In the fall 1997, the Catholic League protested a Los Angeles exhibition by Robert Gober that appeared in the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Gober display was a figure of Our Blessed Mother with a huge phallic culvert pipe piercing her abdomen. The promotional material for the exhibit said that “the culvert deprives the Virgin Mary of the womb from which Christ was born.” This was bad enough, but what the New York Times did was at least equally reprehensible.

On November 18, 1997, the Times published a color photo and a lengthy article about the blasphemous display. The article had the audacity to say that the Gober “must be traveled before an informed opinion can be arrived at.” In other words, everyone, Catholics included, should subject themselves to this mockery before registering an opinion.

Now the Times is back at it again, this time publishing a picture of the exhibit that is almost a half-page in size. The picture appeared in a lead article in the Sunday “Arts and Leisure” section on August 9. The column, which discussed installation art, chose to highlight the Gober contribution by stating that it “included suitcases, sewer grates, a Madonna and a steel drain pipe.”

Pictures are published for a purpose. Given what the New York Times already had to say about this “art,” and given its general ideological disposition towards matters Catholic, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the message it sought to convey.

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