Philip Weiss, who penned the Nation article on "Rachel Corrie," has now joined the blogosphere with MondoWeiss, hosted by the New York Oberserver.
As the Nation story indicated, Israel-Palestine/Middle East is a main beat of his, but his blog seems to be stretching out to other political areas, as well as the Red Sox.
Of note today is his report of Brandeis U. in the news again for freaking out about anti-Israel art. An exhibit of paintings by Palestinian children has been shut down. In a follow-up he gets a Brandeis spokesman on the record:
"The university had to make a decision. We were getting complaints from people that the exhibit was one-dimensional. There was no other context... It was as if someone was looking at this issue with one eye closed. People were upset and confused. Some people found the images disturbing. We had to make a decision."
Some would consider an audience "upset," "confused," and "disturbed" a sign of a successful artistic encounter. But in the world of money (profit or "nonprofit") such a response means one thing: pull the plug.
According to Weiss, Brandeis adds it "hopes to mount the exhibit after all, some day, but with context."
Weiss relates exactly what images and words in the paintings rubbed people the wrong way. But even if you don't like what the kids say about reclaiming Israeli land, what's so surprising that it becomes "disturbing" now?
And does it take a complete shutdown and months of conferencing to figure out that if you just put up a sign or handed out a flyer saying "we don't agree with everything these Arab children say but we thought you should see what they're drawing"...everything would probably be ok?
Unless of course the problem wasn't just "some people" in general, but a few special people who have clout at the university, of course.
Would anyone deny, by the way, that at least this case constitutes censorship? The exhibit had been up for a week, and then suddenly and bluntly closed. With gestures toward "delay" and "reopening" even vaguer than NYTW's. Can we agree on this one, Ben Cameron?