“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
How far can you push your boundaries, and how far is too far? I’m usually unapologetic when it comes to my craft. I’ll stretch a joke until it’s close to its breaking point, then I’ll release it. And if it doesn’t break, I’ll stretch it again, without second guessing myself. Before I publish a post, I will bounce ideas off my wife. When Sara says you’ve gone too far, and I’m confident about my satire, I’ll take it as a good omen. If I am hesitant about a post, and my doubts are backed up by my wife’s consternation, I will scrap it…
…Most of the time. This is the story of a Christmas banner that went too far.
Almost everything is fair game: American politics, gun control, Jesus, and even attachment parenting, which we preach at home. I do not hate politicians, but the obtuse loudmouth fascist who will state that a woman is to blame for being raped. I have no qualms with Jesus, or the idea of a Saviour; but with the Catholic Church and its unrelenting and blatant disrespect of human rights. I do not fear guns; actually yes, I do.
“Every time I see the people on the crosses with the Santa hats, I have a violent visceral physical reaction. I actually get nauseous. [...] I am not a fan of censorship. I am not interested in anyone pretending to be someone they are not. I just feel like I like you enough that I owe you an explanation for my absences.”
For Soul Walker, my Jesus-Clown Superstar banner did not bend, it broke. Santa Jesus was my attempt at ridiculing Christmas and consumerism. Noam Chomsky:
“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume”.
A blue-eyed white Santa Jesus enjoys his last supper, a supersized McDonald’s meal, while Bing Crosby’s version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer blares from Heaven. A Coca-Cola Jesus: now that bends! Except it wasn’t a Coca-Cola can, nor was it the Last Happy Meal painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and by poking fun at the marketing and consumerism of Christmas, my Santa Jesus crucifixion banner inadvertently assaulted the spiritual beliefs of a friend… and a few readers.
My wife’s grandmother, a beautiful and wise soul, once told me: “Jesus is my friend. When you make fun of Him, you make fun of my best friend, and that is hurtful to me“. It resonated with me. I explained to her that I wasn’t mocking Jesus per se, at least not the iconic figure of love and Faith, but the Roman Catholic White Jesus of Western culture, whose name is used to convert the heathens in the residential schools of Canada, for example. Soul Walker’s relation to his Faith is one similar to that of my wife’s grandmother, and because of the impact the banner had on him, I decided to remove it, on my own accord.
Anyone who comes here knows that I gleefully push the envelope. My posts and images are meant to be humourous and provocative, as I fancy myself an imaginary contributor to Adbusters, but on occasion, I cross the line between rabble-rousing and mud-slinging. Though I don’t mind ruffling feathers, I get heartsick when I know I’ve hurt a friend. So to Soul Walker and everyone else who I have genuinely pained, I’m sorry.
ADDENDUM: As suggested by Mike Calahan, here’s a link to the banner, for those of you who have recently joined the conversation, and have not seen the banner. Soul Walker, I do not mean any disrespect by adding a link to the banner. DISCLAIMER: Please don’t click the link if you think it will make you sick to your stomach.