The chocolate Jesus (also known as a conceptual sculpture by Cosimo Cavallaro entitled “My Sweet Lord”) is causing quite a stir amongst… well, you know, the kind of people who get upset about this sort of thing. I caught it this morning on Good Day New York, where they were discussing the controversy in typical fashion, which is to say that they assembled a group of women in a beauty salon and then asked them what they thought about this creamy, calorie-laden Christ. (One woman responded, “Well, I mean, what kind of chocolate is it? White chocolate?”, as though the true source of disgruntlement lay not in the fact that somebody had made a Jesus out of chocolate, but that the chocolate might be the wrong color.) You can also read about it on ArtInfo.
The general, offended public seems to divide itself into two distinct groups. Group number one finds the Chocolate Jesus offensive because it’s sacreligious. I don’t know anything about that (does the Bible contain a line specifically addressing this, such as, “Thou shalt not forge a Cocoa Christ”? Or does it count as “worshipping a false idol”, even though this is a chocolate representation of the real one?) but I do know that art, even the works that really tread on the toes of the faithful, is protected by the first amendment.
And then there’s group number two, who find the Chocolate Jesus offensive because it has a penis. And to group number two, I say, go walk around the Greek sculpture wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art until your milquetoast heart ceases to beat, because art imitates life, and in life, sometimes, there’s a penis. And only in the luckiest of circumstances is the penis made of chocolate. But I digress.
Anyway, in spite of all the arguments in favor of letting the Chocolate Jesus stick around until Easter (my favorite being, “But it’s delicious!”), the Man on the Street interviews on this morning’s news segment all featured uniformly angry people expressing their fury at the sculpture and saying things like, “This is an outrage!”
Well. The Chocolate Jesus could be upsetting, I guess – I mean, upsetting to people who feel that a large piece of candy is a direct threat to their personal relationship with God – but before we call it “an outrage”, maybe we should take a quick look at what else is going on in the world today:
Hmm, lots of outrage today. Outrage all across the spectrum: 52 people dead in Afghanistan, a middle school teacher molesting children, a love triangle murder, some ten year-olds who nearly beat a homeless man to death, and… Chocolate Jesus.
If Jesus were around today, I wonder which one of these things he’d be upset about.