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    September 26, 2007

    Father forgive them…

    Posted by: Chris

    Poster (click to enlarge and enrage)

    UPDATE at the end of the post:

    …even they know exactly what they're doing. I can take a joke as well as the next guy, but there's nothing funny about this year's Folsom Street Fair poster, which parodies the Last Supper using leathermen for disciples, a bare-chested Christ, sex toys from wine goblets and members of the sophomoric drag troupe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence thrown in for good measure.

    I get the resentment of organized Christianity and the way it has repressed gays, women and minorities for centuries.  But beyond the sixth grade snicker at doing something that they know would enrage conservatives, what is the point of childishly offending the widest possible audience?

    The Folsom Street parody, like the Sisters themselves, only proof that the Golden Rule is much more effective than its opposite.  Kudos to Miller Beer for asking that its logo be removed:

    Statement Regarding Folsom Street Fair
    While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately

    I wish the rest of us could ask that our association as gays be removed, too.

    UPDATE: Dan Savage offers up several dozen Last Supper parodies from mainstream culture to argue that conservative Christians are only upset when the gays have their turn. He seems to miss the point that the Folsom Street version isn't merely poking fun or having a laugh; it replaces the wine goblets with fisting dildos and all variety of sex toys. It's not a stretch to see why that offends more than a Simpson's take-off.

    Andrew Sullivan agrees.

    For complete coverage, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/folsomfairflap




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    1. The Folsom Street Fair poster, sexophobia, and cultural appropriation from The Bilerico Project on Sep 27, 2007 11:17:01 PM

      This Folsom Street Fair ad has been making its rounds, and the Religious Right, of course, is all up in arms about this one. If you haven't seen it, here it is: It's a re-enactment of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper with leather men and Sisters of Perp... [Read More]

    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Father forgive them…:

    1. Two Ex-Gays React Differently to Offensive Gay Ad from Ex-Gay Watch on Sep 28, 2007 8:02:16 AM

      When I learned of the following ad from Right Wing Watch, I was immediately disgusted at the advertisers. And so were two ex-gay activists. The ad, for a San Francisco SM fair for glbt and heterosexual people, did not target impressionable family... [Read More]


    1. Double T on Sep 26, 2007 7:51:52 PM:

      "people who are upset easily, need to be upset more often" -Mae West

    1. Wes on Sep 26, 2007 8:07:01 PM:

      The problem may be that the people that came up with this offensive poster live in San Francisco and are insulated from reality.The rest of the country--even Seattle, Portland or other cities--is not like San Fran.
      Perhaps the citizens of San Fran really are not bothered by this poster. But I can assure you 95 percent of the citizens of any town in the U.S. would be horrified. And they surely would be bothered by it where I live.

      My 86 yr old mother (who lives in the South and yet strongly fights for gay rights and civil rights of all people) repeatedly tells me not to make fun of someone's religion even if I disagree with it.

      But here is another lesson for Fol Street Fair organizers since they missed getting the lecture from my mother: We will obtain our due civil rights with time. But along the way we will be (and are) in a massive public relations campaign to show Joe Bozo in Middleboro, Texas that we are not freaks but simply human beings that deserve to be treated the same as he and his big haired wife Louise. Joe and Louise will be freaked out if they see this. And how does that help our cause? Please tell because I do not see.

    1. Rob Power on Sep 26, 2007 8:21:05 PM:

      That really is too funny. But then again I live on Folsom Street.

      I didn't see a single one of these posters until they were splashed across the blogosphere by "good Christians."

      Of course if I saw any of these outraged gay conservatives doing even 1/10 the community service that your average Sister of Perpetual Indulgence does, their piousness would seem a bit more credible.

    1. Andrew on Sep 26, 2007 8:47:48 PM:

      I find the image rather beautiful, and artfully done.

      Really, it wasn't the Folsom St. crowd that shoved the image into Christians' faces, it was Matt Barber at "Concerned Women for America" who did that.

      I'm sure there's plenty of art in the world that Mr. Barber finds distasteful. He's only using this one to stir the pot with because he thinks it's good ammunition to take down some gay people.

      He and his ilk offend me way more than this poster.

    1. Michael on Sep 26, 2007 10:03:06 PM:

      One thing that everyone seems to be missing is that Folsom Street Fair is not solely a gay event. The festival is at least 40% straight people who are exploring an alternative lifestyle.

      The real reason that these fundamentalist whack-jobs try to tar the gay community, and to label the event solely as a depraved gay thing, is that they cannot imagine fellow straight people engaging in activities like S&M, etc.

      Besides, Christianity is a myth, the same as anything Edith Hamilton ever wrote about.

    1. Citizen Crain on Sep 26, 2007 11:27:48 PM:

      Funny how an image like this flips the tables on us, with so many of you who are easily offended as gays getting a yuck this time, while many of us who think gays can be hyper-sensitive are taing offense this time around. Are we all really that predictable?

    1. PSUdain on Sep 27, 2007 12:20:07 AM:

      He may be stirring the pot, but we don't have to hand him the spoon to do it with.

      And really, why do we insist on actively trying to insult people, especially when so many of us demand hypersensitivity towards us? (Remember a certain Snickers commercial anybody?)

      Honestly, as a Christian gay man, I don't find the image blatantly offensive, per se, but I do find it extraordinarily distasteful.

    1. Double T on Sep 27, 2007 1:41:44 AM:

      CC, I'm shocked that this would bother you. After all the talk you did about Larry Craig's First Admendment Right to ask for sex in the Men's Room( and please, we all know where the sex was going to take place). So sex in airport toilet is ok, but Folsom is inappropriate?
      What the hell happened to their First Amend. Rights?
      Probably flushed down the toilet if Craig had his way.

      And as for offending Christians, give me a break. This poster on one side and you and your boyfriend walking down the street hand in hand on the other. I know a lot of Christians who would ignore the first and be sickened by the latter

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 27, 2007 2:55:58 AM:

      "Of course if I saw any of these outraged gay conservatives doing even 1/10 the community service that your average Sister of Perpetual Indulgence does, their piousness would seem a bit more credible."

      What makes that funny is that you have, but neither realize it or choose to acknowledge it.

    1. Juan on Sep 27, 2007 2:56:18 AM:

      If Folsom Fair would have parodied the escape of Muhammad from Mecca, everybody would have agreed very artsy and why do them terrorists complain, it's freedom of speech, something they can't have. But it's the Last Supper, and that can hurt sensibilities. Nothing easier when you want to promote an ad than going for controversy.

    1. Jim on Sep 27, 2007 5:56:40 AM:

      So how long before Congress takes up a resolution condemning this ad, a la MoveOn.org and the NYT?

    1. DaveNPa on Sep 27, 2007 9:10:43 AM:

      Must every ad for a gay event have some sort of political undertone message?

      While it is possible the makers of the ad sat around and said "Okay, how can we make this years ad "eye catching" and "Shocking" to pique peoples interest?", I extremely doubt the conversation was "How can we make this years ad piss off a bunch of Christians and conservative gays".

      Don't forget the gay white supremacists who are ENRAGED that Jesus Christ isn't only barechested, he's also BLACK!! THE HORROR!

      Again, why are we so critical of an ad that was probably placed in publications that 99% of the "offended parties" wouldn't even read regularly. I mean, was it a full page ad in the San Franscico Chronicle? Was it posted at a bus stop across from a predominately straight catholic church? I doubt it.

      Folsom will attract its usual crowd of fetish lovers, leather boys, porn stars and maybe this year a larger portion of religious protestor than years before. But a week from now, no one will even remember this ad.

    1. DaveNPa on Sep 27, 2007 9:12:16 AM:

      My comment about Jesus being portrayed as black was dripping with sarcasm, my note in parenthesis for some reason didn't show up.

    1. Randy on Sep 27, 2007 9:35:51 AM:

      I am not sure that you are quoting scripture with your blogpost title but the full scripture I am thinking of is when Christ was being crucified and He said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

      These folks knew what they were doing to some degree. They are getting all kinds of free advertising with it. Their "fair" will be even more of a deal this year and next as more people learn of it.

      That said, I don't know that they see the whole picture.

      The thing is...Christ would forgive them for mocking Him if they were to see their need for forgiveness and ask. I am not offended ... I expect this kind of reaction at times. Scriptures say that this type of blasphemy and hatred will happen.

      I can choose to not take on offense so I don't.

      If anything I am saddened... Deeply saddened on two levels. The first being that the Atonement is full of love, selflessnes, sacrifice and resurrection that transcends beauty itself. To see it twisted this way is truly, and I say this honestly, heartbreaking.

      The second level is that each person in that photo is loved by the very God being mocked. They are treasures to Him. When He looks on them He doesn't see them defined by their proclivities... He sees each person's soul. He knows each one of them by name and every moment of their life. How His heart must break to see them abuse and dehumanize one another in the name of sexual gratification.

      So mocking the establishment of the sacraments and what they stand for is one thing...dehumanizing the precious people in the picture is another.

      Some choose to be offended and have hatred toward those involved in the ad and the fair. Some on both sides will use it to fuel more of the culture war. I am not offended (by choice) but I am heartbroken (a feeling I can't stop.)

      I apologize for the length of this comment.

    1. Jon on Sep 27, 2007 11:08:16 AM:

      Dear Mean and Frothing Christians: Get over it and start practicing the love of Christ. Hypocrites! Why focus on this one dipiction of the last supper and not the others? Because it's convenient in support your bigotry and exclusion of the LGBT population. I am sick of it, that 'holier than thou' attitude you people carry around while overlooking the really important issues that Jesus delt with like poverty, homelessness, hunger and hatred.

      P.S. Randy, it is you who mock Jesus by twisting his words to suit promotion of your bigotry, something I believe Jesus would never have done. Furthermore, I believe you are a troll. Happy?

    1. shamanic on Sep 27, 2007 12:41:17 PM:

      Chris, you're running this as though the groups that fundraise off of Christian outrage were just all set to be totally supportive of gay rights and events like the Folsom Street Fair. Are you batty? Let up, man. CWA and the other screechers will make a few bucks from this, the Fair will have more attendees, and everybody's happy at the end of the day. What's the problem?

    1. RJP3 on Sep 27, 2007 1:03:56 PM:

      no surprise that the two leading conservative "house boys" would side with the CWA ... I would say these same critics would find it offensive that Andrew is married to a man ... and used to cruise the bars and streets of Provincetown in full leather drag. Having watched him sit and have his boots shined by a slave in The Vault in Ptown - I call him out on this one. Folsom is not about appeasing our masters - it is a leather sex orgy for heaven's sake!

    1. rjp3 on Sep 27, 2007 1:07:40 PM:

      FREEDOM to mock religion is VERY important. Very few gay men I know care about appeasing the religious right that is in full on war with us.

      You can be a Christian (I am ) and see the good humor in this.

      It is a fun, dirty, anti-religion ad for a STREET ORGY.

      When we have pressure from gay men like Chris to not act out this way --- well the enemies of freedom are also from within the gay community.

    1. rjp3 on Sep 27, 2007 1:14:42 PM:

      CC, I'm shocked that this would bother you.

      Dont be shocked ... he gets off on feeling superior - that is his whole gig.

      As for judgement Chris is the same man who HIRED the white house prostitue to work on his papers.

      Not very wise. Rich, White and Lucky ... wise. No. Most of what Chris does should shock you.

      Rich boy who wants to feel superior to all the other fags. The basis for most gay conservatives.

    1. Dean on Sep 27, 2007 1:15:36 PM:

      This is gay camp at its best. It's supposed to be irreverant and in questionable taste. That's what makes it campy. I say kudos to the iconoclasts. We need more iconoclasm in America and the world, not less. I believe that when traditional, institutional Christianity is subverted, challenged, critiqued, and parodied, it frees our collective consciousness to reach greater spiritual and theological heights.

    1. Randy on Sep 27, 2007 1:48:25 PM:

      Jon, I am sorry you feel that way.

    1. Citizen Crain on Sep 27, 2007 2:54:32 PM:

      OK, we seem to be getting off track here...

      Double T: It's telling that you would conflate thinking something is offensive with believing it should be outlawed. The far left and the far right often have this problem. I find the poster offensive but would sign up to represent for free the Folsom Fair folks if the government tried to censor them from using it.

      Juan, I'd have to see their Mecca take off to know how I'd feel. Religious parody has its place and I'm ALL FOR cultural critique of organized religion. But there was no point to the Folsom poster except to be funny in a juvenile sort of way while knowing it would be offensive.

      DaveNPa: You're exactly right, of course, about why they picked a black Christ. More bang for the buck in terms of pushing buttons.

      Randy: Of course I was quoting the same scripture you did. But I would disagree strongly with you and with RJP3, who oddly enough agrees with you, that somehow disliking the poster means judging the whole leather scene. My reaction has absolutely nothing to do with that, and certainly Andrew Sullivan's doesn't either.

      Notice how RJP3 demands tolerance and lock-step ideological agreement from all, even while (falsely) disparaging me as "rich boy." Nicely done!

      Also notice how RJP3 just can't wait to go for the personal attack against both Andrew and me because he can't handle an argument on the merits? Not so nicely done...

      Dean, this is hardly gay camp at its best. If you read what the Folsom folks have said in defense; they thought this was "artistic" and merely "reminiscent" of the Last Supper. It wasn't intended as a cultural critique.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 27, 2007 3:27:02 PM:

      I think it does a wonderful job of perpetuating the stereotype of gay people as anti-Christian folk whose lives are controlled and dominated by a need for public sex and displays.

      Which is why I find it so incredibly ironic.

    1. Randy on Sep 27, 2007 4:11:18 PM:

      Thanks Chris. I didn't intend to equate that everyone judging the poster negatively is judging the entire leather scene.

      Even so, I did infer my own opinion of how the whole leather scene dehumanizes people.

      Back in the day I had several friends who were into that. I didn't understand it back then either.

    1. Dean on Sep 27, 2007 5:48:35 PM:

      Camp is a mode of expression an an aesthetic in which something has appeal because of its bad taste or ironic value. The advert in question represents a fine example thereof.

      The irony at work in this advert (and the irony intended by the artist) is one that recruits and co-opts a recognizable Christian icon—the Last Supper—to celebrate the unbridled sexuality condemned by the very same Christianity as taboo, sinful, and disordered.

      The meaning and subversive intent couldn’t be clearer, as far as I’m concerned: it has far less to do with attacking Christianity (lampooning perhaps) and far more to do with elevating, even sanctifying, that which is regarded by conservatives as deviant. The fact that it is perceived as being in poor taste is part of its campy appeal.

      Let me remind you that Jesus was also accused of doing things that were considered to be in very poor taste, for precisely the same reason as this; namely, he subverted deeply held religious values (i.e. the sanctity of the Sabbath, cleanliness laws, et cetera).

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