04 September 2007

So Much Stupid, So Little Time

According to the London Times, a new stained glass window in the Cathedral of Cologne (Germany - not the newest fragrance from the Papal Collection) has gotten a certain Cardinal Meisner in quite a snit based on the alleged similarity it bears to motifs common in Islamic art. The object of the Cardinal's wrath is a modern 1,200-square-foot window designed by Gerhard Richter (the "Picasso of the 21st Century"), one that eschews the long-established tradition of depicting pious dead people in favor of something more...abstract.

Not wanting to come right out and say that he thinks abstract art is shit, the Cardinal opted to say something in even worse taste, by instead using his disgust as an excuse to harp on another of his pet peeves: namely, the goddamn Muslims gettin' all up in his face by trying to build a goddamn mosque that - horror of horrors - might "visually challenge the towers of the cathedral" with its minarets. ("Oh noes! We're in ur Germany, bildin r mosks!") And the lesson in this, boys and girls? According to Cardinal Meisner, if a piece of modern art offends your Gothic tastes, just use it as an excuse to piss off a billion people.

Of course, for me, the best part of this whole debacle is the reason the artist gave for his choice of pattern in the first place. According to Roger Boyes of the Times:
[The artist,] Mr Richter, who lives in Cologne, selected the order of the 11,200 individual panes of glass by random computer generation. The intention was to show that what appears to be coincidence is part of a divine design (emphases mine).
I'll give you a moment for the full irony of this statement to set in.

Got it yet?

I think Aaron put it best just now when he said: "I think Richter got it backwards: he's actually demonstrating that what appears to be part of a divine design is actually coincidence." Oh Richter...you clever bastard, trying to sneak in a subtle jab at the IDiots by letting a computer do your work for you and selling it to the Church! Well done! Except...no...he probably did mean just what he said.

Therefore, in place of the rather lame "Cathedral Window Shatters Peace," I suggest that the Times should re-title its article: "Catholic Bishop, In Zeal to Bash Islam, Inadvertently Sabotages Argument from Design." But we can't really be too hard on him. After all, there are so many different ways to be stupid nowadays, and a man really has to prioritize.

Finally, might I also add that if the good Cardinal is of the opinion that Islamic art is nothing more than a randomly-generated array of shapes and colors, then not only is he an insufferable prick, but he could stand to take an art history course or two.

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