.8-metre chocolate statue of Jesus has angered Catholics, but had this cultural Catholic laughing so hard I almost spat out the coffee scroll in the shape of the Virgin Mary that I was eating. And when I read that the artwork was titled My Sweet Lord, I almost needed to be resuscitated.
Members of the US Catholic League were outraged by this artwork by Cosimo Cavallaro and I could only assume that it was because it was made from milk chocolate and not 70 per cent couverture dark chocolate. Then I thought they were angry because they couldn’t find “91- kilogram chocolate statues of Jesus” on the Weight Watchers list. American Cardinal Edward Egan described it as sickening and I can’t help agreeing with him. I can’t even get through half an Elegant Rabbit without wanting to have my stomach pumped.
Lines just kept popping into my head: “Just like a chocolate milkshake, only Jesus”, and “Helps you work, rest and pray”. All jokes aside, I wonder if chocolate Jesus tastes exactly like chicken.
Not only did these fanatics boycott the New York hotel exhibiting My Sweet Lord, but there were death threats. Death threats? I missed that commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless Chocolate Statues Of Religious Figures Are Involved. If this exhibition was happening in Australia there’d be no death threats, we’d be rocking up and having our photos taken with a chip off the old family block. Because Aussie Catholics can take a joke. (Note to self, MUST CALL GEORGE PELL.)
Sorry, here comes another one: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus!”
Don’t you think that they are overreacting just a tad? Are we sitting at the kids’ table or up with the adults? The artist made the statue as a tribute. Why are these fanatics up in arms over a block of chocolate? I think that it’s all claptrap and mumbo-jumbo myself, but what has the artist’s relationship with Jesus got to do with them? Do they own Christ? If Cavallaro goes to hell for upsetting God, that’s his problem.
Prayer is simply the notion of transcending the physical, so how can 91 kilos of chocolate offend the sensibilities of Christians?
Why are they afraid? What’s the fear? If we laugh then what next? People will stop turning up to church? Well, it’s too late for that. Why are they so defensive, so protective? It is a case of “don’t you upset the guy in the sky or we’ll be the ones who get in trouble”. How robust is their faith if it takes a chocolate Jesus to rattle them? Why should any religion be a cordoned-off, joke-free zone? Are they scared that if we push hard enough that it may break and collapse?
Some people are just gagging to be outraged. Check out the statue. If no one had told you, you wouldn’t know it was Jesus; it looks like Oprah’s old boyfriend, Stedman. Keep in mind that the artist’s previous works include coating an entire house and all its surfaces with spray cheese and covering a four-poster bed with processed ham. I’m not hanging that on my wall.
The US Catholic League’s Keira McCaffery said: “Would this art gallery display a naked chocolate statue of Muhammad with his genitals exposed during Ramadan? I think not.” And she’s right. They probably would be too scared by what happened to Salman Rushdie. But there is an unwritten and moral logic that allows Jews to make fun of Jews, Christians to make fun of Christians and Muslims to make fun of Muslims.
It’s OK to piss out of the tent but it’s not OK to piss in.
Reminds me of the controversy over American photographer Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, a photograph of a plastic Jesus on a crucifix in a glass of the artist’s urine. At the time art critic and Catholic nun Sister Wendy Beckett said that she approved of the work, considering it a legitimate statement on “what we have done to Christ”.
It seems to be fine for some religious folk to sneer and deride other people’s faith but you are not allowed to do it to them. Blasphemy seems to be only when someone offends your faith. In the same way all the people who don’t endorse capital punishment are quite happy to see Saddam hanging from a noose. Because that’s different.
The idea of a chocolate Jesus makes far more sense to me than the alleged resurrection of Christ being celebrated by eggs and rabbits because they symbolise fertility. I thought that the symbol for fertility was Catholic mothers.
Body Of Christ? I’ll have Top Deck, thanks. Is it a good laugh or is it bad art? Maybe it’s both. Happy Easter.