Sunday, November 04, 2007

The irony escapes them

When Diego Rivera was commissioned by Rockefeller to paint a mural, the central figure morphed from a symbolic everyman to a portrait of Lenin. This resulted in an argument that Rockefeller won, having commissioned the painting and owning the wall where it was being done. The mural was never shown and eventually replaced.

Rockefeller's position made sense. He was a capitalist and it would be silly of him to glorify someone who advocated the exact opposite of what made his family successful. Rivera probably thought it would become a great big honking act of subversion, but Nelson wasn't going to be gypped.

That is not the case with the press freedom mural at the NPC.

Instead of doing the proper thing, the National Press Club just had someone paint over the "objectionable" parts of the mural they commissioned to depict press freedom. And while some of the changes may be considered "minor," the fact is that (according to the news report) they approved the preliminary sketches and were monitoring the process of creation. They could've intervened at any time to suggest alterations, but they chose to paint over the parts they didn't like after the thing was delivered.

But more important are the actual changes they made. From changing the Burgos headline to altering Bonifacio's alibata tattoo to giving Randy David a Ming the Merciless makeover, the NPC seems eager not to offend anyone. Which is a shame. Whatever happened to comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable?

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