...JESUS CHRIST TROUBLEMAKER
recently received a fax from a spiritually minded fellow named Rico. Rico was, like so many good people of faith and conscience, a bit put out by Mel Gibson's sacred snuff flick The Passion of the Christ
. But, unlike most, Rico's problem didn't stem from the violence, or the blood, or even the anti-Semitism. Rico was most alarmed by the unbearable whiteness of it all. Gibson had the audacity to do what countless millions have done before: to portray Jesus as a Caucasian!
"Well, that image did not fly with me," he writes. "My intelligence would not allow me to believe it Therefore I created two huge poster boards and placed one of them on the back and the other one on the right window of my [vehicle]. The poster board on the back of my [vehicle] reads, "The Passion Movie told a big lie! Jesus was not white. He looked just like me. Hair included! However, Jews really did kill him!" The poster taped on the right side of my [vehicle] reads, `How can my savior look like my oppressor? Does the Savior of Jewish people look like Hitler? The Passion: My Ass!'"
"I just wanted to get this out there," Rico told Fly on the Wall, "I wanted to see how people would react because people in this town are living in a fantasy."
And just how did people react? The morning after Rico mounted his terse posters, he discovered that someone had scrawled a message on one calling him a racist. Over the next few days the signs attracted quite a bit of attention. He received even more unflattering messages, and eventually he even got a brick thrown through his window. Rico describes the only caucasians who approved of his sign as being "hippies."
"Hmmm," Rico wonders in his fax. "I wonder whatever happened to a person's Constitutional right to free speech and artistic expression?"
What happened to free speech and the right of artistic expression? Why quite obviously, nothing at all. It would appear that within the confines of Rico's bold experiment many opinions were expressed and in various mediums. After all, provocative art by its very nature creates provocative response: The system works! And better still, all that stuff Dr. King said about judging the messiah by the color of his skin, not the content of his character, has finally come to pass! Or something like that. Happy friggin' Easter.
Plante: How It Looks