Saturday, April 07, 2007

My bitter-sweet Lord

What? They’re canceling the chocolate Jesus exhibit at the prestigious Roger Smith Hotel in New York? Outraged Catholics including Cardinal Edward Egan were appalled. Organizers were surprised that a nude, anatomically correct sculpture made in chocolate of Jesus Christ might be considered offensive to some. I guess their reasoning is when it’s okay to display a statue of former heavyweight champ, Buster Douglas in butter at the Ohio State Fair, what’s the difference?

My question is: the artist, Cosimo Cavallaro, and creative director of the gallery at the hotel, Matt Semler (who quit in protest) are SURPRISED by this reaction? If Willy Wonka became a Born Again he’d be smart enough not to do this. There’s a reason you never see chopped liver sculptures of Jesus at Catholic weddings. Or a candy shop at the Vatican. It’s so clearly off-the-charts predictable that this stunt would cause some flack.

On the other hand…is this publicity exactly what they want? I mean, if the Roger Smith Hotel unveiled a statue of me, nude, anatomically correct (or at least enhanced) in chocolate I don’t even think my wife would come. George Clooney? They might have a tough time getting his permission. (I’d be honored so I’m a good get.) But the point is -- do something wacky, anything wacky and you can expect media attention these days.

And the end result: You know the Jesus statue will appear somewhere. And it will draw crowds. Probably in a mall... as part of their Easter Spring Sale Celebration. In the meantime, chocolate bunnies are still okay... although marshmellow bunnies are borderline bad taste.

Happy Easter.


Anonymous said...

This jibes with what I told my sister some weeks back about making real easter candy. My idea was to have a chocolate jesus on a cross, milk chocolate nails and all and when you bite into his foot, there's red liquid, either cherry or something similar.

Guess it's not going to work now.

Anonymous said...

So should we clear all art projects with the Vatican now? If people find it offensive, don't go see it.

Frankly, a chocolate Jesus is the most appetizing Jesus has sounded to me since the day I turned 18 and told my mother I wasn't going to her church anymore.

I am curious about the "Anatomically correct" aspect; is there documetation of the correct dimensions?

And it would keep any vampires with a sweet fang away from one's box of See's.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the chocolate Jesus has been around for a few years now without any real controversy or media attention. Having displayed it at dozens of art shows around the world without a peep of protest, I'd say it's pretty reasonable for the artist to be surprised by the sudden firestorm that's sprung up.

Probably more surprising than the uproar is what the uproar is over: the fact that Jesus is naked. That he's made out of chocolate I could perhaps understand some accusations of blasphemy over, but naked? Walk into any Christian bookstore you want and I'm willing to bet you'll find at least 5 naked Jesuses (Jesii?) in there, even in the heart of the Bible belt.

Richard Cooper said...

yfI left my chocolate bunny in the sun this afternoon and it melted into a reasonable likeness of Fat Elvis. I'm trading it on Ebay for a gross of these.

Anonymous said...

So this little dickwad PissChrist wannabe, can he guarantee that's anatomically correct, or did he just decide to stick any dick on the lord to get in the frigging newspaper. I mean, did he see the Holy Package? Take a steam? Does he know if Jesus looked like Jeff Chandler or Ratzo Rizzo. No talent asshole.

There's your uproar. 15 minutes up. Otherwise he's lunch. Weasel.

Willy B. Good said...

I would have loved to see him displayed in Times Square with Madonna licking his naughty bits but I guess she's too 'classy' for that kind of publicity but I'll pray by next Easter she won't be.

Anonymous said...

As a member of The First Church of Buster Douglas I strenuously object to any portrayal of him in any media other than Easy Cheese. Also Genesee Cream Ale would be acceptable, if you somehow found a way to carve a statue out of it. Maybe freeze it first, I don't know.

Eric said...

Think anyplace is going to be willing to show my Spam Mohammed?

Anonymous said...

This choco Hey-sus is right up there with South Park's Hare Club For Men, the true meaning of Easter. I laughed at their assertions that St. Peter was really a rabbit not a man, and that Jesus appointed him as his rep on Earth, not a pope dude. If you missed it you should make a point of catching it in reruns. More of Matt and Trey's religion skewering. Not the best storyline they've come up with, but it's original. I'll give them that.


Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but isn't the concept of Jesus' body transubstantiating from something edible a part of Christian doctrine? And in that case, why is chocolate any different from, say, a wafer?

Andrew Steven Harris said...

Well, according to Catholic dogma, it's a wafer that turns into his body, not the other way around. Which, I have to say, makes it seem even more strange to non-Catholics.

I think the artist probably picked chocolate to highlight the commercialization of Easter. A bit obvious as far as art goes, but there it is.

As far as being "anatomically correct" -- well, actually, Jesus was. Catholic dogma says that he was both fully mortal and fully divine. That means he both had genitals and was circumcised (being Jewish and all.) None of which really should offend anybody.

Mary Stella said...

And the end result: You know the Jesus statue will appear somewhere. And it will draw crowds.

The cheese sandwich with the visage of the Virgin Mary sold on ebay, or sold to a casino, for eleven grand. Surely a chocolate Jesus will earn more revenue than the Holy Grill.

I could be wrong, but isn't the concept of Jesus' body transubstantiating from something edible a part of Christian doctrine?

This so reminded me of Tom Lehrer's Vatican Rag. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate.

We kids played that whole album over and over again years ago. Every time this particular song came on, my Italian grandmother yelled for us to turn it off, shook her finger and reminded us that we'd have to confess listening to it as a sin.

Cap'n Bob said...

I heard the artist used 150 pounds of chocolate and one Tootsie Roll. Makes you wonder.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who worships chocolate, I am offended by this misuse of chocolate, being wasted as sculture.

And anyone daring to transubstantiate any of MY chocolate into a person, Holy or otherwise, in in for a fight.

Anonymous said...

Actually,this "controversy" isn't the result of "average Catholics" or Cardinal Egan.

It is entirely stirred up by professional shit-disturber Bill O'Donoghue, the "president" of the Catholic Anti-Defamation League. If you want to know what kind of guy he is, just think of every anti-Irish slur you've ever heard and he's the living ideal of them all. The guy's existence is an insult to the rest of we Irish.

This is the guy who went after the two bloggers on the Edwards campaign a month ago for their "anti-religion/anti-Catholic" biases. Essentially, he's against anything Torquemada would have disliked.

Basically, he's a dumb Mick bully.

Harriet said...

This post reminded me of this joke, which cracked me up when I heard it.

But then again, I'm pretty much a complete racist.

Anonymous said...

Bill Donahue and Cosimo Cavallero did have it out last week on the XM portion of the Opie & Anthony Show. What makes Donahue fairly formidable as a media watchdog is his New York-grounded savy in knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em (he didn't take the bait this week from Matt Stone and Trey Parker when they literally carved him up on "South Park", because he's savy enough to know that's a fight he can't win in public, even if he's spitting gamma rays about Parker and Stone portraying the pope as a rabbit in private). That doesn't mean he's not a meddling scold who cares more about getting his name in the media than he does about the cultural decline he's said to abhor, but like Al Sharpton, he knows how to play the game.

As for "Chocolate Jesus" -- which is ... just ... so ... pretentious, and as much as an obvious attempt to annoy people Cavallero knows won't do anything more than sic Bill Donahue on him -- it would have made a great plotline for a Season 3-5 episode of "Cheers", with Diane extolling the avante-guarde artistic virtue, Frasier being pushed along by his sex drive to agree, Carla taking the Bill Donahue stance and threatening to grind Diane's face into a bunch of Easter eggs for insulting Jesus, while Sam and the others are pushed by Diane to go down and take a look at the exhibit, where Norm and Cliff snap off a piece of Jesus (no, not that piece) and eat it because all this walking through an art gallery is making them hungry.